The widow of former President Ferdinand Marcos (a brutal dictator-type) rose to notoriety when she was crowned the “Rose of Tacloban” at the age of 18. She then went about collecting crowns and even protested her loss in the Miss Manila pageant one year (eye roll). The young beaut eventually married Marcos, who reigned as president for 21 years before fleeing to Hawaii after his regime was toppled by the four-day People Power Revolution in 1986.
Imelda was somewhat of a cultural dictator herself, and deported the Beatles once for refusing to play at her residence. A Studio 54-frequenter in the ’70s, she was famously revealed to be a closet closet-stuffer after opposition forces raided her abandoned mansion, discovering 2,700 pairs of designer shoes. Many were appalled by the luxuries afforded by the first lady while the majority of her country was struggling in poverty.
After her husband’s passing, Marcos returned to the Philippines and was somehow elected legislative representative in her native district of Leyte. She has since made significant contributions to her homeland including the building of many schools.
With this story of rags to riches that bursts with dubious morality, no wonder Byrne was intrigued. The two-disc album set, named after what Marcos reportedly wants engraved on her tombstone, will be released on February 23 along with a book detailing the project and a DVD.
Learn more in the video segment below: