‘1883’ Star Gratiela Brancusi Explains Noemi’s Resilience

by Lauren Boisvert

Gratiela Brancusi spoke with TV Line recently about her “1883” character, Noemi, a widowed Romani mother of two. She’s traveling with the wagon train and has struck up a bit of a romance with LaMonica Garrett’s Thomas.

Noemi is a very strong character; she’s lost her husband, been taken advantage of, and has to be brave for her children. Brancusi spoke about Noemi’s resilience in her interview, citing her background as the reason for her constant survival.

When asked how Noemi stays strong and self-assured in her dangerous situation, Brancusi replied, “I think it has to do a lot with her background. The thing that her and Thomas share is that they were born into slavery. She’s of Roma background. Roma people were enslaved, especially on the Romanian territory back in Europe, for about 500 years… They were hunting Roma people. They were considered sport.”

The Orthodox Church, the Crown, and landowners enslaved the Roma for nearly five centuries, from the 1300s to the 1800s. Slavery decreased over time, but the prejudice and hatred for the Roma remained. Even now, some people in Romania refer to them as a derogatory term that means “untouchable” or “impure.” So it’s no wonder that Noemi, even though she is a fictional character, draws on her background in order to survive the dangers of the West; she’s likely been through much worse.

Brancusi continued, “So I think there’s some sort of resilience that she’s built, that she has in her DNA. I would always think of this when there was a difficult scene, it’s like sort of evoking the ancestors. And also, I think she has to stay strong for her kids.”

Noemi feels that her kids can’t see her vulnerable or weak. She doesn’t want them to lose faith in her, that she can get them to a better place and make a life for them.

‘1883’: LaMonica Garrett on Thomas and Noemi’s Relationship

In conversation with TV Insider, “1883” star LaMonica Garrett spoke about his character, Thomas’, relationship with Noemi. Recently on the show, he gifted her with a silver mirror he found at a trading post. She considered the mirror more than it might have been; Thomas was shy and awkward and didn’t know how to react.

When asked why Thomas gave Noemi the mirror, Garrett replied, “Yeah, as comfortable as he is on a horse and with a gun and handling himself and knowing the terrain, he’s awkward with women. He’s not a wordsmith, he’s not a smooth talker.” He feels as if he can’t just tell her how he feels, so he gave her a gift instead.

“But if he just feels like it’s something that she would like without knowing why,” Garrett continued, “I do that sometimes with my wife and she’s like, ‘What is this for?’ ‘I don’t know. I thought you’d like it, you bought those shoes and they kind of match.’ You want to do something nice. You just don’t have the words to describe it.”