Joana Dias

Illustration by: Joana Mendes

Interview by: João Miguel Fernandes (originally published in 2014)

Occupation: TV & Radio Host

Click here to read the interview in Portuguese

1 – Can you share with a us a moment of your childhood that it was somehow important to you?

When I think of my childhood, I always remember the time spent at my grandmother’s house in the country. And the moments that I spent with a friend, who was old enough to be my grandmother and deep down they are unique people, who liked me in a unique way and there will never be people like them who have given me unique moments. I remember the bare feet, the field, the animals, it was a very happy childhood.

2 – How was to live and grow in Coimbra? Do you think it’s a city that has evolved culturally? 

At the moment I’m not very aware of what is happening in Coimbra. I always thought it was a city that could have had lot more to do, because it has a large student core. When I was a teenager, there was a lot more going on and there were a lot more places than now, although I rarely go there, or when I go it’s in a hurry. It’s a very comfortable city, which welcomes people in a very good way, but has stagnated a lot. Possibly it’s related with the small investment we make in cultural stuff. In Coimbra there’s the madness of “Queima das Fitas” and then during the rest of the year it seems that the city dies. It’s a beautiful city, but something is missing. I think people want more events related to the university and the praxis thing, basically the traditions, sometimes forgetting the rest.

When I was sixteen, there were concerts in the chemistry house, a car park, something that would never be allowed today. No one died then, so it wasn’t so dangerous. People moved more, even without much money. At the moment there is a somewhat erroneous facilitism, which is called internet, because there is a greater ease in going to play anywhere, we can make a concert with an email, but this is sometimes a mistake. In Braga there is an incredible movement, united, why can’t Coimbra have the same thing? In my youth I learned that if you attack the person on your side neither of you will get anywhere. I think Coimbra has been a bit like this, there is little cooperation.

3 – If you would rule inPortugal, what would you do to face the crisis we are experiencing?

I’ll tell you right away that I don’t have great leadership spirit, so it would certainly be a challenge. But first, I would fire the government and put the guys who steal us into prison, forcing them to pay for what they stole. Of course this is all idyllic, but I would try to have social justice, for everyone to live as it should be. I can’t understand how there are people who have money to go to expensive restaurants every day and there are people who don’t even have food to give to their children. Obviously this is poorly distributed.

There isn’t much talk in our country, but there is a mob. And if I see that in Iceland the guys that stole have been arrested, here they are untouchable, and that’s it. Oh, and women to power! No, I’m kidding, I’m by parity. Democracy doesn’t work either anymore. Do we live in democracy? I don’t know if we still live in democracy. Our problem isn’t killing us on the street, its killing us silently.

4 – How was your time at the “Universidade de letras de Coimbra”?


I grew up in Coimbra and did almost everything there, except finishing university. I knew I liked to read, but I didn’t like the course. Then came an opportunity to go to Lisbon and I grabbed it. I know that it’s important to study and have a course because it’s knowledge, but I don’t feel inferior to anyone because I don’t have a degree.

“So far we have promoted a lot of bands, I don’t give priority to Antena 3 bands, they have their own space, nor do I choose bands from my personal taste. When I get to the end of the show,  the bands never disappoint me, I always see this love for music, even if they are of a musical style with which I don’t identify myself.”

5 – What was the reason for you to join Curto Circuito’s casting in 2003?

I didn’t sign up, it was a friend of mine. I had never seen “Curto Circuito”, she was the one who told me, “I saw a casting that’s totally your face”. I always ran away from cameras. There is a time of my youth when I have no photos because I ran away from all the machines. At that point I was a bit disoriented, I was in university, I didn’t like the course and I thought “okay, I’ll try it”. I always thought I would go there once and that nothing else would happen, I had never come to Lisbon alone, so it was a completely new experience. In a normal situation I would ask someone to come with me, but when you put a lot of effort to change something, to achieve a goal, you do things differently. And when I came to Lisbon I was robbed in the subway without realizing it, because I had the backpack in front of me and I didn’t notice anything. Later I was also robbed in “Bairro Alto” and when I came to live in Lisbon, in the beginning, I saw a stabbing in Adamastor. I even wondered why I had come to this city, but I overcame it and it went well.

