In a recent Instagram video, Charo hops up and down, arms outstretched, balancing on one foot by her pool. “Can you do it?” asks the shorts-clad performer, jumping and twisting enthusiastically along with the music. “I challenge you!”

It’s hard to believe the Spain-born comedian and guitarist recently celebrated her 73rd birthday. Charo remains as youthful and vibrant as when she first charmed America with her accented English, bombshell body and “cuchi cuchi” shimmy in the 1970s. “I am faster and stronger than when I was a little cuchi cuchi,” Charo tells Closer exclusively. “The idea is to always want to improve.”

She admits she’s not thrilled to see another year gone, but Charo reasons that it certainly beats the alternative. “It’s very nice to celebrate being healthy and happy,” she says, adding that one of her goals this year is to slow down and learn to meditate. “Instead of doing 1,000 things at one time, I want to truly concentrate more. I also am making more time for people that I love — my friends, my family — and keeping my body in good shape.”

Charo, who can still fit into a jumpsuit her sister sewed for her when she was 21, maintains her figure with a vegetarian diet. “Everything that is green, I eat,” says the performer. “Someone said, ‘Charo is a vampire. She doesn’t change.’ No, I’m not a vampire. It’s just perhaps good DNA from both parents. And after that, no cholesterol, no greasy food, no meat.”

She’s a proponent of daily exercise, even if it’s just 30 minutes on the treadmill in her garage. Charo’s neighbors are used to seeing her jogging at all hours. “I like to run where the wind or cold weather hits your face,” she says. “Don’t let one day go by without moving and keep your heart pumping and working.”

Charo Reveals Her Secrets to Staying in Good Shape
Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Project Angel Food

Staying Positive

The passing of her husband and manager, Kjell Rasten, in 2019 brought about some big changes. “My passion is music and guitar. I was slow in taking care of business,” she says. “I took over and I realized that I cannot handle so many things. But I’m putting my life together in the best way possible. At the end of the day, it is what makes me happy — entertainment, friendship and music.”

Charo isn’t interested in dating. “There will never be any man ever to replace my husband. This is the love of my life,” she says. “I was blessed to find my dream man. I wish that for everybody. When it’s lost, it’s impossible. It’s not fair for any other man because you will always be comparing.”

She’s not opposed to making new friends though. On YouTube, viewers have cheered her virtuoso flamenco guitar playing. She’s also been having fun sharing her life, cooking and fitness tips on Instagram. “So far I have been lucky,” says the star, who enjoys connecting with fans around the world. “But you have to be prepared for negative comments and not take it too seriously.”

Playing guitar remains her greatest pleasure, and she hopes to record a “very, very powerful” album later this year. Charo also continues to delight audiences with her mixture of music and comedy at live performances. On March 9, she’ll appear at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach, California. “You have to be positive,” Charo says. “And remember that tomorrow can always be better.”