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To This Woman, Her Flower Crowns Are Not Just Festival Accessories

Historically, crowns have represented power, legitimacy, triumph and glory – all the attributes Gabriela Rangel wants the women who wear her headdresses to embrace.

Since 2015, the San Diego, Calif.-based Latina has been making and selling beautiful floral coronets through her Etsy shop, Crowned Republic. And for her, crowns are as much about aesthetics as they are politics.

“Over the years, I’ve seen my community continually disrespected, appropriated and watered down to just costumes, characters and trends. With these pieces, I want to say we are more than that. We are trailblazers. We are vibrant and diverse. We are intelligent. We are important, we are beauty and we are not going anywhere,” Rangel, 29, told mitú.

Crowned Republic’s slogan is “Be yourself, love yourself, crown yourself” and that’s exactly what Rangel strives to achieve with her crowns.

For Rangel, who is Colombian, Spanish, Filipino and Chinese, it’s crucial that her customers feel like their best selves when they’re sporting one of her colorful pieces on their heads.

To her, it’s only when we embrace ourselves, truly fall in love with who we are, that we can begin tapping into the power that lies inside of us. Crowns, as they’ve always been, are mere symbols of that poder.

“I want my customers to exude confidence, pride, joy and beauty from within. When you feel your best, you look your best,” she said. “… Female empowerment means being completely authentic to your own wants and desires. When you feel empowered, you go beyond the limitations society dictates acceptable.”

Her crowns are even inspired by strong, spirited women who understood their power and refused to minimize themselves, mujeres like Frida Kahlo, Celia Cruz, Selena, Sade, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Nicks.


Each piece is hand-crafted. Rangel purchases the flowers with her customers in mind and then designs the crowns by blending fabrics like silk, latex, cotton and velvet.


“My desire is for the wearer to have the utmost satisfaction with the piece because it’s what they deserve,” she said.

And they do. Among her happy customers are women across the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, Italy, France and Norway as well as celebrities like Goldie Hawn and Emily King.

“Frida Kahlo said she painted flowers so they wouldn’t die. I create crowns to remind women they are the CEO of their own lives. Don’t dim the light on your own uniqueness, embrace it.”

Women of color should be rewarded for taking the time to know themselves and fighting to adore who they are, and Rangel’s floral headpieces are a ravishing way to honor that journey to self-love.


READ: This Comic Perfectly Sums Up Why Frida Kahlo Is So F*cking Iconic

Let us know which crown is your favorite in the comments!

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After His Wife’s Death, Diego Rivera Tried To Hide The Fact That Frida Kahlo Had Other Sexual Partners But It Didn’t Work

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After His Wife’s Death, Diego Rivera Tried To Hide The Fact That Frida Kahlo Had Other Sexual Partners But It Didn’t Work

During her lifetime, acclaimed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo was not only renowned for her breathtaking surrealist paintings. She was also known for being a passionate lover with an insatiable appetite. An unabashed bisexual, Kahlo was notorious for her extramarital affairs with partners of both genders during her lifetime. Allegedly, Kahlo’s motto regarding sex was: “make love, take a bath, make love again”. In celebration of Kahlo’s liberated love life, we’ve compiled the definitive list of Frida Kahlo’s sexual conquests (that we know of). Take a peek below!

1. Diego Rivera

@fridaintima/Instagram

Of course, we must start this list off with Kahlo’s primary partner and the self-professed love of her life, Diego Rivera. When Kahlo and Rivera married in 1929, many regarded him as an unusual choice of a husband. Not only was he 20 years her senior, but he was a notorious womanizer and grossly overweight, to boot. In fact, Kahlo’s parents dubbed the couple “the elephant and the dove” due to their size contrast. Despite their differences, Kahlo and Rivera were married for 25 years (not including a one-year period of divorce) and considered each other soulmates. She even wrote a poem about him, describing their all-consuming relationship: “Diego in my urine—Diego in my mouth—in my heart. In my madness. In my dreams”.

2. Chavela Vargas

@chavelavargas/Instagram

As we mentioned before, Kahlo was bisexual and enjoyed experiencing the carnal pleasures both men and women had to offer. One of these women was famous lesbian singer Chavela Vargas. According to reports, Vargas and Kahlo began a passionate affair sometime in the 1940s when they met at a party. Later in life, Vargas would refer to Kahlo as her “great love” and wrote about her extensively in her autobiography. As for Frida, she was evidently smitten with Vargas as well. In a letter to a friend, she wrote: “Today I met Chavela Vargas. An extraordinary woman, a lesbian, and what’s more, I desire her…Was she a gift sent to me from heaven?”.

