Mimi Davila and Laura Di Lorenzo are making things Chongalicious again—And this time it will be on your TV.

17 years after their first viral video (the still infectious Chongalicious), it was time these absolute icons of Latinx comedy had their shot at TV: Mimi Davila and Laura Di Lorenzo, aka The Chonga Girls, are getting a deal with CBS to write, star and co-executive produce a multi-camera series, as Deadline reports.

The Miami staples shared the big news on their personal Instagram accounts, celebrating and looking back at their years of hard work. As Mimi wrote on Instagram, “Laura and I have been dreaming of this moment for so many years! We came to LA with nothing but a vision, and we believed that if we continued to work hard and grow, we would find the right people that not only understood us but could make us better.” The series will follow Mimi and Laura, two “dangerously confident childhood friends” who move from Miami to Hollywood with dreams of fame, but actually end up working at the makeup counter for a department store near the Walk of Fame.

From an Inside Joke To Hollywood

In real life, Mimi’s and Laura’s ambitions had also found some unexpected results, but in a very different way: when they made Chongalicious in 2007 (which, you guessed it, was a parody of Fergie’s Fergalicious), they were 16-year-old theater students at Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High in Miami-Dade County, Florida, and did not expect a huge repercussion from it: “We thought it would be an inside joke among our friends. It kept growing exponentially, and we were in shock. YouTube still wasn’t the machine it is now,” Mimi said in 2013. Curiously enough, the popularity they got from their first hit gave them an early CBS appearance in a local news segment.

Chongalicious was followed by more videos that they made during summers (even getting to know Pitbull in 2009). By Around 2017, however, it wasn’t odd to wonder what had happened to The Chonga Girls, and the girls started to ask themselves that same question after making their way through college and moving to LA: “My mom was like, 'Why don't you bring the Chonga Girls back?' We started feeling angsty because we thought it was over and no one cared about it anymore,” Mimi declared at the time.

After one of their videos went viral again, and Cuban-American content creator Jenny Lorenzo contacted them, the pair returned to their high-school project and started developing web content with the goal of getting a TV show someday. It was a dream they kept on sight even when expanding their act to live performances: “It’s for people to see they need us, they need to watch us in their homes,” Laura said in 2022.

The fact that they are achieving it now not only stems from the success they sustained with the duo, but also from the careers they developed individually: Cuban/Bulgarian actress, comedian and writer Mimi Davila has roles in Julio Torres’ feature film Problemista (hilariously sharing her experience of watching herself in the big screen with her grandma) and the dystopian series RZR produced by Gala Film, while her most recent project was as the lead in the indie film The Scout. Meanwhile, Venezuelan Miamian Laura Di Lorenzo starred in the Mitú’s segment Laura’s Corner, and gave her voice to the music of Selena Quintanilla in Netflix’s Selena: The Series.

Two women, the Chonga Girls, in colorful bikinis and bold makeup, pose with inflatable dolphins on a yellow pool float.
Image Credit: Facebook

Representing Chonga Culture

Of course, the upcoming Chonga Girls series will also be the product of a key element in the duo’s content through the years: representation. “We’ve been on this journey to infiltrate our culture into mainstream comedy,” Mimi stated in 2022, while Laura pointed out what made sense for her about the Chonga culture: “Sometimes I never felt like I was Latina enough, or I was never American enough. But this Chonga culture? I could be both, and I love that.”

In fact, Chongalicious became a benchmark in terms of representation of the Chonga culture, and the evolution of how it was generally perceived: “There was a negative stigma attached to [the word ‘chonga’],” Mimi noticed in 2022. Beyond the meaning of chonga (a word which was often charged, according to author Jillian Hernandez, with the negative connotation of a low-class and crass young woman) was the subculture and fashion style that emerged among the nameplate necklaces, the white and black eyeliners, Brazilian jeans, and tinted glasses. 

Back in 2007, a profile in the Miami New Times by Tamara Lush declared that Mimi and Laura had brought “worldwide attention to the chonga”, adding that, at that time, there were no examples of chongas in popular culture. And although at that moment the few known references took the form of parody (something which Jillian Hernandez analyzed in depth in 2020), you could sense that Chongalicious established the context for new reflections about the culture: “I am in awe of the chongas. They seem to have embraced their sexuality in a brash and in-your-face way. Chongas want to be sexy, and damn the consequences,” wrote Lush in the Miami New Times.

Maybe The Chonga Girls are set to start a new improvement in Latinx representation in the media: a 2023 report by Latino Donor Collaborative shows that representation in front of and behind the camera declined from 2021 to 2022, slowly climbing since. This is causing Latinx viewers to favor platforms like YouTube and TikTok, for the bigger Latinx presence there.

Latinx Presence, On and Off-Screen

Per Deadline’s report, behind the project there are film and TV personalities that have been bringing Latinx stories to the screens: Marlena Rodriguez, who wrote for shows like Silicon Valley and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, has also contributed to Lopez and the TV especial Essential Heroes: A Momento Latino Event, and will serve here as writer and co-executive producer with NCIS star Wilmer Valderrama and Kaitlin Saltzman (Founder/CEO and VP/Head of Scripted at VW Entertainment, respectively), as well as Al Madrigal. Valderrama has been leading VW into showcasing Latinx stories in its projects, and he’s also a shareholder of the My Cultura Podcast Network from iHeartMedia. Madrigal is one of the stars in NBC’s Lopez Vs. Lopez, currently the only network series on the air presenting a Latinx family.

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