Note: this interview is a transcription of a video call in English from June 2017. English is Micol’s second language behind her native Italian.
Micol Ronchi is an Italian actress, radio host, model and showgirl. Probably best known for her stint providing comic relief on the Italian TV show Chiambretti Night, Micol has appeared in many other programmes as well as posing for Playboy and other modelling assignments.
Micol’s acting career consists of the feature film Il profumo dei gerani directed by Pasquale Falcone and several sitcoms on Italian TV.
Micol currently hosts a radio show, The Funny Bunny on m2o radio.
So Micol, you are Italian – but not really because you are not in love with pizza and pasta 😉 so if not that, what does it mean for you to be Italian, if anything at all?
I hope that to be Italian is something else. I come from the north of Italy, so normally I eat a lot of rice, not always pasta and pizza. Italy is a very creative place. We are a country of beauty, you can walk in the street and see only beautiful things. To be Italian is to fall in love with the beauty and to be always disappointed because you will like the best for your country but here to have an idea is something bad.
What were you like as a child. Did you always dream of a career in show business?
When I was a child I was very solitary. I started to read very young, so from 8 or 9 years old I had closed my world between the books. I didn’t like to be around large groups of people. I have always dreamed to be an actress, but to be an actress here is not easy. So I have dreamed to be an actress, but not in Italy. I have dreamed for another kind of cinema and another kind of acting. So I was very solitary, I was a dreamer – this is the reason I like Asimov, for example. I started to read Asimov very, very early and this is the reason why I love sci fi because I started to read it very young and I found another world in those books.
Let’s talk education: you studied linguistics and cultural studies at art school, if I am correct. Was it useful for you? How has this study enriched or informed your life?
Yes I studied cultural studies at art school. Was it useful for me? Yes. I studied art at High School and University. This enriched me a lot and it’s a kind of study that makes you different from the others, especially in a country like Italy where art is absolutely everywhere. The people speak about Rome, the magnificent Rome, blah, blah, blah, but here all the cities are like Rome. Very beautiful and very ancient. Ok, the study of art makes me curious. I have studied art and this kind of study has made me a curious person. I am always asking questions. I am curious, I am curious because I have done this kind of study.
From your Instagram I know that you are a fan of sci fi. How do you feel about technology, particularly with an eye to the future? Because we know that in the future there will be robots and even with Asimov’s three laws, this does not always end well!
Yes I am a sci fi fan. I live with technology. I don’t approve of technology, I don’t like. I have to use it, especially social media. I have to use it but I don’t like because social media creates an illusion and you can’t always create this illusion for your followers, this makes you tired. People are not interested really in you but in the idea people have of you. So this is the part of technology, if you want to consider social media technology, that I don’t like.
I don’t think that in the future there will be robots, even with Asimov’s three laws. I believe in a different kind of future. Anyway, to answer your question: I like some technology, I live with technology, but I don’t like all technology. I don’t like the social network, social media. I work with it but I don’t like it.
What about writing? You do it so well. Has this always been a love of yours and have you done much formal study?
Yes, I have always written well. I didn’t do any formal study. I read a lot, from Asimov to Chekov, Saramago, Dostoevsky, Makowski, Henry Miller. I have read a lot in my life, and I started to read very early and to write very early. For me, writing is a way to find myself.
From writing to reading. One of the best things about your Instagram is you actually post about books! With so many other entertainment options around, what is it that you get from this ancient storytelling format that you can’t find elsewhere?
From a book you can find worlds that you usually can’t find in a picture, in a movie, your imagination can start to walk and run. I can make my imagination walk also without a book but I have a huge imagination and I prefer to look for a dream in a book. I like to post on Instagram a picture of books and boobs, because I hope that with my books to inform the world that exists a book. Normally the people first look my boobs, but then later see the book. I remember some weeks ago, two followers are sending my a screenshot, and they have bought the books on Amazon. Ah so, I am a cultural hero. So this is the reason. And I find the men with culture very sexy. So I do it for them (my followers), to be sexy.
Professionally, glamorous, beautiful and confident, but privately bookish, self critical and very natural and relaxed. Above all, always intelligent and ironic. So what is the “real” Micol? When do you feel most comfortable and most like yourself?
I feel most comfortable and most like myself when I sleep and when I am in bed with a book. Or after two hours with the makeup artist.
What is your proudest moment?
Oh, when I met Hugh Hefner some years ago, in 2009 at the San Remo music festival. He looked at me and he said you are the best you are amazing, you are my favourite and you look like Marilyn. And that is my proudest moment. He said to me you are a mix between Marilyn and Dita Von Teese. Amazing.