3. Leon Trotsky

@mx.city_/Instagram

Leon Trostky was a Marxist philosopher and politician who, with the help of Diego Rivera, fled the USSR to Mexico to escape Stalin. Because of Rivera’s deep commitment to the Communist cause, he insisted Trotsky and his wife Natalia stay with him and Frida for safety reasons. They ended up staying for two years. It was at Rivera and Kahlo’s residence, the famous “Casa Azul”, that Trostky and Kahlo began an affair. Upon hearing of the infidelity, Rivera became enraged. Rivera was tolerant of Kahlo’s same-sex dalliances, but her heterosexual conquests made him insanely jealous. Trostky and his wife left La Casa Azul in 1939. A year later, Trotsky was murdered in Mexico by Stalinists who were threatened by Trotsky’s controversial views.

4. Georgia O’Keeffe

@leeds_david/Instagram.

Kahlo had a complicated relationship with successful American artist Georgia O’Keefe that was a mixture of both awe and jealousy. In a letter to a friend about a trip she took to New York in 1939, Kahlo reveals that she and O’Keefe engaged in at least a sexual relationship, stating: “O’Keeffe was in the hospital for three months, she went to Bermuda for a rest. She didn’t make love to me that time, I think on account of her weakness. Too bad.”

5. Nickolas Muray

@feministsrising/Instagram

Hungarian-born photographer Nickolas Muray was one of the men that Kahlo engaged in the longest affair with, their relationship lasting, on and off, for over 10 years. Their affair began in 1931 when Muray was working in Mexico. According to love letters between them unearthed in the 1990s, their relationship was incredibly passionate. At one point, Kahlo wrote: “I miss every movement of your being, your voice, your eyes, your hands, your beautiful mouth, your laugh so clear and honest. YOU. I love you my Nick. I am so happy to think I love you –to think you wait for me– you love me”. According to reports, Muray wanted to marry Kahlo, but she was intent on keeping him as a lover, not a husband. Although they ended their affair in 1941, they remained good friends until her death in 1954.

6. Paulette Goddard

@tijana_digs_classics/Instagram

Paulette Goddard was an American actress most famous for starring in Charlie Chaplin films and later marrying him. Goddard is primarily known for having an affair with Diego Rivera, but many historians agree that she likely had a physical relationship with Frida as well. Although Kahlo was no doubt jealous of the affair between Rivera and Goddard, she also regarded Goddard as a friend and was sexually attracted to her. Many biographers of Frida Kahlo conjecture that Kahlo’s affairs with Rivera’s mistresses were a means for her to reclaim some authority within their relationship. Regardless of the reasoning behind it, Kahlo’s relationship with Goddard was deep enough for her to paint a still life in her honor. The 1941 painting was entitled “The flower basket”.

7. Isamu Noguchi

@noguchimuseum/Instagram

Isamu Noguchi was a Japanese-American sculptor who was both popular in the Mexican art scene when they started their affair in the mid-1930s. They had a short-lived, passionate physical relationship that drove Diego Rivera mad with jealousy. In Hayden Herrera’s seminal biographical work of Kahlo, “Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo”, Herrera recounts a story of Noguchi escaping a tryst between him and Kahlo by climbing down a tree outside the patio. The next time Rivera saw him, he threatened Noguchi with a gun. Although their affair was brief, Kahlo and Noguchi remained friends until her death

8. Tina Modotti

@graziagrace18/Instagram

Tina Modotti was an Italian model, actress, photographer, and political activist that was good friends with Frida throughout her life. Like many of Frida’s same-sex relationships, she was introduced to Modotti through her husband Diego as one of his mistresses. However, Kahlo and Modotti quickly became the closer of the husband and wife couple and became lovers and good friends. Modotti was portrayed by Ashely Judd in the Salma Hayek-starring biopic “Frida” in 2002, one of the only female lovers of Frida’s depicted in the movie.

9. Alejandro Gomez Arias

@agnezus/Instagram

Alejandro Gomez Arias was Kahlo’s first love and arguably the catalyst for Kahlo’s initial burst of artistic creativity. After getting in a violent bus accident in 1925 with Arias–an accident that mangled her body and left her with lifelong chronic pain–Frida was left bedridden and immobile for months. During this time, Kahlo was so frightened that Arias would lose interest in her that she created her first painting entitled “Self-Portrait in a Velvet Dress” as a gift to him and an attempt to keep him interested. Unfortunately, the painting didn’t work, and she and Arias ended their relationship shortly after.

