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"Coccinelle" (1931-2006), or Monique to her closest friends, was a French female impersonator who became something of a pioneer of the art in appealing to mainstream or straight nightclubs rather than just the decadent cabarets. In 1950s Paris, women were literally imitating Coccinelle's style.

Transsexuality was not yet a well defined phenomenon and when Cocci began down the path to hormonal and surgical transformation to become what she had already seemed to be, there were many transgendered people drawn to her for advice or assistance. She was the heart of kindness to all who sought her help. After she gained legal status as a woman, she was able to marry -- three times.

She became the first and only transsexual to headline at Paris's famous Olympic Theater. A jet-setter before the term existed, she was friends with Marlene Dietrich, Juliette Greco, Edith Piaf, Aristotle Onasis. Bob Hope tried to convince her to tour with him. She was married twice, the second time to a famous bodybuilder of the day. She appeared in six films between 1959 and 1968.

A superb dancer and choreographer and pretty decent singer, Cocci remained popular into the 1980s, when she had her chihuahua Lolita above, who acted with Cocci on stage.


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