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Maria Felix Refused Roles In Hollywood Until She Established Her Career In Mexico

@MARS0411 / Twitter

María Félix is one of the most recognizable actresses of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, probably because her career spanned 47 films made in Mexico, Spain, France, Italy, and Argentina, as well as Hollywood. She was a feminist icon and well-known for refusing roles that portray Mexicans as anything less than complex characters with full personhood.

Affectionately known as María Bonita y La Doña, Félix overcame truly Hollywood-level plot twists in her life, including kidnapping and being widowed not once but twice, to get to where she went.

Félix had eleven siblings.

CREDIT: @aresluoga / Twitter

That’s right. Her poor mother, Josefina Güereña Rosas, raised a dozen children. Her father, Bernardo Félix Flores was a military officer and descendent of the Yaqui indigenous people.

María de los Ángeles Félix Güereña was born in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico in 1914.

CREDIT: @agguman / Twitter

The Aries star was born on April 8, but because her birthday was reported to the Mexican government on May 4, her government IDs recognize her birthday almost a full month later. Google honored her actual day of birth with this doodle.

Félix refused to change her name to meet Hollywood anglo standards.

CREDIT: @astolenparadise / Twitter

Producers tried to persuade her to use the name Diana del Mar or Marcia Maris, but she refused. She actually insisted on María de Los Ángeles Félix but conceded to shorten it, so long it was still her name.

As a child, her mother sent her brother Pablo to a military academy after fearing they might have an incestuous relationship.

CREDIT: @aresluoga / Twitter

Literally, I have no doubt that this is just a classic case of Mexicana mami catastrophizing melodrama that probably just made their fraternal relationship a tad awkward.

After her family moved to Guadalajara, she was crowned Beauty Queen.

CREDIT: @_LAluv / Twitter

That was when she met Enrique Álvarez Alatorre, a cosmetics salesman, and her eventual first husband. They were married for six years and had Félix’ only child, Enrique.

Félix was a receptionist at a plastic surgeon’s office in Mexico City.

CREDIT: @Mkeenan4371 / Twitter

After she returned home to Guadalajara, she couldn’t take the chismosa about her divorcée status. She took Enrique to Mexico City with her and the two lived in a guest house.

Félix had to plan an elaborate scheme to kidnap her son back from his father.

CREDIT: @Soledad_Haren / Twitter

One day, Enrique’s father came to visit him and just refused to give him back. The story goes that her soon-to-be second husband Agustín Lara helped her plan the recovery, which included tricking the boy’s grandmother and kidnapping Enrique back.

When is someone going to make a movie out of that?

Félix was afraid that Lara was a cocaine addict.

CREDIT: @lambo_balmain / Twitter

Once, she found a piece of paper with white powder in it and decided to actually snort it. She was curious, okay. Nothing happened. It was sulfathiazole powder, which is used to clean cuts.

Lara was a famous composer that immortalized Félix, penning her first nickname “María Bonita” in song.

CREDIT: @BeatriceMarge / Twitter

They divorced two years later because of Lara’s abusive jealousy. In Félix’ autobiography, she wrote that he even once tried to kill her in a fit of violent jealousy.

She was discovered while walking down the street in Mexico City.

CREDIT: @grisellepreston / Twitter

Director and filmmaker Fernando Palacios spotted her and immediately asked if she wanted to make movies. He started bringing her to his film circles and even to Hollywood.

She turned down Hollywood’s offer to make it big, saying she wanted to begin her career in Mexico.

CREDIT: @aresluoga / Twitter

This is a woman who was so sought after, she had her pick of the litter to debut. She chose a female lead role directed by Miguel Zacarías, El Peñón de las Ánimas.

She got the Doña Bárbara gig because the novelist was obsessed with her.

CREDIT: @MARS0411 / Twitter

Rómulo Gallegos met her at a luncheon in Club Chapultepec and became infatuated. He decided she would be the only one that could play “my Doña Bárbara.” She’s been known as La Doña ever since.

Over ten years after filming El Peñón de las Ánimas alongside her then enemy, Jorge Negrete, they united and fell in love.

CREDIT: @OfficialCLM / Twitter

Allegedly, Negrete asked her, “I’m curious, who did you sleep with to get the starring role?” and she responded with “You’ve been in the business longer, so you must know who you have to sleep with to be a star.”

Over a decade later, they reunited in Argentina, fell in love and got married. He was sick at the time and died just 11 months into the marriage.

Diego Rivera was obsessed with her.

CREDIT: @firmeprincess / Twitter

In her autobiography, she writes that he “loved me hopelessly for nearly ten years.” He would send her cards with toad-frog drawings and wrote to her as the Holy Virgencita de Catipoato. He’d joke that he was the pope of his fake Marifeliana religion.

