Culture

Vogue Mexico And Latin America Celebrated Their 20th Anniversary By Highlighting Indigenous Women On Their New Covers

This week Vogue Mexico and Latin America celebrated its twentieth anniversary with six different covers featuring iconic Latin-American women. “This is a big celebration,” read an article on the magazine’s website. The covers feature prominent women from indigenous groups as well as other powerful women who’ve made strides in culture and gastronomy, such as María Lorena Ramírez the Tarahumara runner and Oaxacan cook Abigail Mendoza. 

The publication took to Instagram to reveal the covers. “This is how we celebrate our 20 years!” reads the caption of the cover featuring Tarahumaran runner María Lorena Ramírez, atop a rocky hill in her typical dress and huaraches, “This edition of #VogueMexico is an homage to our country. We traveled north and south to share the stories of women who are true leaders of our time. Each one of these inspirations is a tribute.” 

María Lorena Ramírez, the ‘Rarámuri Runner’ is an indigenous woman who won an ultramarathon in huaraches.

Credit: voguemexico / Instagram

The six commemorative covers feature leaders in their own discipline. María Lorena Ramírez is featured on the top cover of the issue. The indigenous Rarámuri has won the world’s attention for being the first Rarámuri woman to run an ultramarathon in Europe. She was invited to participate by the Tenerife Bluetrail Organization in 2017 after winning a 50km (30 miles) race in Tlatlauquitepec, Puebla. In 2018 she ran the 102 kilometers of the Ultramarathon in a time of 20:11:37, earning her the 5th best time in her category.

Lorena captivated the media due to her unconventional attire during the races.

Credit: marcosferro / Instagram

The indigenous woman refuses to wear anything other than the traditional dress of her people, known as “los de los pies ligeros” or “the people with the light feet”, she also runs in her traditional huaraches.

Mexican actor Gael García Bernal is turning María Lorena Ramírez’s story into a Netflix show. ‘Río Grande, Rìo Bravo’ will dedicate a half hour episode to the 24 year old Rarámuri runner who beat five hundred athletes from twelve different countries in an ultratrail race, wearing her open-toe huaraches.

Abigail Mendoza cooks with the traditions of the Zapotecan culture, a tribute to her ancestors, to the history of Mexico and especially to Oaxaca.

Credit: voguemexico / Instagram

Pictured in her traditional braids and apron, surrounded by the women in her family, Abigail Mendoza is included in this tribute by Vogue as a world-famous indigenous cook who proudly serves traditional Zapotecan cuisine. “People said: ‘How am I going to eat indigenous food!?’ she recalls in an interview with Mexican newspaper ‘El Universal’, “Now people pay attention to indigenous food because of the recognition I’ve received” she added, “but before that, no one cared.” “I wasn’t afraid to show it to the world”.

In 1993 Mendoza was featured in The New York Times, which named her restaurant ‘Tlamanalli’, one of the top 10 best restaurants in the world. The Oaxacan cook published a book ‘Dishdaa´w, Zapotecan for “the word is infinitely woven with food” in which, she explains, “I leave all my knowledge of traditional food, to humanity and future generations. Which is what I’m trying to rescue in this town.”

A group of Bolivian cooks turned alpinists who have climbed the highest peak of Latin-America in their traditional dress.

Credit: voguemexico / Instagram

Las Cholitas escaladoras de Bolivia are Bolivian Aymara indigenous women who until recently, worked as cooks and caretakers for mountaineers from around the world, catering to the crews who headed to the high peaks of the Andes. One day they decided to strap up and hike to the top themselves. The term “chola” is a derogatory term for indigenous women in Bolivia and these brave women reclaimed it, to turn the word into a term of pride.  “At over 6,000 meters of altitude, just like reaching for the clouds, the #cholitasescaladoras are an example of strength and virtue,” wrote Vogue Mexico and Latin America on Instagram.

Juana Burga a Peruvian top model with a heart of gold.

Credit: voguemexico / Instagram

Juana Burga is the only Peruvian model to have walked in New York, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Week. In addition to her work in modeling, Burga is an activist who works to protect artisans who produce sustainable fibers that are exported worldwide. She is the founder of Nuna Awaq, an initiative that aim to revalue artisan’s work and give them opportunities for development through luxury, in a sustainable and socially responsible way. 

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At 78-Years-Old, This Oaxacan Woman Learned To Read And Write And Even Authored An Award-Winning New Book

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At 78-Years-Old, This Oaxacan Woman Learned To Read And Write And Even Authored An Award-Winning New Book

Jorge Fernandez / Getty Images

It’s never too late to follow your dreams. It may sound cliche but one Indigenous woman from the Mexican state of Oaxaca is showing just how true that sentiment really is.

Although growing up knowing how to speak her native language of Náhuatl, she was never able to read or write it – let alone Spanish. Now after years of studying and being too embarrassed to attend classes, this 78-year-old woman can say that she achieved her dream and is now an award-winning author.

Despite being illiterate for years, Justina Rojas has finally finished primary school.

Justina Rojas Flores, a resident of the Oaxacan community of San Miguel Espejo, learned to read and write at 76. She remembers that at first she was embarrassed to attend her classes, but with the support of her teachers sh was motivated to learn the alphabet and words and communication.

