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"It all started with nutritional advice to lose weight," says Lavinia Valbonesi, 25, on her social networks. The fit influencer, of Italian blood on her father's side, has not only become the first lady of Ecuador three years later thanks to such a picturesque encounter, which was not love at first sight and needed a lot of insistence from Daniel Noboa (35); Without his momentous participation in the campaign, the centrist candidate might not be president-elect of a country under the volcano of drug trafficking.

During the campaigns of the first and second presidential rounds, Lavinia became the digitalalter ego of her husband, who despite his youth has grown up between elections: his father is Álvaro Noboa, a five-time candidate and the country's main banana magnate. Without Lavinia's empathy and social media management (she has almost 400,000 followers on Instagram and almost 300,000 on Tik Tok), Noboa's latest coup d'état a few days before the polls opened would not have caused the desired effect in a very tight final sprint: the leader of National Democratic Action (ADN, a nod to his father), beat the revolutionary candidate, Luisa Gonzalez, by 3.66% of the vote.

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"I love you, my love. My heart overflows with pride for you. Today Ecuador won, we have a president," he said on social media as soon as the victory of the moderates was confirmed. In the previous hours, Lavinia had caused a sensation again, going to vote wearing a white bulletproof vest, just like her dress, and showing a belly that was five months pregnant. Almost nothing happens in Lavinia's life that her followers do not know, including that she is willing to become "the first servant of the country on the social issues of the government plan."


The couple starts their days doing their sports routines, eating very healthy, playing with their son and then, each in their own way, they launch themselves into very intense days of work. Lavinia dazzled on the campaign trail with her white outfits, which symbolize peace when Ecuador suffers the most from violence.

"Water or coffee?" she asks the LOC reporter, who has come to interview her husband in their family apartment in front of Guayaquil's Malecón. Lavinia has just fed her first child, tidies up the afternoon agenda, attends to some cameramen who are passing by and observes her husband from afar, gathered with his team of collaborators. The couple already has a son, little Alvarito ("My flesh-and-blood prince, I want to see you as a big brother"), in honor of the family patriarch.

Heart specialists find him to resemble Diana Spencer, only aesthetically. She doesn't flaunt very expensive or extravagant brands, because she knows that she has become an inspiration to many young women. Her fashion consultant revealed to the local press that "with Lavinia we manage a moodboard in the style of Kate Middleton and Carla Bruni," who was also first lady.

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Those who don't know her may be tempted to fall into the archetypes that are so common in Latin America, as she is a tall and blonde young woman, far from the physique of the majority of Ecuadorian women. Lavinia was not part of the elite, she is a university woman who worked hard to get where she is and who often did so amid her family's economic problems.

Thanks to her advice on nutrition and healthy living, she made a name for herself on social media, she even has her own restaurant in Guayaquil, Green Deli, with a star salad ironically baptized as La Pelucona and which has spinach, lettuce, arugula, avocado, strawberries and walnuts. Former President Rafael Correa, a fugitive from Ecuadorian justice after being sentenced to seven years in prison for corruption, called those who opposed him pelucones, a term also used in their day by Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro.

As soon as he won the election, a new fruit smoothie appeared on the Green Dali menu: the First Lady Smoothie, whose ingredients are a "state secret".

Lavinia, who is a well-known Swiftie ("I know 80% of her songs"), has suffered a barrage of requests these days to help Taylor Swift sing in Ecuador. "It would be a concert that I would sing at the top of my lungs," he said on Tik Tok while performing his favorite playlist.


While the rest of the candidates were trying to adapt to a world they didn't know, Lavinia was already moving like a fish in water in the Galapagos Islands, where she spent a good part of her childhood. A transcendental advantage: Tik Tok was once again fundamental in the final fate of the elections, thanks to the work and grace of a mostly young society. Thanks to a campaign in which "the mess was assembled" (Álvaro Noboa's most popular phrase), Noboa added wills throughout the country in the face of the gigantic revolutionary machine. But a week before the polls opened, the gap had been narrowed to the maximum and Luisa Gonzalez was threatening to take the lead.

Noboa's process was long and he didn't have enough funds in the final sprint. All that remained was the option of using the surplus from a cardboard factory. Thus, half a million cardboard Noboas, life-size reproductions, were deployed throughout the country. Lavinia took it upon herself to make it viral: "I've already heard that my husband is being robbed all over the country."

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And once again the mess was made. Cardboard cufflinks popped up everywhere, even on the beds of their admirers. Also at family tables, at the hairdresser's, at church, even in a massage parlor to receive therapeutic treatment after so many weeks of hard campaigning.

Digital experts found that in those days the most popular searches on Google were to find out the real height of the candidate, compared to cardboard dolls. The second search was for a first and last name: Lavinia Valbonesi.

In the end, more than 57% of women chose Noboa to the anger of the great revolutionary leader, Correa, who asserted on his networks: "Sad, isn't it?" The former television star of Vladimir Putin's channel in Latin America was unable to understand how his compatriots had not opted for the candidate he had chosen, above all, because of her absolute loyalty.

  • Ecuador
  • Daniel Noboa
  • Rafael Correa