Back in February of this year, “Roma” actress Yalitza Aparicio dominated fashion headlines after her appearance on the red carpet of the Oscars. The actress made her first appearance at the 91st Academy Awards as a Best Actress nominee for her breakout role as Cleo a maid of Mixteco heritage working for a family in Mexico City during the early 1970s. Aparicio had already had a big night, not only had she nailed a coveted nominee slot, she’d done so for her first role ever in a movie. And while awe over her talent was much talked about, it was the mint-green and silver metallic tulle gown she wore by Rodarte that caught so much attention.
The fashion brand has long been an established designer on red carpets but there’s no denying the actress has helped raise interest in its designers. The red carpet match of the designers and the actress proved not only to be a success at the Oscars, but it also proved worthy of a lasting partnership.
For the fashion brand’s latest lookbook, Aparicio was selected as a model.
The rising star wowed in the brand’s dreamy fashion shoot.
Aparicio appeared in the Spring lookbook in a polka-dot belted black and white dress and a pair of sheer gloves studded with pearls which also speckle her hair. She modeled the dress in a magazine that featured Hollywood veterans such as Gabrielle Union and Kirsten Dunst.
Aparicio appeared in simple colors and extravagant gowns.
For her other appearance, the actress could be seen wearing a black and white plaid dress that featured a ruffle color and puff sleeves.
Of course, it didn’t take long for reactions to Aparcio’s appearance to set fire online.
Fans of the actress were quick to call her a “reina” and other celebrities including “Mad Men” actor January Jones, who also appeared in the shoot, commented “Love. ❤️”
Aparicio’s feature is another reminder, that the indigenous actress has her heels dug into Hollywood and the fashion industry and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Back in January of this year, Vogue México honored the actress with a feature and photoshoot that served as an ode to her culture and home state of Oaxaca. Not only was she featured on the magazine’s cover, but she was also thrown a party at the Patio del Huaje en el Jardín Etnobotanico in Oaxaca.
While the finicky nature of Hollywood and its attention to actresses of color has a strong pattern, Yalitza’s star does not seem to be dwindling. In fact, her appearance in the lookbook nearly seven months after her appearance at the Oscars, and without any announcements of new roles, proves she must have a lot coming up for herself.
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Sometimes, fashion is more than just a mirror of society. In a few instances, the fashion industry has actually been responsible for reshaping reality rather than just mirroring it. One way it does this is by breaking taboos and introducing marginalized ideas into the mainstream. The current visibility of transgender people is a development that the fashion world has embraced in recent years. Granted, fashion’s focus on the topic is, more often than not, on the “blurring of traditional lines between genders” to explore androgyny, but many designers and brands are currently emphasizing on a ‘gender-neutral’ and non-binary ethos. The editorial side of fashion however, has been a bit slow to embrace representation and support genderqueer people—but this month, Vogue Mexico and Latin-America, in collaboration with British Vogue, are leading the charge, by dedicating their cover story to a small group of people in Juchitán Oaxaca who seek to live outside of binary labels: Los Muxes.
Vogue Mexico and Latin-America has proven to be the most ‘woke’ publication of Conde Nast’s portfolio this year.
The magazine has doubled up on its efforts for representation and diversity. Just this year they made history by featuring an indigenous woman, Yalitza Aparicio, on the cover of a magazine for the very first time, ever. A few months later they featured four Afro-Latinas on their cover and opened the floor to discussion about what being Afro-Latina means. Just last month they honored indigenous women of different parts of Latin America for their 20th anniversary issue. And now, the magazine is shining a light on a centuries-old non-binary indigenous community of rural Mexico, and introducing them to the world.
In recent years, Oaxaca has become somewhat of a trendy destination.
The Zapotec state is a multicultural hub in the south of Mexico known for its delicious climate, rich food and complex history. The people of Oaxaca have fought hard to keep a lot of their centuries-old traditions and beliefs alive, and one of these beliefs —or rather, a group of people— is called “muxes.”
In Juchitán, a small indigenous town in Southern Oaxaca, a community of individuals known as ‘Muxes’, seek to live free of binary labels “male” and “female.”
The word muxes also spelled muxhes in some instances, comes from the Spanish word for woman “mujer,” and it generally represents people who are assigned male at birth, but identify as non-binary. Muxes have their own gender identity, different from what the West has traditionally dubbed to be female and male.
The iterations among the Muxe community and their self-identifications vary – some identify as male but are female-expressing, while others identify as female and are more closely associated with Western culture’s understanding of transgender. In their culture, the term “third gender” might be more suitable to define Muxes.
Muxes are ‘dual’ beings, they don’t believe in being ‘female’ or ‘male’, they simply are.
“To be muxe is a duality. We carry out the role depending on the circumstances, sometimes I might seem like a man, and others like a woman,” says Pedro Enriquez Godínez Gutiérrez, a person known locally in Juchitán as “La Kika,” in an interview with Vogue Mexico. Apart from being a muxe, he’s the Director of Sexual Diversity of Juchitán Town Hall.
Muxes have lived in Juchitan since pre-hispanic times, there are a few indigenous legends that explain their origins and give a faith to the antiquity of their existence.
There are two legends in Juchitán, that recount the origin of Muxes. One says that San Vicente Ferrer, the holy patron of Juchitán, had a pocket with holes in it, from which they fell out of. Another version says that as he walked the earth, San Vicente Ferrer, always carried three bags: one with male seeds, another loaded with female seeds, and a third that contained both seeds, mixed up. This last bag was the one that broke as he walked through Juchitán, and that is why there are so many muxes there.