In fact, she became so motivated that she’s recently authored a handmade book that earned her a national award. She recently told El Sol de Puebla, that “I was already cracking under pressure because I was cheating a lot, but the teachers told me ‘yes you can, Justina’, so I continued taking classes and it was thanks to them that I learned. After two years, I wrote La Mazorca, which is dedicated to the community of San Miguel Espejo.”

In her Indigenous language of Náhuatl, Rojas shared the history of La Mazorca, which emphasizes the value of appreciating all things – especially that which the land gives us.

“I beg you, if you see me lying on the ground, pick me up, don’t step on me. Just as you take care of me, I will take care of you,” is part of the story in the book that was awarded in 2019 by the State Institute for Adult Education (IEEA), an achievement with which Rojas feels accomplished, and with which motivates other people to enter the competition.

Rojas is proving that it’s never too late to learn something new.

Now, at 78-years-old, Rojas is able to celebrate her achievements. Though she admits that many in her community continue to doubt her real motivation. It’s common to hear people ask ‘Why do I learn if I’m old?’, ‘What use is it going to do?’, and ‘I’m on my way out so it doesn’t matter.’

But many of the people who ask these questions are the same people who don’t have the same opportunities, since they can’t read or write. According to figures from the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (Coneval) in Rojas’ community, there are around 2,267 inhabitants, and the majority are living in poverty, a factor that significantly influences educational access. Many, from a very young age, leave school to work to support their families and take jobs working in the fields or construction.

Finally, Rojas wants everyone to know that they should not limit themselves and to embrace knowledge regardless of age. “If you don’t know how to read and write, or if you know someone like that, I invite you to go where they teach, so that those who know more can share their knowledge with us.”

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Anna Wintour Defends Kamala Harris’s Vogue Debut

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Anna Wintour Defends Kamala Harris’s Vogue Debut

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Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is officially “in vogue.”

The former California Senator is gracing the cover of the February issue of Vogue magazine. The cover marks the first time an elected official has appeared on the cover of the fashion magazine. Yes, in the past, Washington insiders like Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama have made it on the cover but Harris’ cover is a reflection of our country’s progress. In her first-ever Vogue appearance, Harris spoke openly about the first 100 days of the Biden administration, the country’s protests against police brutality and racism as well as the people and childhood that shaped her into the leader she is today.

Speaking about hers and Biden’s victory night, Harris told Vogue that she wanted her words to be something that young Americans would remember.

The first African American woman elected vice president graced the pages of Vogue in a power suit, casual attire, and Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers ( a casual cover look whose controversy we’ll get to later). Her look is a reminder that she’s a woman ready to work and get to business. The down to earth look of authority is familiar to the one Harris brought to the stage late last year when she delivered her victory speech.

“It was very important for me to speak to the moment, and the moment includes understanding that there is a great responsibility that comes with being a first,” Harris explained to Vogue about the evening. “I always say this: I may be the first to do many things—make sure I’m not the last,” she tells me. “I was thinking of my baby nieces, who will only know one world where a woman is vice president of the United States, a woman of color, a Black woman, a woman with parents who were born outside of the United States.”

Harris went onto share that the night was emotional for her not just because it marked the end of a rigorous campaign and a new start for our country but because she was thinking of her mother. Harris’s mother, Shyamala Gopalan, an Indian immigrant, and breast cancer researcher passed away 12 years ago. During her speech, Harris told Vogue that she thought of her mother and “what her life meant” how it had propelled Harris to the position she holds now.

“I’m representing my mom,” Harris went onto explain “I’m representing my husband. This country is more than two centuries old, and our country needs to show diversity, and diversity means leadership comes in all races, all colors. It’s time for a change.”

When it comes to change, Harris explained that she has her mind on tackling racism in America.

According to Harris, this summer’s widespread protests against police brutality and racism in the country didn’t actually affect or change the way she thinks about how Black people are policed, charged, and prosecuted in the U.S. “What it did do was made it easier to point out that the fight for criminal-justice reform, the fight for racial justice should be everyone’s fight,” she explained. “I was out there with the folks who were protesting the murder of George Floyd, and it was the first time I saw so much diversity in who was marching arm in arm, shouting, speaking, crying that Black lives matter.”

Throughout the Vogue piece, it’s clear that Harris’s authenticity and approachability shine. In the next month, she is due to become the second most powerful person in the country. Here’s hoping that she will work hard to help heal the United States in a time when it faces various crises brought on by a lack of authority and trust in the last administration.Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, which caused controversy when it was prematurely leaked over the weekend.

In a statement to The New York Times, Anna Wintour defended the controversial Vogue cover of Harris saying it was not Vogue’s “intention to diminish the importance of the Vice President-elect’s incredible victory.”

Vice President-elect Harris’s Vogue cover caused controversy after it was leaked over the weekend. Critics took issue with the lighting and style of the color accusing the image of Harris as looking “washed out” and criticizing casual outfit for not being appropriate for a historic magazine cover.

“When the two images arrived at Vogue,” Wintour explained. “All of us felt very, very strongly that the less formal portrait of the Vice President-elect really reflected the moment that we were living in,” she said in the statement. “We are in the midst…of the most appalling pandemic that is taking lives by the minute, and we felt to reflect this tragic moment in global history, a much less formal picture, something that was very, very accessible, and approachable, and really reflected the hallmark of the Biden-Harris campaign…”

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