If you ask her how many lives she lived, Rita Rusic he replies that he has lost count. The only one that she has not been able to live is that of a singer: she had a contract signed with the Motwon Records – that of Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross, so to speak -, but the ex-husband, Vittorio Cecchi Gori, he imposed an either style “or marriage or career”. She went straight on, with a veiled regret remaining. Model, actress, successful producer, gossip queen, reality star, provocateur by vocation, eternal teenager: a roller coaster of life lived, from refugee camps to millionaire comforts. Everything and almost nothing. Then who knows. Today she is among the protagonists of Beijing Express – a Sky Original production by Banijay, broadcast on Thursday night on Sky Uno and streaming on NOW – paired with her boyfriend Christian Di Luziobut he is already aiming for the next challenge: his first film as a director.
Sincere: net of the economic proposal, how did they persuade you to participate in the Beijing Express?
(ride) The conjunction this time was favorable. After two years of Covid, limits and closures, I wanted to take, leave, travel. Even if the continuous tests and the masks have complicated the games. Add to this that I was excited about working with Costantino della Gherardesca – I admire him, I like his irony – and that I wanted to have a new experience with my partner. And then there is the personal component.
The need for change, to always set new goals and new challenges. The challenges do not scare me, not even turn the page. They are like cats: I have many lives.
How many have you experienced so far?
I lost count. There is the one linked to the years of cinema, the life in Los Angeles, the one in Miami, the one on TV. I like all of this. Though reflective, I have the exuberance of the eternal teenager: the crazy streak, the desire to play, try and make mistakes are part of me. Perhaps she serves to exorcise the dark side, not to allow myself to be suffocated by responsibilities.
The question you are asked most often about Beijing Express?
They are all focused on asking you how tiring it is. Few grasp the essence of the program: the journey as an opening of the mind, as a discovery of one’s limits. I reply to all that it is much more tiring than it appears.
The biggest effort?
You are in the race: you have to do everything before you even think about it. Continuous stress begins at minute zero and ends when they eliminate you. Indeed, the aftermath of the tension will also take you home a little. The first days, in Rome, I woke up convinced that I had to look for a ride.
How competitive is it?
From zero to ten, ten. But at the same time I’m a realist, I know my limits: despite being someone who trains a lot, without my partner I wouldn’t have done many things. Fortunately, he often brought the backpack to me. I would need a purse, imagine with such a cluttered backpack.
About her boyfriend, the model entrepreneur Cristiano Di Luzio. How much does the toy boy label bother you?
I never cared about age even when I was with people much older than me. Life is made up of encounters, mistakes, alchemy, not registry and numbers. I’m a control freak but I realized that sometimes it’s nice to let go, get excited and live without the handbrake on.
She’s in love?
I am happy. At first glance they think that ours is a relationship based on physical attraction, instead there is a relationship of deep affection, there is even something maternal. With Cristiano I have regained possession of things that I had not lived for a long time, I look at life with different eyes.
The highlight of the Beijing Express experience?
Human relationships, especially those of the inhabitants of the places. Sometimes they are distracted, other times rude, still others flattered by the cameras. But when they choose you it is beautiful: in those few hours of living together a strong intimacy is created, difficult to explain. There lies the profound meaning of Beijing.
The funniest moments?
I can’t say otherwise I risk the spoiler. But it’s fun when a ride or the search for hospitality is easy for you. As well as moving the cast from place to place: the school trip atmosphere is a lot of fun. Or when I saw Victoria Cabello fall off her bike: other people’s falls are always fun, it’s the candid camera effect.
The most complicated?
There is not a single one. I would say every time you run into your mental and physical limitations.
What did her children say when they saw her sleeping in a tent in a dilapidated house in central Turkey?
Apart from that they know Beijing well, they are used to and ready for anything when I’m involved, including a roller coaster of life. Maybe they suffer a little but I have accustomed them to being free just as I am free.
Has your relationship always been this open?
