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Natasha Hovey: Life After ‘Soap and Water’ and her New Role as a Feline Volunteer in Miami

by Laura Martellini

40 years after the release of the film, the actor-director wrote: “You exuded sweetness, where are you?”. Il Corriere tracked her down: «Hi Carlo, here I am! Few elegant like you. My new life as a volunteer to care for felines”

«I am amazed by so much outcry. Friends from Italy called me to warn me of Carlo Verdone’s appeal who wondered on social media where I was. Here I am, I live in Miami and I’m his Sandy!»: speaking from America to Corriere della Sera is Natasha Hovey, the leading actress of «Soap and Water» which the director remembered a day ago, 40 years after its release, asking himself with nostalgia: «You exuded sweetness and grace, the brightness of your face could not fail to enchant. Where are you now, Natasha?’

House in Miami

The answer comes from a beautiful house with an outdoor lounge in Miami where Natasha Hovey, 56, lives today with her husband, a rheumatologist by profession, and her 24-year-old son David. «After Acqua e Sapone and Compagni di scuola, filmed with Carlo, and other works for Rai, some dramas, I moved to France for the love of my husband, with whom I built the family that is still everything to me today. My parents separated, I wanted a different life. A story that was forever. So I flew to Paris and married my partner in 1999, finding myself experiencing a kind of transference: the feeling I had for cinema transformed into an absolute love for my Parisian husband and our boyfriend.” It won’t have been easy: «Not at all. Parisians are cold, reserved. Very different from Italians. But I immediately felt satisfied by my affections. I’ve moved on.”

No regrets

Without any regrets: «Sometimes I tried with David to watch films again with me as a young girl as the protagonist, but a film like Soap and Water has a humor that isn’t so immediate in France. We are different. My son also speaks little Italian. Nostalgia? When I’m more melancholic, I think about the career I could have had and which I gave up on. I see many of my colleagues from back then who are now established actresses. But when I feel good I’m happy with the success I’ve had and I think, oh my God, the little girl in those films shaped the woman I am today.”

Many memories

How did it go with Verdone? She was a girl of just 15 years old (she turned 16 on set), he was an already established director. «I never thought I would be able to work in the cinema. I had difficulty communicating, I was quite reserved. My mother, of Dutch origin, arrived in Rome because she was attracted by the climate and the character of the Italians, to have a memory of my 13 years she took me one day to take some black and white shots with a photographer, who advised her to propose the my face to advertising. So I did a few commercials, but remained silent: from an advertisement for a product against dandruff they rejected me because I had to say a sentence, but I couldn’t utter a word! To unblock me, my mother enrolled me in an acting school, and little by little I melted. When I did the first audition for Carlo Verdone I was already able to recite a few lines. At the first selection I gave him a photo of me in which I appeared with a lot of make-up for a wedding dress magazine and it was in that moment that the trigger went off in him: I embodied the perfect woman-child. He later told me that he wrote the screenplay with that image in front of him. When I showed up at the second casting he took me. He had already seen hundreds of girls in northern Italy too. He and I also had a school in common: the Nazarene, in Rome.” The famous kissing scene? «Look, I especially remember the big laughs from the set. We were always joking. And on that occasion there were dozens of technicians and operators around us. My mother always present. Today I don’t know if it would be possible to make a film of that kind. But there was no malice in Acqua e Sapone. Just a lot of tenderness.”

With her sisters in “her” America

Natasha therefore moved to America a few years ago with her family: «One of my sisters lives next to me, the other in Oregon. My father was from Boston, and I have dual nationality. However, with my family we chose to live in Miami because it is closer to our Latin spirit. I feel good, even if it’s a crazy place!» she ventures in Roman dialect. Her day? «The city is full of cats, many of which are not sterilized, who live in conditions of extreme need. They have no food, no shelter. So with other volunteers we take care of their livelihood. I myself have six: some come and go from the outdoor living room of the house custom-made for them. There are also two raccoons, and some possums. And my son, obviously: like all parents we thought of a future for him as a doctor or lawyer, and instead he became a film producer. You can see it was destiny…»

Return to Italy

Italy? Forgotten? «I come back two or three times a year, also because my mother loves it and she has settled in the south of Naples. Next time I’ll go and visit Carlo too. In the meantime, you can be sure that I will contact him, privately. I stay away from social media: I don’t need it. If you start using them you never stop, like with the computer. That’s fine. But I wonder: why all this attention for this very nice and elegant intervention by Carlo regarding a film released 40 years ago? Maybe people need lightness, with what’s happening in the world…Serenity and escape.”

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October 15, 2023 (modified October 16, 2023 | 1:15 pm)


2023-10-16 11:15:00
#Carlo #Verdones #appeal #Natasha #Hovey #actress #Water #Soap #shows #live #Miami #love #love #cats

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