...hurricanes, champagne, and showgirls!
“Ladies and Gentlemen…Jessika has officially left the building.” (…and the state!)
Is there a better city for a female impersonator to live in than Las Vegas?!
A town built upon the “faux-lifestyle of the rich and shallow”…a town where looks ARE everything!…a town designed to look like something it is not…a town designed for you to imagine you are somewhere you are not…
a town based on recreating the “originals”…only better!
…and sometimes cheaper!
For someone like myself, who has spent their life pretending to be something
I am not (…only better...haha), what better place for me to live, right? Well, believe it or not, I did not move away from my beloved Chicago to become a showgirl in the “Jubilee” show at Bally’s…although, my Bumper Boyz certainly think I was being beamed up by the mother-ship when I said I was going to Vegas…lol.
To set the record straight, Miss Jessika Sterling moved to Las Vegas for her boy-career and decided to return to the corporate design community (…and a huge pay check!) and has accepted an offer to be a senior designer with the top casino/resort architecture firm in the world (…Bellagio, Wynn, and Caesars Palace are just some of their clients!) But have no fear, I most certainly will be visiting my “sweet home Chicago” every opportunity I have…and to restock on the essentials (…panty hose, eyelashes, shoes, and wholesale purses & jewelry!)
With all of the things happening over the last two months it is amazing how things change…hurricanes utterly destroying people’s lives…decimating entire cities like New Orleans and Ft. Lauderdale…bringing to light the sheer ineptitude of our leaders in office…and yet we survive…we pull together…we recover…we rebuild…we mourn…we expose the injustices…and we carry on.
As we reflect back on Hurricanes Wilma and Katrina, and myself being down in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale for over two weeks, I am amazed at how the people have recovered from having their towns literally destroyed and left to live without power for almost two weeks! I have had friends lose their homes…their jobs…become sick from contaminated drinking water and molds embedded in their homes from the flooding…and yet they have survived, gotten new jobs, and even found the strength to put on a fabulous charity/circuit party event like the infamous “White Party” only weeks later!
As I packed my life away into cardboard boxes with the anticipation of my new life out west, I almost felt guilty that my life was going so well. I found myself constantly picking up my phone to call my friends in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami to make sure they’re ok…”Are you sure you’re alright?”…”Will you make sure to call me tomorrow?”…”Do you need a plane ticket to come here and stay with me?”….”Do you need money?”….”Where are you staying”…”Are your families ok?”…”Do you have power?”…”Are they helping the people there?”
I’m sure many of us have been having these conversations over and over as we sit in our warm, dry turn-of-the-century classic Chicago brownstones and greystones, drinking our micro-brewed beer over a deep-dish pizza, and trying to decide what club to go to later that night. It’s very sobering to have your friends be in pain and you can’t help…the airports are closed…it’s too far to drive…there’s no power…there’s no mail service...they are on their last few minutes of battery life on their cell phones…and then that’s it.
Here in Chicago, Halloween was an interesting event this year…not so much for the torrential rainstorm that almost washed out the Halsted Costume Parade, but by the atmosphere of everyone this year. Yes, there were of course fabulous outfits …everyone seemed to be having fun…but there was just something in the air that made it not quite as festive as in the past.
With my move being only days away, I really didn’t have the time or motivation to come up with a sequel to my infamous “Divorce Barbie” and “Versace Pirate Barbie” themes from last year…but I did however muster up enough drive to decide to finally go into my current office and my sponsoring Jaguar dealership as Miss Jessika Sterling! Now, pretty much everyone in my old office knows about “my evil twin”, and are totally ok with it, but they have never seen her in person. Mostly, I didn’t want to have things change…I don’t care what anyone says, I’ve been a diva for awhile, but it doesn’t matter how many pictures they see or how many times you talk about it…once they see you in person, standing there all glammed-up in your designer heels and your “dusted mug” looking them right in the eyes, breeders just don’t know what to do with themselves …especially when you look better than most of them…haha.
Now, not to say we didn’t have fun…they all absolutely loved it. We all took pictures, everyone from the office next door came over…they even had me work the receptionist desk for a few. But, the thing I’ve always learned is that they will always look at you differently the next day. Sometimes this will be ok, sometimes it won’t, especially if you are in a corporate environment that has a little politics.
I think it is amazing how “performers” are probably the strongest people ever. At times we’ve been treated badly by not only the straight community, but also our very own gay brothers and sisters…yet we carry on. We’ve lost jobs because our personalities are “too flamboyant”…yet we carry on. We’ve lost friends and family because we are comfortable enough with ourselves to have shared our lives with them…yet we carry on. We’ve lost our homes from bigoted landlords and hurricanes…yet we carry on. I think that is part of the reason why places like New Orleans and Ft. Lauderdale have begun the road to recovery so quickly and with such enthusiasm. With such high gay populations, I would hope it is looked upon with this same strength and spirit of our community.
…”Honey, it’s just the push I needed to redecorate!”
How many times have you seen a “queen” do a benefit show right after some disaster? Have you ever thought about that she might have lost her home also…yet she has the strength to put a face on, create a fabulous outfit, and come to the clubs just to entertain you?!
…and she’s probably doing it for free!
As I made my triumphant “exit stage left” from Chicago, I thought it would be symbolic to have my little going away party at the very first club I performed at way back in 1997, The Hideaway (formerly Club 7301). As I got together with about a dozen of my bumper boyz, I was left with a real sense of closure to my leaving. Something about “ending up where I began” and going off to start a new life…I truly hope at least some of the people who have lost so much with the hurricanes can similarly look forward to building new lives during this holiday season.
Being a person who believes very strongly in things like fate, karma, and even a little Taosim…I really think things happen for a reason. I think if you are truly a good person and treat others as you’d like to be treated, good things will happen to you…and life’s dramas are simply lessons and cleansings to prepare you for that better life.
