The correspondent of the satirical news of Antonio Ricci replaced Francesca Manzini and Michelle Hunziker who tested positive at Covid
May 23, 2022 at 7:50 am
Valeria Graci has been a correspondent for “Striscia la Notizia” for eight years. Then one day suddenly she is promoted to presenter, first in place of Francesca Manzini, a couple of days in March, then, on Monday 9 May, by Michelle Hunziker, both of which tested positive at Covid.
Last profession: substitute teacher.
«Yes, but it is enough to be called at the last moment!».
Did Antonio Ricci call you and say: “Come and lead”?
«It was afternoon and the producer of“ Striscia ”called me, Alberto Salaroli:“ Tonight you have to lead with Gerry ”. He’s a guy who plays a lot of jokes, so I replied: “Look, it’s not really the day, I’m doing my homework with my son.” And he: “Then I have to call someone else”. There I understood that he was serious ».
It all started on March 14, 2022: a date carved into the calendar?
«Honestly for me the historical date is that of the debut with Peppa Pig. As a child I used to say: “I want to work in Striscia la Notizia!”. Then I didn’t think about it anymore, I paired with Katia Follesa, there was “Zelig”, and instead in the end “Striscia” arrived ».
Was it Ricci who called there?
“He was an author, he found me cleaning the bathroom.”
A life as a housewife …
«Mine is a normal life, certainly not a VIP one. The phone rang, an unknown number, I was wearing rubber gloves and couldn’t answer. There was my mother: “Will I answer?”. “No, I don’t know the number!” After ten minutes they tried again and at that point I replied, it was an author of “Striscia” who said to go immediately for an interview ».
Always urgent calls …
“There too I gave up everything, changed my clothes and made me accompany me to the television studios. It was a Thursday, they told me: “Monday you should do a zero episode, if all goes well we’ll put it on the air”. And so it was. As far as I’m concerned, that was the real debut ».
After so many years as a correspondent, how does it feel to sit behind the counter?
“It’s the dream. I confess that when last year at the Sanremo Festival I conducted “PrimaFestival” with Giovanna Civitillo and Giovanni Vernia and we had 9 million spectators in the evening, I was not as tense as when I sat behind the counter of “Striscia”. But the fact that it happened like this, from one moment to the next, didn’t give me the time to realize what was happening ».
Your partner is Gerry Scotti. He says he has known you since you were a “little girl”.
«I was 19, Gerry was conducting“ Auditions ”in prime time, I was already hanging out in the world of TV and theater, I was in high school and in the evening I worked as a babysitter to pay for the theater school. They called me to Mediaset to do some telepromotions within Gerry’s program, he was the narrator, I did the sketch of Romeo and Juliet. It was 2000 ».
You have finally reunited after 22 years.
“When I sat down next to Gerry I said to him: ‘I did my first job with you, let’s hope this isn’t the last'”.
Do you need a lot of resistance or a lot of imagination to work on “Striscia” for so long?
“It takes a bit of nerve, I shamelessly mock politicians. After they saw me in Sanremo they recognize me and it became a bit embarrassing to go back to the square with a wig and a fake nose ».
The wittiest politician?
“With Peppa Pig there was the game of Peppa who had fallen in love with Pippo Civati, Peppa and Pippo, he had a lot of fun”.
The most difficult one?
«Rocco Buttiglione called me a“ clown ”, I replied that I do it for a living. In reality, politicians have understood that a “Strip” service makes them more sympathetic. At first I had to chase them, now they are the ones who come to meet me ».
Has anyone taken it?
“Actress Michelle Bonev, whom I parody, warned me and asked for compensation, then it settled down. A character does not have to be liked by those who imitate, but by the public ».
What does the public like?
«Lately Smurfette Leotta, Diletta’s” sister “, with big fake tits and a huge butt. In September I was outside the Meazza stadium where Inter were playing, from a distance people saw me with the camera and believed that I was really Diletta Leotta. I was ashamed, but it actually worked ».