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Confession: We’re a little bit obsessed with Javier Ambrossi and Javier Calvo.
In 2020, the couple joined creative forces and created Veneno. The series recalls the story of La Veneno, a popular trans television personality in Spain during the 1990s. La Veneno became a fixture on late night television in Spain, enjoyed a successful modeling career and even dropped a couple of hit singles before she faded into obscurity.
The show fills in the blanks of La Veneno’s life, detailing her childhood, coming out as trans, life as a sex worker, her rise to fame, and her subsequent downfall amid an insurance scam. The show also tells the story of Valeria Vargas, La Veneno’s biographer, who helped inspire a generation of queer kids desperate for on-screen representation.
For Ambrossi and Calvo, the TV series Veneno offered a similar opportunity: a chance to offer young, queer kids a chance to see themselves on screen, and to share a chapter of queer history. As Ambrossi told Entertainment Weekly:
It’s important that we give a voice to those who are rarely if ever given a platform. It’s important that we face these stories head on and listen intently with humanity and respect. We hope to honor Cristina and to give her life the respect she deserves. Which I don’t believe has been done in a very long time.
Calvo echoed that sentiment:
The series discusses how prejudice is killing our society and how we desperately need to have more empathy for one another. People like Cristina have helped shine a light on a reality that people preferred to keep hidden. What we hope to achieve with this series is to introduce the world to these incredible women so we can better understand them and unite in their fight. We understand that not everyone knows a trans person personally, so they may not understand why they wake up every day and fight.
For Ambrossi and Calvo, both of whom have a background as actors on Spanish soap operas, the collaboration is just the latest in a relationship that has lasted over a decade.
The two began dating in 2010, and in 2013, produced and co-directed the stage musical La llamada in Madrid. They continued to act in films and television before creating the digital sitcom Paquita Salas in 2016. Netflix eventually acquired the show for an additional season. Ambrossi & Calvo then returned to La llamada in 2017, co-directing a film version of the musical. The pair also guest judged the Spanish edition of Drag Race.
It does our hearts well to see a happy, queer couple working so well together. It also nourishes our souls to see a very queer story told with such grace and technical polish. That Javier Ambrossi and Javier Calvo did both last year thrills us to no end… and makes us swell with pride.
Scroll down for more pics from their Instagram pages…