Forty thousand fans recently jammed Hollywood Park in L.A. for a Gloria Trevi concert. She is the one little Mexican girls imitate by sporting tattered jeans and ratted hair, and singing by heart the words to “Hoy Me Ire de Casa” (Today I’ll Run Away From Home).
A child of middle-class divorced parents in the industrial city of Monterrey, Trevi left home at 14 and joined an all-girl rock band in Mexico City. When that broke up, she went solo. Her idol is Janis Joplin, whose music she first heard while riding a city bus.
La Trevi, as she is known, is a one-woman revolution. She tosses condoms to her audiences, speaks out on safe sex, calls men onstage and yanks down their pants to reveal what she calls an “eyeball taco.” And in the midst of Mexico’s ongoing governmental turmoil, she mocks politicians in her song, “Los Borregos” (The Sheep).
In a country where old clothes have traditionally been a mark of poverty and performers show off glitzy costumes, Trevi’s patchwork wardrobe, torn stockings and hit song “Zapatos Viejos” (Old Shoes) celebrate the grunge culture known to MTV viewers worldwide.
Fiercely independent, Trevi just broke off a six-year contract with Televisa, telling the Mexico City press the telenovela scripts the network handed her were ridiculous.
Her famous calendars, on which La Trevi appears semi-nude in satiric poses, are annual bestsellers. Each of her three music albums have sold more than a million copies. And she is always being asked if she is “the Mexican Madonna.”
No imitation, La Trevi is a genuine political and cultural phenomenon in her own right. Though she lost a bid for a supporting role in the upcoming “El Mariachi,” she is starring in “La Papa Sin Catsup” (The Potato Without Catsup), her third movie, currently lensing in Acapulco. Unlike many of Madonna’s cinematic outings, Trevi’s first two pix have been box office hits. She is currently preparing an English-language crossover move in both music and film.