By Jacob Katel
By Karli Evans
By Jose D. Duran
By Pablo Chacon Alvarez
By Kat Bein
By Abel Folgar
By Laurie Charles
"We make videos when we're bored," Laura says.
In early March, they were really bored. One of Mimi and Laura's funniest efforts involved the gauze curtains in Mimi's condo, which is located in the maze of buildings behind Aventura Mall. The girls pretended to be Parisian torch singers, belting out sultry tunes such as "At Last" and "Crazy." For that video they balanced their tiny camera atop a tall lamp and pressed record. As they sang the first breathy bars, the girls emerged from behind the living room curtains.
Around that time, one day at school, the two were sitting in the cafeteria at lunchtime, joking about the girls who wore the tight pants, big earrings, and lip liner. Some were their friends, but for Mimi and Laura -- who often dress in plain T-shirts and jeans -- the style was humorous. "We were kind of making fun of them," admits Mimi.
So on the night of Saturday, March 31, 2007, Mimi and Laura got to work. Mimi's mom wasn't home, and Laura's mother was working. They should have been studying -- it was in the middle of exams -- but instead they sat on Mimi's bed, directly under the spot where Mimi spray-painted the word dream in big gold letters on the wall. It was there that they transformed "Fergalicious" into "Chongalicious":
Chongalicious definition arch my eyebrows high.
They always starin' at my booty and my panty line.
You could see me, you could read me, 'cause my name is on my earrings.
Girls got reasons why dey hate me 'cause dey boyfriends wanna date me.
But I ain't promiscuous and if you talkin' trash, I'll beat you after class.
I blowbesos, muuah.
I use my Sharpie lip line.
And ain't no other chonga glue her hair like mine.
When they were finished, the girls rifled through Mimi's closet. (Mimi reluctantly admits she owns "some chonga clothes," because during a few months of middle school, she was "a little bit chonga.") Laura poured herself into a tight, white Ecko basketball shirt that did double time as a dress, and Mimi slipped into some short shorts and a black top. They put on more makeup than they ever had in their lives, and pulled their hair up high. Laura's six-year-old brother Adrian got into the act too; they slapped a hat and an oversize Colorado Rockies jersey on him. A friend from school, a tall, quiet kid named Julien, came over. He videotaped them singing, prancing around the condo, and clowning around a Mercedes in the parking lot.
Papi papi papi, if you really want me.
Honey, get some game, I could be your wifey.
You could be mychulo.
You could smoke it all night.
And I'll say it's all right.
G to the H to the E T T O.
Girl, you ghetto G to the H to the E T T O.
A half-hour after they finished, they uploaded the video to YouTube. They cracked up as they sent it, figuring that no one would ever click on it.
But click they did.
About three weeks later, someone sent it to Power 96. (Mimi and Laura contend they didn't do it.) The station, especially morning jock DJ Laz (a.k.a. "the Power Pimp") loved the song. He started playing it. Every day. One morning Laura called the station. "I'm Laura, and I'm the girl from the Chongalicious' video," she said.
That was at the end of April. Since then, life has been a whirlwind of interviews, events, appearances, and excitement. Power 96 invited them to Passion nightclub at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, where the girls were giddily overwhelmed. It was a real, live 21-plus club. They didn't even mind that their moms came with them. ear the parking lot of the mazelike Opa-locka/Hialeah Flea Market, in a kiosk crammed with gleaming, fake gold earrings so big you could slip a hand through them, fifteen-year-old Arianny Fernandez stands behind the counter. She wears a white top and tight jeans. A tiny blond Hialeah High student with blue eyes rimmed with heavy liquid liner, she works at the flea market on weekends and admits to dressing like a chonga -- "not at work, though. I can't show my belly." She likes big hoop earrings and tight clothes, and says she occasionally uses the eyeliner on her lips as well. Most of her friends also dress in that style, she says. But she would never call anyone a chonga to her face. "It's kind of like being called a whore," she says. "It's definitely something you could get in a fight over."
Arianny thinks there are three definitions of chonga: whore, ghetto, and, when used among friends, a generic greeting or exclamation, similar to the all-purpose girlfriend. She's not sure what to make of the "Chongalicious" song, mostly because she suspects Mimi and Laura are just making fun of chongas. However, she adds, she likes the way the girls dress in the video.
In the bowels of the flea market, in a cramped indoor nail salon, three women buff, paint, and sand the nails of three others. It's thick with the smell of acrylic nails, and reggaeton blares at ear-splitting levels.