6 – You worked for “Extreme Sports Channel” and then hosted “6teen” on “Sic Mulher”. How were these two experiences?

I was in the last phase of the casting of “Curto Circuito” and at the time I wasn’t chosen. At the end of the casting the director Francisco Penim phoned me and told me that he had really enjoyed my work, that when we would have a new project he would call me. At that time I was in Coimbra and I thought I shouldn’t wait for him to call me, so I went back to Lisbon right after. I had to work in a clothing store. And one day they called me to do a program with Fernando Alvim, something related to people going very poorly dressed and then earning something. I did this and the director really liked my work, advising me to the “Extreme Sports Channel”. I went there to be a host, but I ended up doing everything but being a host. I did website maintenance, I was a journalist, a translator, anything but hosting. And one day I got tired of waiting and I made a plan of what could be done for the channel and since it wasn’t progressing I went to speak with my boss. When I got there he answered, “You know, the person ‘x’ thinks you have no profile to be a host” I heard that, after two years of being on the channel, and I thought I couldn’t be affected by that. I ended up being very lucky, two days later they called from “Sic” to host “6teen”. I confess it was one the most enjoyable things I did, because I closed the door at “Extreme’s” face and went to “Sic Mulher” to host a tv show. It was a great experience.

I’m very sorry that the program no longer exists, because it was public service, despite being aimed at the female audience. Later they decided to end the program, unfortunately, and Vitor Figueiredo called me to “Curto Circuito”. I also worked at “Sic Noticias” and did several festivals for 6teen and CC. I can say that the best experience was at 6teen, because there was the goal to do public service, but Curto Circuito helped me a lot to grow, because it was wider. I loved working with João Manzarra, we had several hilarious moments, and with other team members as well.

7 – You released the book “Pontapés na Gramática”. Where did the idea come from?


I started by doing mornings in “Antena 3” (portuguese radio). “Pontapés na Gramática” was a section that already existed, but in Antena 3 they thought it was better to end this, because it wasn’t what it should be. Months later they asked me if I wanted to do something with the show and I, because I love the portuguese language, accepted the challenge. When I was little I always had a dictionary to see the meaning of words. At Antena 3 they realized that I had this specific love and invited me. I was told to speak to Sandra Tavares and I panicked. I spent some time writing her an email fearing that I could misplace a comma or something. Then she ended up being the most spectacular person, both as a person and a teacher, with a great ability for teaching. We did very well, we became friends, and after a year we thought we could put it on another platform, a book. This book came out naturally, being published by Areal.

8 – You have been connected with promoting new national music projects, like for example on the show “Zona J”. Why do you have this motivation to spread the national music?


When I finished “O da Joana” I was scheduled to have a ballad show on Sunday night. I could have kept quiet, but I had written a show at home, “Zona J”, which at the time had no name, and I made my counterproposal because I thought there was a gap in Antena 3, there were no live music programs . To truly listen to a band you had to see them live, but with this program you could give people that genuineness more directly. Rui Pêgo accepted and said that I had three minutes to give him a name for the show. By deduction I got to “Zona J”. The idea was to talk to the musicians and show a more personal side as well. So far we have promoted a lot of bands, I don’t give priority to Antena 3 bands, they have their own space, nor do I choose bands from my personal taste. When I get to the end of the show,  the bands never disappoint me, I always see this love for music, even if they are of a musical style with which I don’t identify myself. I was also able to work with David Santos (Noiserv) and the PAUS, where I followed them on the recordings of their albums and it was incredible.

9 – In the 2014 edition of SBSR, you were a DJ with your colleague Vanessa Augusto. How was this experience?


I’m not a DJ, I’ll never be, but nowadays anyone puts some records on. This invitation came up, I had just been a DJ at a wedding and at an “Antena 3” party. We ended up accepting the invitation, a little apprehensive. We started at SBSR, now we can’t stop (laughs). Me and Vanessa love each other, so it was a really fun experience because we got along really well, even with all the anxiety.

