A Conversation with Liniker Barros, the Latina Transgender Star on ‘Mañanas de Septiembre’

Liniker Barros as Cassandra Mañanas de Septiembre BELatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of Liniker Barros.

“Mañanas de Septiembre,” Amazon Prime Video’s latest project in Latin America, tells the story of Cassandra, played by Grammy-nominated Brazilian singer Liniker Barros, and opens a whole chapter on the representativeness of trans Latinas through impeccable performances, script, and music.

It took Cassandra 30 years, two months, and 19 days to have a space for herself and feel like she finally had her life figured out. It took her all this time to find her place in the world as a trans woman, a singer, a girlfriend, a friend — but she did it.

Suddenly, someone knocks on her door. It’s a woman with a 10-year-old boy by her side who says, “Hi, I’m Gersinho, your son.”

I had the opportunity to talk with Liniker and share her story, projects, and empowering spirit.

How did you go from singing to acting?

Actually, my first training was acting. It was through acting that I found myself as a singer. In this discovery, I started singing and composing, but I really wanted to return to acting. Thus, “Mañanas de Septiembre” emerges as a reconnection with the place where I come from. It’s an incredible project on a great platform. It has started in a very big way, with many people all over the world watching it. It’s a great gift and a huge conquest for me.

Tell us a little bit about Cassandra’s character arc and the conflict after her son’s appearance

I think the conflicts of love in “Mañanas de Septiembre” are about family. The many types of families presented in the series are so complex and important to each character’s context. I think of Cassandra, being so tough and rough because of all the traumas she went through. And then, all of a sudden, a child comes along, a boy, and an ordeal she was unaware of turns her life around. 

As the days go by, she begins to understand that it’s beautiful to see how affection is such a changing thing, so moving, to the point that, by the end of the episodes, she is more open to the child, to love, and she puts herself in the background to care for the child with love and affection.

Cassandra must be created in a way that she has a great support network: a loving boyfriend with whom she has a relationship, a family of friends who took her in since she arrived in Sao Paulo, so it’s very nice to see how the character is made by and for love.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3iE_imB_7s 

How was the process of building Cassandra as a character?

That feeling of “I understand you, but I wouldn’t do it like that” was very much present in the construction of the character. Even though we both have a gender identity trajectory as two trans women, I am much more loving in my life than Cassandra was at first. I couldn’t treat a child that way, but it was a way to defend my character, to understand why I was treating him that way, and to try to access another form of affection, another point of view. 

The construction of the character and the whole aesthetics of Cassandra’s body was essential for me. Both the actress coach and the director gave me space to propose Cassandra not only from their point of view but also from my point of view as an actress and as a translator of this character. Mainly because we both have the same gender identity, and I gave them a language they didn’t know in their indications and the script. This brings legitimacy and power to Cassandra as a complete, complex, and unique character.

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“Mañanas de Septiembre” features performances by Liniker as Cassandra, Thomás Aquino as Ivaldo, Cassandra’s boyfriend; Gustavo Coelho as Gersinho, her son, and Karine Teles as Leide, Gersinho’s mother. Directed by Luis Pinheiro and scripted by Josefina Trotta, Alice Marcone and Marcelo Montenegro, Mañanas de Septiembre will premiere worldwide on June 25 on Amazon Prime Video.