SECRETS OF OORALE!
By David Lida
On a rainy night at the end of April, reporters Liliana López and Xiomara Santana waited outside the Auditorio Nacional in
Among those traversing the red carpet were director Alfonso Arau and the stars of the film, Alejandro Fernández, Jaime Camil and Lucero. Various oddities of Mexican show business also attended, including the former actress and Congresswoman Irma “The Tigress” Serrano, who came on the arm of producer Juan Osorio (who recently made headlines when his ex-wife lamented to the press about how rarely they’d had sex). Eye-candy artistes such as Lorena Herrera, Joana Benedeck and Éricka Buenfil also showed.
López y Santana, who write for the magazine Óoorale!, were armed with the list of questions they habitually ask the stars: How do you like to make love? Is it true that you’re an alcoholic? What do you do with your girlfriend in bed? Does size matter? Have you ever given up your ass to get a role on television? What do you scream when you have an orgasm?
But the event turned out to be what they call un chacaleo (a horde of jackals) – a gaggle of reporters separated far from the stars. Not only were they not granted interviews, they weren’t even close enough to shout their questions out loud.
Despite the impersonal treatment, the magazine gave ample coverage to Zapata.
First, Santana published what she calls “a colorful story” describing the events of the evening. To say the least, the text was breastocentric. It was noted that the “bosoms” of the Tigress were generously exposed despite the evening cool, and that the nipples of other attendees “stood up to salute the public.” A photo of Jaime Camil’s girlfriend, in a thin and transparent dress, was published. For the unfortunate readers who might have trouble locating her nipple, the art director included a yellow arrow pointing to the designated spot.
There was also a brief speculative story about how Alejandro Fernández’s bottom might have looked if it had appeared in the movie’s love scenes instead of that of a double. As points of comparison, the magazine ran photos of the hairy buttocks of Ari Telch, the bald ones of Jorge Poza, and the “smooth, pink” ones of a baboon.
However, the master stroke of the reporters was an interview with a medium named Paco Segovia (who writes a weekly column for Óoorale!, advising readers about which herbs and unguents might help them improve their luck economically, induce the return of an errant husband or break a witch’s spell). The headline on the magazine’s cover was ZAPATA A FAILURE! LUCERO’S CURSE UNBROKEN! According to the medium, the singer’s bad luck “contaminated the atmosphere of the shooting.” Her problems with money, work and love will hound her for “a good while,” he predicted. But if everyone who worked on the movie would return to the location and ask forgiveness from the spirits, the bad luck just might disappear.
A fart by any other name would smell as sweet
The world of show business in Mexico has degenerated to the point in which someone without even a modicum of talent can become rich and famous for stripping on television while locked inside a house for a few weeks on TV programs like Big Brother. Given such an absurd situation, Óoorale! is the only magazine that treats the medium with the respect it deserves. The headlines on the cover tell the whole story:
CHABELA MADOW GOT MARRIED WITH HER ASS EXPOSED!
LORENA HERRERA: “I’M DIRTY IN BED!”
SERGIO ANDRADE HAS A LITTLE ONE!
NACHA PLUS: “I SING WITH A VOICE LIKE A WHISTLE – THEY’RE ONLY LOOKING AT MY ASS!”
LIKE THE TIGRESS, LYN MAY FROZE SPERM IN HER FRIDGE – BUT IT SPOILED WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT!
PATY MUÑOZ’S NEW FACE! — (accompanied by a photo of her naked behind) — “I POSE NAKED BUT I’M NO PROSTITUTE!”
Other magazines and newspapers tend to report about show business with a mystifying seriousness. When the Cuban vedette Niurka married Bobby Larios, an “actor” with a shaky background, the magazine TVnotas treated its readers to 25 pages covering the event, as if it were a royal wedding. Meanwhile, Óoorale! informed the world that the bridal gown “cost three pesos,” according to a “prestigious fashion designer.”
“The difference between us and the rest of them is in the language,” says David Estrada, the jovial 27-year-old editor of Ooorale! “The others write as if their magazines were made for Spaniards, or maybe Germans. Matilde Obregón (editor of Tvnotas) and Chucho Gallegos (editor of TV y novelas) see themselves as part of show business. We’re with the people. We’re on the readers’ side. We write in street language – it’s pure Mexican slang.”
