HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuban girls turn facial masks into fashion accessories for their quinceanera photoshoot, design them to fit their 15th birthday party outfits – both because of safety concerns and to show how they grew up during the coronavirus pandemic.
FILE PHOTO: Estefani Linares walks during a photo session for her quinceanera (aged 15 years) during a celebration amid coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading concern, in Havana, Cuba, July 15, 2020. REUTERS / Alexandre Meneghini
Cuba made face masks mandatory in public spaces since the outbreak and praised them for helping to spread the corona virus on the island. On Monday it was registered zero new cases nationally.
When the country reduces lock restrictions, facial masks even become part of the celebration of quinceanera – the transition to femininity that is common throughout Latin America – which usually includes shooting with many glamorous ensembles.
“I have to design my face mask to match my clothes and so that all colors can function,” said the birthday girl, Sofia Valenzuela, between shooting the beach in a light white dress.
“Facial masks are very important because they mark an important stage in my life, this three-month pandemic.”
Valenzuela did some maskless photography – like the one on the beach – and others with, especially in urban spaces.
In one, for example, he posed in front of a Havana wall covered in colorful graffiti while wearing a black top, black and white checkered miniskirt, and matching face masks.
The tailor, Migdalaixis Sanchez, said he connected black and white stripes to make material for cloth masks. Some stores are still closed after the locking caused by Coronavirus so making a suitable mask is not always easy.
“I have to innovate,” he said. “You must please those who celebrate their quinceanera.”
Photographer Manuel Padron, who has shot quinceaneras for more than 10 years, said the girls wore face masks – called “nasobuco” or “nose-mouth” in Cuban Spanish – eye-catching “as if they were part of the whole show. ”
The birthday girl, Thaidelen Gonzalez said it was also just about being cautious.
“The photos will be fine so wearing a mask and taking care of yourself is not too heavy,” he said.
Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien