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Guillermo Barraza buzzes with a nervous energy as he watches himself transform.
Hands delicately paint stripes of bright pink eyeshadow onto Barraza’s angular face as newscasters and makeup crews bustle around him.
Tonight, in a small studio set in the heart of Mexico City, Barraza is making history.
Through his drag character Amanda, the 32-year-old journalist is the first-ever drag queen to host a news program for Mexican TV.
By stepping out under the glow of the studio lights, Barraza has sought to push the boundaries of society in a place where both LGBTQ+ people and journalists are violently targeted. And he is doing it at a moment when the issue has roared back into the public discourse with the violent death of one of the very guests on his program, one of the most prominent queer figures in the country who was later found dead along with their partner with dozens of cuts across their body.
“Having an alter ego, you have fewer problems because they can’t harass a character. You have more freedom to speak out,” he said. “There are many things that Guillermo wouldn’t do or say that Amanda wouldn’t think twice about.”
As he says it, his makeup artist helps him pull on a bright blonde wig, and Barraza shrugs on a purple sequined blazer. Each piece goes on like another layer of sparkle-studded armor until all that remains of Barraza is a playful smile under purple lipstick.
“Let’s go, let’s go,” Barraza says, striding through the