FRANCESCA SENETTE ## Milanese from Tradate, 40 years old, journalist

Video 1
As a child I always came to Milan. I had relatives here and so I used to come often. I remember there was still a zoo in Parco Sempione.
When I finished high school in Saronno, as I lived near Cislago, I moved to Milan to attend university. I remember that Milan seemed very big.
The offices of Antenna Tre, where I worked, were in Via Dogana, practically overlooking the Duomo. It seemed unthinkable that the Navigli were so near the Duomo, only a 10-15 minute walk away. I had a revelation. I realized the Navigli we used to go to for nights out during high school, where we went in the summer, were right in the city center. I really felt I was provincial.
At first the Milanesi made me laugh, the typical ‘Uè figa! Cazzo’ and Rolex types, that still exist…
I really felt like the little match girl in Milan. Then, with time, I learned to know them and how to make them accept me. I remember my husband’s friends. You know, the ones with the classic low shoe, no makeup, high-waisted jeans, shirt and Aspesi jacket, looking at me as if I was a bit crazy because after working at the news I went to dinner with high heels, make-up and perhaps even a short dress. I always felt out of place, but I managed to transform my being different in a strength. I never tried to emulate the Milanesi, I appreciate the real ones and I feel sorry for those who pretend to be.
Very often the Milanesi come across as aggressive, hurried also in their attitude, but because they are afraid to open up. When they do open up, they are wonderful. The Milanesi who respond to the stereotype are fewer and fewer, they are an ethnic minority group that should also be protected. I love the Milanesi’s need to be always all together. They are like the jokes about them, but it’s true: the Milanesi all go to ski there, to the sea there, on Saturday night there… Their clichés are quite rigid.
In my opinion they don’t travel enough, they have a broad and great concept of their city and that’s honorable because Milan is a beautiful city. But it would be more so if they realized that there are other larger and more modern cities. And even if you’re in Milan learning English is mandatory, as well as travelling.
A Milanese not from Milan can’t avoid to look up in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and say, ‘God, that’s beautiful!’. It happens also with the spires of the Duomo, the sky of Lombardy that when it is blue is of a wonderful blue, it happens for a glimpse on the Navigli, it happens at the Darsena that is finally back to being a real dock. For the Milanesi it is a little more difficult to see these things. The Milanesi are so used to the Teatro alla Scala, and so when they happen to walk by it they don’t turn around to look at it. A pretend Milanese like me, walking by La Scala, every time says ‘Man, La Scala!’.
I am forty years old and I’m happy about it.
But in my personal balance I see a woman who has not professionally got where she thought she would when she was 25 years old, but has come much farther than the child from Cislago who would have never thought of going to live in Milan or to work in television. So I did a lot less than what I could, but I’m happy where I am. I don’t need to compromise. At night I’m happy, I go to bed with my husband, who for 15 years has been by my side with two wonderful children.
I am forty years old and in good shape because I’m very careful about what I eat. I drive everyone crazy with what to eat. I move, I do sports and travel whenever I can.
My job has changed. I work on projects now, I don’t do anything in order to be on television anymore. I’m involved in my non-profit organization Food & Life and I’m the face of WeWorld and every year I go on a trip with them.
I became a coach at the Accademia della Felicità, therefore I give lectures and courses on how to be more aware of ourselves and happy with everyday life challenges.

