Unsung Heroines: Queer Women Who Deserve Their Own Biopics


Chavela Vargas (1919 – present)

BIOPIC-WORTHY BECAUSE: The native Costa Rican lesbian singer relocated to Mexico and became famous for crossing gender lines with her masculaine clothing and romantic ranchera songs.

Chavela Vargas

THE SUPPORTING CAST: Bisexual artist Frida Kahlo (supposedly the great love of Vargas’s life), out Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar (Volver), who rediscovered Vargas in 1991 and began using her music in his critically acclaimed films, are integral to the telling of Vargas’s story.

SHOULD STAR: Rebellious actress and occasional ne’er-do-well Michelle Rodriguez is perfect for the role of Vargas. Can Rodriguez sing? Who cares! If her resume and rap sheet are any indication, she’s already skilled at fisticuffs and gunplay so lip-synching should be a cinch.

Michelle Rodriguez

And if Salma Hayek is too busy with directorial duties to reprise her role as Kahlo, why not hire Melonie Diaz (Itty Bitty Titty Committee) for the job?

Melonie Diaz

PLOT POINTS:The epic story will begin in Costa Rica in 1919, when Vargas is born and suffers from polio and blindness as a child, later claiming to have been cured by shamans. We’ll follow her relocation to Mexico where she sings on the streets until the age of 30. There she becomes notorious for wearing men’s clothes and singing a type of romantic folk song (the ranchera) usually reserved for men.

Throughout her career, Vargas runs afoul of the law, always packing heat and even accused of kidnapping a woman

Vargas publicly comes out as a lesbian in 2000 at the age of 81, the same year she is awarded Spain’s highest honor for artistic production, the Great Cross of Isabel la Católica.

TAKE A POPCORN BREAK: Take a break during her decade-plus long slide into alcoholism which forced her to retire from singing professionally. But hurry back for her triumphant return to musical stardom in 1991, at the tender age of 72!

SHOULD BE DIRECTED BY: The Mexican actress/director/producer Salma Hayek would be the natural pick for the Vargas biopic. She knows a thing or two about bucking the system, as she was thrown out of a convent as a teenager for "behavioral problems" and is today an outspoken advocate for women in Mexico. She also knows a thing or two about Frida Kahlo.

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