Cha-U-Kao was the name of a French entertainer who performed at the Moulin Rouge and the Nouveau Cirque in the 1890s. Her stage name came from the "chahut-chaos", a dance derived from the cancan. She was depicted in a series of paintings by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Cha-U-Kao soon became one of his favorite models. The artist was fascinated by this woman who dared to choose the classic male profession of clowning and was not afraid to openly declare that she was a lesbian.