Rita Hayworth in Cover Girl, 1944
Rita Hayworth was born Margarita Carmen Dolores Cansino on October 17, 1918. Rita's career in show business had just begun. Opened at The Foreign Club Cafe de Luxe in Tijuana, Mexico on Christmas Day in 1932. Margarita and Eduardo, as The Dancing Cansinos did shows in Agua Caliente, Tijuana, and later on a gambling ship anchored past the Mexican border. They were headliners in places like The Foreign Club Cafe de Luxe, The Hotel Caliente and other places throughout the early 30's. Rita and Eduardo were the stars of these performances and from their dances and costumes, most people assumed they were brother and sister, or even husband and wife, rather than father and daughter.
For a time, Rita and Eduardo appeared at The Caliente Club, and it was here that while performing she caught the attention of then vice-president of the Fox Film Corporation, Winfield Sheehan. Sheehan saw potential in her as a Fox star and after the show he invited Rita to join his table, which included columnist Louella Parsons. Rita made several tests and eventually Sheehan signed her to a contract with Fox, where she began taking acting and diction lessons with the other starlets.
At Columbia, her Spanish image slowly began to fade. One of the first things they did was change her last name to her mother's maiden name, "Hayworth". (Incidentally, "Hayworth" was indeed Volga's maiden name, according to her birth certificate, not "Haworth", as some have alleged). Rita's hair color was lightened from jet black to a shade of dark brown (her trademark auburn tresses would come later). They then moved back her hairline to give her a broader forehead and emphasize a widow's peak. With all these changes going on, she began to emerge as one of her studio's prospective stars.
image via: rita hayworth tumblr