Carmen de Mairena

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Carmen de Mairena
Carmen de Mairena.jpg
Carmen de Mairena in 2012
Miguel Brau Gou

(1933-03-15)15 March 1933
Barcelona, Spain
Died22 March 2020(2020-03-22) (aged 87)
El Raval, Barcelona, Spain
OccupationCuplé singer, actress, sex worker, television personality, politician
Political partyCoordinadora Reusenca Independent

Carmen de Mairena (15 March 1933 – 22 March 2020)[1][2] was a Spanish cuplé singer in the leading show halls from Barcelona and popular television personality.

From the mid-1950s until the transition to democracy, she performed under the name Miguel de Mairena before transitioning as a trans woman.[3] Beginning in the 1990s, she gained national popularity for her comedic television appearances alongside presenter Javier Cárdenas, who has linked her to the self-described geek world.[4] Also, she made occasional incursions in the world of the cinema, even the pornographic one.[5]


She was born with the name Miguel Brau Gou in 1933.[6] In 1959 she debuted as a variety artist in various venues in Barcelona allowing her to gain some fame as a cuplé singer. She had a sentimental relationship with singer Pedrito Rico which made the Francoist regime detain them many times. In the 1960s, due to the mistreatment suffered in prison, she suffered from an illness that prevented him from working in show business for a year. During this period he worked as a pawn with his father in Gavà.[7] After recovering she acts together with other cupletistas of the time such as Antonio Amaya, Miguel de los Reyes, Pedrito Rico and Tomás de Antequera.

During the 1970s she began presenting as a woman and received liquid silicone injections (done clandestinely) in her face, chest and hips, and she appeared in cross-dressing shows under the name Carmen de Mairena, in which she impersonated Sara Montiel and Marujita Díaz. This was not well received by her public which prompted her to work as a prostitute in El Raval where she lived a good portion of her life.[8] During the 1990s she met then-interviewer Javier Cárdenas and she started a television career with him.[9]

In November 2006 and October 2008, she was detained in two macro-operations in El Raval against procuring networks that forced Romanian women to practice prostitution. Carmen de Mairena was the only one of those arrested who was released, on both occasions, since there was no risk of escape. She was accused of favoring prostitution for renting rooms in her house for prostitutes to work there, earning cash for each service.[10]

After that, she appeared sporadically on television, for example, in 2009 in the comedy program El intermedio where she played a mock impersonation of Francisco Franco. She also made a brief incursion in politics in 2010 as a candidate for the Parliament of Catalonia for the mock political party Coordinadora Reusenca Independent (CORI) which did not obtain any seats.

After 2016, she could only move in a wheelchair. She died on March 22, 2020 of natural causes.


  1. ^ Fallece Carmen de Mairena a los 86 años de edad (in Spanish)
  2. ^ Carmen de Mairena muere a los 86 años por causas naturales (in Spanish)
  3. ^ La risa entra en campaña (in Spanish)
  4. ^ Carmen de Mairena, una mujer "extra ordinaria" (in Spanish)
  5. ^ Carmen de Mairena: una vida llena de momentos agridulces y situaciones excéntricas (in Spanish)
  6. ^ "Copia archivada" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on |archive-url= requires |archive-date= (help). Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  7. ^ Pierrot Memorias Transexuales. «Capítulo 1.º: El nacimiento de un imperio. Entrevista a Carmen de Mairena.» (in Spanish)
  8. ^ Maltrato, abandono y prostitución: la desgraciada vida de Carmen de Mairena in El Mundo (in Spanish)
  9. ^ El pionero de la basura in (in Spanish)
  10. ^ «Los proxenetas del Raval comerciaban con mujeres rumanas 'vendidas' por sus novios.» in (in Spanish)