Oh, Mexico – Famous for its food, its art, its ancient history, and its people. Today, I’d like to talk about Mexico’s sexiest people. Thanks to a Cosmopolitan article that popped up on my news feed last month I learned about some of Mexico’s hottest telenovela exports. Like this fine young specimen by the name of Gonzalo Garcia Vivanco – Ay, caliente!!! Then I swiftly remembered that I am not writing a BuzzFeed article (for the record I would have called it “10 hottest Telenovela stars without their shirts on“) and I asked myself, where did it all begin for these gents?
It turns out that this multi-million dollar branch of the entertainment industry started in Mexico in 1959 with The Price of the Sky. The themes varied only slightly… from betrayal to loss! From jealousy to desire! From passion to rage! Audiences were hooked from the start. In the 1960s when, Maria, the titular character of Peruvian telenovela’s “Simplemente Maria” got married, almost 10,000 emotionally invested fans showed up at the church. Less like American soap operas and more like evening dramas, telenovelas air after dinner. Families gather around and watch back-to-back episodes for hours on end. Interestingly enough, the plots aren’t only superficial love stories and they aren’t afraid to tap into social issues. Some modern telenovelas grabble with politics, gender identities and mental illness. One famous show, aptly titled “Without Breasts There is No Paradise” explored a sex-workers struggle to raise money for breast augmentation surgery. And as we have learned, telenovelas are a stepping stone for actors looking to break into Hollywood, it can’t hurt that their stars are considered the best looking people in Latin America, like heaththrob actor Gael Garcia Bernal. Salma Hayek, one of Mexico’s most famous exports, did not shy away from parodying her past when she guest starred on “30 Rock“. The episode “Generalissimo” chronicaled her mother’s irrational mistrust of her boyfriend (Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy) simply because he looked similar to the villain on her favorite telenovela. Telenovelas have been hot since they started and with the line up of babes gracing the screen these days, they are not loosing any traction. They create pop stars, internationally renowned actors and even affect jewelry sales – all the while captivating audiences in over 50 countries with the shocking twists and turns of it’s infamous latin melodrama.