Pop Culture Series #1


“I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.” -Frida Kahlo

In a recent trip to Mexico, I was astonished at how MUCH Frida Kahlo merchandise there was! 20 years earlier, all souvenirs were decorated with Our Lady of Guadalupe images but now it seems that Frida has stepped up to at least match (if not surpassed) in popularity with the VIRGIN as the Patroness Saint of Mexico.

Frida has quite a cult following, socks, baby dolls, quilts and tattoos of her abound. She’s become quite the fashion icon and her paintings are treasured but I think it’s her beautiful and honest vulnerability that attract us to her the most.

The name FRIDA actually comes from Norwegian Goddess, Freya and is where the Day of the week “Friday” comes from. But Frida (born MAGDALENA Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón) Kahlo’s German father and Mexican mother probably did not know that they were naming her daughter after the Goddess.

Frida Kahlo wasn’t a well-behaved female artist, her artwork was often criticized for being too boldly honest in portraying the pain and gruesomeness of life. Her paintings showed the emotional, RAW TRAGEDY of being a women and how life and death are seamlessly woven together. Diego Rivera, Frida’s husband once said: “She [is] the first woman in history of art to treat, with absolute and uncompromising honesty, one might even say with IMPASSIVE CRUELTY, those general and specific themes which exclusively affect women.”

Frida confronted death several times, contracting polio at age 5 left her nicknamed “Peg-leg Frida”. A fatal trolley bus crash at age 18 killed several of the other passengers and left Frida empaled by metal rails, crushing her spine. She spent many years in and out of hospitals and complications from her injuries were cause for Frida’s miscarriages and forced abortions. The sadness of not being able to have children constantly haunted her.

Additionally as emotionally devastating was Frida’s off and on marriage with then (more) famous artist, Diego. [The painting below TWO FRIDAS was painted after Diego had cheated on Frida with her sister.] This lead Frida to eventually have other affairs with men as well as women. She would also cross-dress on occasion. The LGBTQ community has also taken Frida in as one of their Saints. She’s often portrayed in Native Tijuanan dress, the INDIGENOUS MATRIARCHAL community Frida grew up near and portraits of her in this form of dress are adored.

Model and writer at the Dallas Museum of Art Mexican Art Exhibit

Our stunning and strong model, Robin, is a professional ballet dancer. Like Frida, Robin, is fearlessly creative and sparks joy in all whom she comes in contact with. Robin told FREE SOPHIA what she thought of portraying Frida:

“Frida was sick and in a lot of pain for much of her short life, but she didn’t let that hold her back. She was inspired by her pain and channeled it into her courageous and beautiful paintings. I loved spending a day in Frida’s skin because she represents the kind of woman I’d like to be more like. A woman with a voice and strong convictions, a woman who wasn’t afraid to love deeply and endure the great suffering that came along with it. It seems to me that Frida was always unwaveringly true to herself, whoever she may be on a given day.”

Thank you for your courage and beauty, Robin!

Special thanks again to David Clanton for his computer magic. Photo by the Creatrix.

To see more Goddesses from the GODDESS PROJECT: Made in Her Image please see: or visit our Free Sophia Facebook page.

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