tamales Selling tamales, a measure the couple thought they'd do to get by, has been more of a moneymaker than they expected.

Couple put their dreams on hold and turn to selling tamales

As the pandemic pummels the arts, the Mexico City artists needed to find other income

Brian Orozco and Teresa Morales are artists and now, two years into a global pandemic, they are also successful tamale vendors.

Three years ago, they were pursuing their dreams — Orozco was a theater actor and Morales, a painter — in Mexico City.

But everything changed when the COVID-19 pandemic started. Like many artists and performers, their incomes took a nosedive.

Orozco tried to squeak by with low-paid online performances, but pretty soon the couple were looking for new ways to support themselves.

They tried to start several businesses, including a coffee shop in Jalisco with Orozco’s brother, but nothing took off.

Candelaria de los Patos housing complex Mexico City
Brian Orozco and Teresa Morales got their tamales business started where they lived in the Candelaria de los Patos housing complex in the Venustiano Carranza borough.

Then, in early 2021, the couple decided to try their hand at selling tamales, using a recipe from Teresa’s family in Veracruz. At first, they sold the tamales around the neighborhood where they lived with Orozco’s parents. Teresa made the tamales and Orozco put his acting skills to work as the salesman. It was a hit, and they quickly sold out.

“It was very hard for us to see how after fighting so hard for your dreams, for music, for theater, for art, it all fell apart because of the coronavirus. And it was very difficult starting from zero in other things,” Orozco said.

The pair recently opened a sales location in the Anzures neighborhood, but have not forgotten their artistic dreams.

“I am determined sooner or later to start a theater company. I’ll leave my businesses in the hands of managers and dedicate myself to what I like to do,” Orozco said.

With reports from Reforma

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