ALTERNATIVE IDOLS IN SPAIN

Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz, and today’s booming singer and songwriter Rosalía are true sex symbols of the country; their popularity leave no doubt to question their power. But there are a few other people in today’s Spain that are worthy to note, not necessarily because of their looks but more so because of their leadership in forming a public opinion or being in the middle of what’s going on in the country. I found out about them while I was watching my favorite TV channel, La Sexta, since day one. If you’re new around here, let me introduce them to you.

Ana Pastor

Spanish media is dominated by males but an increasing number of women are now holding the most exciting interviews, hosting prime time shows, and founding companies that change how journalism is done. Counting all these factors, Ana Pastor is the first figure that comes to mind. She hosts a debate program that takes place on Sunday evenings on La Sexta. Whatever Spain talks about during the week and whatever matters for people are her center of attention. Ana seems to have no issues getting on her program the president, ministers, and business leaders. Most recently, she has founded newtral, a fact-checking organization that holds politicians (or any other public figure who makes claims) accountable. In short, long gone are days that people say what they say and they can get away with it. And that, in Spanish context, is (mostly) thanks to Ana.

El Gran Wyoming

His name is José Miguel Monzón Navarro, but I don’t think anybody calls him that. El Gran Wyoming hosts a TV program called El Intermedio since 2006, and as far as I know, he initiates the program with something like “Ya conocen las noticias, ahora les contaremos la verdad” (You already know the news, now it’s time we tell you the truth). He leans to the left rather than the right, but El Gran Wyoming does not seem to have any reservations to critique leaders from every camp. And he pays a price for that. For example, relocating Franco’s remains has been a major discussion in Spain. For making a joke about this matter along with his co-host Dani Matteo, he received quite a bit of hate speech especially from more conservative segments of the society. My take on El Gran Wyoming is that he is way ahead of his time and his observations will be noted later in the future way more than how much they are appreciated now.

Jordi Évole 

Jordi also presents his show, Salvados, on La Sexta TV Channel. Social justice, empathy, and cinematographic quality are three ways to describe his work. Each program starts with a beautiful opening, sometimes shocking, that makes you question where it is going to lead. It is fair to say that Jordi poses as an intimate friend, not just of his viewers but also of his interviewees. Hence, he gets away with asking the hardest questions and always having his audience’s confidence.

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