In Brazil, a popular new telenovela called Terra e Paixão (“Land And Passion”) is heating up the airwaves with queer star power on screen and behind the scenes.
The show’s premise—”the saga of a woman, guided by the power of love and moved by the desire for justice, intersects with that of a family divided by ambition and many secrets”—is both hilariously vague and perfectly soap-y, which leaves a lot of room for its ensemble to flourish.
Specifically, actors Amaury Lorenzo and Diego Martins have become Terra e Paixão‘s breakout stars, portraying gay characters Ramiro and Kelvin, respectively.
In the series, Ramiro (Lorenzo) is introduced as the classic archetype of a gruff and reserved cowboy, though we gradually learn he’s a deeply closeted man working through some internalized homophobia.
Despite those complicated feelings, Ramiro falls for the more openly queer Kelvin (Martins), who pushes his new paramour to fight against prejudice and be proud of who he is. The tenuous nature of their relationship has made this one long-simmering romance that fans can’t help but root for, ‘shipping the pair as “Kelmiro.”
In real life, Martins—who previously won the Pabllo Vittar-hosted Brazilian drag series Queen Stars—is openly gay. But it wasn’t until a new interview this week with Extra that his co-star, Lorenzo, opened up about his sexuality for the first time:
“I consider myself an LGBTQ+ man,” Lorenzo delcares. “It’s possible that in the future I could marry another man, cis or trans, or a woman, cis or trans. I know the public is curious to know about my sexuality. I don’t have a problem with that. I just hope that topic doesn’t overshadow my work as an actor.”
Per IMDB, Terra e Paixão is only the second credited project for the star, who has also recently worked as an acting teacher and coach.
As Lorenzo tells Extra, it’s very important that he and others in the spotlight speak up and speak out against anti-LGBTQ+ hate in Brazil, sharing the ways in which hate crimes have hit close to home:
“I’m a theater teacher and I had three students murdered for being LGBTQ+. One was killed by his father,” the actor shares. “I welcomed a friend into my home who was beaten for being with another man on the street. I’ve had former students expelled by evangelical parents for being gay. How can I not be in this fight?”
Mexican actor Lambda Garcia has become quite the reality TV sensation.
But even prior to coming out publicly as queer, Lorenzo’s been a strident advocate for equality and q supporter of the community. In a recent Instagram post where he shared a clip from the telenovela, the star further elaborated on the urgency of the show’s message and why its focus on “Kelmiro” is especially powerful:
“Brazil is the country that kills the most LGBTQ+ people in the world,” he writes in the caption. “It is urgent to fight for life, for the simple right to live. The fight for rights, for the constitutional right to life. This fight is for everyone, not just LGBTQ+ people. But of all and all. It’s the fight for life.”
“Im still here fighting. Relentless,” Lorenzo continues. “Doing this little revolution. Fighting not only for [an on-screen] kiss, but for something much greater.”
Though Terra e Paixão only premiered this past May, Lorenzo and his screen partner are already seeing the impact their characters’ relationship is having on audiences, opening their eyes to the fact that Ramiro and Kelvin’s love is just as worthy as anyone else’s.
Of course, there are just as many fans eager to take their “love” of the show one step further:
“[I’ve been sent] lots of nudes!,” Lorenzo admits, speaking to the intense devotion from the soap’s fanbase. “These days, running on the beach, I have to stop all the time to take photos. One time a fan even asked if they could squeeze my butt… And I let them whatever.”
And while we certainly don’t advise butt-grabbing without permission, we understand the temptation—he’s quite the hunk! Check him out for yourself in a few more of our favorite photos from Lorenzo’s Instagram.
For a while there, soaps had a habit of introducing gay storylines and then writing those character off the show completely.