Entertainment

Walter Mercado Got Real About His Flamboyant Style And Why He’s Long Said ‘No’ To Extreme Gender Conformity And Machismo

Puerto Rican astrologist Walter Mercado and his astrology predictions have been an institution in Latino households for nearly 50 years. Growing up, we would wait to hear his predictions for our upcoming day. Basically, Mercado and his readings prepared us for our challenges and celebrated our victories.

His flamboyant style has made him one of the most recognizable figures in our culture. What’s more, he is one of the first gender non-conforming individuals that many in the Latino community encountered. That’s something we have long been fascinated by and admired about the astrologist. Despite the stigma that is attached to people who live outside of gender norms, Mercado has always been able to claim a space for his message and has gained fans around the world during a five-decade career. 

Recently, Mercado spoke about his legendary career, his gender identification and the new exhibit in honor of his work. 

When talking about personal style and gender identification, Mercado was extremely open about remaining authentic and embracing dual energies.

CREDIT: @waltermercadotv / Instagram

According to Mercado, we all have the same feminine and masculine energies and can call upon them when needed. 

“I’m so into who I am, and I do [what] feels right for me,” Mercado explained to Remezcla. “I’m so connected to people and to the divine for that. That I look feminine with a cape? Everyone knows we have two energies – yin and yang – and I know how to balance them. If I have to be a warrior, then I’ll be that. If I have to be soft and subtle, I can be that, too.”

In the interview, Mercado also acknowledged the barriers he has broken through his presences in the Latinidad.

“I broke the barriers. Boys wear blue and girls wear pink…Why? No, that’s in the past. Extreme gender conformity, machismo, and weak, submissive women, no, no, no, no. We are humans; people have the right to think whatever they want. I follow my own path, and I am who I am.”

The astrologist’s groundbreaking work is also being celebrated with a dedicated exhibit that explores the more intimate parts of his life.

@HistoryMiami / Twitter

Called Mucho, Mucho Amor: 50 Years of Walter Mercado, the exhibit is being hosted by the History Miami Museum in Florida. The limited-run exhibit is open from August 2nd-25th. At the grand opening, Mercado entered the event in true fabulos style — carried in on a golden throne-like the true celestial king he is while triumphant music played and fans cheered. 

For public viewing, the exhibit features 12 of Mercado’s most iconic capes — one decorated and bedazzled for each Astrological sign. It will also showcase jewels, tarot cards and ephemera used during Mercado’s readings. These items will be on display for the first time ever. 

In the interview, Mercado credits his success to his realness to his longterm.

CREDIT: @waltermercadotv / Instagram

For many of us, the comfort Mercado has in his own skin is something we aspire to have. It’s this comfort that led to the familiarity and trust that we developed in the astrologist. His spot-on astrology predictions didn’t hurt either, but it’s definitely the certainty that comes from Mercado’s self-assurance that makes him such a trusted figure. 

“The stars will give an inclination, but they don’t force anything on anyone,” Walter said in his interview. “I would tell people the tendencies I would see show up for them, but I was always very clear with my messages. I let people know they shouldn’t have expectations from me or expect me to tell them the exact location where they’ll run into the love of their life. I would formulate it by saying, ‘I see a tendency that love is around you and following you.’”

Mercado also shared that he believes that his gift for astrology comes from a “divine source” and credits it for the love he has received from his numerous fans. 

Twitter / @HistoryMiami

Whether Mercado’s readings are authentic or just vague prophecies, one thing is certain: the astrologist loves his fans as much as they love him. With this in mind, Mercado tries to share his love and positivity with his public.

“People were saying I was the new prophet for a new era and that God and Christ manifested in my heart,” Mercado explained. “I was taken aback by all the love people were showing me, and I’ve always improvised my readings. I don’t like to use a teleprompter. When I was finishing the segment I was inspired, and I uttered the words, ‘Que Dios me los bendiga a todos, y que reciban de mi mucha paz y mucho mucho (blows kiss) amor,’ and it stuck. People were thanking me for the prayer, and at that moment, I made the choice – since the prayer was so pure and beautiful – I would keep using it. I still use it so the public could continue to receive these blessings.”

