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LATIN AMERICA

Juliana Awada, fashion mogul and future first lady of Argentina

The third wife of president-elect Mauricio Macri is a no stranger to the country’s tabloids

La esposa de Macri, Juliana Awada Ver fotogalería
Macri’s wife, Juliana Awada, casts her vote on Sunday. AFP

Juliana Awada is the third wife of Argentina’s future president, Mauricio Macri, and he is 15 years her senior. The beautiful 41-year-old fashion mogul makes sporadic appearances on the front pages of the tabloids. Though she and their four-year-old daughter, Antonia, accompanied Macri on almost all his campaign trips, she only began appearing on TV for interviews over the last few weeks, supporting her husband without talking about politics.

Awada’s parents were also in the fashion business. Her late father, Abraham Awada, was a Lebanese Muslim immigrant but he did not share his religious traditions with his five children. Juliana is Catholic. Her 79-year-old mother, Elsa Baker, is the head of the women’s fashion firm Awada, in which the future first lady is a shareholder and also a designer.

In a country where politicians often go on TV and talk about their private lives, one interviewer asked Awada how Macri was in bed

Like her husband, Juliana Awada attended a bilingual high school. She then studied English for a while at Oxford before joining the family business. She traveled to the United States and Europe with her mother to hunt down fashion collections. She usually sports a $12,000 Hermés bag, like the one President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner carries.

Awada was married for a short while when she was young. Then, for 10 years, she dated a Belgian count who had investments in Argentina. They had a child together, Valentina. In 2009, she began a relationship with Macri, an ex-businessman turned Buenos Aires mayor. They met at a gym in the aristocratic quarter, Barrio Parque, where they both live, and Macri left his then-girlfriend.

The couple wed in 2010 and their daughter, Antonia, was born the next year. In a country where politicians often go on TV and talk about their private lives, one interviewer asked Awada how Macri was in bed. She answered: “Can’t you see how happy I look?” “My wife has too much sex. She’s insatiable,” Macri said on another program in 2013. That same year they both went to Rome to see Pope Francis. Photos of them kissing and playing with their daughter delight the Argentinean press.

In 2012, a politician and friend of the pontiff, Gustavo Vera, sued Awada. He gave authorities a video of a secret workshop working for the brand, Cheeky, a company owned by Awada’s brother. Vera included Awada in the legal complaint as the company’s director and designer. She denied this claim and the case against her was dismissed. In 2014, her brother came under investigation as part of a case that has been receiving similar complaints for eight years. Vera also denounced these practices at other companies.

When Macri takes office on December 10, Juliana Awada and her family will move to the presidential residence in Olivos. She and her daughter will be the center of attention in the tabloids. But, unlike other first ladies such as Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Hilda de Duhalde, she has no political ambitions.

English version by Dyane Jean Francois.

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