Wednesday, June 23, 2010

68: The Self-Empowered Woman: Juana Bacallao

Dear Followers,

Do you ever find yourself feeling tired? Ever wonder what it would be like top retire or take a permanent vacation? When you learn about today's Self- Empowered Woman, it just may reframe your thoughts about being too old (or too tired) to follow your dream...

Juana Bacallao is a Cuban diva who still performs (in a blond wig and a slinky red dress) almost every Friday night at the Havana nightclub Gato Tuerto (One-Eyed Cat) even though she is over 80 years old.

Nobody knows exactly when she was born, but some people suggest that she may be 93 years old. Her birth name was Neri Amelia Martinez Salazar and (1: No Paternal Safety Net) she was orphaned at the age of six. At that time she was sent to a Catholic boarding school (3: Belief in the Unbelievable).

By the time she'd become a teenager she'd landed the job of cleaning houses. Fortunately, a powerful music director (Obdulio Morales) heard her singing while she was sweeping, and immediately decided that she had what it took to become a star (4: Supportive Someone).

When most of us think of a female Cuban chanteuse we think of Celia Cruz, but Juana never left the cabaret scene in favor of becoming a TV or recording star. And although she still has not received a visa to perform in the U.S., this year she will travel to Mexico and Moscow for performances.

The now-elderly singer has always been known for her "unpredictable" behavior (5: Life is Not a Popularity Contest). It's not unusual for her to interrupt her performances to adjust her wig or makeup or even taunt male audience members for staring at her too intently.

Juana makes no secret that retirement is not an option. She told the AP "I will never retire. I will only stop when death has come for me...I have no age" (7: Magnificent Obsession).

Obviously, there's no tonic like doing what you love.

Looking forward to your comments...