“She looks like soon we’ll find a porn video [starring her].”
These are some of the things people said about Alexandra Lúgaro when she announced she was running as an independent candidate for governor of Puerto Rico. But in the 18 months since then, she has proven she is much more than a pretty face. No woman before her has ever attempted to run for the highest office on the island without the backing of a political party. But when Lúgaro, 35, introduced herself in a March 2015 video, she broke all the rules: She took controversial positions such as legalizing marijuana and same-sex marriage, didn’t announce her position on Puerto Rico’s political status, statehood, or independence, and said that the island’s debt was unpayable — months before Gov. Alejandro García Padilla did.
A woman is underestimated because of her physical appearance. But I [think] that through my candidacy, I’m opening doors for other women.
But, perhaps because she doesn’t fit the mold of a typical island politician, Lúgaro has cultivated a substantial following. Her social media presence includes almost 500,000 followers across platforms — more than any other candidate on the island. Even though millennials have historically been apathetic towards elections, polls found that millennials comprise 61% of Lúgaro's supporters.
In a moment where the island is going through a deep economic crisis, the parties are still using millions in public funds [to finance their campaigns.] I also wanted to prove that you could do more with less.
There was a breaking point where I found myself criticizing the government while watching TV in my house, so I decided to do something and run to be part of the island’s decision-making process.