Entering the late Jenni Rivera's palatial home in Encino, Calif., it’s hard not to be reminded of her.
The letters “JR” are engraved on the main door handles and inscribed on the marble floor in the entrance foyer. Butterflies — symbolic of her metamorphosis from a Mariposa de Barrio into banda’s reigning queen — decorate the staircase leading to some of the mansion’s seven bedrooms. Within these walls, it’s impossible to forget how hard the daughter of Mexican immigrants in Long Beach, Calif., worked to achieve the American Dream and to build a trans-generational empire.
No one is more aware of the hardships and triumphs than La Diva de la Banda’s eldest daughter, Janney Rivera, the blossoming singer who is better known by the nickname her uncle gave her: Chiquis. If Jenni, who had Chiquis at age 15, was the queen of regional Mexican music, then Chiquis was the obvious heir to her mother’s throne. But instead of applauding Chiquis for launching her own career as an artist, many die-hard Jenni fans dislike the idea of her daughter stepping into the spotlight.
Chiquis emerges from a room next to the kitchen, makeup-free and hair pulled back in a messy bun. It’s far from the glam image we’re used to seeing on social media, where she touts more than 3 million followers, but it’s unfiltered and real — two of the qualities that make her so endearing to fans who collectively call themselves the Boss Bee Nation. “Sorry to keep you waiting,” she says warmly. “I just came back from a cycling class and finished my meditation.”
Chiquis, 29, is remarkably similar to her mother — from her beautiful curves down to her mannerisms. Having served as consigliere in Jenni Rivera Enterprises, a multimillion-dollar company encompassing music, TV, clothing, fragrances and more, Chiquis launched her own career as a singer in 2014, and plans to release her debut album, a bilingual mix of banda and pop, in May.
Preceding the album will be Chiquis’s memoir, Forgiveness, due out April 7 from Atria Books, in which she breaks her silence about her painful life experiences, including the events that led to the now-famous rift between her and her mother two months before Rivera’s plane crashed in Mexico on December 9, 2012, a time Chiquis calls “the worst two months of my life.”
Wrapped in a fleece blanket adorned with printed photos of Jenni, Chiquis is ready to set the record straight on some of the more flagrant misconceptions that have been circulating on social media.
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