Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Italian Big Brother: Veronica's lady love makes Italians swoon

By Franca Torrano

Since emerging from the week’s confinement on Monday night Veronica Ciardi, still not quite in the world of reality as we know it, has received a slightly different welcome from the one she was dreading. Her biggest fear, she revealed, was a hostile reaction from the Italian press and public who have been following her string of tempestuous affairs and fiery arguments over the last four months. When you throw in her sultry good looks and the growing relationship with Sarah Nile, it’s not difficult to see why she has become the most hotly discussed contestant of the Italian Big Brother’s tenth season. Hotly discussed does not necessarily mean popular but as she stepped out in front of the studio audience for the live show she was greeted with a loud and rapturous welcome. Her fans had turned out to support the twenty four year old Ciardi on what could turn out to be a difficult night.

Taking her solitary seat in the centre of the arena she looked nervous. Sarah, watching protectively from the front row blew Veronica a kiss of encouragement that made thousands of hearts miss a collective beat. Then one by one, each of Veronica’s difficult affairs in the house was paraded across the big screen. Not looking good. A sizeable part of this audience could go either way tonight. Then Sarah herself appeared on the screen and on seeing some of their infamous kisses Veronica’s expression changed. Her uncertainty fell away and she proceeded to defend herself against accusations of profligate behaviour in a performance worthy of a fellow Roman, Julius Caesar himself. She denounced ‘e tu, e tu, e tu’, the male contestants who would have had her if they could but trashed her as a whore and a porn star when they couldn’t. And in an implicitly wider attack on all those out there who think the same way she defended passionately her right to live her life from the heart and not be judged by the double standards applied to the sexual behaviour of women.

With that behind her the focus has since shifted to the nature of her relationship with Sarah. The media coverage has been intense but strangely disjointed as it caters to the tolerance levels of different audiences. The hosts of the daytime TV circuit continue to sideline Sarah and quiz Veronica instead about the future of a relationship, long over, with one particular male contestant. The interviews that all the BB contestants have to endure on exit from the house have all included the question, ‘Is this a lesbian relationship?’ And while the grandees of the national media muse on whether the new ‘star’ couple will get engaged and make a life together, the gossip magazines have been falling over themselves to get the hot new cover out, questions of sexuality somewhat secondary in the frenzy to increase circulation figures.

With Sarah now permanently at her side, Veronica continues ever more openly to declare her love for the cool Neapolitan who stole her heart in the BB house. She is fearless and on TV she rates Sarah the tops in the kissing stakes and declares theirs a love that will last forever. But - and for many followers this is a big but - it is not sexual. And they are heterosexual. On both these (their oft repeated) statements, the jury is still out but the fundamental truth is apparent. These two individuals as a couple, breathe new life into the word amore as they describe the meeting of mind, soul and body that transcends anything they have previously experienced. To witness their intense physical affection for each other, and to see that they expect nothing less than total acceptance from a potentially hostile public, is to receive a maximum strength oxygen boost that lasts the day.

The media love this story right now and they are running hard with it while the two are newly reunited and interest in BB is still in the air. Sarah and Veronica. Unless you’ve been locked away in some other BB household yourself for the last 128 days, you know who and what they’re talking about. This is the celebrity couple of the moment in Italy and the Sapphic twist is more a matter for curiosity than a prurient focus. Their beauty and wit will ensure them publicity for a while at least but for their growing band of supporters the dream is that their love, this special love, will continue to flourish and delight.

A special thanks to the fans on the canale di Mari.


  1. Of course they are going to ask if it's a lesbian relationship. And of course the answer is going to be no. I've got to be honest - I moved away from Italy 4 years ago, and even if I was still there, I wouldn't watch the pile of rubbish that is Big Brother, I never have. But I know how the Italian media work and above all I know how Italian minds work. Whether this was a publicity stunt or not, these two girls are never going to call themselves lesbians, even if they are in fact in love and even if their relationship eventually becomes physical. Too many people still think of "lesbian" as a derogatory word and very few Italians are brave enough to use this to refer to themselves. I was, which is also why I left the country. Once you recognise yourself for what you are, you also have to recognise the way that Italy rejects you and treats you as a class Z citizen.

  2. Beautiful article! I have followed this story for a good while now and I'm as confused as they seem when pressed to define exactly what it is, other than saying it goes beyond anything they've ever experienced before, especially after watching their extremely passionate effusions day and especially nightime. What I think has captured us all though, even the most extreme sceptics at the beginning is that it is a head-swimmingly romantic, epic-inspiring, heart-capturing love that comes out of every single of their pores, looks, words, caresses, especially out of the captivating and magnetic Veronica! You get drunk on love just by watching them for a few minutes. Sexual or not, it goes beyond limits, genders and conditions of love we have seen before. It's groundbreaking, scheme shattering from every angle: the 'roles' they were supposed to play within GF, their virtual 'go to hell' they've given to GF and mediaset, the boundaries of friendship and even the boundaries of a couple. It's unconditional and quite frankly facinating thing to watch! Friday we'll see what the next chapter in this modern day Romeo and Juliette tale has in store for us with the promised 'uncensored' first interview together on Visto magazine (the cover picture alone made me almost need CPR).

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