Netflix’s first foray into reality TV in Mexico, Made in Mexico is a lot of things: Dramatic, sumptuous, ridiculous, hilarious, and at times, totally out of touch. But one thing most people would not claim that this Mexican version of The Hills is would be “woke.” When we sat down with cast members Kitzia Mitre, Columba Diaz and Roby Checa they all exuded the warmth and respect you would expect from well-raised Latinx youth.
The cast is pretty darn endearing even if it’s nearly impossible to relate to their wealth and lifestyles. They are all buena gente, even though the story lines emphasize petty conflicts and some claim direct “Aztec royalty” or “Kurdish royalty” heritage while also complaining about how being blonde and blue-eyed has made it hard to adjust to living in Mexico city for some of the previously U.S.-based expats. Insert eye-roll here.
Still, don’t underestimate them! Though they don’t really identify the show as about elites (can’t cosign on this). When questioned about how they want the reality show to challenge perceptions about Mexico, Mexicans and Mexico city specifically here in the U.S. they had intelligent, thoughtful answers.
“Mexico is a land of immigrants,” Mitre declares proudly.
“I’m an immigrant in Mexico,” Checo adds. “My family originally comes from Lebanon, but the country that has given us everything. I’m 100% Mexican. Even though my heritage might be Lebanese, I’m Mexican. The prototype that you see of Mexico everywhere in the world isn’t true. We have white people, black people, indigenous … a little bit of everything, like most countries.”
But the breakout star is clearly Columba Diaz. When asked about the marketing of the show, particularly about the usage terms like socialites and elite, she says: “I don’t consider myself part of any elite. Everything I have I’ve worked for. My parents are hard workers and now I actually support them.”
Diaz stands out, not only for her story of working since the age of 14, on her own, in the huge city of DF, but also for her fierce embrace of feminism and being a voice for equality. She calls her castmates out on their privilege, both class and racial, and makes them take a harder look in the mirror at how they have wound up where they are. She’s also been incredibly successful, long before the bright lights of reality TV came calling. She’s been featured in Vogue Mexico and has walked the runway for designers Alice + Olivia and Cesar Arellanes.
Caught in a love triangle between Roby and Pepe Diaz, she remains more focused on her career and her philanthropy work than on who she should be dating. When Roby gets trashed at a kid’s birthday party and tried to hit on her, she quickly put him in his place, snapping, “Hey. No!” and calling him out for being a chauvinist pig who’s way too drunk to be at an event for children.
Let’s all be like Columba! Que Viva Mexico!