There is a motto that I have in my life, we can’t block or stand still. When you are live you can’t stop, you can say the most random stuff, but you have to always to move forward, and I ended up applying that to my life. We all make mistakes, I don’t want to do any work where I don’t make mistakes. Of course I always want to improve, but mistakes are good to learn and give naturalness to things, we are not machines even machines fail.

“The case of kids in Africa, they play with what? With street-made toys, made of cans or wood. I look at my son’s room and he has twenty cars and then I see a poor kid playing with a rock and having fun the whole afternoon with that.”

10 – I know you have a great passion for cats. Where does this passion come from?


I’ve always lived with cats, my first word was “cat”, when I was little I used to drank the milk bottle with the cat. We lived in a villa, we lived below and above us lived our neighbours, who were my friends and had many cats. We’ve never really had cats, my mother didn’t think animals should be alone all day at home. When I left the house I enrolled in an animal association and I got two cats. You start with two and from there you won’t stop. I arrived in Lisbon with four cats, then it was five, and then six. Suddenly there were six cats at home. In the meantime I got separated from my husband and stayed with the cuddly cats.

11 – Did your parents guided somehow in terms of music when you were young?


When I was a kid my parents signed me up in a choir (laughs). I don’t have a great musical heritage from my parents, they listen to music normally. When I was in primary school I wanted to learn to play the piano, so I went to learn with a very old lady, old fashioned, but she wanted to teach me the basics and I wanted to learn other things. She eventually told my parents that I couldn’t have discipline myself. I have some musical sensitivity, but not to play. It’s easier to see others play and say something about it.

12 – Have you worried much about your career? Is it something you plan ahead? Are you afraid of failure?


When I left television I was a little angry because I had been there for eight years, but I was never the kind of person that was always in parties trying to “sell out.” So after two years of making radio I thought I didn’t miss any of the television things, that I wanted to make radio forever. Nowadays I miss something, because I really like to talk. I’m thirty-six, I’m not a girl anymore, I’m the mother of a four-year-old kid, I can’t say I want to do this or that. I already know what I am professionally, but this was what radio transmitted to me, on television I was doing a bit of festivals, shows, reports.

Now I don’t want to lose my career, I’ve been working on radio for six years and I know I’m worth something. On television I was too scared to lose my job and be left with nothing. At the moment I’m also afraid, but life experience gives us more security. I think I could have a little more ambition, I lacked me for a long time, because I never knew where to turn. Before, I hoped that my life wouldn’t be connected with music and nowadays I’m completely connected to music and I love it a lot!

13 – If you had to choose a movie for Blur to make a soundtrack, what movie would it be?


“Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind”. It was undoubtedly one of the movies that touched me the most. It was the first time I went to the movies alone without knowing much about the movie. There may be people who will say that I lack originality, but it was a film that moved me a lot. Watching this movie with a Blur soundtrack or just Damon Alborn would be awesome.

14 – Do you think that the crisis we live in Portugal boosts its culture?


At the moment there’s definitely less support, with a neo-liberal government culture is dropped to the last stage. Individually I have some fear of saying that crisis boosts culture because we can’t impoverish people to produce more. What is certain, and I say this from experience, is that I don’t stop doing something because I don’t have money. If I don’t have money to buy a toy for my son, I do it at home, I try to get around the problem. I believe culture works on that basis as well. I think when people want to move they don’t stop moving because of money. There are things we need but the contact with people helps a lot, sometimes some associations or parish councils can also help you, they may not give you money but they will give you a venue to make concerts, you just have to try going around problems. The case of kids in Africa, they play with what? With street-made toys, made of cans or wood. I look at my son’s room and he has twenty cars and then I see a poor kid playing with a rock and having fun the whole afternoon with that.

In the case of music, I’ve been working for about two years directly with Portuguese musicians and very few are those who live from music. So you interview people at nine o’clock that have to work until seven, and when you ask them if they like to live from music they tell you that they already know that they will not live from music. There are one or two who says that music is an escape from reality, so they don’t want to make that their job, but there are others who clearly don’t want to be waking up early for a job they don’t like and have virtually no time for their art. If this was organized these musicians would have a salary, but this happens in a rich country, so forget it. Within our reality we can and should complain, we can’t just look at the worst examples.


This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!