Marytrini: Who's That Lady?

Some actresses are divas whose temper tantrums try the patience of even the most loyal manager. But while Marytrini hosts her own cabaret night at Club Sugar in Southwest Dade every Sunday and stars in a weekly Spanish-language TV show, she and manager Alexis Fernandez get along just fine. That's because they're the same person.

"Marytrini lives with me," Fernandez says. "It's the best of both worlds."

Marytrini was born Halloween night 1999, when Fernandez donned two white towels, put on some cheap makeup that cost a total of $1.50, and won a $1,000 prize for best costume at a competition on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach.

It was big bucks for the Cuban immigrant, who earlier that year had flown to Mexico on a one-month visa, illegally crossed the U.S. border, and then made his way to Miami. "It seems [Marytrini] was hidden in me, and the immigrant's need brought her out," Fernandez says.

The personality was inspired in his native Havana, where Fernandez was a hairstylist. Like everyone else on the communist island, he would tune in twice a week to watch Edith Mazola's top-rated comedy shows. "I incorporated the seductive side [of Mazola], the seductive mulata," Fernandez says. "Marytrini leads a common life. She's likable, smart, and seductive. She's also very down-to-earth. She calls it as she sees it and never goes out to hurt anyone."

Marytrini, Fernandez soon discovered, had a knack for acting. She could play Celia Cruz and Josephine Baker and created the roles of Bombón and Ninón. "I don't want to be seen as a transvestite but as an entertainer," Marytrini says.

Bombón appears regularly on the variety show Pellízcame Que Estoy Soñando (Pinch Me I'm Dreaming), hosted by Carlos Otero on América TeVé, while Ninón is one of the stars of La Flor de Hialeah, a telenovela rerunning daily on CaribeVision in Miami, New York, and Puerto Rico.

Like Marytrini, Bombón is a pretty mulata, while Ninón is a transsexual who wants to adopt a child. Both characters were created by Marytrini, who was created by Fernandez, which makes it difficult to keep track. "Sometimes Marytrini will lose control when a situation suddenly presents itself," Fernandez says. "But she's never taken off her clothes onstage. She's always very decent."

But if their lives are complex, Marytrini and Fernandez — who appear on HIV-awareness posters at bus stops and on billboards along Miami's highways — have a simple message to impart: "We're all children of God. Sexual orientation doesn't matter. What matters is the heart, what is inside us."

Marytrini, Ninón, and Bombón all agree.

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