The true story that inspired Vanda

In 2011, Portuguese hairdresser Dulce Caroço had a husband, a child, and a beauty salon. Everything would change radically when she is betrayed and left behind with such high debts to the Revenue that she lost her establishment, was abandoned and betrayed, with no immediate alternatives to pay what her husband owed and feed their child.

The first of the 11 assaults that she would commit began with an impulse. Dulce was at the bank branch where she went to try to redeem what she had in the savings, but was unsuccessful. Furious and frustrated, she told herself “Enough” and came back the next day. Armed with a plastic gun, wearing a wig and a black dress, Dulce was sure they would recognize her and arrest her, but that didn’t happen. That spurred her on for a year until one of the assaulted employees realized the weapon was fake and reacted. What followed was a long chase through the streets of Lisbon until she was captured and arrested in the act.

Dulce was known in the press as the “black widow” – friends and family argued with her about who this mysterious person could be, without suspecting anything – and was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison. She’s already free.

This fascinating story caught the attention of screenwriter Patrícia Müller, who followed the coverage of the adventure in the newspapers and was fascinated by the dramatic potential for a series. She and actress Gabriela Barros spoke to Dulce during pre-production on Vanda, a new series that is available on Lionsgate Plus from May 12th. At Dulce’s own request, the names are changed in the series, which also does not follow step-by-step what really happened.

In my CLAUDIA column that goes up tomorrow on the site, we will have an exclusive interview with the actress Joana de Verona. Keep an eye out!


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