Thursday, March 14, 2019

Nastasia Versus Catalonia

Nastasia Urbano (below) continues to get her life back together, but her GoFundMe campaign still remains short of the six thousand euros she needs after 38 days of fundraising.

I once joked, long before her descent into homelessness, that Nastasia, who got her start as a model in Barcelona after growing up in Switzerland as the daughter of Spanish nationals, was the most beautiful woman to grace that city with her presence with the possible exception of when American swimmer Janet Evans was there to compete in the 1992 Olympics.  But why don't the people of Barcelona take pride in Nastasia's accomplishments as a model?  The answer is no joke.
It's because Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, the region of Spain that has been in the news recently for trying to separate from the larger country, and Nastasia is not ethnically Catalan.  Apparently Catalans have a problem with those among them who are not Catalan themselves and run roughshod over the region's non-Catalan residents.
In the Spanish periodical La Tribuna del País Vasco, language professor Francisco Oya delves into how non-Catalan Spaniards in the region, particularly the elites, have mostly been shunned and dismissed, no matter how far they may go in life, and he urges the people of Catalonia to consider their humanity in the wake of Nastasia's misfortune.  It is required reading for anyone who wishes to understand the ethnic and separatist politics in the region in Spain's northeastern corner.  As always, I offer it here in translated form, cleaned up a bit to make it more legible.
"So that our soul does not go out": Nastasia Urbano as a paradigm of the Catalonia of the "purists"
In recent weeks, various media have reported about a veteran top model who has been forced, at times, to sleep in ATM booths in Barcelona: Nastasia Urbano
Her name did not mean anything to me, maybe because I've never been especially mythomaniac or fond of glamorous characters: actors, models, athletes and others. But the reports always include some photos of her time of splendor, and then I recognized her: It was impossible to forget the splendorous beauty and exquisite elegance of that woman who watched me from the billboards, magazine covers and television commercials for more than two decades.
Consuelo Urbano, called Chelo by family and friends, starts out as a model in Barcelona. After triumphing in Barcelona, she passes to Milan, Paris, London. There, she begins to be called Nastasia, which sounds more international. But Europe is too small, so in 1981 she lands in New York, the destiny that consecrates the definitive global triumph of a supermodel. And, indeed, the city of skyscrapers surrenders at her feet: a contract with the legendary Ford agency, an advertising campaign with the historic Revlon cosmetics company, one of the most important worldwide, with which the most famous models of the moment work, such as Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford or Elle Mcpherson.
Especially memorable will be the commerical for the Opium fragrance by Yves Saint Laurent, filmed by David Lynch, no less, in 1992 with Nastasia as the absolute protagonist. The days of wine and roses follow one another vertiginously for the young Barcelonan: dinners with Jack Nicholson, Harrison Ford or Andy Warhol, parties with Melanie Griffith and Simon & Garfunkel, gigantic parties, alcohol, even cocaine. Nastasia avidly sucks all the glory and beauty of the world around her. And she triumphs professionally, without a doubt, thanks to her gifts, professionalism and versatility in different registers. A cover girl in the main international fashion magazines: Vogue, New Woman, Redbook. And not only advertisements for cosmetics, but also for clothes, a kind of advertising that is not so popular at that time. Despite this, Nastasia becomes the first model to sign a millionaire contract to advertise clothes: one million dollars for 20 days of work per year.
In one of her stays in Barcelona, ​​to visit her parents, she meets the man who becomes her husband. She will have children with him. Her professional triumph and personal happiness go hand in hand and have reached their peak. But the descent from the zenith is going to be really hard, too. The days of glory will be diluted while the money of Nastasia's Swiss accounts is appropriated by him who will eventually reveal himself as an interested and unscrupulous consort, before abandoning it. Nastasia begins to feel very affected by the decline, falling into depression and not being able to lead a normal life. She can no longer pay her usual expenses and ends up, sometimes, sleeping in ATM booths. She has hit bottom.
The only sweetness that will prove in recent years bitter is the help of Daniel Mirabal Gallego-Diaz, a fashion professional who met in the glory days and is trying to help, against all odds, by organizing a  GoFundMe campaign. Daniel seems to be the exception, because the fashion industry and the acquaintances of yesteryear have turned their backs on Nastasia.
