Maria Alessandra Santos Vazquez was proud to wear her late mother’s navy blue “Virginia high school senior” cap and gown to her junior prom in 2014. But another family member — specifically the mama’s first cousin, Manolo Garcia — took the impression she had made on him when the two met at her sister’s wedding the year before to an entirely different audience. Garcia drove to Santos’ homecoming dance in 2007 to see if she had any real “instanteala.” He snapped a photo, posted it to his Instagram account and posted it on Facebook the following day. The post soon went viral, with hundreds of comments on the photo, many of them comparing her dark smoky eyes to Diana, the late Princess of Wales.
Vazquez was 15 years old when she learned of Garcia’s post and responded to him on Facebook. “When I was in the dark I was certain that Prince Di was my mother’s soulmate who gave me my love,” she wrote. Vazquez added that Garcia made her realize how isolated she was when he didn’t give her a chance to explain that she was over 18. “Because of your post, I became very independent and started having dreams and thoughts I never had before,” she wrote. “You made me see you as my father and people started calling me ‘Maria’ and ‘my mom’.”
After Vazquez saw the post and was bombarded with messages from strangers claiming to be fans of her mother’s memory, she was finally able to get a response from Garcia, who admitted that the pictures of her mother dancing with the prince Harry seemed to have prompted his ire. “You met Princess Diana and that was in real life, not via a painting,” Garcia wrote in the response he posted to Vazquez’s comments on Facebook. “I received over 300 messages in the past 4 days from people saying you reminded them of my mom who died when you were 15. You need to set the record straight. My mom did not die when you were 15.”
As for the message exchange, Garcia tweeted a short explanation on Dec. 22.
Guys please don’t sit here and waste time reading the comments saying @mariessinato is my “real” mom. pic.twitter.com/FkkhSKrYpK — Manolo Garcia (@manologarcia69) December 22, 2017
The comment on the post has since been deleted.
Read the full story at CNET.
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