In your career you have done modelling, TV (scripted and not), acting, radio and journalism. What enjoyment have you taken from these different jobs and what are some of the differences between them?
All of this work is similar. Except journalism. But, acting modelling and TV are similar. The enjoyment part if to learn to make entertainment. It’s fun to speak to people and to communicate something. It’s very fun.
I have read a quote of yours that you would have liked to live in the 50s as this is when women expressed their best aesthetic. This certainly comes through in your own style, especially your shoots, but what is it about the modern aesthetic that you don’t like?
Because the modern aesthetic doesn’t exist. That’s it. The modern aesthetic does not exist. Exists everything, mixed. And normally I don’t like. In the 50s you can find a style. Now it doesn’t exist. The fashion lives between the 50s and 60s and 80s and Kim Kardashian style. Now exists the Kim Kardashian style and I don’t like it, it’s a joke, I’m sorry just kidding. It simply doesn’t exist. It’s not that I don’t like. The modern aesthetic don’t exist. You can’t find something original from this period. I don’t know, now it’s come back the choker, do you from remember the 90s. It’s come back and it’s very nice, I always use it but is not modern aesthetic. I used it when I was a young very, very small girl.
It always seems that there is a lack of substantive career opportunities for women in entertainment. Those that take advantage of their mind as well as their looks. Is this something that you have found to be a problem?
The problem is being original. The problem is not with beauty or being smart or very intelligent, the problem is to be different. I have found a problem with being a different kind of beauty. I didn’t find a problem because I’m a woman. Yes this is a problem but not a huge problem. The problem is being different.
Do you consider yourself a feminist?
No, I do not consider myself a feminist.
To me, you seem a born actor. You make the everyday dramatic and have the most expressive face. With your vast experience in front of the camera or microphone, more acting is a logical next move. Is this the next stage of your career and what path are you hoping to take?
Thank you. Yes I would like to continue with an acting career. I repeat I would like to continue an acting career, but not in Italian project. I would like to find a way to work in an international production.
Describe for me your ideal acting role.
To be Hamlet. Not Ophelia, Hamlet.
What is it you love about the cinema and acting?
What I really like about acting is that you can change. Work is change and I hate the routine. The routine makes me afraid, and in acting you have to change. This is perfect for me. And the cinema for me is like a book. I start to imagine, I start to dream and I fall in love with a movie that I really like.
Let’s talk social media: you are very active across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We spoke earlier about your writing and your captions on Social Media are always interesting and well written, not just the usual hash tag collection or borrowed inspirational quotes. This is obviously something you enjoy?
No I don’t like. I don’t like to write too much on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, but I have to do it. I don’t want to put a foto on Instagram and write only with hashtags. I prefer to tell a story, but uf, some days I have nothing to say. But sometimes I like. I write a lot because I think that an image with a story is better than an image with a hashtag.
Have you seen the TV series Black Mirror or read Dave Eggars novel, The Circle?
I have seen Black Mirror, not the other.
They take a very negative view of social media and warn against its dangers. Thinking about this, do you have particular limits to what you share?
But I agree with Black Mirror. I absolutely agree with Black Mirror. It has a negative view of social media and I agree with this view.
What is the most positive thing for you about social media?
Social media for people in my kind of work, it’s like a theatre where you don’t have to buy a ticket, ok. And you come inside the theatre and the show is free, you don’t have to pay and you come inside because you are curious and maybe the show is beautiful. So it’s like a theatre where people don’t have to pay.
Ok, one final question that had to be asked. There is s a running joke involving Jeremy Renner across your social media. Where did it all start?
The story was born like this: I was on the radio and had just come out of the Avengers’ movie (not in the cinema but in sky programming) and we launched the classic game: “What is your favorite hero?”. The audience responded by sending messages, and I commented: “How trivial, all to worship Thor with Hammer and IronMan with armor. I cheer for Hawkeye!”. The game went on for ten minutes, and in the end I closed the episode saying “ok guys, many nice greetings and anyway you laugh and joke but here you will see that at a minimum Hawkeye will ask me to marry him by the end of the year!”.
From that moment on, almost every episode, the listeners to joke ask me: “Then your wedding proposal came?”. I liked the game so much that I decided to do so even on Instagram by inventing absurd hashtags. And now they too ask me: “When is the wedding?” “Micol but did you call at least?” “Quiet Micol, is blocked in Norway due to a lure crossing in the middle of the road, but quiet that for Christmas comes!”. In short, this is the story. But I would like to calm everyone: I’m not ready for a wedding!
Thank you Micol for taking the time to answer my questions and especially for making the effort to answer in English.