Lucha Libre interview
Gabriela Obregon is a hot chili pepper with a warm chocolate coating, and one of those rare things – a woman involved in the Mexican wrestling art of Lucha Libre. Passionate about her married love for one of its greatest stars, the heroic Hijo del Santo, and also about the spirit of the Mexican people, she tells us more.
What does Lucha Libre mean to you? We have heard it described as a major ritual battle between good and evil, almost like the battle that goes on in a church…
Lucha Libre means freedom, expression, strength, amusement, contact between bodies – in my case, love to the person that carries it.
It’s like being part of the history of a country, of a culture. It’s a harmonic choreography that moves the audience between courage, laughter, screaming and devotion. Mexican Lucha Libre can oppress or expand the heart of the audience, Mexican Lucha Libre needs dedication.
Is Lucha Libre an important part of Mexican culture?
I think after football, Lucha Libre, is the most important sport in the country. A country needs containment and Lucha Libre brings this mood to the Mexicans.
The culture of the masks is part of the Mexican roots. The wrestlers use their masks for that and for many other reasons. Lucha Libre – itis part if the Mexican culture.
On the surface, Lucha Libre and World Wrestling Federation look very similar…?
Our technique is much better, more spectacular, and more effective. WWE is very entertaining but the wrestlers don’t have the technique. The Mexicans, even the Japanese, are more spectacular. I think because of the American wrestlers’ weight and height it’s very difficult to do the flips/acrobatics that Hijo del Santo or Rey Misterio Jr. do.
Are Luchadores seen as real heroes?
Yes! Santo and also many other wrestlers are heroes that the public can talk to or touch. They are not a simple costume/fancy dress or a cartoon. I know kids and fans that even ask for Santo in their prayers.
You’re married to a wonderful and famous Luchador, El Hijo del Santo. Is he a hero or a villain? Does he have special moves?
Ha ha ha! I think he is very flexible, and very creative in private. I think as a husband, he has a lot of a hero… although sometimes he shows a rough side.
What is the atmosphere like in a Lucha Libre arena? Does it get crazy? Have you ever seen truly crazy things happen?
The atmosphere… it’s very special, very different to a concert or a football game. It’s something that brings the family together. The grown-ups end up bringing their children with them.
It brings out the hero that men would like to be, and the women indulge their rough side that supposedly only men have.
The most fun part for me is to listen what they scream and how that shows their real personality.
How did you get involved with Lucha Libre? Was it perhaps through love for a man, or passion for a sport?
I am a movie producer, and the third feature film I did was about Santo’s life, ‘The Legend in the Silver Mask’, with Hijo del Santo for Televisa. I hired him for the leading role in 1992. I’m not sure what happened first – whether I fell in love with the character or the man – but the reality is that we are 16 years married, with 2 beautiful sons and a life project together.
How is it for you, to be a Lucha Libre agent – a woman in the macho world of Lucha Libre? Are you treated as a sister, a nanny, a lover, a mother, a queen?
They treat me with repect because I’m a professional independently from being a woman or the wife of Santo. I think the outcome of my work with Hijo del Santo is what they like the most and the other Luchadores would also like me to represent them – but working with Santo and my other businesses takes all my time. My company, Todo x El Todo, is where I have the relationship with the other wrestlers. The reality is that I’m very private about my husband.
Lucha Libre first appeared to European girls through an 80s comic called Love and Rockets (Amor y Cohetes) which had a female Luchadora. Do female Luchadoras really exist?
Yes! Women have been wrestling in USA and Mexico since the fifties. It’s a phenomenon that I’m very interested in, I’m a fighter, but in real life – and for that I need lots of strength. But I don’t ever see myself in the ring. The only ring I use is my bed.
Is there anything we should have asked you but were too selfish to realise?
I think that to live with a wrestler like Hijo del Santo, the son of one of the biggest Lucha Libre world legends? It’s a reason to be proud. But overall there is a deep thought behind Lucha Libre.
I never thought I was going to live with a wrestler – and even less next to the Enmascarado de Plata – but it’s a great experience, it’s really like living with 2 men in that sometimes they become one. Both have made me very happy.
More Lucha Libre links:
Gabriella and her husband, El Hijo del Santo