From María Félix to Verónica Castro: the Latin divas who turned spite into a ‘show’ before Shakira

Shakira is not the first Latin diva to compare herself to a luxury product — “You traded a Ferrari for a Twingo,” she says in his new song—. Maria Felix, the great star of Mexican cinema, did it long before the Colombian singer. “Don’t feel bad if someone rejects you. People normally reject what is expensive because they cannot afford it,” La Doña snapped once. “Money does not bring happiness, but it is always better to cry in a Ferrari,” she acknowledged on another occasion. There are countless quotes from Felix referring to heartbreak and spite. The protagonist of movies like Miss Barbara either the soulless woman He knew whereof he spoke. She had four husbands —including the bolero singer Agustín Lara and the artist Jorge Negrete— and affairs with figures such as the Spanish bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguín, who, according to the Mexican press, went so far as to declare: “She and I relived the romance of Hernán Cortés and La Malinche”.

During an intervention in the Touchedthe late night show that Verónica Castro presented on El Canal de las Estrellas in 1996, María Félix said that she had been a woman mistreated by men, “but only in the movies”. In real life, she rejected the artist Diego Rivera, the right-handed Manolete and other suitors because, as she herself said, they weren’t good for her: “Some because they were ugly, others because they were very poor and I don’t like asking for stockings”.

The only man who broke her heart was her own brother, José Pablo Félix Güereña. Or so some of his biographers say. “I didn’t know anything about taboos or prohibitions and being close to him seemed the most natural thing in the world,” said the Mexican diva about that dangerous adolescent fantasy. They were so close that their parents separated them and sent them away. The Doña herself spoke of “physical and spiritual attraction”, of “platonic love” and of “white incest” and, as she told her biographer, the writer Enrique Krauze, “the perfume of incest does not have another love ”. In 1937, Pablo died under tragic circumstances. A few years later, she divorced her first husband and became a world star. She always played clueless about that episode of her life and that helped her enhance her aura as a mysterious and dangerous star, but also to send a message to women: “A man has to cry for three days… And on the fourth, you get heels and new clothes.

The Mexican actress María Félix, in France, in a file photo from 1990.
The Mexican actress María Félix, in France, in a file photo from 1990. Alain BENAINOUS (Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Film and television actresses, singers, presenters… Many Latin divas have preceded Shakira in the cathartic art of turning spite into a source of artistic inspiration, the meat of Showin matter for a script or in the lyrics of a song. Paquita of the neighborhood, who broke up her marriage of 25 years after discovering her husband had a mistress, raised your song Two-legged rat (2004) a hymn of heartbreak. in his ranchera Romeo and his granddaughter (2013), the artist laughs at men who leave their wives for younger ones. “The diaper still smells like powder. Now you did go too far, really. The truth looks like your cane,” she sings.

“But for me the strongest is the Mexican singer Irma Serrano, known as The tigress. She had a relationship with a married politician and turned the romance into one of the most famous and fun rancheras: I treated a married”, points out to EL PAÍS the writer and screenwriter Valeria Vegas. “Gloria Trevi is another good example. She had a relationship with his manager, Sergio Andrade, a story that then I would take her to jail. When he got out of prison, she put out several songs of self-reinforcement and high self-esteem in which she drops hints at him, ”explains Vegas.

Verónica Castro at the presentation of the film 'Tell me when you' at the Stara hotel in Mexico City, on December 14, 2020.
Verónica Castro at the presentation of the film ‘Tell me when you’ at the Stara hotel in Mexico City, on December 14, 2020. Media and Media (Getty Images)

Verónica Castro, the empress of Mexican soap operas, suffered more in real life than in fiction. Many of the tears she shed on the small screen were inspired by the memory of her relationships. At the age of 22, she became pregnant by the actor and comedian Manuel Crazy Valdés, two decades older than her. When she found out that he was married, she decided to break the relationship and become a single mother. “I found out about her true life. I had a partner and had had about eight more partners and my son Cristian was going to be like number 13″, the actress would confess years later.

Then she fell in love with the winemaker Enrique Niembro. “I thought I was right this time and I got pregnant again, but it didn’t turn out what I expected.” The day she was trying on her wedding dress, Niembro called her and canceled the link. She “She told me: ‘My mom doesn’t want me to get married.’ I replied: ‘I’m not interested in marriage, I can support myself. I don’t need a man to feed me or pay my expenses”. Some time later, Verónica Castro began an engagement with the actor Omar Fierro, who was also unfaithful to her. “He was starting his acting career and I helped him, so I didn’t pick him because he was rich or successful. One day I caught him cheating on me and I sent him to hell”. The actress threw herself into her career, starring in some of the most successful soap operas of all time: Rich people cry too; the right to be born; Forbidden love; wild Rose; either Small town, big hell. She always played the heroine who, after suffering all kinds of adventures, she emerged victorious.

Paquita la del Barrio during a concert in Los Angeles (California), on October 20, 2018.
Paquita la del Barrio during a concert in Los Angeles (California), on October 20, 2018. JC Olivera (Getty Images)

Susana Giménez, Castro’s friend and one of the most famous presenters in Latin America, also knew how to channel her love disappointments on the sets. The communicator starred in her own telenovela in the summer of 1998, when Argentine television covered live her breakup with her second husband, Huberto Roviralta, a polo player and grandson of Spanish aristocrat Antonio Maura. “Thief! Motherfucker! When are you going to leave here? Go away, ”she was heard yelling at the diva from the street. The cameras broadcast the scenes live.

A few minutes later, Roviralta left the Giménez mansion with a bloody face. She remained silent until the next day, when she gave a massive press conference. “I have been trying to save the couple for a long time by living humiliation. And yes, they could be infidelities, ”she acknowledged. Regarding her broken nose, she said: “Huberto pushed me, he tried to attack me and I defended myself. I threw an ashtray at him.” It was the first time that an Argentine star of that height spoke so openly not only about heartbreak, but also about mistreatment and sexist violence.

Susana Giménez attends the 'Netflix Red Carpet' event at the Four Seasons hotel in Buenos Aires (Argentina), on March 17, 2016.
Susana Giménez attends the ‘Netflix Red Carpet’ event at the Four Seasons hotel in Buenos Aires (Argentina), on March 17, 2016. Lalo Yasky (Getty Images)

“The ashtray on the forehead of that useless and unfaithful husband and the more than 10 million dollars that Susana had to give him to close the divorce led to a national debate about whether it was right that when the woman was richer she was the one to pay the broken ashtrays of a failed couple”, he wrote this Friday Mercedes Funes, journalist expert in gender, in the Argentine newspaper infobae. “The ashtray has since become a universal symbol of spite, almost as iconic as Lady Di’s revenge dressbut with a much happier ending. It is that it also became the certainty that, if we had sufficient independence, men could be expendable, even if it was expensive to get rid of them ”, added Funes in his analysis, regarding Shakira’s new song.

Moria Casán, another of the great Argentine divas, also made history in the 1990s. The actress, presenter and ex-vedete met on her television program, Moria’s Night, to two of the men in her life: Mario Castiglione, her second husband and father of her daughter, and Luis Vadalá, who was her partner at the time. Casán used his own talk show to say goodbye to Castiglione, who had a short time to live and with whom he had had a complicated marriage, and to try to save his relationship with Vadalá, with whom he would later end up breaking up. The broadcast was followed by millions of people in Argentina. “I never went to a psychologist and I considered that the public was the one who had to know my life. An artist does not exist without his audience, ”he said a few years ago. Between a diva and her followers there is no room for deception.

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From María Félix to Verónica Castro: the Latin divas who turned spite into a ‘show’ before Shakira