Interview with the “Plastic Star” dancer famed for her performance in a Maneskin video, ready to make art with her tattooed body right across the board.
Francesca, where does “Plastic Star” come from?
The choice of a stage name came by chance. I had to choose a nickname so I could sign up to an online photography platform and obviously my real name had already been taken by someone else. At that moment I had Dente’s ‘Babybuilding’ on loop, the one with the line “plastic star”… so that was that, really!
No, my Daemon chose that name. And ever since I’ve had great respect for my soul. A soul that was able to make a space for itself in my enormous ego.
So it’s something positive then.
Right. Art gave me the freedom to use my ego on stage in such a way as to take a weight off the person who lives behind the character.
Let’s talk about music videos. You’ve made plenty and with many different artists (Maneskin, Vega Jones, Litfiba, Nitro, Fedez & Mika, AmbraMarie etc.). What makes you choose one video over another?
Well, first and foremost, there’s certainly the question of art: there has to be a need at the back of it. A need that can be satisfied through a quest that has its aesthetic, technical and emotional side. Otherwise I would not feel involved at all.
So instinct matters in situations like that?
Absolutely. For my part I’ve got a really artistic approach in the choices I make, but most of the time I let my instinct lead me. You know, over time I’ve learned how important it is to be able to listen, in total empathy and open to what is outside. And at this stage I hear it loud and clear when the right choice comes along.
So far the metal scene hasn’t been beating down your door as far as videos are concerned: don’t you find that a bit odd?
You can say that again! And to think that one of all time favourites is ‘Snuff’ by Slipknot, and that was written by a metal band! My hope is that after this interview I’ll become the new icon of heavy metal!
What does it feel like to garner 159 million views (official YouTube data) for Maneskin’s video ‘Torna a casa’? I guess a performer feels more self-assured and sure of what they’ve got after that kind of a breakthrough?
I have to be totally honest with you: there are the pros and cons to having your image associated with big brands! From that moment on anyone will tend to associate you with that particular brand which leads their competitors to avoid choosing you in the future because basically, you stand for the competition.
And anyway, as far as the Maneskin video is concerned, getting my character out there – and by “my” character I mean 100% created by me – that helped me no end to raise the bar of generosity.
Why do you speak of generosity?
Because it is a fundamental quality for an artist, otherwise you’d be in danger of keeping everything safe inside so nobody would ever be able to enjoy that creation.
How do you see yourself in that regard?
I’m someone who creates a lot but shows very little. As if I didn’t want to expose what is most precious within me, place it at the mercy of the world. Analysing this trait of mine I came to the conclusion that there is no point being afraid and there’ll always be different points of view which can lead to a new awareness. Basically, right now my permanent flow of consciousness continues uninterrupted.
What does it feel like to be artistically “crucified” as happened to you in your performance ‘Della materia della passione’ (Of the matter of the passion)?
Great question. Let’s say first and foremost that this performance in particular arose out of my wish to put myself at the service of a “character” with life experiences very different from my own but which, metaphorically speaking, coincided with my own ideas about religion. In that case however, very few picked up on the references to Christian penitence. In the sense of those practices which actually exist in Christianity in order to expiate guilt and redeem the sinner.
Are you in any way religious?
Even though I grew up in a Christian family, I don’t like to belong to any sect or church. My intention, when I worked on ‘Della materia della passione’, was not to offend, but rather to open myself up to further inner searching.
I feel it’s important to emphasise this because many people saw that performance as “blasphemous”!
Ah, one final thing: that interpretation taught me that I am not particularly predisposed to being tied up. And that carrying a cross required considerable strength!
Is there any artist (in music, cinema, theatre, conceptual art, etc.) for whom you would perform free of charge?
My dream projects would include: Thom Yorke, Arca, FKA Twigs, Björk, David Lynch, Eduardo Casanova and Teho Teardo. Maybe I’ve forgotten someone, but these are definitely gods as far as I’m concerned.
Your all-time music album?
I could never get tired of listening to Thom Yorke’s Anima.
After your part as Lynn in the film Curse of the Blind Dead directed by Raffaele Picchio, can you see yourself pursuing a career in horror movies?
I definitely want to get plenty more experience in horror films. Partly because I have a natural predisposition for expressing sentiments like unease and anxiety; partly because I simply adore horror and splattter. My favourite movies? The ones that deal with exorcisms.
Well, because they’re weird films, really close to the possibility that certain situations could really happen. And then I’m fascinated to know that I could be chosen by a demon. Have to lend it my body so that it could do what it wants. Let’s put it this way: I have such an artistic approach to life that in order to satisfy this need of mine to search and know my deepest Self, well, I’d even be prepared to allow myself be possessed by a demon!