One advantage to telling a true story through a fictional lens is the liberties an artist can take with a person's real-life experiences. You don't want to deviate so far from the path that you create an entirely new version of events, but using dramatic flair to punctuate what you know to be true makes for better entertainment.
Actor Sofia Vergara spent years trying to tell the world about Griselda Blanco, as she saw her. Like the woman who would eventually rise to prominence in the 1970s by way of the Miami drug trafficking scene, Sofia was going to do it her way. In Netflix's Griselda, she brings the Cocaine Godmother to life in a way no one has before. This includes some odd choices such as Griselda's penchant for using her cigarette to trace the sky. Here's what we know about that strange movement.
Why does Griselda trace with her cigarettes?
Several times throughout the six-part series, Griselda finds a moment to herself and inevitably smokes a cigarette. There's a lot of smoking on this show because it takes place in the late '70s. While smoking and in deep thought, Griselda's hand floats up toward the sky while still holding her cigarette. She then slowly traces whatever is in front of her. At one point she does this while sitting in the backyard of her enormous Miami mansion and traces the roof of her home.
Neither Sofia nor the show's creators have specifically addressed this, and we can't confirm it's something Blanco did. We are left to interpret these instances ourselves using context clues. For example, every time it happens Blanco is at a major crossroads. The cigarette itself is treated almost like a magic wand she is using to control everything around her. In the case of her mansion, the action almost feels protective, as if the smoke from the cigarette is a protective barrier around her new home and life.
In other scenes, Blanco is more of a conductor and the cigarette is her baton. If this took place in modern times, one could say she is setting her intentions. When she's happy, the cigarette becomes a tool for maintaining the status quo. In more turbulent times, the cigarette is a weapon she wields metaphorically against her enemies. The effect is always chilling.
Sofia Vergara felt very connected to Griselda Blanco.
Sofia told CBS News that she loved being back in Miami due to the large Colombian influence found in the city. "It's like my whole family is always here. So to me it's, you know, it's my party place, my happy place, everyone is here. I can eat Colombian food here. It's amazing," she said. Sofia also felt a similar connection to Blanco who, like her, was from Colombia.
"I lived in Colombia during the 1970s, '80s, and '90s when the narco traffic was crazy," Sofia told the outlet. "My brother died in that era. He was killed because he was part of that business." She understood exactly where Blanco was coming from, but struggled at times to walk in the Cocaine Godmother's shoes. The violence in the show often got to Sofia, who was in "almost every scene."
"It was a lot of stress and a lot of work that I had to do behind the scenes," she revealed. "And I think by episode five, I totally became a monster and Griselda did too."