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Girl Trouble: The True Saga of Superstar Gloria Trevi and the Secret Teenage Sex Cult That Stunned the World

Girl Trouble: The True Saga of Superstar Gloria Trevi and the Secret Teenage Sex Cult That Stunned the World

by Christopher McDougall

Gloria Trevi, Mexico's most popular singer in the 1990s, stunned fans and the world when revelations surfaced that the talent school she and her boyfriend, producer Sergio Andrade, operated was a front for a sex-slave operation.

Trevi eluded authorities for two years before being apprehended and jailed in Brazil, where she then became pregnant and blamed a guard


Gloria Trevi, Mexico's most popular singer in the 1990s, stunned fans and the world when revelations surfaced that the talent school she and her boyfriend, producer Sergio Andrade, operated was a front for a sex-slave operation.

Trevi eluded authorities for two years before being apprehended and jailed in Brazil, where she then became pregnant and blamed a guard for raping her. An extradition struggle ensued, with the Mexican government demanding her return and Brazil denying the request — on the grounds that the parent of a Brazilian-born child cannot be extradited. The shocking truth of the baby's paternity is only one twist in this stranger-than-fiction tale.

In Girl Trouble, Christopher McDougall recounts the complete story of how Trevi rose to fame and then notoriety. With exclusive interviews with Trevi, Andrade, and many of the victims, he offers readers an inside look at this scandal that continues to astound a decade later.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 1985, 15-year-old Gloria Trevi lucked into the final spot in a girl group created by Mexico's hottest young producer, Sergio Andrade. Boquitas Pintadas ("Little Painted Mouths") broke up shortly thereafter, but three years later, after a scandalous television performance, Trevi's self-financed solo album struck gold. McDougall's carefully researched but meandering book follows the charismatic singer's dizzying ascension to stardom and, more interestingly, recounts the fall from grace that landed her in Brazilian prison a decade later. Andrade's evil manipulation and pedophilia are at the heart of this sordid tale, but Trevi's role as a recruiter of adolescent girls for his talent school makes it a real-life horror story. Girls as young as 13 were starved, beaten and forced to have sex with Andrade while their "classmates" watched. Many became pregnant when Andrade's preferred method of contraception-Coca-Cola douches-failed. Naturally, this is difficult material to stomach, but McDougall's rendering is unnecessarily lurid. His description of a scene in Trevi's third movie sums up his book's central theme: "Sergio is shitting on everyone he controls and everyone who tries to control him-and Gloria is suspended in his ordure like a fly in amber." In the end, it's difficult to separate the talented storyteller from his appalling story. Agent, Dan Mandel. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A lackluster expose of Latin superstar Trevi, her manager, and their sexual and professional misadventures with a troupe of very young wannabe pop stars. Gloria Trevino (stage name: "Trevi") always wanted to be a singer, and she got her shot when she was only 18 and paired up with producer Sergio Andrade. While Girl Trouble is ostensibly about the incredibly popular Trevi, it's actually the story of this man, the master puppeteer who engineered the star's success. Andrade trained Gloria, brought her to the public, then saw to it that her wild personality was packaged for maximum salability. Unfortunately for Trevino and dozens of other young girls, Andrade had a sadistic streak and an insatiable appetite for 13-year-olds. Once his reputation as a producer was established-and that was well before Trevino appeared-Andrade was able to recruit adolescent girls at will by promising a "performance scholarship" at his "special school." McDougall reveals exactly what this means with a wealth of cringe-inducing examples ranging from auditions that required full-body physicals to the isolation of girls from their families-and that doesn't even touch on the group sex. Andrade kept up the myth of a training academy for a remarkable period of time and married a series of teenaged brides, until one of them whose career never took off finally published a tell-all book about what was really going on. Why did the girls put up with it? Their extreme youth is the likeliest reason, although why their families accepted fishy circumstances is a harder call. McDougall, currently writer-at-large for Philadelphia magazine, dips into various studies of brainwashing in an effort to explain, possibly hoping toelevate the material out the realm of the purely sensational. But despite his extensive research and jailhouse interviews with both Andrade and Trevino, the work feels plodding-and overblessed with italics. May cause the reader to feel the need of a long hot shower. Agent: Dan Mandel

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

Girl Trouble
The True Saga of Superstar Gloria Trevi and the Secret Teenage Sex Cult That Stunned the World

Chapter One

Gloria, Live

On a Sunday night in December 1989, eighteen-year-old Gloria Trevi was staring at a backstage curtain and contemplating the end of her show business career. In a few minutes, she'd be stepping onto the stage of the wildly popular Mexican variety show Siempre en Domingo to sing a song she'd written about a girl much like herself: young, beautiful, creative -- and absolutely desperate.

"Two minutes now ... "

Gloria stood quietly as a makeup team bustled around her in a final frenzy of preparation, dabbing her already glossy lips, smoothing a strand of her always rebellious hair, lacquering her into the perfect porcelain image of a singing Lladró. This wasn't her lucky break, she knew.

