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10 Details about the iconic “Helenas” of Brazilian soap operas

When it comes to entertainment, Brazilian soap operas possibly appear in the “top 5” of most Brazilians, right? Even more so when you think about plots with a large audience and very exciting stories. Incidentally, in these matters, director Manoel Carlos is one of the main ones, as he created not only novelistic milestones, but also an iconic character of great importance: Helena.

Thinking about it, the awesome.club invites you to follow 10 curiosities about the famous “Helenas” from Manoel Carlos’ novels! And don’t miss our bonus at the end of the article. 🇧🇷


Although many remember the last “Helenas”, few must remember the first one. In 1981, Rede Globo premiered the telenovela Baila Comigo. In the production, it was possible to see the actress Lilian Lemmertz. By the way, in this novelistic milestone, the public sees an embittered Helena for feeling guilty about the separation of the twins. Including that they were lived by another great star: the dear Tony Ramos.

double in a row

In sequence, the second Helena was played by the diva Maitê Proença in Felicidade. Soon after, veteran Regina Duarte was the only actress to play two “Helenas” in a row. Initially, in 1995, in História de Amor, and then, after two years, in 1997, in the telenovela Por Amor — being the third and fourth in chronological order. In fact, the similarities are many. In addition to the proximity and the same star, the two characters are cold and insensitive women with their respective daughters.

New character, same actress

Helen of the New Century

The fifth took place in 2000, at the turn of the century, the soap opera Laços de Família greatly moved viewers with a plot of dedication and love between mother and daughter. Being lived by Miss Brazil of 1979, Vera Fischer. By the way, much like the last one by Regina Duarte, this one was also characterized by a strong and exemplary woman, who spared no effort to save her daughter.

Based on a true story

The emotional story between the mother and daughter characters, Helena and Camila, played respectively by Vera Fischer and Carolina Dieckmann, was inspired by a true story of an American case. In an interview, director Manoel Carlos told Autores: Histórias da Teledramaturgy about Laços de Família: “The story of Laços de Família came from a newspaper article. In 1990, there was a case in the United States, of a mother who became pregnant again by her husband to save her daughter”.


Among the actresses cast to live this unforgettable role for the Brazilian public, the muse Christiane Torloni spoke of the importance that Helena, in Mulheres Apaixonadas, had in her professional life and the legacy of the characters: “Living as Helena is a great divider in the career of an actress. It is an iconic role in Brazilian teledramaturgy and it was a great honor to play this character in Mulheres Amoras. Manoel Carlos’ ‘Helenas’ tend to be tragic heroines, deeply human characters, full of great qualities and terrible defects, which makes them very communicative with the public”.

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Despite Christiane Torloni considering the character as something incredible during her career, actress Taís Araújo does not feel the same sensation. After bringing Helena to life in Viver a Vida, she vented about it: “I didn’t do well, and I don’t know if I could do it. I felt like I was in quicksand, I skated to the end”. And, apparently, not only her own performance was criticized by herself, but also the montage of her character: “That text didn’t mean anything to me, I felt like Snoopy’s teacher”.

Youth and breaking paradigms

In addition to the controversies regarding the character, Taís Araújo was the youngest Helena in the novels by director Manoel Carlos. In addition, she was also the first black actress to have this role so requested and sought after by television stars. On this issue, she told in an interview the trauma she had for her performance: “I thought it was a great chance, not only for me, but for the entire black population. ‘I’m going to do it and there will be a lot of black protagonists’. Because soap operas, in this country, move many things. And it didn’t happen, it didn’t work”.

from mother to daughter

Coincidence or not, after 33 years of the first Helena in Baila Comigo, director Manoel Carlos chose Lilian Lemmertz’s daughter for the role. The talented Julia Lemmertz told in an interview how exciting and rewarding it was to be chosen to play such an important role in Brazilian dramaturgy. In addition, he also commented on the memories he has about his mother and the iconic character: “At the same time it is beautiful to think that within the soap opera there is this tribute to my mother, to all Helenas, but especially this connection that exists with her, through fact that she was the first.

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Chronological order

Lilian Lemmertz (Baila Comigo — 1981)Maitê Proença (Happiness — 1991 to 1992)Regina Duarte (Love Story — 1995 to 1996)Regina Duarte (Por Amor — 1997 to 1998)Vera Fischer (Family Ties — 2000 to 2001)Christiane Torloni (Mulheres Apaixonadas — 2003) Regina Duarte (Pages of Life — 2006 to 2007) Taís Araújo (Viver a Vida — 2009 to 2010) Julia Lemmertz (Em Família — 2014)

Bonus: the second Helena, in Felicidade, played by Maitê Proença

After checking out so many details about this remarkable character in the history of Brazilian television drama, which curiosity caught your attention the most? And what is “your Helena” favorite? Don’t forget to tell awesome.club the reason for your choice too!

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