10. Jacqueline Lamba

@repaint.history/Instagram

Jacqueline Lamba was a French painter and the wife of famous writer and poet, André Breton. Kahlo met Lamba through her husband’s friendship with Breton. Although Kahlo found Breton “insufferable”, she became close to his wife and was “intimate” with her according to contemporary friends’ accounts. In fact, the relationship between Lamba and Kahlo was another of Frida’s same-sex relationships that inspired her creatively. Kahlo created the iconic  “The Bride Frightened at Seeing Life Opened” painting after being inspired by Lamba’s recount of her traumatic wedding night.

11. Heinz Berggruen

@dagmar_v_taube/Instagram

Heinz Berggruen was an art collector, art dealer, and a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany when he met Frida Kahlo in 1940. Before he was introduced to her, he was told by Diego Rivera: “You will meet my wife and you will fall in love with her”. He had a short love affair with Frida in New York in 1940 when he was only 25 years old and she was 32.  Berggruen, who lived to be 93 and died in 2007, said of his 6-week relationship with Kahlo, that she considered it “very freeing”, as she had just divorced her husband, Diego Rivera. Although he was a famous art collect and critique, Berggruen claims he never saw any of Frida’s work or talked to her about it while they were together. Of Frida, Berggruen said: “I met Frida Kahlo the woman, and that was enough for me”.

12. Josephine Baker

@costumeinspiration/Instagram

Josephine Baker was an African-American singer and dancer who moved to Paris to escape discrimination. Baker and Kahlo met in 1939, right after Frida had separated from Diego. She traveled to Paris for an exhibition of her paintings where photographic evidence documents at least one of her meetings with Baker. While Frida was openly bisexual and proud of her relationships, Josephine was much more secretive about her affairs with women and denied them publically. However, her son, Jean-Claude Baker, later confirmed his mother’s affairs with women, referring to them as her “lady lovers”.

13. Jose Bartoli

@fridaintima/Instagram

Jose Bartoli was a Spanish painter whom Frida met on one of her many trips to New York City. They had a secret three-year affair from 1946 to 1949 that was primarily conducted through letter-writing. Their relationship developed an iconic, public status when their letters were put up for auction in 2015 by his family. In one of her letters addressed to Bartloi, Kahlo wrote: “Last night I felt as if many wings caressed me all over as if your fingertips had mouths that kissed my skin”. According to Kahlo’s primary biographer, Hayden Herrera, she believes Kahlo “would have left [Diego Rivera] in order to live with Bartoli” and her love for Bartoli was “passionate, carnal, tender and maternal”


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Diego Rivera Tried To Hide Frida’s Letters To Her Lovers, Here’s A Look Into What Some Of Them Said

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Diego Rivera Tried To Hide Frida’s Letters To Her Lovers, Here’s A Look Into What Some Of Them Said

You knew her as the revolutionary, the artist, the writer, and even as Mattel’s weirdest attempt to turn a communist into a Barbie doll, but do you know Frida Kahlo’s hit list of sexual conquests is inspiring, to say the least? For decades many have speculated that the artist known for her paintings, was also a lover like no other. Frida may just have proved it was true with her collection of lovers from around the world. Let’s get down to business with who the revolutionary herself fell for, both true and rumored.

1. Diego Rivera

Credit @olgakardasidi / Instagram

Picture teenage Frida, hungry for art and revolution, joining the Mexican Communist Party in 1927. She reads Marx, she looks at the poverty in her country and abroad, and then an older man – an art teacher – notices her. Diego Rivera, almost twice her age, is a fellow Mexican artist and painter. He is also a leftist. A passionate and volatile relationship begins. Just over a year later, they are wed. Abusive, temperamental, and unfaithful, the older man begins a familiar story many young women know. She was too young for him, and eventually outgrew him, but their relationship remains the longest one associated with Frida to this day.

Credit @tl150 / Instagram

Years of cheating, traveling, and affairs dogged the couple. Frida herself became interested in women alongside men. Diego was prone to temper tantrums and young impressionable women who are joining the art scene. The couple divorced in 1939, only to remarry in 1940. A second divorce followed shortly after.

This drama remains Frida’s most well-known romantic relationship, though years worth of other lovers would affect her life, politics, and art.

2. Nickolas Murray

Credit: @m.fridakhalo_ / Instagram

Getting married young wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, and it doesn’t take long for Frida to realize Diego heart (and other parts) have wandered. Frida too decided she had a right to find a little something-something on the side, and in 1931 she met the acclaimed Hungarian photographer Nickolas Murray while he was vacationing in Mexico. Murray had just divorced his first voice and hopes that Frida would agree to leave Diego Rivera and become his next wife. When Frida made it clear she wanted a lover, not a husband, Murray withdrew from their affair, which lasted on and off for ten years. They remained good friends until Frida’s death in 1954.

