Rye’s Own pop stars The Cheeky Girls have been described as ‘one hit wonders’ and accused of lack of talent by such eminent music critics as like Pete Waterman and Simon Cowell .
They have proved them all wrong. In the eyes of the public at least they are a popular and talented act and seem to be just as full of fun now as they were when their first single ‘The Cheeky Song (touch my bum)’ was released six years ago and spent four weeks over the Christmas period at no.2. in the Charts .
Despite the massive pressure of work involved in promoting a Christmas hit single, Gabriela and Monica took time out to meet the children of Rye at the Christmas Grotto at Ypres Castle.
The girls were born in Romania. They studied gymnastics and ballet and toured with the Hungarian National Opera before joining their mother Margarit who had moved to Rye in England in 2000.
The girls shot to fame as the Cheeky Girls after auditions on the British TV shows, Channel 4’s Model Behaviour and more importantly Popstars The Rivals. Following two appearances on the show, a feat no othe artists have achieved before or after. Their audition left judges Pete Waterman and Louis Walsh speechless and they recorded an emphatic no which prevented the twins from proceeding in the competition. The public loved them however and cried for more. Various record companies approached, the Granada Press Office were able to secure them a deal with the Multiply label part of Telstar Records. “The Cheeky Song (Touch my Bum)” was swiftly recorded and released, the rest is history. Although they failed to pass the auditions for the show, they received enough publicity to launch a pop career, releasing four singles and one album in the UK, and touring Europe and Asia.
All the songs were written by their mother, Margaret.
The Cheeky Girls performed The Cheeky Song at The National Music Awards 2002 in October appearing on ITV1.
The Cheeky Girls single Take Your Shoes Off entered the Official UK Top 40 at number three on 11th May 2003.
By this time The Cheeky Girls, Monica and Gabriela Irimia, were national celebrities. A Christmas number one did not seem out of their capabilities, after all, the girls who had been singing and dancing together since they were three.
Unfortunately their next single ‘Have a Cheeky Christmas’ entered the charts at number ten and did not quite make the number one spot. The Girls still found time to support any local events, including an Auction of Promises at Rye Harbour raising money for the Village Hall.
The Cheeky Girls were accused of rarely singing live. Contrary to public belief, they have performed live on many occasions (performances during the publicity tour for “Cheeky Flamenco.” were always live). When their record company Multiply went into liquidation in 2004 the girls turned down several deals from other companies and decided to launch their own label XBN.
In August 2004, they appeared as guests in a segment on the British science-related series Brainiac to analyse the effects of stress and relaxation on concentration related tasks, such as remembering series of numbers and singing the lyrics of their song “Cheeky Girls” backwards and in November of that year they appeared on a celebrity duo version of the Weakest Link, in which they held the place of Strongest Link in a number of rounds. Both girls are bright and very intelligent.
In May 2005, with Cliff Richard, they opened the new studios of local radio station Big L 1395. They also specially recorded a new version of “We Love the Pirate Stations” for Big L.
The Cheeky Girls do lots of charity work. They are keen supporters of the UK Children’s Charity Child Line.
Gabriella and Monica performed with dance act N-Trance watched by an audience of over one thousand at Derwent College, . Later in 2006 they appeared as guests on ITV’s ‘The Mint’.
In December 2006 Gabriela met Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik and a romance began which led to an engagement.
The Cheeky Girls album ‘In My Mind Is A Different World (A Cheeky One!) ‘ was released as a digital download on the 24th December.
On 1 December 2007 The Cheeky Girls performed and switched on the town’s Christmas lights in Camborne, Cornwall. They then performed at The Corn Exchange nightclub in the town.
Gabriela and Lembit split up in July 2008.
In October 2008, the girls appeared on Peter Kay’s ‘Britain’s Got the Pop Factor.’
GABRIELA and MONICA were 26 on October 31, and enjoyed a special birthday party the following evening at London hot spot ‘Embassy’.
The Cheeky Girls starred in their very own fly-on-the-wall documentary very recently on Channel Five. Gabriela and Monica Irimia were followed by a production team for months as they went about their daily lives. Mum Margaret – who is also their manager – will also feature in the series.
Even today they have not forgotten their adopted home. On November 5th. they were at Icklesham helping the Robin Hood Bonfire Society make a spectacular success of a terrible evening. Eveyone who went was soaked but happy and the girls smiles and banter had a great deal to do with this. The children loved them and they spent a lot of time talking to the youngsters in the crowd and signing autographs.
Although they have a flat in London, the girls spend a lot of their time in Rye with Margaret and step dad Ray. They are well known around the town, with a smile for everyone and are often seen out jogging or riding their bikes. They are, like Paul MaCarthey, completely accepted by locals, without fuss or demonstration and feel comfortable in Rye where they are made to feel welcome and at home.
First printed in December 2008 issue of Rye’s Own