Friday, January 17, 2020

My Dream Job

When I was a kid, adults often asked me (just like they probably asked you), “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I would answer with a definitive, “I dunno.”

In reality, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I didn't dare tell anyone because I wanted to be a female impersonator (or FI, for short).

Female impersonation is not the kind of career choice that is going to make Uncle Joe or Aunt Nellie proud of their nephew, so I kept a lid on my dreams and never ran away from home to join the Jewel Box Revue.

I regret that decision now, but I try to make up for it as often as possible by femulating. I also live the life of a female impersonator vicariously by reading about the subject as often as I can.

If you are interested in old school female impersonation, I recommend a couple of sites on the Internet that deal with its history:

Drag Artists & Female Impersonators, which is part of JD Doyle's Queer Music Heritage website.

David de Alba's website – Alba was a female impersonator and his website includes interviews pictorial tributes of other female impersonators.

Source: Bebe
Wearing Bebe

Mr. Dori D'Or
Mr. Dori D'Or, professional femulator, circa 1950


  1. At the age of 8, I knew what I wanted to DO and to Be. I wanted to join the Navy and I wanted to be a girl. The former never happened, I'm now pleased to say, and only now over 50 years on can I express my feminine side.


  2. In a similar vein, the careers teacher at work said that people have three jobs in mind: one they'll have to do, one they'd love to do, and one that that's their dream job.

    As he said this, my brain said drag artist. Performance, femulation, and comedy. I've not mixed the three, but never say never.

    PS: that dress looks amazing.

  3. I've always wanted to be a hosiery model. Nothing is more irresistible to me than the look and feel of stockings or tights. Unfortunately it seems that fewer women appreciate the power of pantyhose. So I've always dreamed of being able to star in ads dressed in fabulous clothing that show off my nylon-clad legs that inspire more women to do the same!

    I even made a few simple ads with photos of myself in various patterns and colors of hose. Unfortunately they were lost in a purge...

    1. I remember NY Jets quarterback Joe Namath doing a commercial for Legg's brand pantyhose back in the day!

  4. Oh, my. I had many dreams of being a female impersonator starting back in the 1950's. It was hard to get information about us back then and all I could manage was the semi-regular shots from "Confidential" magazine. So I sort of knew what to look for. Then, when I was about 13 and on a bus heading to the National Mall in DC, I spotted some posters on an old theater (now long gone) on 9th Street. I quickly got off and found out my eyes were not deceiving me -- the posters were of female impersonators who were performing with The Jewel Box Revue -- and they were going to be there the following weekend.

    I was there the next Saturday evening and in for the treat of my young life (aside from shaking hands with Ted Williams). There were all these beautiful women dancing and singing. There was even one with a vertical half woman-half man costume who pulled off a couples dance and some serious petting! And then I saw LaVerne Cummings and my heart seemed to fly out of my chest. Beautiful, graceful and with a wonderful soprano voice.

    By the time I saw The Jewel Box Revue again I was in college and they played the long gone Casino Royale for a weekend -- I went twice. But LaVerne had left the troupe and I had to settle for a couple dozen gorgeous ladies and their one male impersonator.Also, by that time I had found a newsstand at 15th and New York Avenue that had several more detailed and less lurid presentations of crossdressing men. Also, the Revue returned to The Howard heater a couple times for a 2-week stay, and I managed to get there many times, even though I was then married and working.

    It took me a bunch of years before I cleared my head of certain negatives and finally let Mikki out of the house. But in the interim I got to know many CD/Trans/Drag Queens around DC and in most of the cities I visited for work. The major highlights were The 82 Club in NYC and The Queen Mary in Los Angeles. An NYC co-worker even got me to one of those Andy Warhol "extravaganzas" starring Candy Darling, Jackie Curtis (she also wrote the so-called plays) and Holly Woodlawn. Silly, very disorganized and inane, but Candy Darling was beautiful! And when I went to work for Hewlett-Packard in 1976 I traveled to The Bay Area quite a lot and visited the famous Finnocchio's Club (tourist trap) in San Francisco and found out their star and occasional emcee was LaVerne Cummings. I saw her lots of times and chatted with her on occasion. She retired in 1982 and went into retail. The club was never the same, and even lowered their standards and had some of the girls lip-synching.

    I used to have piles of those old magazines, "Female Mimics", "Sexology", etc but a former lady friend found them and threw them out -- while she was on her way out the door. Now Mikki goes to lots of Drag shows here in Baltimore. I especially enjoy the Drag Bingo in my neighborhood and the several Drag shows around town, in addition to a couple Meetup groups.I flat out love Drag shows and am eager for the next Drag Bingo a week from Tuesday.

  5. I went on and on about LaVerne Cummings. Here's a link to a website dedicated to her: Take note that all of the photos of LaVerne in the 1950's through to the mid 60's are of her with her natural hair. The wigs came later. I only saw once in her beautiful hair, everything at Finnocchio's was wigged -- but still gorgeous.

  6. Lovely.. and thanks for the links and inspiration! sara