(Including the name of the magazine. In
“The world of show business is a show itself,” Estrada continues. “People look at the stars as if they were heroes, beautiful people who can do anything, the antithesis of ugliness. People look up to them in the clouds, far away. We bring them down, we put them in their place, here with us. If Verónica Castro breaks wind, I’m going to publish it. And we’ll use the language of the people. We won’t publish that she was flatulent. We’ll write that she cut a fart.”
The bodily functions of the cast of Big Brother is a recurring theme in Ooorale!, as is its showering techniques, and the bitter comments of the people who have been banished from the program. The issues of the magazine with stories about the show sell so briskly that sometimes the reporters have to roll up their sleeves to think of new angles to cover it.
For example, when Xiomara Santana saw cultural critic Carlos Monsiváis at a memorial service for actress Nanci Cárdenas, she approached him and asked his opinion about the show. The result was a story titled “WISE MAN MONSIVAÍS SAYS BIG BROTHER IS JUST TITS AND ASS!” The article was accompanied by photos of some of the show’s participants, with helpful red arrows locating the “tits” and “ass.” In the story, the “writer and intellectual” offered the opinion that the stars of the show have neither “a basic level of neurons” nor “more than a peanut in their heads.”
Óoorale!, whose offices are in a quiet neighborhood near downtown
Themes and variations
An assiduous reader of Ooorale! realizes that, in addition to Big Brother, other themes are repeated ad infinitum. A study of recent issues reveals some of the manias:
* Feminine alcoholism. In the last few weeks, a few nearly identical stories ran:
¡THE COPS BOOKED CARMEN CAMPUZANO FOR PUBLIC DRUNKENNESS!
ADRIANA FONSECA: ¡I’M NOT AN ALCOHOLIC, I’VE JUST GONE OUT AND GOT DRUNK!
With an impressive show of compassion, the magazine reported that ITATI’S ALCOHOLISM FINISHED OFF HER MARRIAGE!, while LAURA LEÓN LIKES TO DRINK BEER ON THE STREET! The source of that last story was a saleswoman in the Lomas Verdes outdoor bazaar, who saw the singer eating in a taco stand and drinking a beer. Evidently to the editors’ disappoinment, León was not drunk, but she “drank as if they were reaching the bottom of the barrel.”
There isn’t much one can say about BARBIE HAS BECOME AN ALCOHOLIC AND IS DEPRESSED!
* The gay and lesbian universe. The headline SALMA HAYEK IS A BIG LESBIAN! was run next to, in much smaller type, in her role in the movie Frida! In the same issue the magazine published the two stories RAQUEL HAS THE FACE OF A LESBIAN! and RICKY MARTIN SEEMS GAY! Former boxer El Púas Olivares confessed to Ooorale! that I’VE HAD A LOT OF WOMEN, AND MEN TOO!
The story THE BIG KISS BETWEEN BOSÉ AND ALEJANDRO FERNÁNDEZ was illustrated with a shot of the two singers in a passionate clinch, with the Spaniard dressed as a woman. It was produced with Photo Shop, and was about an alleged fantasy of Bosé.
* God’s mercy. Although Óoorale! is not a religious magazine, various people who grace its pages are pious. In a story that appeared the week before the one about the connections between Itati Cantoral’s alcoholism and her divorce, they asked the actress if she predicted a new romance in her future. “God knows what will happen,” she said.
After an affair with Arleth Pacheco, Gerardo Peirano explained that he had gone back to his wife because, “God spoke to me and said I’d been bad.” Lorena Tassinara was shot by a mugger and supposedly died, but said she “talked with God, who said I had to come back to complete my mission.” In the same story in which he confessed to his bisexuality, El Púas assured readers that this part of his life was over, and that, “Now all I want is to personally meet Jesus Christ.”
Meanwhile, magician David Copperfield told the magazine, “I haven’t made a pact with the devil.”
Sex and shame
When they talk about their jobs, Óoorale!‘s reporters express a certain ambivalence. Xiomara Santana doesn’t think it will be a particularly impressive credential on her resumé. The first time that Liliana López asked the frank questions that are the magazine’s trademark, it caused her great embarrassment. She interviewed Victor González, a soap-opera actor, who, according to López, is either a liar or a fantasist. “He went into great detail about everything he did with his girlfriend,” she says. The second time they talked, the actor asked López if she were psychologically unstable. “You only ask me about sex,” he said.
