Role models, not fashion models. For Vogue Mexico and Latin America’s 20th anniversary issue we broke the paradigm by featuring inspiring women who are impacting local culture, politics and sport. We conceived, researched, art directed and produced 6 cover stories for the ground breaking issue.
María Lorena Ramírez is a 25-year-old Tarahumara runner who has been winning long-distance marathons against both men and women around the world - all in her huarache sandals and traditional dress.
Photographed and Directed by:
Left: Lorena poses from one of the highest peaks of the canyon of Sinforosa, known as the queen of the canyons in the Tarahumara mountain range. Right: Lorena runs along side her sister Talina.
Left: Lorena along side her brother, Antonio, who is also her trainer; Right: Antonio's feet.
The Tarahumara, an indigenous group from Chihuahua, are known for their long distance running abilities. Historically, running was a necessity to communicate between distant settlements throughout the Sierra Tarahumara. Today, María Lorena Ramírez’s innate talent and endurance brings global attention to her community.
La señora María Teresa, from the Norogachi community, dedicates herself to the making of the traditional skirts and rarámuri blouses.
The beauty of Mexican cuisine, personified. These incredible women include a mezcal distiller, a Zapotec chef preserving pre-hispanic cooking, and two of Mexico City’s most popular restauranteurs.
Rena EffendiDavid Abrehams
Abigail Mendoza is a Zapotec chef. She runs Tlamanalli, a restaurant in Oaxaca where she cooks the traditional foods of her ancestors. Before Spanish colonization, the Zapotec civilization thrived as a cultural epicenter of Mesoamerica. Abigail is determined to keep those traditions alive by bringing indigenous food to the frontlines of the culinary world.
Abigail in her restaurant, grinding toasted corn in a traditional metate.
Blue corn tortillas accompanies the traditional seguesa that is elaborated with tomato, yellow corn, hoja santa, chilcostle peppers and chicken.
Left: Chilcostle chiles from Abigail Mendoza’s kitchen; Right: Chayote, chilcostle peppers, potatoes, totomoxtle leafs, herbs and rose petals.
Chef and entrepreneur Grabriela Cámara founded her restaurant Contramar 20 years ago with a simple vision - to capture the laid back essence of a beach town in the heart of Mexico City. Fast forward to today and her passion for marrying tradition with modernity has cemented Contramar as a national institution, as well as helped spearhead a cultural and gastronomic movement in Mexico and beyond.
Contramar fish a la talla, one of the insignia plates from the restaurant.
Dough made of flour, squash and pepper in the kitchen of Contramar.
Fish, tomato, onion, garlic, axiote and pepper pasilla, some of the ingredients for the making of fish a la talla.
Graciela Ángeles Carreño is a fourth generation mezcal maker from Santa Catarina Minas, Ocotlán. Although born into the craft, mezcal production was highly inaccessible to women, who were rarely allowed to drink mezcal much less set foot into distilleries. Through her passion and determination, she challenged the role of female participation in the production process, and her leadership has turned a small family business into a benchmark of the mezcal industry and the world.
Left: Agave Knife; Right: Graciela Ángeles
Left: Mezcalerito, Graciela’s mezcal bottle, maguey cut in half and knife. Right: Traditional jícara , orange peels, plantains from Castilla, black mud vase property of Graciela’s grandmother.
Peppers hung on an agave in the palenque Real Minero.
Left: Worker taking a break; Right: Plantains from Castilla.
Chicatana vessel from Andares del Arte Popular; knife, bottle and palm leaf mat, all property of the Real Minero palenque.
Sandra Hurtado lives with her sister, son, mom and nephew. She actively participated in the building of her own house.
The Nashira Village
Founded on the principles of sustainability and self-sufficiency, the Nashira Village is a matriarchal safe haven tucked in the Cauca River Valley of Colombia. Made up of over 80 women-led households, the community offers safety and stability for women who have experienced violence or displacement as a result of political conflict.
Left: The Virgin of Guadalupe; Right: Ruby is a teenage mom. In Nashira there is a big emphasis for young women to be careful of early pregnancies.
Paula Andre is the granddaughter of one of the leaders of Nashira, Consuelo.
Colombian photojournalist Juanita Escobar captured the resilience and beauty of the self-governed community. Most importantly, the structure offers agency, healing and dignity to the women and their families who are able to own their homes, many for the first time.