Félix’s home in Tlalpan had over 100 animals on the property.

CREDIT: @llcastro90 / Twitter

Rivera himself sent 80 rattlesnakes from Oaxaca. She had 14 dogs, most of whom were strays that she took in from the street. She also had 600 fruit trees and 18 employees that worked the grounds alone.

Her son, Enrique, tragically died of a heart attack in 1996.

CREDIT: @pa_recordar / Twitter

At the time, he was himself an actor in film and television. In her autobiography, she wrote of how much she adored him:

“Enrique is a very gifted man, with admirable common sense. He’s my best friend. I have so much fun with him. He’s not a ‘mama’s boy,’ as many believe. Self-employed, fight like being independent. He has his own career, his audience, his poster and assumes his responsibilities without relying on me.”

Her last husband died of lung cancer just months after her own mother died.

CREDIT: @girlindodgerblu / Twitter

She fell into a deep depression for a long time. The only thing that helped her be happy again was horses.

She focused the rest of her life on her stable of horses.

CREDIT: @agguman / Twitter

The stable became famous in France, and her Spanish named horses (María Bonita, Mayab, Zapata, Chingo and Vera) competed in derbies. It was there that her late husband was buried and where she’d stay for many years.

She was famous for her jewelry collection.

CREDIT: @EABR05 / Twitter

This very snake necklace was commissioned from Cartier Paris and is entirely encrusted with 178.21 diamond carats. Cartier has even debuted a La Doña de Cartier collection full of reptilian inspired fine jewelry.

Félix had a lock of gray hair that she only showed in Doña Bárbara.

CREDIT: @ricardoisaac3 / Twitter

She hid it in every other movie and even in photos. It was passed down to her by her father.

María Félix died on her birthday in 2002.

CREDIT: @dearmilano / Twitter

She was 88 years old and died in her sleep in Mexico City. She was buried alongside her son and parents in the family tomb.


READ: 7 Quotes from La Doña María Félix that Will Get You through the Week

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Here's How Cuban Talk Show Host Cristina Saralegui Changed The Game For Latinos On TV

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Here’s How Cuban Talk Show Host Cristina Saralegui Changed The Game For Latinos On TV

cristinasaraleguitv / Instagram

If you’re Cuban, or from Miami, you know who Cristina Saralegui is. Your mother would be in the kitchen and make you parrot everything she said on El show de Cristina from the living room. She’s the hetero Ellen Degeneres of Spanish language television, and we haven’t seen her on the TV in almost ten years.

Her show covered controversial topics for its time, including domestic violence, sex abuse and actually covering the AIDS epidemic when no research was being conducted. Let us tell you how she got her start and what she’s up to now.

Cristina Maria Saralegui is an Aquarius.

CREDIT: @DiarioLaPrensa1 / Twitter

Those airy signs can talk with anyone about anything, which is why she could joke around with the likes of Selena, Shakira, Celia Cruz, and so many other superstars. Saralegui was born on January 29, 1948, which means in her early seventies these days.

Saralegui was born in Miramar, Havana, Cuba.

CREDIT: @el_sintweets / Twitter

She’s of Spanish descent from all four grandparents. Cristina has classic oldest sibling vibes, and she’s earned it. She has two younger sisters and two younger brothers.

Her family fled Cuba during the Cuban Revolution in 1960.

CREDIT: @cristinasaraleguitv / Instagram

She was only 12 years old when her parents, Francisco Rene Saralegui, Jr. and Cristina Santamarina, settled down in Key Biscayne.

She graduated fromthe University of Miami.

CREDIT: @CeliaCruzLegacy1 / Twitter

Go ‘Canes! Cristina grew up very Catholic and attended Catholic school all the way until college. After graduating from the Academy of the Assumption in Class of 1966, she was off to Miami proper.

Within 6 years of starting an internship at Vanidades, she was editor of Cosmo.

CREDIT: @peopleenespanol / Twitter

That’s right. She’s said that the internship helped improve her written Spanish. Makes sense that if you suddenly start learning English grammar at age 12, that you’d miss some Spanish lessons. She spent a decade as editor of the Spanish version of Cosmopolitan.

It was in 1989 that she launched her own television show.

CREDIT: @katbeee / Twitter

El show de Cristina was her first shot at television journalism and Univisión was all on board. The show has received 11 Emmy Awards.

The first time Cristina met Celia Cruz, she had an emotional breakdown.

