By Rosemary Grayson
Ilsa Picazo, artist, model, author, journalist, mother and sister has just launched her latest book, Dare to Be a Woman with a Capital W. ‘Who dares wins’ is the motto of the UK’s SAS, their special forces elite. Like the USA Seals, they are internationally acclaimed as some of the toughest guys on the planet.
So how tough is to dare to be woman in Mexico in 2016? Ilsa is a role model for daring Mexican woman hood; her mission is to help the not so daring.
“I speak directly to women as a friend. I want to reveal women to themselves. I aim to identify their innate power and how to use it to advantage. With information and advice to boost their self esteem, is how everyone wins,” said Ilsa, whose namesake is the famous heroine of iconic movie classic, Casablanca.
With a light touch, thrice married Ilsa shares information first hand on divorce, often a taboo subject. Her take on motherhood, a role that could reach infinity, is more than refreshing, she announces: “You don’t have to love your mother. If the chemistry is wrong, realize it with no guilt and seek to manage both your lives around it.” Whilst to mothers, Ilsa says: “You are told to be beautiful, sexy, faithful, a perfect cook housekeeper, loving and supportive to your husband and children, plus caring for your relatives.”
Not to tick all the boxes on this superhuman shopping list, makes many women feel they are failing. Clearly this is unachievable, yet paternalistic forces batter away daily at your self- worth to do so. Building a strong circle of female friends can be a vital counter measure.”
She has a brave pop at grandmothers. Ilsa says: “Avoid being the victim of the age-old family black mail via hidebound tradition. Just because grandma intimates some ghastly outcome should you veer from the path, gently point out it is no longer a good reason for you to continue.” To effortlessly elevate critics to volcanic opprobrium, possibly yet predictably setting her book flying off the shelves, is the women’s sexuality theme.
Aimed not disingenuously at male readers too, Ilsa feels men have no real knowledge of the whole package and what orgasm means emotionally to a woman. She lays it on the line. Naturally, apart from first hand observations, her sources are broad and impeccable; Naomi Wolf’s Vagina, Simone de Beauvoir The Second Sex, John Gray’s Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus and Carl Gustav Jung.
The new book is based on local research and direct requests from an unofficial focus group. Ilsa has a colorful candy store in Gallerias Plaza, Guadalajara and so qualifies as a member of a businesswomen’s association. After reading or hearing of her first book on menopause, they clamored “What about we younger ones?” She has already sold 1,000 books. A voracious reader, Ilsa has got through Don Quixote seven times.
At only nine years old, Ilsa horrified her mother, a highly qualified hospital blood analyst and father, a top government PR man, with her driving ambition to write. With a more marked career pathway in view, Ilsa at 17 was bundled off to the top art School in Mexico City, where they lived, to study illustration at the San Carlos Academy.
Falling in love and marrying a bull fighting groupie and alleged poet, 12 years her senior curtailed all but a year’s study. Ilsa needed to monetize her relationship, which now included baby Ilsa to keep her pride intact against the storm of parental disapproval.
Her resume soon included sales, in a posh department store, receptionist at a funeral home and model. But still in hot pursuit of the written word, Ilsa completed a three-year journalism course in 18 months. Her proud father offered a car. Ilsa did a deal for tickets to Madrid to hone her true identity.
A year later, at her welcome back to Mexico party, enter El Che, Ricardo, an Argentinean architect. He was Ilsa’s next husband and father of Hernan, 34, now a top Toronto businessman, thanks to her.
Her love of words, seven years later catapulted her into the arms of Morris, a scientist and aspiring writer whom she met at the writers’ group, which ironically, Che had encouraged her to join. Playfully unabashed Ilsa feels her life’s journey so far ideally equips her with solid credentials to talk to women.
Ilsa Picazo lives in Chapala with her husband Morris, a Nuclear Physicist and Research Scientist for the Mexican government.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com
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