Pop icon Charo has captivated audiences for more than five decades with her bubbly personality, vibrant celebration of Latin music, and blue-hued comedy. Whether you’re a Baby Boomer or Gen Z, everyone remembers their first Charo experience: seeing her on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, on The Love Boat, catching one of her dazzling shows in Las Vegas and Hawaii, or following her on ABC’s Celebrity Wife Swap, Dancing with the Stars, MTV’s Cribs, RuPaul’s Drag Race—or more recently on Instagram (@officialcharo).
In Charo’s social posts we get a peek into how the age-defying goddess is able to fit into her gorgeous costumes (designed by her sister Carmen Lesher) with the same measurements as those she wore in her 20s: an enthusiastic fiesta of exercise, delicious Spanish food, and a brimming, effortless positivity. For Charo, the well-lived life is all about fashion, cooking, nutrition, exercise, and maintaining a positive and healthy mental outlook that includes looking out for others, from her work with Project Angel Food in Hollywood, to her advocacy for animal rights, including her protest against bull fighting that led to her raising a bull in her backyard!
Recently, the Los Angeles Times turned to Charo for her inspiration for a perfect Hollywood Sunday, The New York Times explored her many talents in The Brilliance of Charo, and W Magazine wrote of The Eternal Charm of Charo. Why the renewed attention and appreciation for someone who has glittered in the limelight for decades? The answer lies only partly in nostalgia. Charo both embodies pure fun and evokes awe that her perfected talents and enthusiasm show no sign of waning. Seeing Charo perform live is a rite of passage for any Angeleno looking to reconnect with Charo’s blend of dance, fun, and excitement, highlighted by her trademark hair, her sparkling outfits, her well-honed malapropisms—and that astounding flamenco guitar playing!
Born María del Rosario Mercedes Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza, Charo has been playing flamenco music since she was nine. Classically trained (she studied under Spanish virtuoso Andres Segovia), her first exposure to the instrument was from Romani who camped on her grandmother’s farm in Spain. “I was watching them play, and it was magic,” Charo says. While Charo’s bubbling “cuchi-cuchi girl” image resonated with audiences—a partial portrait she took to the bank—Charo’s musicianship continues to connect her to her first love. Charo was twice voted “Best Classical Flamenco Guitarist in the World” by Guitar Player Magazine, and her flamenco-inspired platinum album Guitar Passion was named Female Pop Album of the Year at the Billboard international Latin Music Conference.Charo continues to pour hours into her daily guitar practice so she can share the beauty of flamenco with her fans.
Want to experience Charo’s ageless allure, endless enthusiasm, and delightfully self-deprecating humor for yourself—including her world-class flamenco playing? She’ll be appearing at the Carpenter Center in Long Beach, on the campus of California State University, Long Beach, on March 9 at 8 p.m. (Tickets at www.carpenterarts.org.) ###