The vivacious Cristina La Veneno made a name for herself in Spain as a transgender pioneer with an electrifying personality. HBO Max’s hit series Veneno, released in 2020, brought the Spanish vedette’s life to the silver screen. But the series left out a number of pivotal moments from her life, including one violent incident that left her with injuries.
HBO Max’s ‘Veneno’
Veneno tells the story of Cristina La Veneno’s life, from her upbringing in the coastal town of Adra, Spain to becoming a TV star in Madrid.
As a child, she faced abuse from her mother for her effeminate ways. But after gaining the confidence to live her life as an out trans woman, Veneno’s power was unstoppable. She was introduced to the world in an April 1996 segment on the late-night TV show Esta noche cruzamos el Mississippi (Tonight We Cross the Mississippi) while she was working as a prostitute in Madrid’s West Park.
It wasn’t before long that Cristina was invited as a regular guest on the show and became known in houses across Spain (and later, around the world) for her over-the-top personality.
‘Veneno’ is based on the book ‘¡Digo! Ni puta ni santa’
The HBO series Veneno chronicles much more than just La Veneno’s life. It gave an inside look into the writing of the show’s source material, ¡Digo! Ni puta, ni santa: Las memorias de La Veneno (I’m Telling You! Neither a Whore, Nor a Saint: A Memoir by La Veneno).
In the early 2000s, Valeria Vegas was a journalism student whose life changed forever when she crossed paths with her idol, Cristina La Veneno. The iconic entertainer herself helped Vegas come to terms with her trans identity and acted as a helping hand at the beginning of her transition.
The two quickly became great friends, and over the next several years, Vegas worked with La Veneno to commit her words to paper. The memoir was finally released in 2016, just one month before Ortiz’s mysterious death.
To ensure continuity, Vegas was included as a consultant on Veneno.
Some violent scenes from Cristina La Veneno’s life were left out of the HBO Max series
While Veneno showed the many parts of Cristina’s life that made her the enigma that she was, there were many isolated incidents from her memoir that didn’t make it into the HBO Max series.
In one part of the book, she described a confrontation between her abusive boyfriend Andrea (who served as the basis for the character of Angelo in the series) and Óscar, an ex-boyfriend whom she had recently rekindled a romance. When Andrea found them in bed together, the situation quickly turned violent.
“[Andrea] got closer and he punched me in the face so hard my nose started to bleed,” she recalled. “Óscar grabbed him by the neck and picked him up off the ground while saying, ‘Son of a b—, I will s— on your dead loved ones; if you put your hands on her in front of me, I’ll slice your neck!'”
Óscar begged La Veneno to leave her abusive relationship
Cristina went on to describe how Óscar saved her from the violent situation that night — and tried to save her from it permanently.
“Andrea told me that I wasn’t the same Cristina that he met all those years ago,” she recounted. “[Óscar] grabbed me by the arm, telling me that he won’t leave me alone with that madman, and we left in his car… He was very caring, and I was drying my tears and cleaning the blood while he begged me to please leave that man and that he wasn’t the best for me.”
“The sun came up and he had to leave, but not without accompanying me to my house so that Andrea didn’t beat me again,” she remembered. As seen in the series, she ended up not leaving him and served time in prison as a result of her toxic relationship.