H/T: Remezcla “I Am Who I Am” Walter Mercado On Gender Non-Conformity & His Long Career

 

25 Things I Want To Say To My 25-Year-Old Self Now That I’m Over 30

Fierce

25 Things I Want To Say To My 25-Year-Old Self Now That I’m Over 30

When I was 25 years old, I went through a terrible quarter-life crisis. It was right in the middle of the recession and I had been job hunting for two years while trying to advance my career. Nothing was working, and I was terribly frustrated, angry, and lost. It was a pretty stereotypical tale, I know, but it felt like my world was crashing down at the time.

Of course, eventually, I learned to keep going, changed some things about my life (like dumping a bad boyfriend and moving from a job I was “meh” on to a job I loved), and my life improved. However, as I continued to age and turned 30 a couple of years ago, I realized that there are so many life lessons that I really wish I had been able to share with my younger self. From making sure I always get good sleep to knowing when to let go of friendships to going to therapy, here are the 25 things that I wish I could have said to my 25-year-old self now that I’m over 30. I may not have it all figured out yet, but at least I figured out a few things.

1. “Yes, you should throw yourself a doble quince when you turn 30.”

Instagram @cristinaisabelrivera

When I was 15 years old, my family didn’t have a lot of money so throwing a quinceañera was not even a consideration. So, instead, I had a small Sweet 16 and left it at that. However, around 25, I started to seriously regret my decision —and wish I had heard of a doble quince sooner. Thankfully, it’s never too late and I had my doble quince at 30 after all. I’ve even heard of someone doing a triple quince (at 45!) which, I have to admit, sounds very enticing.

2. “Mami is never going to stop calling and texting you daily, so stop being annoyed by it.”

Instagram @chicananerd

When I was in college, it was a family rule that I had to call my parents daily to let them know I was okay. They were helping to pay for my pricey university, so I figured it was only fair. Of course, this all continued after I graduated and became an actual independent adult. But the phone calls and daily texts never stopped. Sometimes, I still get annoyed by it but, to be honest, I’ve come to appreciate it too. Mami won’t be around forever, and I know this is just her showing me how much she cares.

3. “It’s not true what they say: You really CAN come home again.”

Instagram @robbinmangano

This is something that I heard a lot in my youth, but I am happy to tell you that it’s just not true. When I was 25 years old, I couldn’t imagine going back to my hometown. Then, a month after I turned 30, I happily returned home to take a breather from life in the big city and overhaul my career to be a full-time freelancer. It was scary, but also the best decision I ever made. Coming home was difficult, sure, but I wish I had known sooner that it was still an option.

4. “Please, please, please stop conveniently forgetting to bring your sunscreen to the beach.”

Instagram @sunsaferx

Okay, I admit that this is still a bit of an issue for me. After all, who doesn’t want that legendary JLo glow?! But the truth is that Jennifer Lopez doesn’t get that glow from the sun, but rather from beauty products. The woman just doesn’t risk skin cancer and, seriously, why are we doing that to ourselves by heading to the beach without sunscreen in our chic bags? This HAS to stop.

5. “Don’t forget to dream big… but don’t forget to relax and enjoy life, too.”

Instagram @fivefortheroadblog

When I was 25 years old, I was working hard to grow my career. At the time, I was switching from one job to another and ended up spending the next few years jumping from job to job in order to advance my skills. Although I don’t necessarily regret all of that, what I do regret is not taking a break. I needed to work fewer weekends, and spend more time with those I love. If only I could have that time back now, I would do things a bit differently for sure.

6. “The quarter-life crisis is real, but there’s no perfect age to have it all figured out.”

Instagram @paolavherrero

At 25 years old, many of us had the so-called quarter-life crisis when we freaked out about not having it all figured out. I definitely felt like I was a failure (not true), that my career was stalled (not true either), and that I had no clue what I was doing (kinda true). What I’ve learned since, though, is that there is no age at which we think we have everything figured out. We’re always growing and changing, and the sooner you accept that, the happier you’ll be.

7. “Get good sleep, get good sleep, GET GOOD SLEEP.”

