She says it herself before the visitor can say it. The attic terrace where Valeria Vegas (Valencia, 37 years old) lives in Madrid is, perhaps, the mythical Women at the edge of a nervous attack, with its nightstands, its ivy and its potsherds. It’s no coincidence, of course. That was the reason why she chose this tiny apartment on Calle Téllez, in sad memory due to the 11-M attacks, flooded with light and color and decorated with portraits of divas of all eras and skins. From Brigitte Bardot to Ursula Andress, passing through Rafaela Aparicio, Sara Montiel and Carmen Miranda. No trace of her own image or that of her “husband” or her 16-year-old “her stepson”, with whom she has lived between Seville and Madrid for 13 years and whom she quotes naturally in the chat.
Why are there no photos of him?
I only keep two from my childhood, and because I remember myself happy in them: one, at the age of three or four, riding my mother’s heels, and another, with brushed hair dressed as a flamenco. I don’t like my photos as a child, they make me sad because I think that she could have been like today, a woman, and not have suffered certain things. Obviously, I had a bad time at school. But I don’t like victimhood nor do I want to drag that backpack. I have a thousand flaws, but one of my virtues is that resilience to not whip myself and stick my finger in the sore.
All photos are of women. Don’t you have male myths?
No. I like to wake up and see those strong women who faced the world and did not stay at home. They are women who have been shaping me, creating me.
Don’t the gentlemen inspire you?
Nothing. I admire certain actors. I see an old magazine and I say: look how handsome Fabio Testi, who caught him. My stepson, since he saw so many women, believed that I was lesbian, or bisexual, and that he was with his father for something else. not at all, I am hetero to dead. I could be hip, and say yes, but I’m not bisexual at all. I love men, blondes, browns, as Lola Flores said, but I’m only a mythomaniac of women. And I do not know why. It’s not on purpose.
Did you want to look like them?
Can. I wish to be a frankenstein of all. I come from a matriarchy, my mother has six sisters, I have many cousins, the feminine world has always been my environment, without looking for it.
And now, at 37, do you like yourself?
I loved it. Maybe because I’m not mega demanding with myself. So, maybe I lack a cheekbone, or I have an extra chin, but I like it on the outside. And inside I liked it a lot for three or four years.
What happened then?
I don’t know. There was no milestone. I felt like I was older. I saw the path traveled, that I have not left victims, I have not done things wrong. I’m happy and mine are happy with me, I’ve done well with my stepson…
That sounds like a fairy tale stepmother.
It is that he is my husband’s son. When I met his father, he was two years old. He has his mother, but I have raised him when we were together, I have changed diapers. I didn’t want to be a mother. I know it would be nice to say it, and that someone will think I don’t have it because I’m not a woman, but a trans, but I never had maternal instinct. And I am a good mother.
His novel tells of the relationship between an assistant and an older actress. Again women.
I had the germ of the story in my head a long time ago. When Gracita Morales died, I read that AISGE, an association of interpreters, had given her an assistant because she was physically and financially ill. I was attracted to that relationship between women of different generations and worlds. I thought there could be a novel out there, but I’ve only written it when a publisher proposed it to me. I’m not very ambitious, and I don’t say it vaingloriously, but regretting it.
It stirs the friendship between them. What has inspired you?
At home we had an assistant, Tere, she came once a week, but she was, is, part of the family. The cleaners are hard lives. Just as actresses are vocational, almost never a cleaning woman is by vocation. In the relationship we establish with them everything is seen: humanity, intimacy, classism. You are not what you say you are, but how you treat the cleaners, the waiters and the taxi drivers.
In his new documentary, he delves into the life of Nadiuska, another forgotten diva. Why are you so interested in the ingratitude of the public towards, excuse me, the artists?
We have disregarded or have looked the other way with the old age of the stars. It is as if they had to spend 20 years in their house for us to respect them. There is that very sad thing in Spain that our myths seem small to us. Think of Carol Burnett, and Lina Morgan, or Mary Santpere, or that Josele Román, who would go in and steal it simply saying: “Here are the cocochas”. Next to what is outside, what is ours seems shabby to us. The same is that what was shabby was the country, and we paid for it with the protagonists of those films, programs or interviews.
