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Singer Mayra Veronica Talks Sexuality and Rebellion

Get to know the sexy Cuban artist behind this summer's dance hit "Freak Like Me"

You were a celebrity in Cuba before you blew up in the United States. What was it like finally making it Stateside?

Making the transition to the American scene was pretty cool because I was raised here, so it was more of the kind of stuff that I was exposed to and used to. That was very cool.

Why did you get into TV before pursuing singing?

I grew up around music because my father was a singer. He was the lead singer of a rock band and it was kind of like you didn’t want your little girl to get into the entertainment lifestyle, much less music, you know? But you’re born with it. You have the artist gene. So I was trying to figure out a way to get into entertainment without putting myself on his bad side. [Laughs].

How did you get your start?

I was working at a local station as a host and the head of entertainment for a news show. They had this big show coming up called Don Francisco Presenta, which is like the Spanish version of David Letterman. They needed a model for the show that would be able to co-host at times as well. I got started on that show and one day the camera guy, trying to be funny, came up behind me as I was walking onstage to say good-bye to all the guests and stuff, and he grabbed a shot of my backside while I was turned around. Supposedly they got really high ratings that night.

Was there an element of rebelliousness that helped push you towards music?

Definitely. I think the whole thing was a rebellious streak. Parents obviously want different things for you. I was always a smart kid; I was like the gifted student, top of my class and stuff like that, so I think they wanted me to concentrate a bit more on academics. But after the whole modeling thing, showing up in magazines and calendars, [my father] was like, “Music is great!” [Laughs].

So what do you consider yourself now? Model? Singer? Actress?

It’s always been hard for me to think the way that most people think. I think I’m very eclectic. People tell me not to cross the line, but it’s always been a line that I can’t see. I’m like, Where the hell is the line? I remember growing up and thinking how odd it was to me, like, okay, what are you? Are you a singer, or a model? Or an actress? I’m an artist! As an artist I can do all of them.

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