Video 2
The Milanesi are beginning to take up their spaces.
The urge of running to the countryside, the sea, the mountains… Maybe today it is less than a few years ago, however, the opportunity to take the kids to the museum, do marathons, walks, physical activity… The Milanesi are in town, before it was very difficult meet one, indeed: they were ashamed. I think they locked themselves in because it was wrong to stay in Milan for the weekend. Now instead…
Milan is a city that you have to get used to, I have now lived in this city for twenty years. I don’t have a car, I have an electric car, I have a bike and my feet. Milan is a city that requires a little adjustment. If I wanted to move around with the SUV, slamming the children in the street to go to school, probably I would complain of this city because of the traffic, the mess, no parking lots, the fines… But I walk or ride a bicycle, I use BikeMi and I complain less. Maybe sometimes I do because the bikes do not work or they are all taken… But we also have electric bikes now.
The Milanese must always be in a hurry, always a little pissed off because ‘Figa, cazzo!’… there is always a reason. But it’s not true that they always complain. They pretend to, it is a pose. They are wonderful.
Milan expects you to be there. There are environments where you have to be, if you’re not there you slowly get cut out. You have to go to the right dinner parties, the right aperitivi or the right fashion shows… If you’re there, you’re part of a certain entourage. If you start to not be there, you slowly disappear. You have to decide if you want to be in or not. I’m not in, I had been for a long, long time, then less and less. Then I got to a point where they invited me less because I was less visible and therefore they had less interest in having Senette at certain tables. Before it was cool to have a known journalist, it was cool… Now inviting Senette at the table, who maybe talks about yoga or happiness and breaks their balls, without even having any gossip about what’s happening behind the scenes. Why? It’s much better to make myself a pumpkin soup and eat it with my loved ones, with a good glass of red. It will not be a dinner where you have to be careful about what you say, you have to look and make sure you were understood, whether people agree or not, hoping to impress someone who maybe tomorrow arranges an interview with the right magazine… But who cares, life is short.
I left Mediaset because I was looking for a new professional challenge. After eight years at the TG4, I was trying to do something else, to prove myself first and to others that regardless of Emilio Fede’s benevolence I could be a good journalist, a good presenter. And in Rai I proved it to myself.
I am sorry for him. I think however he was a great professional. His past, his Africa, his TgUno definitely deserved a better end. And for that I am so sorry.
I remember with great fondness the twenty-five year old Francesca who arrived at Mediaset, in an environment that seemed… It was a bit like a child going to EuroDisney.
I made so many mistakes, I didn’t consider how I could behave better with certain people who eventually turned against me. I didn’t consider situations around me that I could not consider because I was a twenty-five year old who came from Antenna Tre. And before that, from Cislago.
And then I got dismissed from Rai. I was very happy for the new experience, I had a live show every day live on Rai Uno, two hours a day. I got there on merit, I didn’t give it away, I was there because the director of Raidue had called me. I was overjoyed about this. After a year in which the show went well, it had reached good achievements. Then during the summer the manager changed, and the new one had other priorities, other people to put in my place. And from a phone call from by a colleague, who asked me how I took my replacement, I found out that after eight days there would have been someone else in my place. It was a violent blow, the following three months were very difficult: September, October, November… I cut my hair as women do in these circumstances.
Then I ate humble pie, a huge humble pie. I removed the high heels, I tied my hair, I rolled up my sleeves and started over at La7d. It was a wonderful experience.
With the magic wand I wouldn’t put myself in the television box. If I have to choose one of the media I’d rather put myself in a radio station.

Video 3
When I was young I went through a period of my life where I ate very little and I worked out a lot. In fact I… Consider that now I weigh 55 kilos and back then I weighed 41.
Orthorexic are people who are overly careful, I would say, of what they eat, and tend to eat more or less the same ingredients because they have tested them and they know that they’re good for them.
I always try to eat seasonal, natural, even organic food, with very little meat, or nothing… I follow strict rules that allow me to “pig out”. Because in life it is good to break habits once in a while, knowing that the next day there is always a way to get back to what now for me is a comfort zone.
I’m aware. Optimistic. Happy.
Right by where I live, I go to the Colonne di San Lorenzo and my heart fills up. I go to the park down the road, and I see the trees that have been there for many many years. I go to the new Darsena and I think how with only a little restoration work, well medium restoration work, you can give back to the city something that has always been there. I go in front of the Castello Sforzesco in the evening when it is illuminated and… what else can I say? And then there’s Brera, those narrow corners… In Sant’Eustorgio is a spot from which you can see a bit of everything… you see the park, the church, the street… And when I go there I feel at home.
If I had not come to Milan I would have probably never even become a journalist, I would not have met my husband… Who knows.
I would want Pisapia, no sorry, Sala. I really liked the way he slowly, step by step, quietly… Everyone had given up on the Expo but he made it!
In peace, respect of the rules, peace & love… If they want the mosque, let’s give them the mosque.
I was a woman of the church, then I distanced myself… Thanks to Pope Francis I got back into it. I raise my children according to the norms of the Catholic religion trying to be less bigoted as possible and, above all, less ‘whited sepulcher’… I hate those people that because they go to church, then… No, be good. The rest will come.