Left: Evening in Nashira. Right: Valentina, 15 years old, goes to school and is getting ready to enter university.
Twins sitting in the community’s park.
Carmen and her mother came to live during the first stages of construction of the village.
Streets from the small town of Nashira. A couple works with their cart as a means of transportation for wood, furniture, etc.
Consuelo sells empanadas to find daily support, she lives with her three daughters.
Martha works cleaning in the cane farms near the community.
Alicia Virgina Quispe Tincuta looks towards the road during the sunrise from El Alto towards Huayna Potosí.
The Climbing Cholitas
The climbing cholitas are indigenous Aymara women who hike the Andes in their traditional Bolivian clothing. After years of working as cooks and caretakers for the mostly-male climbers who visit the region, they decided it was their turn to take the hike themselves.
Yumna Al - Arashi
The cholitas dance in the snow.
Domitila Alaña Lusco and Julia Quispe Tincuta carry out a ritual to Pacha Mama, Mother Nature, before entering Huayna Potosí —this is a common act to ask her for permission and protection.
Julia Quispe Tinguta braids her daughter’s hair everyday before sending her to school.
In the past four years, the Cholitas, a group of as many as sixteen women, have climbed seven significant peaks: Huayna Potosí, Illimani, Acotango, Pomarape, Parinacota, Sajama, and, now, Aconcagua.
Left: Julia Quispe Tincuta, Alicia Virgina Quispe Tincuta and Alicia Lima Alaña. Right: Domitila Alaña Lusco prepares herself to climb with the other cholitas. Her house also serves as the camping base of Huayna Potosí.
Martha Sonco Catari, Genoveva Ines Alaña Quispe, Domitila Alaña Lusco, Maritza Condori Mamani
Alpino Lake with the Corcovado volcano in the back, in the Corcovado National Park, Chile.
In April of this year, philanthropist Kristine Tompkins gave 1 million acres of private land to the Chilean government, completing the largest ever public land donation in history and building on the extraordinary work of her late husband. Before his death, Doug and Kristine Tompkins established Corcovado National Park, in collaboration with environmental activist Peter Buckley, as an unprecedented conservation effort. The gift was matched with 10 million acres from the Chilean government, which created a chain of national parks that now protect most of Patagonia.
Corcovado Volcano in the Corcovado National Park, Chile.
Left: Cabins for visitors near the ferry dock in Caleta Gonzalo. The ferry is the only non aerial connection the park area has with the exterior world.
Aerial view of the mountains in the Pumalin Douglas Tompkins National Park , Chile.
Pumalin Douglas Tompkins National Park , Chile.
Left: Pumalin Douglas Tompkins National Park , Chile. Right: Alerce tree ("Foiitzroy Cupersoides"), similar to redwoods, that are up to 3,000 years old in Pumalin Douglas Tompkins National Park, Chile.
Areal view of the Yelcho and Delta river at the border of the Pumalin Douglas Tompkins National Park, Chile.
Aerial view of the Chaitén volcano, Chile. This cupola covered in rhyolite erupted May 2nd of 2008, destroying a city nearby with the same name.
Frida Escobedo is one of Mexico’s most celebrated contemporary architects. She was the second woman to design the Serpentine Pavilion and the youngest architect to ever take on the commission. Much of her work involves restoring urban spaces and centers with authentic Mexican materials.
Left: objects in the office of Frida including a dandelion encapsulated in a sphere, obsidian and a white plaster sculpture, among other things. Right: objects that inspire Frida in her studio: pink geranium, miniature bricks, seed shell, chain sample, wooden sculpture and a tree fungus at the back.
Eugenia and Violeta, from the Series Madres e Hijas, 1995-1998.
In her seminal work, ‘Madres e Hijas,’ Adriana Lestido spent four years documenting the lives of four mothers and their daughters during the Dirty War. The featured portfolio is illustrative of the harsh realities of war and resilience of Argentinian women.
Marta and Naná, from the series Madre e Hijas, 1995-1998
Right: Alma y Maura, from the series Madre e Hijas, 1995-1998
Madre e hija de Plaza de Mayo, Buenos Aires, 1982.
Left: Marta and Naná, from the series Madre e Hijas, 1995-1998l; Right: Autorretrato, 1995.