Instagram @luxpillowsplus

Having recently read and loved the book Why We Sleep, I cannot even begin to tell you all of the important things that sleep does for us humans but just assume that it’s basically everything. A lesson that I wish I knew in my early 20s (and all through high school, to be honest) is that prioritizing sleep will give me more energy, make me more creative, a better employee, a calmer and happier person, and keep me healthy. If you’re not getting 7-9 hours every single night, then you’re doing life wrong.

8. “Learn how to budget. You’ll thank me later.”

Instagram @thebudgetmom

Look, nobody likes budgeting but we all have to learn it eventually. I spent much of my 20s not really understanding how budgeting works and, thus, living beyond my means. I had credit cards and abused them more than I care to admit. Thankfully, I eventually got my financial life in order but I definitely wish I had done it much sooner since the bad credit (from months when I couldn’t pay even my minimum on some cards) is still hurting me.

9. “It’s better to start that crazy, intense project than to keep dreaming for the next 5 years.”

Instagram @adrienneyoungbooks

Shortly before I turned 25 years old, I got an idea for a book. Now, seven years later, I am still working on that book. Granted, I didn’t actually start it until a couple years ago and I didn’t fully take it seriously until last year. It is a big undertaking but I let my dream just sit there for years because I was too afraid to even try. Now I realize what a disservice that was since if I had started it back when I first got this idea, I would have definitely finished it by now and moved on to the next one.

10. “Nurture your important friendships, but don’t be afraid to let others go.”

Instagram @hereisgina

I love my friends and I do my best to keep in touch with them, especially now that most of us live in different cities. From texting to monthly FaceTime dates to simply liking each other’s stuff on Instagram, there are a plethora of options for connecting these days. But I’ve also realized that there are some friends who don’t put in the effort to keep in touch with you, so I have learned to let go of those friendships. Sure, it’s heartbreaking, but friendship only works if you are both into it.

11. “Go to therapy. NOW. Please! Do not wait.”

Instagram @patriciabarbertherapy

I’ve been in therapy for about two years now and boy oh boy do I wish I had done this sooner. Although I’ve made some serious progress, I also know that there are still plenty of things that I am figuring out, both on my own and with my therapist. We as Latinos rarely take care of our mental health because it’s just so shameful to talk about it in our communities, which is why I didn’t do this sooner. I wish I had.

12. “While we’re on this, also start getting regular check-ups and not just OB-GYN.”

Instagram @sofiavergara

After I started going to therapy, someone wisely told me that we should all be going to a mental health professional at least once a year for a check-up, just as with other doctors. That’s when I realized that I hadn’t had a regular check-up in almost four years, other than my annual visit to the gynecologist. This is actually common for women, so I finally made a commitment to get everything checked out. I was 31 at the time and, although I was in mostly good health, there were definitely a few things that I should have gotten taken care of years ago.

13. “Start contributing to your 401k, even if you haven’t quite figured out what that is exactly.”

Instagram @one_percenters_

Putting money into savings has always been a problem for me, and it’s no easier now that I have started to seriously think about retirement. Retirement planning is not a simple conversation to have and, if I were really honest with you, I would tell you that I am doing the bare minimum. However, putting into a 401k (if your company offers it) is basically free money. If they don’t, then start researching other options. You don’t have to know everything to get started, but the sooner you start, the more money you’ll have when you retire.

14. “Stop dating the bad boys, and start giving the nice guys a chance.”

Instagram @msirinagonzalez

This was a lesson that I truly wish I had learned when I was 25 years old, when I dated the worst of the bad boys I went through. Although that relationship ended a few months later, it was still many years before I finally figured out that nice guys do NOT finish last (and I have the awesome husband to prove it now). In fact, nice guys (and gals) make excellent, loving, amazing, caring, supportive partners — and as an independent woman, I want someone who could be as great as I knew myself to be.

15. “Don’t let the fear of disappointing papi keep you from doing what you really love.”

Instagram @superhero.dad

Like many Latinos, and immigrants like myself in particular, I felt great pressure form my family to be successful. I did well in school, attended a good college, and started a career that my papi doesn’t really approve of and doesn’t really understand. He wants to see me be a success, but more on his own terms as a lawyer or a doctor. That’s not for me, but I had many doubts in my 20s about whether I was doing the right thing by chasing doing what I love instead of going with the more secure thing. I’d like to tell my younger self that doing what you love is really, truly worth it.