"One minute ..."

She'd already gotten her lucky break in 1985, when she was barely fifteen and charmed her way into the fifth and final spot on a new girl group, Boquitas Pintadas ("Little Painted Mouths"). Now that was lucky. Gloria had never played an instrument in her life at that point, or sung a note in public, and yet somehow she lucked into a chance that far more experi-enced singers would have killed for. The Boquitas were the latest creation of Sergio Andrade, the hot young record producer who'd been nicknamed "Mr. Midas" for his remarkable ability to match unknown artists with star-making material. He'd had tremendous success with the lovely young chanteuse Lucerito (now known as Lucero), the beautiful blind singer Crystal, and the rock band Grupo OkiDiki.

With Boquitas Pintadas, Sergio was trying his hand at rock-and-roll girl groups, a genre that was catching fire in the United States and seemed custom-made for his talents. After all, Bananarama was earning gold records for basically looking good standing next to each other, while The Go-Gos and The Bangles were selling out arenas because they could pluck a few rudimentary chords. That's why Sergio, a classically trained pianist, knew he could do better. Instead of just jiggling guitar twangers, he'd turn his girls into serious musicians. He handpicked five Boquitas and sequestered them for a year, teaching them keyboards and harmonics and creating their neat, office-girl look. He worked them hard -- maybe too hard: The girls bickered, and Boquitas Pintadas folded in less than a year.

"Thirty seconds, Miss Trevi."

That's how, at age sixteen Gloria ended up out of work and out on the street. She'd come to Mexico City three years before on a TV talent scholarship, but her talent hadn't landed her more than a few soap opera walk-ons. Just as her money and confidence were running out, she got her lucky break with the Boquitas. That one year as a Boquita gave her a glimpse at what a pop singer's life could be, and now she was desperate for one last shot -- but on her own this time, without having to rely on such undependables as squabbling bandmates and a phony prefab image. She dreaded the alternative: a grim, fourteen-hour bus trip back home to Monterrey, the smog-hazed factory town hard on the Texan border. So after the Boquitas folded, Gloria begged her mother for money to live on while she wrote songs and courted record companies, but her mother refused—no way she was letting her daughter live alone in the lethal labyrinth of Mexico City without at least a recording company or TV training program to look out for her.

"OK, Miss Trevi, on my count. Five... "

Gloria defied her family and basically disappeared. Very few people know where sixteen-year-old Gloria went after she vanished or what she did to survive. Afterward, those lost years would become the basis of her legend. Teenage girls across the world would hear Gloria tell stories of how she was evicted from her boardinghouse and lived on the streets, singing for coins at bus stops and begging on the streets.

"Four... "

Gloria would turn the story of her lost years into a teenybop adventure, spinning epic tales of begging dowagers for coins and scrubbing toilets for rent. She was thrilled, she'd say, when she got the chance to strip off her rubber scrub gloves and teach aerobics for slave wages. After twelve straight hours of classes a day, Gloria would recount, she barely had enough to pay for a few street vendor tacos and cover her weekly boardinghouse bill. Whatever she was actually doing during her post- Boquita years, it had the ironic side effect of making her more glamorous than she'd ever been as an aspiring pop star. If she truly had been eating as miserably and exercising as endlessly as she'd say, it made Gloria's body simultaneously trimmer and bustier. She couldn't afford to have her hair cut, so she let it go long and loose. She couldn't buy clothes, so she paid more attention to the few she had, assembling them in a far more daring and artful style, mimicking the breakthrough popularity of Madonna and Cyndi Lauper to create her own Latin-style, trash-chic look.

She was also writing furiously in her notebooks, making use of the breaks between aerobics sessions to jot down the rhymes and melodies she'd come up with during class. In a way, the job was perfect for an aspiring pop star -- Gloria was being paid to rehearse dance moves and let her mind run free, all to a steady techno backbeat. She'd been writing verses since she was five years old, and had learned to read and arrange music during her year with the Boquitas. Her tough new life, meanwhile, was giving her plenty of hard-knocks and girl-alone material to draw on for lyrics.

"Three ... "

One year after the Boquitas' final concert, as Gloria would tell the story, she was back in Sergio Andrade's office, this time carrying a scrawled collection of nearly thirty songs ...

Girl Trouble
The True Saga of Superstar Gloria Trevi and the Secret Teenage Sex Cult That Stunned the World
. Copyright © by Christopher McDougall. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Christopher McDougall writes regularly for Esquire, Men's Health, and Bicycling magazines, and first covered the Gloria Trevi saga for the New York Times Magazine in 2002. He won the Clarion Award in 2002 and became fluent in Spanish and Portuguese as an overseas correspondent for the Associated Press, spending months in Africa reporting on the massacres in Rwanda and frontline fighting in Angola. His articles have also been featured in GQ, Men's Journal, and Inc. magazines.

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