Were you in the ‘trans’ ‘closet’?
I talked to my parents about what I was feeling at the age of 21 and, obviously, they weren’t surprised at all, they were waiting for me to say it, because they saw it. I always behaved like what I was, I never hid anything. It annoys me to use the word luck, because it should be normal, but I have had a lot with my family. I am so happy that I am afraid.
I’m going to have fulminant cancer. Because my boy, since we live far away, has an accident and I don’t even get to say goodbye. I have nightmares that my happiness is going to be cut off. I’m not interested in recreating myself in the past and I’m fine with the present. And I am privileged: I am trans in a friendly environment, in the century and the country that I was born in, which is not exactly the worst. So I think this is going to end. It must be that Judeo-Christian thing about punishment and guilt.
Unlike the previous generation, you did have role models. In fact, he wrote the biography of ‘The Venom’.
Totally, when I hear some of my generation say they haven’t had one, I think: where have you been, darling, in a cave? Bibiana Fernández, Veneno herself, the Liking of Almodovar. We had them there, you just had to look.
Bale ‘The Piranha’, a ‘trans’ woman friend of Veneno, told me in an interview about her decision not to have surgery: “Between a mortgage and a piece of cake, I chose a mortgage to have somewhere to drop dead.” Did they have it worse?
To those who doubt it, talk to them. Now there is unemployment, but at that time, women trans they could only be what they were. At that time there were no women trans to be attended to in a supermarket, or a law firm, or, like me, in a current affairs gathering on TV.
Do you consider yourself a ‘trans’ activist?
It comes naturally to me, as well as out of conviction, because I’m living it and I carry it inside. If there has been an injustice, if I see misinformation or hoaxes, I can answer them. But I’m not a professional activist. I don’t want to be.
Has any comment offended you in recent months?
I am quite impervious to the offenses of others. What hurts me is the people who use hoaxes to hide their transphobia. And that of some women is especially cynical.
Have you suffered more for having ‘transitioned’ before the ‘trans law’? Has something been lost?
I can’t tell you afterwards. I am the daughter of the 2007 law, what I wanted was the DNI, but, yes, I had to eat the two years of transition and the diagnosis of dysphoria. The law does not erase anyone, and what it does is make life easier for all people.
What is it to be a woman?
I’m a woman. If transsexuality meant having a bump on the forehead, or an extra chromosome, like Down syndrome, we would be forgiven. One takes the step at five, another at 55. I can’t convince you that I was always like this, and that it doesn’t matter if I wasn’t always and suddenly am. It seems that you have to be able to justify that you are wrong, that you have a defect. It is not forgiven that you say you are sorry because it sounds like a vice, it is in your brain. People need proof of error to believe you. And love you
You are wanted and desired.
And now I’m getting married.
But isn’t she married? She talks about her partner as her “husband”.
Well, we got married in Las Vegas, for the laughs and the mythomania, okay. But the time has come to do it for real, I have already told you that I have matured.
Valeria Vegas (Valencia, 37 years old) has always been attracted to “women who do not stay at home and face the world.” Since she was a child, she felt that she was one of them. And when she grew up, apart from being officially in the DNI, she has devoted a good part of her passion for writing and communication to rescuing stories of forgotten divas who, without being the protagonists of any great movie, stole the shot as soon as they entered a hall. Say! neither bitch nor sainthis biography of Cristina Ortiz, the poison, brought to the screens by Los Javis, and where Vegas herself interpreted herself as a young trans woman interested in rescuing the memory of the myth, marked her leap to popularity as a writer and communicator. Defender of the rights of the LGTBI collective, Vegas has become a regular signature in the media and on television talk shows. She is now presenting her first novel, Best Supporting Actressand the premiere of his new documentary, focused on the figure of another great plane stealer: Nadiuska.
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