A Creative Family Affair

© Eugenio D’Orio

When a friend’s mother took some pictures of Iris Peynado and her baby daughter and showed them to a TV producer who was looking for a new face for Italian television, it set into motion what would become a successful acting career. Although she did not get the part, when the director showed her what she looked like on screen, Iris was shocked, saying “For the first time, I could see what people saw in me.” Because wherever she went, Iris Peynado turned heads. A majestic halo of soft curls, warm brown skin, and large blue eyes made Iris a famous face in 80s/90s Italian cinema and television. An enduring look that has even seen her become a character muse for Tallulah the Tooth Fairy CEO, a delightful children’s book by Dr. Tamara Pizzoli.

Iris was born into a prominent family of lawyers and politicians in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic. Iris initially pursued a career in law, but once she had her first taste of acting in local youth productions, she knew she had found her true calling. At age 18, she left her Island home for England to study theatre. There she met and married her first husband with whom she had a daughter, the filmmaker Laila Petrone. The family then moved to Rome, at which point Iris parted ways with Laila’s father. She found herself unsure of what she wanted to do next. Until her acting career took off, Iris spent time travelling between Europe and the U.S., where her mother and other family members lived. And as her career flourished, Iris eventually remarried and welcomed a second daughter, Minerva Mariotti.

“To be able to pursue a lifetime career as an actress has been amazing,” says Iris, who has numerous TV appearances and several films to her credit. 

by Tapiwa Matsinde

The full article is available in the 6th issue of MOYI.