Life After Stardom – My Weekend with Former Fandango Member

From late 1988 to 1991 (when the group disbanded), Sandra Elizondo was one of the 5 members of the Mexican pop group Fandango, who rose to fame in the late 80’s with their number one hit Autos, Moda Y Rock and Roll. The group disbanded due to many different reasons, but the main one was that the girl’s were really just wanting to be normal. This is why only one of the girl’s continued in the business, while the others adjusted to life as wives and moms.

Even with talks of reunions, nothing has ever really evolved from those because honestly, that was their past lives and not who they are now. Other than Alexa, who is currently touring with Mano Gaytan (Ex-Timbiriche) and Alan (Ex-Magneto), and Marlena, who is currently known as Lore Lore (an singer of children’s music), if any of the girls wanted to be singing for a living, you would have already seen a solo album of some sorts.

During the hay day of Fandango, I was lucky enough to have met the girls (Sandra, Rocio, Janett, Anabella, and Marlena) many times during their visits to Los Angeles. I think that because of being an American fan back in that day was odd enough to allow me to step into a place in their lives that not many fans get to be. I became more than a fan, even though that is what I am; I became a friend.

Because of Facebook, fans have gotten a look into these former pop stars lives. The members of the group love to hear from the fans and even belong to Facebook clubs to see all the wonderful comments that the fans say. I, like many, friended all the members to see what life was like after Fandango. The girls remembered me from our times in Los Angeles, which was a plus.

My girlfriend and I decided that we wanted to visit Monterrey for a weekend, mostly to go CD shopping. I thought it would be worth a shot to ask Sandra if she could show us the city, if she was available. My thoughts were basically maybe a lunch and quick tour of the city. Sandra said yes and my lunch and quick stroll through the city turned into an all weekend long visit with her and her family.

Life for a former pop star wasn’t easy for Sandra; but when you look at her life, she isn’t doing too bad for herself either. After Fandango, without much training for much of anything other than singing and dancing, Sandra put what money she had earned (along with her then boyfriend) into a cleaning business. It grew and grew and she was making a living. Sandra married her boyfriend she had while in Fandango in 1993, Rafael Salinas.

Monterrey, like most cities in Mexico, has their problems and Sandra wasn’t immune to them. During the years, she’s been held up, robbed, and lived in not so great neighborhoods. She managed to keep moving on as she had kids, two lovely daughters named Sandy and Barbara. As the economy in Monterrey got better, so did Sandra’s life. Her husband became a pilot and purchased his own plane to do private charters and with each move, their quality of life increased too.

Over the years, Sandra had learned the need for vocation and made sure her daughters understood what is needed to be something when they grow up. Both girls are excellent students and her oldest starts the University next season. The former Fandango member has strong family values and spends most Sundays visiting her mother and mother-in-law; her daughters feel the same way and family get togethers are plentiful and enjoyed. The daughters love spending time with their mom, but for the most part think of her not as some former pop star but just as a normal mother who takes them to school and errands they need. Occasionally, they burst out singing a Fandango song to make fun of their mom; but it is only in fun. They do know the dances to Volver A Ser Feliz.

During my weekend with Sandra, seeing her living her life was such a surreal experience for me because in the past I had only met her as a fan of the group and not as a friend. Sometimes, you put celebrities (past and present) on a pedestal and think of them as gods of some sort, but honestly…they are just like me and you. She has her vices, like everyone else. Her home is tasteful with not a lot of extravaganzas. She goes to the local corner store market for snacks and drinks. And even drives a standard transmission car that gets her around town.

Sandra took us around the city and showed us what life in Monterrey was/is like for her and her family. We were able to meet the majority of her family, who welcomed us as if we were part of them. Their English is like our Spanish, making conversations a little crazy. Their was lots of laughing, and lots of love.

Life after Fandango means fond memories especially with social media outlets like Facebook, where Sandra has embraced socializing online with fans and fan clubs of the group. She definitely doesn’t regret the time she spent in the group and most of her memories of that time are good. But as she calls it, she is not famous, she is “famosada” (was famous).

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