No, it took time and sacrifices. My daughter once told me: “Mom, if you keep looking for yourself in me, you will never be happy. You have to accept me as I am “. There was the switch: I understood that she was right, I wanted her identical to me and I did not understand that instead we are different. I had to accept it as a fact, accept my children as they really are.
Does the same apply to your son Mario?
Yes. I have learned to let them go, to observe them as beings in constant evolution. Today we are a small, close-knit family, we know what makes us happy, we respect each other. They hardly criticize my choices, hardly I criticize theirs. Also because I am the first criticism of myself.
What is criticized?
I expect a lot, I am uncompromising. But I love myself, I forgive almost everything. Pure the superficiality of certain photos that I post on the social network.
In which he does not skimp on very provocative shots. She likes to provoke.
A friend of mine told me a few days ago: “I look at your Instagram because it puts me in a good mood: you look carefree like a 20-year-old”. Instead I’m sixty. And the hypocrisy of certain comments on the body does not affect me: I come from a culture of the East, in which the nude is not seen as something scandalous. And then, as my father used to say when I started modeling at 16, “be ashamed of what you do, not how you are”.
And when do they accuse her of having done it again?
Some stupid criticisms at most touch me for the stupidity. “You are all plastic”. But when ever: I was beautiful, I have a good DNA, I have a hard time in the gym, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink and I don’t take drugs. And then I don’t have the cult of perfection, I don’t care: I accept changes as they come… of course, I try to direct them where I like best.
Do you miss being a film producer?
I miss him very much. I have had two or three interesting proposals but I want to get back on track by producing a film or a TV series that are not just good but exceptional products.
After Gf Vip and Beijing Express, is the island of the famous in your future?
I have been asked a thousand times to do it but it is an experience that does not interest me. I’m done with reality TV. Now my role is elsewhere. If I really had to continue doing TV, I would like to do a crazy and over the top program, perhaps with Victoria Cabello and Aurora from The Jackal. We are profoundly different but we have the same desire to live, play and make fun of.
Is it true that he gave up a singing career despite the already signed contract with Motown?
I had recorded the songs with a very good producer who had worked with Mina, the calendar for the promotion in 54 American cities was ready. But Vittorio Cecchi Gori, my husband at the time, said to me: “But where are you going with a three-year contract and a little daughter?”. It’s a big regret, who knows what turn my life would have taken.
His big dream?
Like all deeply childish women, I have many dreams to fulfill. Perhaps the closest is directing: at the New York Film Academy in Miami I went back to studying and got a diploma. I have in mind a script inspired by a true story that happened to my family.
As soon as you arrived in Italy, you and your family, originally from Istria, lived in a refugee camp. What memories do you have of those three and a half years?
I was little but I remember well the barbed wire, the violence that is unleashed in certain contexts where you don’t live but survive. I remember the feeling of having to leave our land and the few things we had, to pursue the dream of a better life. And I remember that constant feeling of living in a country that isn’t yours and consequently the constant need to seek approval.
Is the sign of everything he experienced still profound?
In part yes. And in fact the need to be accepted has remained latent. But at the same time suffering gave me the strength to bite into life, the challenge intended as a demonstration to myself and to others that I could achieve the goals I set myself.
What impression do the images of these days make on you of the millions of Ukrainians who are leaving their land after the Russian invasion?
We did not leave because of a war, I have never seen the bombs and the destruction around, but I recognize in the eyes of those children and mothers the terror and the pain of having to leave their lives that until a few weeks ago they were like ours. It is crazy that in 2022 we have gone back to all this and I hope that dialogue will soon prevail over violence. It’s all terrible but being on the sofa and crying while watching TV doesn’t help much, I also told my daughter Vittoria: with our tears we can’t do anything, we rather try to understand what to do in our own small way to help these people.
Have you ever thought about writing a book about your family history?
I’ve been working on it for a long time. It is my story that is intertwined with that of my mother, two women who go the opposite way: she who leaves everything for a better future, I who leave my best to find myself and a truer life for me and my children. . But I’m taking longer than expected: writing our story means reliving the pain and suffering. And it’s not that simple.