MADRID.- Barely five minutes have passed since he started posing for the camera and he has already been asked for a selfie. Given the high temperatures of the day, more conducive to a summer siesta than to a walk, and the calm of the neighborhood in which we find ourselves, the immediate detection is surprising. “It’s just that there are a lot of Latinos in Madrid,” says Belinda Peregrín, almost apologetically, known to the world only by her first name.
Even the 9,000 kilometers that separate the Spanish capital from Mexico City do not hide the majestic fame of this 32-year-old singer and actress. A pop icon for two decades, she is now immersed in a vital process of reinvention which led her to settle in Spain last March. A decision that after taking off his shoes and settling down on a red velvet sofa, he enthusiastically celebrates: “Roots always call at some point in life. For me, it’s like a return to childhood, I see that it’s part of my DNA”.
In Spain he was born and lived to be four years old and in Spain he now boasts a diary full of recording new music, filming the second season of the Netflix series welcome to eden and the release of singles with Ana Mena (“Las 12”, candidate for the Spanish summer song) or Omar Montes (“Si tú me llamas”). LCollaborations dictate the recording industry and also the recent career of Beli, as her friends know her, who has other Spanish stars such as Lola Índigo and Mala Rodríguez in her repertoire. A practice, that of two women sharing the same song, which for decades was a veto in the recording industry. “It’s a great step forward because before we could only collaborate with other men. It was unthinkable that a love song could be interpreted by two women”, admits the young woman, proud to have stimulated brotherhood between artists.
Belinda raised the flag of feminist activism for decades, when the voices that dared to speak out against machismo in society weren’t so many or so loud. Living with the frustration of seeing “how, despite the elevation of our voices, nothing has changed” and the misogyny of the music industry (“we are always more demanded and judged”) has not been easy. “Why do you clap when a man does proofreading and dances, but a woman is criticized? Why can a man take off his shirt, but if a woman looks sexy, she’s insulted? Why is it that if a woman has two boyfriends in six months, it’s easy And if a man leaves with seven, he’s the fucking master?he mused, raising his muffled voice for the first time during the conversation.
Although he almost always displays a gentleness and courtesy made in mexico, Belinda’s dialectical anger, “honest, but direct”, exudes an unmistakable Spanish pedigree that she herself recognizes. Admirer of Lola Flores and Rocío Dúrcal and trained in Sevillanas, during her walks in Madrid, she usually gets lost in the flamenco tablaos.
The singer hit the stage at the age of eight, made her debut in a popular telenovela at the age of ten and topped the charts at the age of 14. Bad times abounded, but he managed not to become a broken toy. “You grow up really fast, even though deep down you’re still a girl,” she recalls, “I wasn’t aware that I had a responsibility to entertain millions of people, I was just trying to do my better.”
Much of the responsibility for his musical career, as well as the character and personality of the artist, lies with his grandmother Juana. “Juana Moreno de la Plaza,” clarifies Belinda, whose huge blue eyes quickly darken as she recalls she died just a year ago, just three days after landing in Madrid to film welcome to eden. “She’s the woman I’ve loved the most in my life. My mom had postpartum depression when I was born, she had a hard time for a while, so she raised me. He had a hairdresser in the center and I remember how the women said: ‘Let Juani do our highlights'”. He went out towards her, he confirms. Despite her move, she could not return to the house where she lived: “I have the pain so present that I cannot even approach his neighborhood. I have not overcome the duel, I am denied”, she adds, extending her hand to ratify that the simple memory of an “independent, autonomous and very feminist” woman makes her sweat spontaneously.
Juana is also the one who pushed her to hide her shame and display a talent that has sold more than 15 million albums, as many as there are followers on Instagram.. But Belinda, which generates dozens of objects with each new seeis clear that he puts the true love of a handful of people ahead of the legion of digital admirers he boasts about: “I can’t say I even have 15 people who really love me, I think I can count them on the fingers of one hand. Sometimes the one I gave myself to else stabbed me later,” he concedes. Although he avoids mentioning the name, his recent A romantic breakup with fellow musician Christian Nodal covered the covers of Mexican tabloids with unusual exposition and rudeness. It’s time to move on: “There are times when I’d rather not say what I really feel, to that my fans do not go to the jugular of the people who hurt me.”
Belinda strives to reconcile her undisguised affection for her country with condemnation of the grievances and wounds, many of which are still unhealed, that public and media opinion have inflicted on her over the years. The relationship today seems toxic. “It’s sad that where I was judged and attacked the most was in my own country. They were very unfair to me, I had a very bad time. I love them, but I would like that they love me more than they hate me,” he explains, torn between dejection and capitulation.
The scrutiny of her hypertrophies to the point that Mexican President López Obrador himself has spoken publicly about the singer’s alleged tax problems. “Being president of a country must be very complicated, he is an authority and deserves all the respect in the world”, concludes this one, without throwing oil on the fire. Is that being Belinda in Mexico? The young woman smiles and finds the characteristic softness of her face: “Well, for better or for worse.”