There are very few lipsticks that you can wear while playing the trumpet. "Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint works, but you have to exfoliate. If you have any dead skin, it will come off," said Bobbie Sue Garcia. She has done a study of hard-wearing lipstick (for the record, ChapStick discs under lipstick work) as trumpets for Mariachi Las Alteñas, a mariachi group in San Antonio. They have violinists and ornate embroidered carbon vests like any other mariachi group, but Alteñas stands out for a simple but sharp difference: All 10 members are women.
"When Mariachi music originates from the 19th century in Jalisco, Mexico, only singers were in ranches and cafeterias," said Angela Campos, Las Alteena's music director and owner of the San Antonio Mariachi Academy. "Just in the last 75 years, women have found a place in mariachi, not just as vocalists but in power positions – as writer and musician." But Alteñas is a female mariachi group – and since 2002 she has been rhythmic guitarrón Strums and proud trumpet blasts have spent many of their male counterparts at invitation-only competitions.
On a muggy Saturday afternoon, Las Alteña deliberately paints his own faces (and each other) in his director, Valerie Varga's living room. They are transformed from teachers, account managers and real estate agents to their rock-star alter egos. And to become a rock star, I learn, Primer is a must. When they play in nearly threefold Texas temperatures, wearing long sleeved trajes Down to the ankles, their makeup must be the last.
They melt the ground between Benefit The Porefessional and M.A.C. Prep + Prime Fix + Matt spray so that it stays under hot spotlight. To eliminate shine, Campos hits Nivea But Post Shave Balm: "It does not make me sweaty as a primers jar." The Oréal Paris Brow Stylist is pigmented enough to keep your bag, Rimmel London Stay Matte Pressed Powder in 001 Sets the undereye concealer for the whole day's appearances, and the Amazing Lash Studio Mascara water-based formula improves lash extensions without loosening the glue or saturation .
"Sebastian Shaper hairspray makes our ponytails really cool, and before we go out to eat after our show, it just hurts," says violinist Carla Medina Ramirez. When they dress, they balance the careful legacy – embroidered traje de charro vests and jackets – with a sense of latina femininity. They have traditional big silk garments, palm-sized palm buckles and elegant chandelier earrings. Instead of sombreros, their low, handsome ponytails (all else caught in the sequins on their jackets) are adorned with a beribboned bow that is almost the size of a football.
An hour later Alteñas is gathered in the foyer of a quinceañera meeting place, mood and string strings. Vargas talks with the party's hostess and turns to me. "The mother just told us we played on our own," she says. "And now we are playing his youngest daughter Quinceañera." It's showtime. Alteñas file into the ballroom, serenading the teenager in the white dress and tiara. The youngest Alteña is also in her teens; The oldest is 48. Some have partners and infants, while others are single or divorced. There is not only a body type represented. They are all beautiful, weaving bellowing singing and sweeping violin and vihuela tones in a background celebrating a girl's passage to femininity. That way, they honor the tradition – and every way it can be redefined.
A version of this article originally appeared in December 2018 / January 2019 edition of attract. To get your copy, go to newsstands or subscribe now.