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Raquel Welch: The Goddess Factor

From Cocktail Hostess to international icon, the actress-entertainer considers life beyond her sex symbol image.
David Giammarco
From the Print Edition:
Raquel Welch, Jul/Aug 01

(continued from page 5)

Welch admits it was freeing to finally acknowledge her heritage. "A lot of people don't even know that I'm half Spanish," she says. "I never embraced it, didn't advertise it; it was kind of an empty area for me." She says her father wanted to fully assimilate the family into American culture and consequently never spoke Spanish around them or celebrated the culture. "I was never ashamed of my heritage, but I think he was; there was always this gap.

"I'm at an age now where I'm looking back and examining my life. I think it's great to [emigrate] here because of the American Dream and to be part of the American culture, but not to cut off the roots of what is real and what is your heritage. Tortilla Soup was a big awakening for me. All of a sudden, I felt this synergy; my real self really came out."

A smile spreads across her face. "I guess I was always a confused personality, really," she says. "There was that Anglo side, but then there was that much more emotional and expressive side to me. The way I use my hands -- my Latin thing was there all along, and that's probably partly why people didn't know what to do with me. With my kind of temperament and personality, I wasn't exactly the girl next door. So now, I've realized that I was always making adjustments for that. Thank God I'm finally getting to play my own nature."

Welch is savoring this next chapter of her life with a renewed vigor. She's writing and developing several projects, including a television show, "Raquel's Eye on Style," a feature-length comedy called Hoodwinked and a television sitcom pilot, "One of the Boys."

"I really enjoy creating things on my own," she says. "I'm going into a whole new direction, which I've been wanting to do for so long. I want to be more true to my own voice now."

She lets out a laugh. "I mean, I've fulfilled almost everybody else's fantasy all these years, so now it's time for my own."

David Giammarco is based in Toronto and Los Angeles.

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