16. “Happiness is a choice. Work on it, and own it.”

Instagram @mutlulukpozu

Anyone who tells you that they’re deeply unhappy is either clinically depressed (and should likely see a medical professional) or hasn’t yet realized that happiness IS actually something that you can work on. There have been many studies done about this and, in particular, how the happiest people are those that have a lot of gratitude. It may sound hokey, but keeping a gratitude journal has been a really positive change in my life, and I really wish I would have done it during my rough 20s.

17. “Create something that matters: A podcast, a book, anything!”

Instagram @storyworldofem

This is something that I know a lot of us millennials feel: A desire to create something that matters. I don’t mean a legacy in the traditional sense, but so many of us have a need to do something creative or important to us. If I could speak to my 25-year-old self, I would tell her to take a chance and write that book she wants to write or start the podcast she’s been thinking about. The sooner you take chances, the more you will learn.

18. “Speak up for what you believe in, ALWAYS.”

Instagram @emmawise18

Although I was generally a pretty outspoken kid and young adult, I really wish I had done more in my 20s to conquer my fears and speak out for the things that I believe in. Considering what is happening in today’s political climate, I also wish that I had taken more time to volunteer for worthy causes when I could have instead of just spending my 20s stressing about my own damn self and my career. These days, I try to do what I can for immigrant rights, women’s right, LGBTQ+ rights, and more. If only I learned this lesson sooner.

19. “Meet people of other cultures. Travel. Make friends. Move somewhere else.”

Instagram @latinaslovetravel

There’s something truly special about going to a new country and making friends with someone completely unexpected. Unfortunately, I squandered most of the money I made in my 20s on necessities like food and rent (which are worth it) and things I now regret (like going out too much and buying clothes I can’t afford). Instead, I would tell my younger self to travel more, make friends everywhere in the world and, maybe, even consider moving somewhere else in the world for a while.

20. “Stop complaining about that bad boss and update your resume ASAP.”

Instagram @juicyblue_

My first job was a great experience but, ultimately, I didn’t love my boss. It’s not that he wasn’t a good person, but that we just didn’t work well together as a team. I wish that I had known what I know now about what it takes to be happy at work. I would have instead put all of my energy into finding a better working environment. These days, if someone tells me that they hate their job, I say: So have you updated your resume yet?

21. “Figure out your talents, and invest in yourself. Never stop growing.”

Instagram @girlboss

Often, we graduate from college and think that’s it. We’ve put in the work to learn and that’s all there is to it. Now we can go out into the world to work and live successful lives… but if you think you have stopped growing and learning after college, then you are seriously mistaken. Learning and growing as a person should be a lifelong process. These days I pride myself on investing some of the money I make from working into developing other talents and interests I have, like learning a new language or a new skill like video editing. It’s never too late to learn, and it’s always a good idea to keep doing it.

22. “The most successful people aren’t afraid of failure. They’re afraid to never try.”

Instagram @imginte

This piece of advice comes directly from a friend of mine who graduated with her MBA from a top university. During her graduation party, she imparted this little piece of advice: Almost none of the businesspeople and entrepreneurs she learned about were a success because their ideas were great, but rather because they kept trying and didn’t take failure personally. Almost nobody makes it on their first try but, with perseverance, you will eventually get there.

23. “Your thighs aren’t going anywhere, so you might as well start loving them now.”

Instagram @katwomanfit

I still struggle with this one a little bit because I simply do not love the way my thighs look. Growing up, I was a chubby kid that eventually grew into an overweight and ultimately morbidly obese adult. Although I am happy with where I am now, loving my body is still a lesson that I learn and relearn every day. I really wish I had known this at 25 though when I was way too harsh on myself and never appreciated the things that ARE actually positive about my body.

24. “Be kind, even when you’re having a bad day.”

Instagram @vicki_alford

You know how they say that a smile is contagious? Well, being a grumpy SOB is pretty contagious too. I experienced this personally when a coworker’s attitude spread from them to me to my boyfriend later that day. This cycle is a negative one, and it’s one that I have since tried to stay away from. Instead, I smile and attempt to be kind everywhere I go. Sure, it’s difficult to be kind to people I sincerely disagree with (like Trump supporters), but I still try — if not for their sake, then at least for my own.