3. Isamu Noguchi

 Credit: @noguchimuseum / Instagram

As the years with Diego went on, Frida caught wind of one infidelity too far – her husband was having an affair with her younger sister Cristina. Frida and Diego separated, and though they later reconciled, they agreed to live separate lives. It was during this time that Frida met and fell in love with Isamu Noguchi, a Japanese American sculptor traveling through Mexico. Though their affair was brief, it was passionate and the two remained friends until Frida’s death.

4. Leon Trotsky

Credit: @drjorgenunez / Instagram

Frida and Diego remain dedicated communists regardless of their relationship turmoils, and when the Spanish Civil War breaks out in 1936, the two join the Mexican section of the Trotskyite International Communist League. They back Mexicans fighting back against Franco’s forces. Frida and Diego go so far as to help gain Leon Trotsky and his wife asylum in Mexico when they are exiled from the Soviet Union.

Trotsky and Frida grow very close and engage in an affair behind their spouses’ backs. You have to get it to her – how many of us manage to smuggle our faves into our own country for political asylum and then hook up with them? 

5. Dolores del Río

credit: @latinosinfilm / Instagram

Frida has been tied to Dolores del Río, though rumor and hearsay are all we have left of this chapter in history. The two were seen together and were friends, with Frida eventually painting for del Río on commission. The intimate relationship may have been more or less than we suspect, but is it hard to tell due to the stigma tied to homosexuality in Hollywood, then and now. Del Río was the first major crossover Mexican actress, making waves in American media as a beautiful starlet.

6. Chavela Vargas

Credit: @virginia.perez.carmona / Instagram

Frida’s time with Murray with dotted with other important affairs, including one with Chavela Vargas. Vargas with known for singing ranchera music while dressed as a man, often singing in a low raspy voice. She was not shy about her sexuality at the time, and it was generally known she was having relationships with women.  Though Vargas did not officially come out as a lesbian until she was 81, her autobiography also dedicated an entire chapter to an affair with Frida.

Credit @_chavelavargas / Instagram

In a letter reported to be written by Frida Kahlo to poet Carlos Pellicer, she writes of meeting Vargas:

Today I met Chavala Vargas. An extraordinary woman, a lesbian, and what’s more, I desire her. I do not know if she felt what I did. But I believe she is a woman who is liberal enough that if she asked me, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to undress in front of her…Was she a gift sent to me from heaven?

Maybe, Frida, maybe. Vargas would go on to describe as “my gran amor” for the rest of her life.

7. Georgia O’Keeffe

Credit: @repaint.history / Instagram

Though letters between Frida and Georgia O’Keeffe are very intimate, the ones Frida candidly wrote about O’Keeffe hide much more tantalizing secrets that suggest a romantic relationship between the two. One such piece of evidence is a letter Frida wrote on O’Keeffe that stated:

O’Keeffe was in the hospital for three months, she went to Bermuda for a rest. She didn’t make love to me at that time, I think on account of her weakness. Too bad.

Credit @_chavelavargas / Instagram

Despite O’Keeffe’s famously sexual paintings, androgynous looks, and independent manner, her close friend and neighbor Maria Chabot and her former housekeeper Jerrie Newsom flatly refute that O’Keeffe ever had any sexual relationships with women.

So did Frida just have an awful crush or a bright hot affair with a love that dare not speak its name?

8. Josephine Baker

Credit: @queerasfact / Tumblr

While in Paris in 1939, Frida had the chance to meet entertainment icon Josephine Baker. Rumors have circulated across the internet in our modern day and age that the two were lovers, but no citation in either woman’s historical accounts corroborates this dreamy, albeit poorly sourced, rumor. At best, we have historical accounts of both women being romantically and sexually interested in women in general, but nothing in specific linking them to each other.

All we have is this tantalizing photo and some fan fiction added for drama in the Frida biopic starring Salma Hayek.

9. Herself, in drag

Credit: @coloreader / Instagram

Frida was known to dress dapperly as a man on occasion, and there are even photographs of her in full suit with family members. The untold number of lovers and crushes she could have piled up while posing in a suit and unrecognizable is far beyond what we might know.

Credit @fridakahlo / Instagram

In the end, we just have a lot of burning questions after reading up on our favorite gay Latin American revolutionary communist artist. Was she all over that Georgia O’Keeffe’s flower? Did Josephine Baker dance with her secretly cheek-to-cheek in the weak Paris moonlight? Did Trotsky get his butt handed to him by his wife when she learned about revolutionary studies he was sharing with Frida in bed?

The world may never know.

But that’s never stopped us from speculating, and hey – we’re still allowed to dream! Let us know if there’s someone else you suspect might be on this list.


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