Who Was Gloria Trevi?
Pop singer Gloria Trevi became a star in the 1990s when her debut album Que Hago Aqui? (What Am I Doing Here?) topped the charts. Her career fell apart shortly after, however, when she and manager Sergio Andrade were accused of corrupting minors, sexual abuse, and kidnapping. The couple fled Mexico but were arrested in Brazil in 2000 and were jailed. Trevi was released in 2004 and attempted to revive her career with a new album and tour.
Born Gloria de Los Angeles Trevino Ruiz, on February 15, 1968, in Monterrey, Mexico, she was the eldest of five siblings.
Her dreams of being an entertainer began young. Trevi started learning poetry recital at age five, followed by ballet and piano lessons, and later learned to play the drums. Her parents divorced when she was 10 and she left home at age 12, against her mother's wishes.
In 1980 Trevi went alone to Mexico City, with no money, to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. She earned money in any way she could, including singing and dancing in the street, teaching aerobics and working at a taco stand.
In 1984 the 16-year-old Trevi met Sergio Andrade, 28, who became her mentor. In 1985, she briefly joined a girl band called Boquitas Pintadas (Little Mouths with Lipstick). Heavily influenced by British and American rock, as well as by Latin music, Trevi decided to become a solo artist. With Sergio Andrade as her manager, Trevi released her debut album Que Hago Aqui? (What Am I Doing Here?) (1989), which was an instant chart success.
Between 1991 and 1996, Trevi released five albums and starred in three Mexican box-office hit films. In 1992 she toured the Caribbean and South America, playing to audiences in the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Chile and Puerto Rico. Her music was provocative and political, with lyrics dripping in sexual innuendo, but her aim was always to expose hypocrites.
The outspoken Trevi addressed issues such as religion, prostitution, drug trafficking, hunger, the upper class, and war deaths. She challenged Mexican machismo and often turned the tables on men, by bringing them up on stage during her sensual performances, and stripping them down to their underwear. Trevi also made numerous racy calendars during this period.
Despite her more raunchy side, or perhaps because of it, Trevi was adored by young Mexican and Latin American girls, who dressed like her, buying clothes in the Trevi boutiques that emerged. In short, Trevi was soon known as the Mexican Madonna. She even turned her talents to public speaking, covering subjects such as AIDS, abortion, drugs, sex, prostitution and panhandling. She graced the covers of numerous magazines, was featured in television specials, and inspired Trevi comic books.
Crimes and Running From the Law
In 1998, not long after she and Andrade were married, Trevi's fame and success came crashing down around her. It all started with the publication of a book by Aline Hernandez, who had previously worked as a backing singer for Andrade. Her book, De la Gloria al Infierno (From Glory to Hell), detailed her life with Andrade.
They had married when Hernandez was a mere 13 years old. By age 17, in 1996, Hernandez had managed to escape from Andrade. She claimed that Andrade was a sadistic, controlling misogynist, who picked up young girls, promised to make them stars, and instead lured them into a life of slavery, abuse and sex. Hernandez also claimed that Trevi was in love with Andrade and a willing participant in his sexual orgies and slavery. She said, "I think Gloria arrived as innocent as the rest of us were. If Gloria contributed to all this, it is because [Andrade] made her ill, turned her, trained her, educated her in his way."
In 1999, several girls who had been in Andrade's sex-slave ring, managed to escape and immediately went public with their stories. In television interviews, they told of being beaten, abused and starved, just as Hernandez had claimed in her book. Karina Yapor explained how in 1996, at age 12, she had left her home in Chihuahua, Mexico, and gone to live with Andrade and Trevi in Mexico City. A year later, at age 13, she had given birth to a baby boy and claimed Andrade was the father. She later wrote a book about her experience with Andrade and Trevi, citing horrible physical and psychological abuse.
Two teenage sisters, Karola and Katia de la Cuesta, made similar allegations of sexual abuse against Andrade and Trevi, who had originally hired them as backup singers. Another teen, Delia Gonzalez, claimed she had been recruited as a singer by Trevi. She was forced into making a pornographic film and had endured nine months of repeated rapes and beatings by Andrade.
In 1999, as a direct result of the public accusations of slavery, violence and sexual abuse at the hands of Andrade and his accomplice, Trevi, the Mexican authorities had to react
They accused Sergio Andrade, Gloria Trevi, and choreographer and backup singer, Maria Raquenel Portillo (also known as Mary Boquitas), of corrupting minors, sexual abuse, and kidnapping. The three, who were all over the news, denied the charges and managed to escape from Mexico with about a dozen girls. They were officially declared as fugitives by the Mexican judicial system.
In late 1999, Andrade, Trevi, Boquitas and their troop of girls flew first to Spain and then to Chile. Not long after that, they moved to Argentina.
It was in Argentina that the teenage girls escaped and were returned to their homes in Mexico. Andrade, Trevi, and Boquitas then moved to Brazil, where Trevi enjoyed wandering around their neighborhood and would stop to eat at a local bakery every day.
The trio lived in Brazil for several months before they were caught by Brazilian police and arrested in January 2000.
While the three awaited their fate in a Brazilian prison, their high-profile arrest caused a legal battle. The Brazilian prosecutors wanted to charge the trio in Brazil, as that is where they had been arrested. However, the Mexican prosecutors laid claim to them, due to the fact that all the alleged crimes had begun in Mexico.
In April 2000, a Brazilian federal court ruled that the evidence against Trevi, Andrade, and Boquitas needed extensive investigation before they even considered Mexico's extradition request. The three were moved to another Brazilian prison, due to overcrowding in the facility where they were being held. It was there that Trevi became pregnant and she accused a prison guard of raping her. Under Brazilian law, pregnant women prisoners were allocated separate housing, where they could live with their children. Trevi was moved to such a facility, but before long she was sent back to prison, due to pressure from Mexican authorities.
Trevi gave birth to a son, Angel Gabriel, on February 18, 2002, in Brasilia, Brazil. The following day, authorities denied her request to keep the father's identity a secret. Following DNA tests, Andrade was confirmed as the child's father. While Trevi and Andrade had been denied conjugal visits, it is believed that they bribed a prison guard to arrange for time alone together to have sex.
Trevi wrote an autobiography while in prison in 2002, Gloria by Gloria Trevi. In it she portrays herself as an entirely innocent victim, and the other clan girls as greedy liars. She says she went along with over 15 years of abuse because of Andrade's powerful and unrelenting hold over her.
Trial and Aftermath
The Brazilian and Mexican authorities finally came to an agreement and on December 21, 2002, after nearly three years in prison, Trevi and Boquitas were extradited to Mexico to face charges. They were sent to the Aquilas Serdan prison near Chihuahua and Trevi's baby son was sent to live with his maternal grandmother.
It was alleged that while on the run, Trevi had given birth to her and Andrade's baby, a daughter, whom they had left to die, and authorities were investigating the possibility of also charging the couple with homicide. However, with no evidence and no body ever found, the homicide charges were dropped.
In late 2002 and early 2003, Trevi awaited trial but to no avail. As time went by, it became apparent that the Mexican authorities were having trouble finding concrete evidence of the alleged crimes. Andrade was then also extradited to Mexico and sent to the same prison as Trevi in November 2003. The couple were not allowed any contact.
New York Times magazine writer Christopher McDougall, published Girl Trouble: The True Saga of Superstar Gloria Trevi and the Secret Teenage Sex Cult that Stunned the World in 2004. The book was viewed by some as the most authoritative account of what actually happened. McDougall had personally interviewed both Trevi and Andrade while they were in prison, as well as many of the young girls involved, getting details of what happened while the group were fugitives.
Trevi was led to believe that she would be released from prison on 24 February 2004 but the Mexican authorities denied her her freedom. Infuriated, she went on hunger strike. Seven months later, on September 21, 2004, she was finally acquitted by a Mexican court, which cited lack of evidence in the case. Trevi was released after spending just over four years and eight months in prison, in both Brazil and Mexico.
Determined to revive her career, she immediately went back to the studio to begin recording. She released her album Como Nace el Universo (How the Universe was Born) in 2004. On Valentine's Day 2005, a day before her 37th birthday, Trevi announced a 23-city tour of the United States, called Trevolucion. It seemed that a happy and confident Trevi had put her troubles behind her and was back to her old self. In 2006, she released her album La Trayectoria (The Trajectory). Trevi is currently in a relationship with Miguel Armando, with whom she had a son in 2005.
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