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We Don't Deserve Charo

By Mieka Strawhorn | Celebrity | March 21, 2019 |

By Mieka Strawhorn | Celebrity | March 21, 2019 |


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When Charo hurts, we all hurt. And Charo is going through hell right now. As one of the world’s most beloved icons, she’s brought lightness, laughter, and love into our lives for decades. However, very recently Charo suffered a personal tragedy. Last month, her husband of 40 years, Kjell Rasten, took his own life. Charo shared the sad news on Instagram.

It absolutely breaks my heart. I first remember seeing Charo forcefully and joyously burst through my TV screen as a regular on The Love Boat; it was love at first sight. I was mesmerized by her boisterous energy, campy sex appeal, and undeniable talent as an entertainer of extraordinary ability. OK, maybe at 7, I was just mesmorized by her boobies, enormous eyelashes, and “cuchi cuchi” battle cry. But I was mesmerized all the same! She always was, and remains, larger than life. It wasn’t until decades later that I learned she was more than a wild-eyed TV sex-pot.

María del Rosario Mercedes Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza, a name that matches her abundant gifts, was born in Spain in 1951. Or maybe 1941. Also possibly 1947. Or it could have been 1949. Nobody knows for sure, and good luck trying to ask her. But it doesn’t matter, let’s just go with the obvious answer which is that she’s an ageless deity whose blessed our timeline with her presence. Charo studied classical and flamenco guitar and was discovered at the age of “16” by bandleader Xavier Cugat, whom she married in 1966. Xavier and Charo moved to The Bronx, along with her mother and aunt. From there, Charo began appearing regularly on TV shows such as The Today Show, The Ed Sullivan Show and Laugh-In.

Charo credits her ubiquitous “cuchi cuchi” catchphrase for her rise to fame in America. Here she is on Larry King Now explaining its origins.

If anybody ever made fun of her for it, they don’t understand what a brilliant, savvy and lucrative decision it was. You can’t make a Charo joke that Charo’s not in on.

If Charo’s serious about anything though, it’s professionalism, musicianship and knocking people’s socks off with her myriad talents.

When she’s not singing, dancing, or shredding on the Flamenco guitar, Charo generously shares workout tips on how to keep your boobs and ass in shape, recipes for health and relaxation, hair and makeup tips, home improvement hints, and messages of encouragement and hope. Who needs therapy when you have Charo. (disclaimer: Charo is not a licensed therapist AS FAR AS WE KNOW)

Obviously, I don’t know Charo personally (trust me, if I did, nobody would hear the end of it) but Kjell’s sudden passing almost felt personal. I adore Charo so much that her palpable pain hurts me too. But thankfully, Charo says she’ll be OK. Today, she shared a message of gratitude for all the love, support and appreciation she’s received since Kjell passed. Charo says she will continue to perform because it is what makes her happy. And that’s what Kjell would have wanted.

It’s good to know that when somebody spends their life putting positive energy into the universe, it sometimes comes back at them two-fold when they need it most.



Mieka is a staff contributor. You can follow her on Twitter.



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