The people of Juchitán are a sort of pre-hispanic family. In this town the women are as strong as the men and muxes are as respected as both men and women. Ironically, the system of tolerance and respect that’s existed there for centuries is considered ‘modern’, elsewhere.
Mixes are a community that not even the 21st century can wrap its head around.
“Gubixha bizaani guirá neza guzá ca,” writes Vogue Mexico, is Zapotec for “the sun illuminated all the roads they have walked”, and perhaps that is why they can walk the streets without fear in a predominantly Catholic country that still struggles to offer equal rights for women and that is mostly intolerant of sexual orientations and preferences, Juchitán remains greatly untouched by this hate. Muxes walk the streets with flowers in their hair, they wear light huipiles —a traditional garment worn by indigenous women— and colorful skirts. This indigenous town is a model of how a culture can make space for life outside of the binary. Juchitán is an example to even the most progressive cities of the world.
Vogue Mexico and Latin America teamed up with British Vogue to celebrate both British and Mexican talent.
The collaboration marked the first time both publications work together on a joint story. The experience allowed both publications to exchange ideas and share their cultures. Vogue Mexico’s cover, featuring Estrella, one of the muxes from Juchitán, was shot by Tim Walker, the iconic British fashion photographer, and the story will be published on both magazines for the month of December.
Vogue Mexico’s Editor-In-Chief took to Instagram to share the news of the cover story.
“It’s finally here!!! We are releasing one of our December covers early as it is a special joint collaboration with @britishvogue – thank you @edward_enninful for featur[ing] the beauty of MEXICO in the pages of British Vogue. No one could have captured the magical realism better than Tim Walker and Kate Phelan. Stay tuned for more!” wrote the Mexican editor Karla Martinez de Salas on her personal Instagram page.
Vogue Mexico’s December issue will be available nation-wide starting December 1st.
There’s no denying it, Lizzo’s been having a great year, 2019 has definitely been good to her. Not a week goes by without us hearing something or another about the queen of self-love. The singer earned four VMA nominations this year, including best new artist, push artist of the year, best power anthem and song of the summer. She has a string of high profile celebs and personalities flooding her DMs and twitter feed, and before the decade draws to an end, she just landed the cover story of Vogue UK —Lizzo did THAT.
This year’s definitely got Lizzo feeling ‘good as hell’.
It’s been almost two years since Lizzo released her song “Truth Hurts,” and the singer skyrocketed up the charts and captivated the whole world with her positivity and fun energy this year. To end 2019 with a bang, Lizzo landed the cover of Vogue UK and to aptly quote her own hit, she’s looking “good as hell.”
Growing up, Lizzo recalls rarely —if at all— seeing women who looked like her in the media.
The December issue of Vogue UK features the pop star clad in a glamorous Versace gown with feathered shoulders. The proud singer, happily tweeted out the cover photo this week. Lizzo told British Vogue just how much this cover story meant to her after growing up with hardly any images depicting women that looked like her in the media.
“I would watch things on television and I would look at magazines and I would not see myself,” she told British Vogue. “When you don’t see yourself, you start to think something’s wrong with you. Then you want to look like those things and when you realize it’s a physical impossibility, you start to think, ‘What the fuck is wrong with me?’.” “I think that took a greater toll on me, psychologically, growing up than what anyone could have said to me.”
For all of us who’ve been starved for representation in fashion, this cover is a breath of fresh air.
That’s why seeing Lizzo on the cover of British Vogue’s December issue—her first Vogue cover—in a plunging black couture gown, is such a deeply emotional experience for those of us who have rarely if ever seen bodies like ours, that don’t necessarily stick to the impossible “beauty norm,” represented in magazines.
It’s a well known fact that magazines are often found guilty of extreme photoshop, which is why seeing Lizzo in her full glory is such a MOMENT.
What’s more, her cover is elevated, beautiful, fashionable and worthy of being seen. In the past —and perhaps still to this day, magazines have been guilty of hiding shapely bodies and airbrushing away their curves. But in this case British Vogue chose to acknowledge them instead.
Plus-sized bodies covering Vogue have been rare—and have often been included as a token within groups of slimmer frames. Even Oprah reportedly slimmed down to a size 6 for her first Vogue cover in 1998; thankfully, her last appearance captured her in all her full-figured glory. But while many of us will be clamoring to get British Vogue’s December issue for its rare display of body positivity (the same quality many of us respond to in Lizzo, along with her undeniably infectious words), the entertainer insists it’s never been a gimmick.
“I’m not trying to sell you me, I’m trying to sell you, you.”
“Anybody that uses body positivity to sell something is using it for their personal gain. That’s just it,” she told Vogue. “We weren’t selling anything in the beginning. We were just selling ourselves and selling ourselves on the idea—selling ourselves on ourselves, you know?” “I’m not trying to sell you me,” she adds. “I’m trying to sell you, you.”
Whatever she’s selling, she can take our money.
For those of us who’ve been starving for representation, the rise of Lizzo has been a healing balm. She’s a brown-skinned, big-bodied, unfiltered, unapologetic woman in a world that all too often asks us to apologize for not fitting its narrow definition of beauty, especially women (literally and figuratively).
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