It is very illustrative, to understand the social reality of Catalonia, to compare the current situation of Nastasia with that of other Catalan models that also stood out internationally, although none of these were in the select group of  the Ford agency in New York. Teresa Gimpera, a muse of the 1960s, is today an octogenarian spoiled by the Generalitat [Government] of Catalonia . . . and by the public or subsidized Catalan media. Long after she left professional modeling, there were always interviews with her on radio or TV3, collaborations, tributes, contacts, facilities and promotion for the modeling agency she created in Barcelona. All of which has allowed her to feel recognized, overcome personal misfortunes (a son died of AIDS) and lead a life more than worthy. The same happens with Judit Mascó, whose international career was institutionally supported when she was chosen to be the ambassador of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, and who at 49 years of age continues to appear on TV3, has prizes and public recognition, invitations to events promoted by the Generalitat . . ..
For Nastasia there were never invitations to public events, interviews on TV3, offers of collaborations, recognition or institutional promotions of any kind, although her merits in the strict field of fashion were superior to those of Teresa Gimpera or Judit Mascó. Not even a little help in recent times, at least for a mere matter of humanity. You have to ask yourself: Why this difference in treatment?
The answer is that Nastasia was not one of them, unlike Teresa or Judit. Although from Barcelona, ​​she does not have a Catalan surname; her parents were Spaniards who had emigrated to Switzerland and had returned to Spain, therefore the kind of people regarded with contempt by the Catalan oligarchy and by the large percentage of Catalans who have been inoculated with supremacist poison. And this regardless of her professional value, good work or personal beauty. Nothing is recognized by these institutions created in the image and likeness of the 44 families that dominate the Catalan oasis: for those who are not Catalan, there is only discredit, slander - nothing but contempt, unless they diligently perform the established protocols of submission.  I've seen real boors - yes, with eight Catalan surnames - looking down their noses at doctors and university professors in Murcia. So the only options offered by Catalan institutions, created by supremacist separatism, to the majority of the population of Catalonia are civil death and abandonment or absolute humiliation. And they have shown, in the case of Nastasia and many others, that they are relentless. Epi and Sibilio were the glory of Catalan and Spanish basketball, two reference players in the history of the basketball section of F.C. Barcelona, ​​but they were not of Catalan origin or proved to be submissive enough, so they left the media scene as soon as they retired. Quite the opposite that Solozabal, who was made a commentator on TV3 and was named an honorary Catalan for having been a good boy and making the separatists content.  Also, if people in any of these cases work as a dependent official of the Generalitat, they will be subject to a relentless protocol of institutional harassment with impunity. We're seeing it with public school teachers . . ..
Indirectly and unconsciously, Nastasia reveals this situation when she expresses her nostalgia for New York City. "I miss it day and night, New York is a city that makes you vibrate, you go out and you get goosebumps," she says, and, referring to Barcelona, ​​"I've been dying out. My life has been extinguished. " Nastasia misses an open and cosmopolitan city, in which you feel integrated as soon as you arrive, because only your personal worth and effort is taken into account; nobody harasses you with identity issues or make you pay the absurd toll to use a minority language, absolutely useless as a vehicle of communication. In these aspects, Madrid is like New York, and it is not by chance that the capital of Spain has been chosen as a destination by prominent Catalan personalities, weary of the suffocating climate gradually established by separatism, with the complicity of successive Spanish governments: those of Albert Boadella, Francesc de Carreras, Felix de Azua, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Loquillo, and many more.
But that is just an individual solution. If the Catalans want to definitively end this oppressive situation and prevent our soul from going out, to use  Nastasia's beautiful expression, we have to take the bull by the horns and demand such elementary things in a democratic society as equal rights, respect for the law and the end of school indoctrination.
I have friends who have known Nastasia far longer than I have, and a few of them believe she's not ready to go back to New York yet.  But it's easy to see why she's not ready to embrace Barcelona . . . because Barcelona is not ready to embrace her.
Whatever happens, I, as always, wish her the best.
And you can (and should) still contribute to her GoFundMe camapaign

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