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Styling a Mexican Soap Opera Star Isn't Easy

I got a call from Univision to fly down to Miami, FL to see if I would be interested in styling 4 episodes of a soap opera that was already airing. I didn’t know what to say or how to react to such yummy offer. “Where did you get my number from?” I asked the woman with the rice-cracker Spanish accent. Hilda was her name. I think she was Dominican.
“Your nephew Christian gave the number to one of our producers, is that a problem?” With a little bit of hesitation in her voice she inquired. “No, not right now. I’ll get him later.” “How may I help you?” I asked the young woman. “I don’t know if you have ever watched any of our telenovelas?” “But we would like you to help us with some styling issues,” “go on” I said to the Univision lady. “We don’t know what to do with some of the actresses; their hair is very 80’s, their drag-queen makeup is revolting and their fashion sense is appallling [yes, that’s “appalling” with 3 l’s].” While she was telling me all of this stuff, my mind was spinning out-of-control. I had to abruptly make a decision and without thinking I told her, “count me in, but with two conditions.” “Whatever you say Mr. Carlo, please come help us,” Hilda the production assistant begged me.
“I’ll do this job, if you allow me to work individually with each actress and I’ll do the job if you tell me that there are no budget restrictions.” For a few seconds, maybe 20 to 30 seconds there was a long pause, silence. “Hello.” “Hello.” “Are you still there?” I asked Hilda. “Si. Yes, I’m still here.” Hilda told me. “Well, did you hear what I said?” “Yes, and that’s totally fine, I’m sure,” again with hesitation and some fear she answered.

The promotional advertisement for the soap opera/novela Soy Tu Dueña. Univision.com
Besides asking Hilda for a bottomless budget, I also asked her to lodge me at a great hotel while changing lives at Univision. “Which hotel were you thinking?” Without any hesitation I told her, “the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, if that’s okay with you,” I sort of mumbled. Intentionally so I could get a reaction. “When would you be able to meet with our team? We would like to get you here as soon as possible. Preferably in 2 weeks when we start the new novela,” Hilda went on. Novela is another word in Spanish for soap opera.
“I could be in Miami in three days but I have to check my schedule, so I will have to call you back,” I told Hilda. In my head I was already thinking about what I was going to do. I was breaking down ideas for what it would be a great makeover, which is a word I dislike. I was conceptualizing a monumental assignment, and I knew I could do it.
I arrived in Miami (pronounced Mee ah mee) and went directly to the studios of Univision. I was greeted with such pomp and circumstance I thought I had achieved world peace. “Where are my ladies?” I asked Hilda, who turned out to be this frumpy and plumpish twenty something with full lips lined in a Chianti red and filled in with a rosy pink lipstick. Who does that? Her jet-black ponytail was tight and dramatically long. “Well, one of them is here and the rest you will meet in the next few days,” she told me. “Who is she? And which soap is she in?” “She’s currently in Soy Tu Dueña and she needs major help,” she said. What Hilda and the team in Miami didn’t know, was that I had already called a few designers and makeup artists and they had agreed to give us a hand with these ladies.
“This is Lucero.” She reached out to kiss my cheek.
“Nice to met you Lucero,” I replied. Lucero is “star” in Spanish. How narcissistic and conceited? Lucero is the Susan Lucci of Mexico, but only with curves and a lot of hair and boobs.

Lucero working her curves and her hair. Univision.com

“Very nice to meet you Carlo. I’m so happy to meet you and cannot wait to get your opinion,” she gracefully waved her hands and her voluminous long curls covered her cheeky face.  This woman was tall (for a Latin woman) and the proud owner of some major curves. She was wearing the tightest low cut jeans with a bright floral print peasant blouse that showcased her enormous tetas. Borderline slutty and hussy.
“I have to tell you Carlo that my favorite colors are orange and purple,” she told me right away. “Really? Orange and purple?  Were you a Lakers girl?” I asked her. “I don’t know what a Lakers girl is,” she replied. I was doomed and this was going to be a big project. Huge I thought. I would make miracles happen.
She was pretty, and I had a huge challenge in front of me. I had planned to use fresh, colorful, modern, feminine, minimalistic pieces from the Spring 2011 Prada, Jil Sander, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Stella McCartney, Lanvin, Versace and Valentino collections to bring these ladies out to the light. But now I was in trouble. “How am I going to get these curvy size 12 girl(s) into these clothes?” I kept asking myself. I could envision Lucero in modern silhouettes and flattering shapes; tailored pantsuits, clean pencil skirts, romantic evening gowns and modern-stream lined dresses. And flat shoes for day, instead of the trampy outdated clothes she was wearing and the old clunky platforms she had on. And she was delighted to tell me she favored platforms. Again, very Latina to favor clunky, embellished trѐs passé shoes—not fitting of a modern Latin woman. Her makeup was beastly: she was wearing turquoise mixed with a glittery bronze eye shadow and exceptionally long fake lashes. Her cheeks were covered in an English rose blush; very heavy and layered.  It was midday. “In this Miami heat she’s wearing that face?” 
This Jil Sander look is minimal and chic. Monica Feudi/Style.com

I woke up to the sound of the alarm clock and bummed out that it was just all a comical dream. With their flamboyant wardrobes and their lack of fashion sense Spanish soap operas and their leading ladies are less than perfect. They’re an obnoxious mess. And it would be a dream to make over a few of the leading ladies and men for that matter. The novela’s men are equally guilty of lacking style-unstylish and chintzy.  Growing up I was in some way encouraged, no wait, required to watch the petty drama. I’ve always believed novelas to be tacky, frivolous, fake, foolish, stereotypical, predictable, homophobic and extremely campy. I’m always embarrassed to tell people that I watch novelas/telenovelas a handful of times a year. When I go home to visit my mother or vice versa.
These are some of my suggestions for the Mexican drama queen. She couldn't possibly decline.

Carolina Herrera looks are modern and feminine. Yannis Vlamos/Style.com


  1. You have a lot going on. Thanks for sharin the CH collection. And drop by me too, when you have time.