Monday, February 12, 2007

Pink Navy Girl in Every Port: María Félix

This is one of those instances, possums, when we are grateful for the “other matters of taste” rubric in our blog description.

As we’ve mentioned, we’re more than a little bored by Top Design, but let us introduce you to something that has us very excited indeed. We present our first-ever Girl in Every Port, none other than Mexican actress María Félix, diva extraordinaire and one of the most fabulous women who ever lived.

She was the original barefoot contessa, an admixture of Ava Gardner, Bette Davis, and Joan Crawford. She had four husbands, and numerous lovers. Her second husband, Agustín Lara, was the Irving Berlin of Latin America. Her third husband, Jorge Negrete, was a Mexican amalgam of John Wayne and Frank Sinatra. Her fourth husband, Alex Berger, a millionaire French financier, financed the construction of the Mexico City subway, modeled after the Paris métro, in order to please her, or at least that was her version.

Her lovers included Diego Rivera, who painted her twice, once in the nude. (She was also painted by Jean Cocteau, though, of course, they didn’t become lovers). King Farouk of Egypt reportedly offered her Nefertiti’s crown in exchange for one night of love.

Her most passionate and longest-lasting relationship may well have been with Cartier, whom she famously commissioned to make necklaces based on her pet snake and pet crocodile. She reportedly walked into the Paris branch with her pet baby crocodile and asked the Cartier jewelers to make her a scale replica in gold. She was dressed by Dior and outfitted by Hermès, which also provided all the gear for her stable of race horses in Paris.

In addition to her beauty and her reputation as a femme fatale, she was also famous for her quick wit. Of jewels, she said, “Some friends have told me that pearls make people cry. The only pearls that have made me cry were the fake ones.” When an audience in Colombia protested after she cut short a musical performance, she retorted, “Others have seen less, and paid more.” To a lady reporter who dared to ask her age, she witheringly replied, “Look, young lady, I’ve been very busy living my life and haven’t had time to count.”

Other examples of her bons mots:

* “I don't count the years, I only limit myself to living them.”

* “A man has never made my life difficult, because I have never bet all my chips on only one man.”

* “Women will never be like men, although sometimes there are men with the heart of a woman. From the beginning of time, men have taken the largest piece of the pie. I have the heart of a man and that's why things have been good for me.”

* “I cannot complain about men. I have had tons of them and they have treated me fabulously well. But sometimes I had to hurt them to keep them from subjugating me.”

* “‘Diva’ is something made up, but I was not fabricated, life made me and it possibly made me very well.”

She made films for Jean Renoir, Luis Buñuel, and Emilio Fernández. She was celebrated by writers Octavio Paz, Carlos Fuentes, and Kiss of the Spider Woman author Manuel Puig, and it is said that she is the “spider woman” of the title. She titled her delicious memoirs, All My Wars. She was the first Latin American woman to be made Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.

But her greatest achievement may well be this: she might just be the one who made us gay.

So we advise you NOT to watch the video below unless you are prepared for the consequences of so much fabulousness unleashed.