25. “Life never ever stops changing so embrace that NOW and stop stressing.”

Instagram @kristimasonact

When I was 25, I really, really wanted to have life figured out. After all, that’s what the quarter-life crisis is all about, right? You’re a few years out of school and desperately wanting to be “on the right track.” Well, here’s some bad and good news: There IS no right track. It simply doesn’t exist. We can decide to do something today, and change our minds tomorrow. You can try something and fail, and do something else and succeed. There are no guarantees in life, but that’s what makes it pretty amazing too. It never stops changing, so embrace the change and go into it with your head held high.

Walter Mercado Was An Iconic Astrologer And A Gender Nonconforming Legend And Now There’s A Documentary About Him Coming To Netflix

Entertainment

Walter Mercado Was An Iconic Astrologer And A Gender Nonconforming Legend And Now There’s A Documentary About Him Coming To Netflix

Waltermercadotv/ Instagram

Walter Mercado was a source of wisdom. His horoscopes eased many Latinxs into New Years, months and days full of new possibilities and opportunities. Equal parts Oprah, Liberace, and Mr. Rogers, Walter was a celebrated daily part of Latino culture—until last November, when he sadly passed away. But his legacy lives on, and this year, he’s getting his own Netflix documentary. Here’s everything we know so far about “Mucho Mucho Amor.”

Late television personality and astrologer Walter Mercado is the subject of a Netflix documentary.

Extravagant Puerto Rican astrologer, psychic, and gender nonconforming legend Walter Mercado charmed the world for over 30 years with his televised horoscopes. And this summer, a the feature-length documentary based on the life and work of the iconic astrologer, “Mucho Mucho Amor” will stream on Netflix. And it’s scheduled to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

The film was selected to premiere at the 2020 Sundance Festival.

The independent-film festival announced its lineup earlier this month, and Miami is well represented among the 118 films selected. Although Mucho Mucho Amor might seem timely in light of the astrologer’s passing in November, Tabsch and his codirector and coproducer — Cristina Constantini and Alex Fumero — have been working on it for more than two years.

The film explores Walter’s complex story.

“Mucho Mucho Amor”, follows Mercado’s story, from the rural sugarcane fields of Puerto Rico to international astrology superstardom, rising above homophobia and the heteronormative beliefs of the Latino society with a message of love and hope. “If you think about the way he came on television, starting from 50 years ago,” said one of the film’s directors, Kareem Tabsch in an interview with WLRN, “he blended gender expressions — the masculine with the feminine on Latino television, which is very macho-centric.”

The film was directed by two Latinx co-directors.

Kareem Tabsch and Cristina Costantini (Science Fair, Festival Favorite Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival) both set out to create “Mucho Mucho Amor” as a love letter to Walter Mercado.  “He was uniquely his own. In a very macho Latino culture, he presented his nonbinary gender expression, and it was so brave,” Tabsch said to Miami New Times.

“Mucho Mucho Amor” unpicks how Walter Mercado became an icon of gender-fluidity for an entire generation.

The filmmakers, who grew up watching him with their abuelitos, craft a film with levity and a playful spirit. Light-years ahead of his time, Walter has become a nostalgic cult icon of self-expression and positivity for the gender-fluid youth of today.

And indeed, Walter Mercado induces millennial Latinos into deep nostalgia.

For Latino audiences, Mercado also represents a form of warm nostalgia. “You think of Walter today, and so many of us think of our abuelitas,” the Cuban-American filmmaker says in an interview with Miami New Times. “The memory takes us back to childhood. It takes us back to sitting with our grandparents. In making this film, we realized that was a universal experience [for Latinos].”

The director also spoke about the significance of premiering their film at Sundance.

The fact that an international film festival of Sundance’s prominence has recognized a film such as Mucho Mucho Amor is an important win for not only Tabsch and his team but also Latino culture. “It’s a huge recognition not just for Miami film, but for film created by, for, and about Latinos,” Tabsch says. “We’re telling our own stories.”

The film premieres at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24 and runs through January 31. It will be available on Netflix this summer.