CREDIT: @elnuevoherald / Twitter

According to Cristina’s account on El Nuevo Herald, she said, “I remember that I went to interview her at the Diplomat hotel. I started the interview, but in those days I was very sad because I had lost a pregnancy and something unusual happened to me. Suddenly I started to cry, Celia asked me what was wrong, I told her and she gave me a hug and she consoled me. So much was its human warmth that my defenses collapsed and I crossed a line that I never crossed again with anyone I have interviewed.”

Her signature thumbs up al fin del show is iconic.

CREDIT: @MiamiHerald / Twitter

In classic Cuban Oprah fashion, she’d end every show with this:

“Pa’lante, pa’lante, pa’tras ni pa’ coger impulso”

Which roughly means dale, let’s go, don’t slow down.

Cristina tried to do an English language show, but it was cancelled after half a season.

CREDIT: @sophiaacarvajal / Twitter

It went by Cristina, and she launched it three years after El show de Cristina. I guess in 1992, English speakers had Oprah and Spanish speakers had Cristina y ya.

Cristina used her fame to publish her own magazine, Cristina: La Revista.

CREDIT: @smithsonian / Twitter

She’s also two books in multiple languages, one of which is called “My Life as a Blonde.” Haven’t read it yet, but I’m curious to hear the hardships la rubia life has that could even compete with the hairy morena life.

Cristina’s magazine and career has been lauded by GLAAD for its LGBTQ inclusivity.

CREDIT: @PH_Film / Twitter

In 1997, GLAAD awarded her the Media Vanguard Award, which was followed up 16 years later with the Media Award for Outstanding Magazine. Cristina and her husband have also founded the Arriba La Vida Foundation to promote AIDS awareness and education in the Latinx community.

She was part of the 1999 Class of the Hollywood Walk of Fame stars.

CREDIT: @cristinasaraleguitv / Instagram

She got her star on November 4, 1999, and its well-deserved. From running Cosmo to launching her own television show, magazine, furniture and beauty product lines, Cristina has dominated every industry she’s touched.

Her first ever political endorsement was for Barack Obama’s second run.

CREDIT: @OBAMA4ME / Twitter

She spoke at a rally in Miami, FL, and the crowd went nuts for her. Obviously, her presence worked because we got Obama for another term.

Her brother, Iñaki died in 2017.

CREDIT: @El_Universal_Mx1 / Twitter

He spent 5 months in the hospital after a liver transplant and died from complications.

Caption: “Hermano siempre estarás en mi corazon y en el de toda nuestra familia. Te amo. 👍”

Since retiring from television, she’s always posting about her beloved animals.

CREDIT: @cristinasaraleguitv / Instagram

Like every abuelita in Miami, she loves her cockateels. And her bull dogs. And her Koi.

Caption: “Miren quien se escapó de su jaula. Fígaro se admira en el espejo del comedor. 😃👍”

No really, she even competes in Koi competition shows.

CREDIT: @cristinasaraleguitv / Instagram

Only in Florida can you find the Central Florida Koi show. Cristina and her husband, Marco Avila, former member of the Miami Sound Machine, are very passionate about Koi.

And she has won.

CREDIT: @cristinasaraleguitv / Instagram

Caption: “Felicidades mi amor por ganarte otro campeonato con tus Koi.Central Florida Koi Show. 👍👍👍”

From the looks of the caption, the Saralegui family regularly wins the competition.

Saralegui is an avid orchid gardener.

CREDIT: @cristinasaraleguitv / Instagram

She grows a variety of species in her garden and you know how I know that? She’s constantly posting photos of potted and planted orchids. It’s kind of a Miami thing.

Saralegui has a son, Jon Marcos, with Avila.

CREDIT: @cristinasaraleguitv / Instagram

The two have been married since 1982, and Cristina also has a daughter with her first husband, Tony Menendez. Today, Cristina has grandkids to spoil rotten, gladly.

Saralegui is an outspoken feminist.

CREDIT: @cristinasaraleguitv / Instagram

It all started when her father would only pay for her brother’s education growing up. She’s said that was the moment she decided she couldn’t rely on any man for income.

In 1998, before Beyoncé pulled ‘feminist’ from a list of dirty words, Cristina told the Los Angeles Times, “I’m not afraid to say that I’m a very intelligent woman. [Latinas] cannot say that they’re intelligent. They can be beautiful, but they cannot be intelligent. And they cannot brag about it and say, ‘Yes, damn, I am smart and I am a woman.'”

After her show ended in 2011, annual rumors of her death crop up. She alive.

CREDIT: @briannnaesther / Twitter

In 2015, she told the Miami Herald, “I don’t on plan dying for a while yet. But I’ll let you know. You all will be invited to the funeral.”

Yup. She’s alive and well and you can catch her on her 24/7 Sirius XM talk show.


READ: Rare Celia Cruz Photos Are Adding Sazón To The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

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