Charles Aznavour is one of France’s most popular and enduring singers and song writers. He became a major success in the 70’s and has collaborated with many of music’s legendary performers including Andrea Bocelli, Placido Domingo, Liza Minnelli , Luciano Pavarotti and Josh Grobin, just to name a few!
I mention Aznavour because I remember discovering one of his hit songs of the 70’s called “What Makes a Man a Man”. I must have played it thousands of times throughout the years. It is a beautiful and haunting song about the tragic existence of a drag queen who says “ ..each night I work at a strange bar, impersonating every star, I’m quite deceiving….”
Many things have changed in the last forty years, and as I found myself attending the most fierce and glamorous competition of female impersonation, LaFemme Magnifique International, in Portland, Oregon, I couldn’t help but think of Aznavour’s gravelly, sexy voice singing “… tell me if you can what makes a man a man…”
The LaFemme Magnifique Pageant features the most stunning female impersonators in the world. As I watched them work the gigantic stage and runway , I was struck by their style, beauty, talent, glamour and creativity. Their magical transformation is expressed through creative make-up, hair and costume design. (Strict rules prohibit surgical or hormonal changes to their bodies). I was “wowed” by their Vegas-style showgirl costumes and amazed by the elaborate head-dresses which I, of course, see as just another exaggerated version of a HAT. I was enthralled!
The Pageant producers, Darcelle XV and Roxy LeRoy are two of the most uniquely wonderful people that I have ever met. They are kind, gracious and extremely talented and you would be very fortunate to be able to call them friends. I am so grateful to my dearest friends, David and Steve, for enabling me to see such a fabulous show and to meet their wonderful friends. I will never forget it. (I will tell you more about Darcelle and Roxy in my next blog – you will be ASTONISHED at the beauty and elegance of their home. I have many pictures to share.)
Naturally, I felt compelled to wear a hat to the show. I chose my favorite cocktail hat, the same one I wore to the Sinatra Party. (And you can see it on my intro page for the web-site). It is such a beautiful and delicate black silk rose with a poof of feathers and a sweep of netting across the face. When I wear it, I feel feminine, soft and sexy. I received many compliments. This evening, however,was all about the beauty contestants and their stunning hair, make-up, gowns and jewlery. I just sat back in awe and enjoyed every moment of the show.
From the pictures on this blog, you will meet the performers as “women”. My next blog is a DON’T MISS because I have pictures of many of them as themselves – men! I’m sure that you will soon agree that their female illusionary artistry is truly impressive. Everyone was warm, friendly and welcoming and I had a wonderful time at the barbecue at Darcelle and Roxy’s home the following day. (I bought some “bling” at the party which I’ll show you next time.)
Congratulations to Adrienne Alexander and Lily Armani who were both crowned 2010 LaFemme Magnifique International.
As Charles Aznavour sang “…. nobody has the right to be the judge of what is right for me, tell me if you can what makes a man a man”.