By day, Priscilla Villarreal is a suburban dance instructor in Laredo, Texas. But by night, she becomes the crime fighting social media superhero known as “La Gordiloca.”
The “Crazy Fat Woman.”
The star of her own Facebook Live channel, La Gordiloca follows police radios, and puts her own charismatic spin on breaking news for the Spanish-speaking population of her Mexican border town.
“We see all types of crimes here. We see murders, we see chases, we see domestic violence,” she explained. “I mean the cameras don’t lie; you’re capturing the moment there.”
Over three years, La Gordiloca has amassed a dedicated following from across the United States, with a growing audience of over 84,000 followers. Arriving at crime scenes alongside, and many times before the police, many of her followers say that she keeps them informed of events that aren’t being reported elsewhere.
With so many followers, she’s a popular figure around her hometown.
“She’s great,” one fan said. “She keeps us informed about news that doesn’t make it into the traditional media, and goes all over the place to do it.”
Yet La Gordiloca is not universally liked.
After reporting the suicide of a local civil servant, and naming him before the police had released a statement last year, she was arrested and charged with a felony. A federal judge later threw out the case.
“What we want is change, and I am the voice of the people who don’t dare to stand up to the authorities and tell things like they are in our city,” Villarreal said. “It’s all about making a better Laredo for the future generations who will inherit this city.”
Not discouraged by her critics, she continues to cover her hometown events with a natural charisma, saying it’s her daring alter ego that will bring about change for the future generations she teaches to dance.