González’s insinuation wasn’t the only humiliation that López has endured. “Juan Osorio hung up the phone in my ear. Laura Esquivel told me, ‘I won’t say anything to you, I don’t want to be in your magazine.’“ Sasha Montenegro screamed at her in the hall of a radio station. “I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me,” says López. On the other hand, when she called Niurka to ask if she had ever been to bed with Fidel Castro, the vedette erupted with laughter. She assured López that she hadn’t and the two talked for over an hour.
El Flaco Ibañez called Santana in a rage after Ooorale! ran an interview. She had asked if the comedian had ever been intimate with any of his colleagues. Ibañez answered, “No, dear, I never mix up my dick in my work,” a comment which, needless to say, showed up as the headline of the article.
If all four of Óoorale!´s reporters are beautiful, Santana is the only one who was crowned Señorita Guerrero in the year 2000. She says that none of her interview subjects has ever made a pass at her, although comic Luis de Alba confessed to her that he was becoming gay, and wondered if she couldn’t help him overcome the tendency. “Jorge Salinas is a big flirt and he likes to kiss everyone,” she adds.
Sex and more sex
Besides gossip, Óoorale! publishes photos of nude women, cartoons, jokes and a column called Consultorio Sentimental (Sentimental Consultation). The latter is made up of letters, supposedly sent by readers, about their amorous experiences. Once again, the headlines explain all: “WE LEFT THE ELEVATOR SMELLING OF SEX,” “AN ENGINEER DID ME AT THE WORKSITE,” “I DO IT WITH MY AUNT,” “I SHARED MY GIRLFRIEND WITH TWO GRINGOS.” All these heated stories end with a brief paragraph asking for advice: what to do when one falls in love during what began as a casual adventure; what to do when one suspects one’s spouse of cheating; what to do when one proves that one’s spouse has been cheating; what to do when one feels guilty after cheating on one’s spouse.
The column is signed by “Gabriela del Rincón.” The photo published beside her name depicts a blue-eyed blonde whose turtleneck sweater and fur-collared coat make up an outfit more appropriate for Moscow than Mexico City. “They bought the shot from a photo agency,” says Claudia Valdovinos, the column’s true author.
While she may be equally attractive as the woman in the photo, Valdovinos describes herself as “short, brown and with zero exuberance.” (Exbuerante is a common Mexican euphemism for a substantial bosom.) She is relieved that her picture doesn’t appear along with Consultorio Sentimental. “I get emails with every kind of proposition. They want to talk with me on chat lines, on Messenger.” But why didn’t they run a photo of a woman who looks Mexican? “They like blondes with blue eyes around here,” she says. “Unfortunately, they like what they can’t get.”
Valdovinos, who studied theatre at the
For those able to read between the lines, the most interesting aspect of the column isn’t its just-short-of-pornographic content, but its hidden agenda. “I’m looking to educate,” admits Valdovinos. “It’s about sex and about being erotic. But it’s also about teaching people. There are so many macho Mexicans who have no idea how to seduce a woman. There are a lot of women who’ve never had an orgasm. There are a lot of men who have no interest in what a woman feels.”
“It isn’t didactic,” she explains. “Maybe in a story about a man who cheats on his wife, the advice is to think it over. Perhaps it’s better that they break up so that they can be true to who they really are. I don’t condone the search for adventures or infidelity. But those who do it should protect themselves.”
Fun for 10 pesos
Estrada insists that nothing in the magazine is invented: “All the stories have sources, everything is real.” It doesn’t matter if the source is the cousin of the aunt of the friend who once sold a sandwich to Kate Del Castillo, or at least someone who looked like her. Or, even worse, someone who was voted out of the house of Big Brother, inclined to say anything to extend his fifteen minutes of fame (that his was the sperm donated to impregnate The Tigress; that actress Lorena Herrera is in fact a man; or that Ana Bárbara prunes her pubic hair in the shape of a heart).
According to the laws of free expression in
In what is either the most ingenuous or the most shameless argument in the history of journalism, Estrada explains, “Ooorale! is not a morbid magazine. The people who read it are.” The truth is that many of us in