La Catrina, an iconic figure of the Day of the Dead, embodies the belief that death is an integral part of life, to be embraced and celebrated rather than feared. Often depicted as an elegantly dressed skeleton, La Catrina has become a prominent symbol in Day of the Dead celebrations. One particularly unique portrayal of this beloved figure is brought to life by Livette Ruvalcaba, a young model who once held the title of Miss Jalisco USA.
For Ruvalcaba, portraying her character “La Catrina Andante” is an homage to Mexican culture. “La Catrina Andante was born from the love I feel for Mexico and its traditions, including Day of the Dead” she expressed in a video interview with El Aviso, a Latin magazine.
Since childhood, Ruvalcaba has harbored a deep passion for her Mexican heritage. Upon relocating to the U.S. later in her life, embodying La Catrina became a means of connecting with her roots even while in a different country. “When I came to the U.S. and I was trying to find my place here, La Catrina Andante was a vehicle for me that made me feel closer to home,” Ruvalcaba shared in her video interview.
The inception of La Catrina Andante took root during the pandemic, and over the course of three years, Ruvalcaba has breathed life into this character. The process of transforming into La Catrina involves collaboration and planning between Ruvalcaba and her team. Together, they conceptualize color schemes, wardrobe choices, and overall themes for different events and appearances. On average, the transformation to La Catrina Andante can take anywhere from three to four hours, and Ruvalcaba has expressed her deep appreciation for her team’s dedication in bringing this character to life.
Beyond personal sentiment, Ruvalcaba feels that La Catrina Andante has the responsibility to inform others about Mexican traditions and the profound beauty that lies within the culture. “I always like to say that one of the goals of La Catrina Andante is to leave a piece of Mexico in the hearts of people wherever I travel to,” Ruvalcaba reflected with El Aviso Magazine.
“Each of the places we’ve traveled to in Mexico we’ve made a catrina based on what that state is known for,” Ruvalcaba stated. She described how La Catrina donned a “jarocha” in Veracruz, which is a dress popular in the region. On a trip to Papantla, her attire paid homage to the “flyers of Papantla” ritual, which is a tradition that consists of dancers climbing a 30-meter pole in the sky and then launching themselves tied with ropes to descend to the ground. La Catrina Andante’s journey is marked by a dedication to authenticity and cultural representation.
Ruvalcaba and her team have garnered attention online as well, and began to notice their following grow after showcasing La Catrina in various Disney villain guises, including Jafar, Cruella de Vil, Ursula, and Ernesto de la Cruz. “People loved it, and that’s when we noticed we were getting more attention on social media and starting to reach people from all over the world,” Ruvalcaba said.
Being La Catrina Andante has allowed Livette Ruvalcaba to forge a deeper connection with her Mexican heritage and to touch the hearts of people worldwide. In embodying La Catrina, she not only represents a beloved cultural symbol but also upholds the cherished values of family, friendship, and love that Mexico embodies. Through her passion and dedication, Ruvalcaba leaves an indelible mark on the celebration of Día de los Muertos, inspiring others to embrace their own cultural roots with pride and enthusiasm.