HomeEntertainmentWho Was Marìa Caballero, The Inspiration Behind Pixar's Mama Coco?

    Who Was Marìa Caballero, The Inspiration Behind Pixar’s Mama Coco?

    Pixar has always been the trailblazer to confluence cinema, animation, and human life. It has created several films that are socially conscious. Be it ‘Inside Out’, where emotions came into reality, displaying the working of human emotions and normalizing the expression of it. But, another film that got the representation and exclusivity right was Pixar’s ‘Coco’. One of the beloved characters was Mama Coco, who was loosely based on a real woman named Marìa Salud Ramirez Caballero. On October 16th, 2022, Marìa died in her hometown.

    Roberto Monroy, Secretary of Tourism for Michoacán, confirmed the news of her death. There were speculations making rounds that Nana Salud was the inspiration for the 2017 Pixar’s ‘Coco’, but Disney did not confirm it nor did not they credit her in the film. Let’s know more about Caballero to commemorate her spirit.

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    “Tireless Woman And A Role Model”: Marìa Caballero Dies At The Age Of 109

    Marìa Caballero
    Marìa Caballero

    The old woman who reportedly inspired the character of Mama Coco in the Academy award winning film is no more. Marìa Salud Ramirez Caballero died at the age of 109 at her birthplace in Michoacán, Western Mexico. The people started recognizing her as ‘Mamá Coco’ due to her resemblance to the great-grandmother of Miguel in Disney Pixar’s ‘Coco’.

    The Secretary of Tourism in Michoacán confirmed the news on his Twitter. In a translated statement from Spanish, he said, “I am deeply saddened by the passing of Maria Salud Ramirez Caballero, ‘Mama Coco’, a tireless woman and example of life, who was the inspiration for this beloved character that went around the world. I pray for her eternal rest and for her family to find peace of mind.”

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    Was ‘Mama Coco’ In Pixar Based On Caballero?

    Mama Coco in 'Coco'
    Mama Coco in ‘Coco’

    In 2017, Disney came out with Pixar’s ‘Coco’, which was unanimously loved by critics and audiences. It was the story of a 12-year-old aspiring musician, Miguel. He wants to become a musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. The film had a proper representation of Latin culture without appropriation. The story revolves around the Dìa de los Muertos ritual.

    It was speculated that Miguel’s great-grandmother, Mamá Coco’s character, was inspired by Caballero. As per The New York Times, the team went for a recce in Mexico to visit the families in different areas. The purpose was that they were looking for inspiration to base their “multi-generational family film”. So, the reports started making rounds that Marìa was the inspiration for Mamá Coco.

    However, the director of the film, Lee Unkrich squashed the rumors in a tweet in 2018. He said, “This is not a true story. The character of Mamá Coco was not based upon any real person we met in our travels.” As per TMZ, the family of the late Caballero claimed that the team from Pixar visited the town and lived with them. Nonetheless, the film won an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award for the ‘Best Animated Feature Film’ category.

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    Nishant Bhise
    Nishant Bhise
    Nishant Bhise is a Sub-Editor at FirstCuriosity. He has more than 2 years of experience in Entertainment content writing with the organization. Besides being a journalist and humanist, he loves cinema and intersectionality, basically everything that screams love, hope, and of course, Lady Gaga. Nishant loves and breathes popular culture, music, especially hip-hop and pop, and the royal family drama. Along with that, he takes great interest in the happenings in the technology world and politics. He is an LGBTQIA+ ally. Approach him with an apple juice to discuss Modern Family, Pose, and Schitt’s Creek.

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