Charo talks defying expectations: I'm more than 'the cuchi-cuchi girl'

·2 min read

Unapologetically is a Yahoo Life series in which women and men from all walks of life get the chance to share how they live their best life — out loud and in living color, without fear or regret — looking back at the past with a smile and embracing the future with excited anticipation.

Charo is no stranger to people underestimating her. Born María Rosario Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza, the Spanish actress and flamenco guitarist first appeared on American television in the '60s and quickly became a regular face on programs like The Ed Sullivan Show and Fantasy Island.

But starting out, "my name was not Charo, my name was the cuchi-cuchi girl with the big tits and somehow stupid," she tells Yahoo Life. "Stupid my ass!"

Charo's catchphrase – "cuchi cuchi" — which dates back to the nickname she gave her family dog named Cuchillo — was what she's known best for. Yet she knew if she only "played the game," she would eventually receive attention for her first love: the guitar.

"I was a hell of a guitar player and it was banned completely in every show," she says of the instrument, which she calls her "security blanket."

She recalls walking into the William Morris Agency and telling the president to turn her into the next Marilyn Monroe.

Charo speaks to Yahoo Life about her career and misconceptions she has faced. (Photo: Getty)
Charo speaks to Yahoo Life about her career and the misconceptions she has faced. (Photo: Getty)

"How clever I was, don't put a fight, do whatever they told me to do and in the long term, I, little by little, prove that I can be something else, more than the cuchi-cuchi girl," Charo explains.

Charo's other claim to fame? Her age, which has long been a mystery in Hollywood. Exactly how old she is may be unclear, but she credits her good genes with looking youthful.

"We all get old, but DNA is very important," she says. "I got good DNA from both of my sides of family."

She credits avoiding smoking and drinking "a lot of water" for staying healthy.

Though Charo has been rumored to have dabbled in some plastic surgery, she insists she's afraid of Botox and wary of silicone, which was popular in the '70s. She insists she can "prove" her breasts are "natural" — despite belief otherwise.

"I have big maracas by DNA," she jokes. "When I was pregnant, I could not see my feet because [of] my maracas."

As for dating, Charo has zero interest. She married Kjell Rasten in 1978, and the two were together until Rasten died by suicide in 2019.

"I got no more tears to cry because it was real love," she says. "So no more dating, no more men."

Instead, her focus is on her son, her family and music — which she calls her "therapy."

“No more cuchi cuchi," she jokes. "None in the morning. None in the afternoon. Not in the evening."

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

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