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First Person

The Marie Antoinette of Shoes Makes a Comeback

Imelda Marcos in “The Kingmaker.”
Imelda Marcos in “The Kingmaker.”
Imelda Marcos in “The Kingmaker.” Lauren Greenfield/Showtime

Filmmaker Lauren Greenfield on how Imelda Marcos engineered her second act in the Philippines.

Imelda Marcos, the wife of the ousted Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos, remains a fixture in the global collective memory as the Marie Antoinette of shoes. She and her husband amassed a huge wealth during a 21-year reign in the Philippines. They were ousted in a popular revolution in 1986. Imelda Marcos left behind a collection of thousands of luxury shoes.

But while Ferdinand Marcos died in 1989, Imelda had a second act. She returned from exile in 1991 and was elected four times to the House of Representatives in the Philippines. She also championed the rise of her son to higher office.

This week on First Person, the photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield discusses her documentary The Kingmaker, which traces the long life of Imelda Marcos. Greenfield’s previous films include The Queen of Versailles and Generation Wealth.

About First Person:  Each week on First Person, we conduct a narrative-driven conversation with one person whose experience illuminates something timely and important about our world. Our guests tend to be people who have participated directly in events, either as protagonists or eyewitnesses. We get them to tell their story, not just offer analysis. First Person is hosted by FP deputy editor Sarah Wildman. Sarah is an award-winning journalist whose stories have appeared in the New York TimesSlate, Vox and the New Yorker online. She is the author of Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind.  See All Episodes

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