“La flor más bella/The Most Stunning Flower” is Netflix’s newest teen collection and in some ways, it looks like your typical coming-of-age story. The ten-part collection follows underdog Mich as she units out to overcome highschool. However the present is evident from the very starting that it is distinct. It is set in Mexico, informed in Spanish, and focused to anybody who’s ever felt totally different.
“Having a curvy, brunette, Mexican protagonist who embraces standard and folkloric traditions and customs, and who additionally is aware of she is fabulous and is proud to be all of that, representing so many, it is the most effective revolution,” says present co-creator Michelle Rodríguez. “La flor más bella” is loosely primarily based on her life, rising up in Xochimilco, a neighborhood in Mexico Metropolis well-known for its canals and colourful barges.
In keeping with government producer and Campanario Leisure’s co-founder Jaime Dávila, Netflix initially reached out desirous to do a YA present set in Mexico. So he tapped his community, who rapidly nominated comic Rodríguez. “She simply made us giggle, which is already actually crucial factor. After which secondly, all the things she represented and all the things she was saying was so highly effective to us,” Dávila tells POPSUGAR. “It felt actually highly effective for our neighborhood — giving Latinos the chance to speak about sure points that possibly they do not discuss.” These points vary from classism to physique positivity, queer rights, and racism, including as much as a fairly totally different present than we’re used to seeing.
For Rodríguez, that distinction is simply her private expertise. “Sharing what I’ve discovered alongside the best way has all the time appeared to me like an awesome concept,” she explains. “And if doing so makes somebody on the market hook up with me, to my story, and really feel represented and motivated to maintain going, then that is a fair higher incentive for me to do it.”
“This can be a story a couple of younger woman from Xochimilco — you’ll be able to’t get extra particular than that,” says Dávila. “However I believe we have all been underestimated — I believe we have all felt misunderstood — that is common. And so I hope that folks, by way of the specificity of this younger Mexican woman, additionally see themselves.” Asking audiences throughout the globe to see themselves in Mich’s particular circumstances appears like an enormous leap ahead for Latina illustration.
Take, for instance, how “La flor más bella” portrays Mexico. For Rodríguez and Dávila, the intense, lovely Mexico of the present is just their fact. “Mexico is a fascinating place,” Rodríguez says. “After I began telling my story to the author, Fernanda Eguiarte, she was fascinated by Xochimilco and the tales I lovingly informed her of the place that raised me. Instantly, we determined that Xochimilco and Mexico can be vital characters on this story. Displaying a vivid Mexico, the place you may be who you’re, is a part of the invitation to really feel pleased with being who you’re.”
“The Mexico you see in media of drug wars and violence nonstop, it is simply not true. The Mexico that we shot in ‘La flor más bella’ is the Mexico I do know. It is vibrant, it is lovely, it is numerous, it is difficult.”
For Dávila, it was additionally a political name. “Being a Mexican American meant, for me personally, being in Mexico lots. And each time once I would come again, folks would say ‘wow, what was it like? Was it actually harmful?’ And you are like, ‘No, I used to be visiting my aunt’s. It is a metropolis, a standard metropolis,'” he remembers. “The Mexico you see in media of drug wars and violence nonstop, it is simply not true. The Mexico that we shot in ‘La flor más bella’ is the Mexico I do know. It is vibrant, it is lovely, it is numerous, it is difficult.”
A part of that complication is race, class, and colorism — a troublesome topic the present would not draw back from. The truth is, Mich’s main antagonists are a gaggle of white Mexicans in school. They’re the favored children and the bullies — their mild pores and skin granting all of them types of favors from their friends and their lecturers. Certainly one of them additionally occurs to be Mich’s cousin, Brenda, who antagonizes her prima nonstop. And even because the present units up Brenda because the villain, it is cautious to complicate that. Brenda might wield her energy cruelly in school however she’s caught with a homelife that had her develop up too quickly. Certainly, she’s jealous of Mich’s upbringing and her potential to like herself despite society’s requirements.
“In Mexico, oftentimes, in your personal household, you could have totally different shades, you could have totally different colours, and your loved ones treats you in a different way consequently. I noticed it in my family.”
“In Mexico, oftentimes, in your personal household, you could have totally different shades, you could have totally different colours, and your loved ones treats you in a different way consequently. I noticed it in my family. I see it with my grandma, God bless her,” recounts Dávila. In relation to Mexican illustration in movie, telenovelas, and even information anchors, the illustration has traditionally been on the lighter aspect. However “La flor más bella” challenges that, decentering the blonde prima for the darker, heavier Mich.
“Individuals are so typically judged by a canopy and I simply suppose it is such a mistake,” says Dávila. There is a plot within the present the place Mich, an incredible singer, and performer, needs the lead within the faculty musical. They’re doing a tackle “Alice in Wonderland” and the trainer prefers the blond, slender Alice of the Disney cartoon.
Mich would not let the drama trainer’s racist worldview cease her. With the assistance of her supporting buddies, she asserts that she is Alice of Xochimilco and retains at it. Sure, typically she will get annoyed —particularly when her white boyfriend of a 12 months nonetheless refuses to take their relationship public or when she seems invisible in school — even to the principal. However that is Mich’s story and he or she is decided to be the central character in her life, it doesn’t matter what the world throws at her.
“She just isn’t a sufferer neither is she a personality who’s there purely for comedic aid. Having such a personality is therapeutic, inspiring, and highly effective for all of us who’ve by no means felt represented on display earlier than. Recognizing that we’re fabulous is one thing that we aren’t taught in school and typically not at residence both,” explains Rodríguez. “That’s the reason it’s so vital that this Mich reveals everybody how fabulous she is, so that every one those that see themselves mirrored in her, know there’s nothing to be uncomfortable about. That is your physique, dwell your life!”
As a excessive schooler, Mich is determining who she is. However whether or not she’s grappling with how others understand her physique, her personal sexuality, or the racial politics of Mexico — self-love stays. That is actually the place the present finds its energy. “Folks ought to really feel higher about themselves and simply love themselves. As a result of that is the key . . . and it is onerous, proper? It is actually onerous. It is actually difficult in a world the place you are getting so many messages from media, from your personal household,” Dávila attests.
“Ever since I used to be a little bit woman, I dreamed of being an artist and I assumed that I couldn’t be within the tv, music, and theater business, as a result of I hardly ever noticed ladies like me,” says Rodríguez, explaining how society’s expectations affected her rising up. “‘The Most Stunning Flower” is the collection that I might have favored to see as a baby and adolescent, even now I’m nonetheless letting the message this story conveys sink in. I hope the viewers connects with the story and with Mich who is aware of methods to rejoice variations and who believes that flaws may be superpowers.”
Mich’s self-love actually does really feel totally different from a coming-of-age heroine, and that is earlier than including in how the present normalizes Mexico, or the way it asks viewers to interact in advanced conversations round race, class, and sexuality in Latin American society. It questions who’s worthy of affection and why. Taken all collectively, these parts arrange a brand new kind of illustration. One, that as co-creator Rodríguez says, has the potential to be the most effective kind of revolution.