From intern to official narrator of Desimpedidos. This is the trajectory of Henrique Pedrotti, better known as Chicungunha, voice of women’s football and about to become the Galvão Bueno of one of the most popular Brazilian channels on YouTube.
At 26, Chico –as he is called by his colleagues– became one of the main standouts of Desimpedidos alongside figures like Fred and Bolivia. The narrator saw his life change in 2016, when he was called up to lead a visit to Camp Nou, Barcelona’s stadium in Spain.
At the time, Fred and Bolivia had been called to Barcelona for an interview with Desimpedidos. Although he was still just an intern at the channel, Chico already made appearances at other attractions and was called to replace them at the event.
The script was relatively simple: the group would watch a Barcelona match in the Champions League, record scenes while playing with the ball inside the Camp Nou and attend a press conference by Neymar, at the time one of the team’s stars, alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
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Chicungunha at the Florida Cup broadcast
Upon arriving for work, the team learned of a detail that had not been informed. Neymar would select some vehicles to give an exclusive interview after the press conference. The list featured several traditional names from around the world. To his surprise, the ace chose Desimpedidos to represent Brazil.
“And, in this case, who was there was me! Intern, with six months at home. The day before I was very nervous, preparing a question, asking the channel subscribers what to do. It was 10 minutes with Neymar in a small room inside the stadium. And I saw myself coming in with our cameraman, Munhoz, who went with us. Neymar really liked it, he even spent 15 minutes talking to us, talking and joking,” recalls Chico in an exclusive interview with TV news.
At the time, at the age of 21, Chicungunha realized in that opportunity that her life had changed. At the end of the interview, he found several familiar faces in the press, some of which he had followed since he was little, and only the young Desimpedidos intern had had the opportunity to speak with the greatest Brazilian player of the decade.
A kid who never imagined he would work with football and I thought: ‘Damn it, I think my life has changed a little bit.’ I was kind of thrilled because I knew how important it was, but I hadn’t imagined it, because it wasn’t my kid’s dream to be there. I found myself thinking about my friends who are football addicts who wanted to be there and they are lawyers, doctors. I remembered my grandfather, who was sick from São Paulo, he only talked about football. And then I thought, ‘Damn, I just did a really cool deal and I’m only 21.’
Since then, the young intern’s life has taken a turn. Henrique Pedrotti became the Chicungunha of Desimpedidos and now leads events, narrates broadcasts of the Brazilian Women’s Football Championship and already had his own program within Desimpedidos. Comparisons with Galvão Bueno are almost inevitable, since the main name in sports journalism at Globo is even a source of imitations of Chico.
As for many newcomers to journalism, Galvão Bueno is a role model for Chicungunha. One of the greatest icons of Brazilian sports journalism, the Globo narrator is one of the main inspirations for his work.
“Galvão Bueno, being the greatest icon we have, needs no comments and presentations, he is the best known voice in Brazil, representing everything. When it comes to narration, there’s no way not to mention Galvão. I’m also very inspired by André Henning, from TNT, who became a great comrade. I call him a teacher, a godfather, because he’s a giant guy, who never needed to help me. I’m a tremendous fan,” he reveals.
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Chicungunha and Fred at Unimpedidos
Start at the theater
Unlike many press professionals, Chicungunha ended up in sports journalism by accident. The now narrator took his first steps to perform in the theater, at age nine, and for years nurtured the dream of becoming an actor.
In the report, Henrique said that he graduated as an actor at age 16 and became a professional, thinking of pursuing an artistic career, whether on stage or on television. The transition to communication only happened during college, when he needed to find his first job.
At home, the narrator says that he always had the support of his parents. Traditionally, the acting career is frowned upon as it is a selective area with few opportunities for everyone, but Chicungunha says that was never a problem in her upbringing.
“With my theater company, to rent places, pay rent, I always had alternative jobs, because theater itself didn’t give me money. And it’s the great passion of my life until today. So I went to Publicity College, but my parents always supported me. My mother is a dentist, my father is an engineer and they never ‘didn’t let’ me do theater, quite the opposite. They always watched the plays and everything,” he recalls.
The choice for Advertising, according to Henrique, was because it was the course “for many who do not know which career to follow”. In parallel with his studies, he continued with his work as an actor, until a former boss at Trip magazine – who gave him his first job in journalism – recommended him to Bolivia, one of the main names in Desimpedidos.
I joined Desimpedidos as an intern without knowing anything about football. I’m from São Paulo, I used to follow a little bit of São Paulo, but I wasn’t a football guy. And then I joined Desimpedidos, and things started to happen for me. There, as an intern, little by little, I started writing content and things happened.
Established as one of the biggest names in the channel, Chico says he doesn’t think about labels. In his view, he is not a narrator or a presenter. His artistic streak allows him to perform other functions without losing his roots in acting.
“I think my streak as an actor enables me to do all of this. To live several things. So I don’t consider myself nowadays a presenter, a narrator. I’m a presenter actor when I’m presenting. I’m a narrator actor when I’m narrating. And theater it was the basis for doing everything, being able to do everything easily and being able to do everything that was necessary,” he adds.
Fame, however, still frightens Chicungunha. With over 1 million followers on social networks, the narrator confesses to the report that he is still surprised by the impact of his work and the response from the public. Due to his young age, he believes he needs to make the most of the experience he is gaining at Desimpedidos.
“I’m scared, but very happy, man. I’m a new kid who lives these things, so I try to enjoy everything I do every second, everyone I’m with I try to exchange ideas, suck as much experience as I can. I may have, because I don’t know if this will be forever. Hopefully it will be, but it may be that next year it won’t! So I have to enjoy everything very intensely. “, ends.