QFest: The Annual Houston International LGBTQ Film Festival
Cassandro, the Exotico!
Introduction and post-film Q&A by Cassandro
Lucha libre star Cassandro is famous as much for his flamboyant drag and sky-high pompadour as for his show-stopping acrobatics. His trailblazing ascent as one of the industry’s first openly gay wrestlers has resonated internationally for a quarter century. A prize-winning fighter who reinvented a staunchly macho sport, Cassandro exudes resilience of all kinds—from the physical power to level his opponents, to an ability to revisit past trauma and cope with the scars of a body pushed to its limits. French-born filmmaker Marie Losier (The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye), who lives and works in New York, received the Guggenheim Award to make Cassandro, the Exotico!
About the Speaker
World-renowned wrestler Cassandro got his start on the U.S./Mexico border. Born in El Paso in 1970, he began lucha libre training at age 15 in Juárez and became a professional wrestler in 1987, working under a mask as Mister Romano. He was soon encouraged to take on a new persona as an exótico—a male wrestler portraying a gay caricature. Although most exóticos are straight, Cassandro is gay. His first match as an exótico was unmasked, under the name Rosa Salvaje. In 1988, he was christened Cassandro.