The Cheeky Girls
The Cheeky Girls
|Born||31 October 1982|
Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania, Romania
|Genres||Pop, dance, Europop, Eurodance|
|Labels||Multiply (2002–2004) |
GMI Music (2006–present)
The Cheeky Girls are a Romanian singing duo consisting of identical twin sisters Gabriela and Monica Irimia (both born 31 October 1982). After appearing as auditionees on Popstars: The Rivals, they achieved success in the UK charts with four top 10 hits between 2002 and 2004. They are best known for their debut single, "Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum)", which has sold more than 1.2 million units internationally . The Cheeky Girls released their debut studio album, PartyTime, in 2003 which reached number 14 in the UK Albums Chart.
Gabriela and Monica were born on 31 October 1982 to Doru and Margit Irimia. Gabriela is older by 10 minutes. Their early life in Romania consisted of studying gymnastics and ballet and touring with the Hungarian National Opera. Moving to the United Kingdom with their mother in 2002, the girls shot to fame as the Cheeky Girls after auditioning on two British TV shows, Channel 4's Model Behaviour and more importantly Popstars: The Rivals. Following two appearances on the show with their audition, which had judges Pete Waterman and Louis Walsh not knowing what to say – Waterman was later quoted as saying they were the worst act ever – various record companies approached the Granada Press Office. The Press Office contacted Paul Holland at Granada Ventures, who was able to secure them a deal with the Multiply label, part of Telstar Records. "Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum)" was swiftly recorded and released in the first week in December. Entering the chart at number two, the single remained in the top five for five consecutive weeks, four of them at number two.
This was quickly followed up with two more top three hits, "Take Your Shoes Off" and "(Hooray, Hooray!) It's a Cheeky Holiday!". Their style of music is primarily disco-pop, aimed at the pre-teen market. Most of their songs are written by their mother, who also acts as their manager.
On 4 August 2006, the Evening Standard reported that the Cheeky Girls were "at rock bottom" and facing bankruptcy action in court owing to not having been paid by their now-defunct record company, Telstar Records. The article said that the women owed £4,500 in unpaid taxes, along with other bills, and that Telstar owed them £2.2 million. Later, it was reported that they owed £130,000 in total.
In September 2009, the act released their Cheeky Girls make-up range, aimed at the young teen market.
On 7 March 2013, the women appeared on the This Week BBC TV programme discussing the subject of Romanian immigration to the UK with host Andrew Neil. This followed a short video report by Monica talking about British fears of an invasion of benefit-seekers from their homeland. They previously appeared on the show on 10 July 2008.
In December 2006, it was revealed by the tabloids that former Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Öpik had broken up with long-time fiancée, ITV weather presenter Siân Lloyd, and was now romancing Gabriela. Öpik "passed documentation on to the singers' constituency MP and spoke to a Home Office minister," when the Irimias were facing deportation to Romania. The couple announced their engagement in April 2008 after Öpik proposed in Rome, but the engagement was short lived and a breakup was announced three months later. In 2016, Monica married her fiancé of four years, Shaun Taylor, who works as a building contractor. 
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions||Certifications||Sales|
|2007||In My Mind (Is a Different World – A Cheeky One)
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions||Album|
|2002||"Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum)"||2||12||59||19||52||6||12||15||6||PartyTime|
|2003||"Take Your Shoes Off"||3||13||—||—||—||4||7||13||3|
|"(Hooray, Hooray!) It's a Cheeky Holiday!"||3||5||—||—||-||11||7||31||10|
|"Have a Cheeky Christmas"||10||46||—||—||-||27||—||37||15|
|2004||"Cheeky Flamenco"||29||31||—||—||—||85||—||70||50||In My Mind (Is a Different World – A Cheeky One)|
|"Boys and Girls (Xmas Time Love)"||50||80||—||—||—||—||—||118||107|
- Chris Millar and Richard Edwards (3 August 2006). "Cheeky Girls at rock bottom". Evening Standard. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- ""The Cheeky Song" Chart details". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- "Showbiz – News – Report: Cheeky Girls in £130k debt". Digital Spy. 7 January 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- "The Cheeky Girls". Cheekygirlsbeauty.com. Archived from the original on 2 February 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- "This Week". bbc.co.uk. 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
- "The Cheeky Girls - This Week - July 10th, 2008 clip". youtube.com. 21 April 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
- "Opik and presenter Lloyd separate". BBC News. 17 December 2006. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
- "MP intervened in Cheeky Girl case". BBC News. 20 December 2006. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
- "Opik to wed Cheeky Girl Gabriela". BBC News. 21 April 2008. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- "Lembit Opik 'dumped by his Cheeky Girl fiancée Gabriela Irimia'". The Daily Telegraph. London. 13 July 2008.
- "Cheeky Girls now - incredible comeback from health crisis, bankruptcy and botched surgery". The Daily Mirror. London. 28 December 2020.
- Roberts, David Keith (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 102. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Certified Awards Search. bpi.co.uk
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