Behind every successful man, there is a woman’, so goes the famous dictum. However, Marta Sahagun de Fox, the former first lady of Mexico, believes in standing beside her man.
She spoke to Metrolife on her visit to the City recently on the invitation of UST Global, an IT company, which is starting its Mexican operations. Marta became the first lady of Mexico in 2001, when she married President Vicente Fox serving in the office then. This was the second marriage for both of them and faced its share of criticism. To be with the man whose ‘beliefs she believed in’, Marta had to give up her thriving career as the government’s spokesperson. Refusing to be a mere arm candy, as was expected of her, Marta chose to emerge out of her husband’s shadow and carved her own identity by being a champion of women’s and children’s rights and speaking out against social injustices. “In Mexico, as the first lady, I was expected to stand as a decorative piece. I didn’t give in to such masochism. Instead, I decided that I will write my own history. I love politics,” says Marta. Her vivacious personality and philanthropic work didn’t go unnoticed and Marta’s popularity soared in her country to such an extent that her detractors accused her of harbouring political ambitions.
“It is an absolute lie. I don’t want to become the President. I just want to see my country achieve economic stability and for my people to emerge out of the lure of narcotics,” explains Marta. But wouldn’t she write her history better by entering politics? After pondering a bit over the logic, she answers, “Yes, may be in future. As of now, I’m happy supporting my husband in everything he does and believes in.” With intense public spotlight on first ladies these days, more for their predilection for pomp and pageantry and the powerful hold that they have on their husbands, Marta too can’t afford to ignore them. However, she hates the obsession that people have with their looks and wardrobe. “I admire Queen Rania of Jordan not only for her style, but also for the meaningful charity work that she does,” she says. At the age of 59, Marta can still give any discerning fashionista a competition with her sartorial elegance though she doesn’t adhere to any tailored or streamlined look. “I feel one should wear what one is comfortable in because if you are confident, style oozes out of you. Chanel is my favourite brand though it’s expensive and I can afford it only once in a year.” Steeped in the culture of cut-throat politics, Marta still likes to call herself a spiritual person. “I meditate and I also believe in God though I’m not a deeply religious person. I serve people to seek happiness,” enlightens Marta. Though Marta had visited India once before, this was her first trip to Bangalore. “The City is beautiful and so are the people but I didn’t get much time to see around,” she informs. Macabre visions — turf wars between gang lords and drug trafficking — cross the mind as one thinks of Mexico, far away in North America. But Marta begs to differ, “You have the Mexican delights too in your City. How can you forget the tacos and jalapeños? They are irresistible!”