I myself have had several very important projects fall through, some personal dramas, and some real amazingly timed phone conversations with old friends that put me into a position to rethink my life and consider going somewhere else for a change. Wouldn’t it be a fantastic story to hear about someone who’s life was washed away from the hurricanes, yet they stayed strong, stayed with friends, got a new job, a new apartment, and eventually ended up with a life far better than the one they have been living for the last 10 years of being stuck in the world of “I could have…”
…wouldn’t that be great?
I can tell you from first-hand experience, I have lost my job…lost my boyfriends…been kicked out by family…been through the spectrum of drama and been left with nothing several times in my life. But, every time I’ve hit bottom …had my diva-breakdowns…cried to my family and friends…and done the
“whoa is me-period”…I’ve always battled back and ended up in a better place.
Whether it is a better job, better home, better boyfriend…or better life, you have to stay strong and carry on
…what is the alternative?
So…as we prepare for the upcoming holidays…think about these things for a moment…as your family members are doing their routine holiday bitching at each other, flicking their lumpy mashed potatoes off the Lennox china, throwing the Waterford crystal at each other, and going off into to there own little 40lbs turkey-induced comas…there’s always tomorrow
…we will carry on.
Now…how about hearing about my absolutely fag-a-licious time down in Miami/SoBe and the “White Party”?
Well my dah’links…once again, I had the best time down there…and really got the VIP treatment again…of course. Our first night out consisted of a very lovely “boyz night out” with my best friend Joseph, and his new friend Michael joining me to visit my dear friend, and organizer of the SoBe Social Club, Mr. Edison Farrow at the Delano Hotel. But, there was a definite plot afoot to this evening given that Edison, who knows Jessika really well, has never seen “Jess” before!
So, over a phone conversation earlier in the day, Mr. Farrow threw the gauntlet down in that he could identify me while in attendance later that evening. So, with several bottles of the bubbly and various favors at stake, yours truly strolled off the veranda into the “SoBe Social Club’s Martini Tuesday” party surrounding the Delano’s spectacular poolside cabanas and bar area…of course looking extra hunky in my cobalt blue Perry Ellis shirt, linen slacks, and David Wayne shoes…Edison is toast!!!
The evening was a constant game of subtle gazes from across the bar, second glances passing by, and the strategically positioned conversations within his perimeter…all creating this painfully obvious feeling of “I know she’s here, but I can’t figure out where HE is!” for my dear friend, Edison.
I’m soooo evil! [Scooby-doo “phantom” laugh]
So, after about 2 hours of my little “cat and mouse” toying with him…I finally let him off the hook with a sneak-attack from the rear (...my trademark...lol) and walked by him with a very Jessika-esque “Hello dear” and as he swung around I move to his other side for the return surprise appearance of “WHAT?!”
Let’s just say that upon my second visit to the SoBe Social Club’s Thursday evening mixer at Buck 15 to see my new “diva partner in crime” Daisy D., Miss Jessika was not without a cocktail that evening! And, the evening was fabulous there also…I met a few more bumper boyz to join the ranks…one of which owns a designer couture boutique! I think I’m marrying him just for the clothes…lol.
[blonde segue-moment #1]
As much as I love Miss Daisy D…and I respect the individual tastes of each city I visit…especially when it comes to musical tastes…but if I have to sit through another evening of listening to hip hop dance music IN A GAY CLUB I’m going to be sick!
Just how many remixes of Madonna and Gwen Stefani can one girl take in an evening?!
Hello…can I have your attention LA and SoBe DJs…1995 called, they want there albums back grand master funky-fag!
Oh, one more thing worth mentioning, besides me being the only diva in attendance…I did have quite the moment returning to my barrowed vehicle in the parking structure afterwards. Having all 8 attendants rocket from their break area once they saw me emerge from the dark street into the bright sodium lamps of the garage seemed to really motivate them to help me locate my car and open my door…horny latin men at 2am are such suckers for a 7 foot blonde walking by…lol.
After the first few days of fun in the sun…some serious hard-target shopping by yours truly in the famed Bal Harbor Shops of Miami Beach (…and very high-end Mall)…and some much needed quality time with my best friend recovering from the hurricanes…I started to prepare for the next week of “White Party Festivities” and my first event at the ultra-cool “Angel Ultra Lounge”. So, with my diva drag-mom and our bumper boy Michael in tow, off we went to see my dear friends DJ Power Infinity and performer Kitty Meow.
Upon our arrival, I had the pleasure of chatting with local door-diva Miss Petunia, and with a name like that all of you know she was not petite!…haha. But, she was absolutely lovely and I had a fabulous time chatting with her while I was “getting some air” and helping her pass the time before the show started.
Then, as usual, the world stops as the dynamic duo of Miss Power and Kitty enter with a blinding light show from there “entrance outfits” into the club and entourage from the “house of Infinity”…so with a quick kiss-kiss to both, they separate off to the dressing room and DJ booth for their individual gigs and I went off to chat with both respectively.
As usual…DJ Power Infinity looked fabulous from high above spinning her own unique blends of New York, Chicago, and Miami house-style…let’s just say you can certainly tell that at true diva is at the helm.
…”So, sit back all you bitches, Miss Power is driving!
(Give it to me momma!)
Then it was time for Miss Kitty Meow to take the stage…and that is exactly what she did…”This bitch TOOK THAT STAGE!”
Dressed in a huge starburst silver costume and skyscraper boots, a true “performance-diva” just let the crowd have it with a fabulously visual performance.
Afterwards, we all danced and chatted the night away, and early morning, catching up on how we’ve all been since Disney Gay Day last June…and of course made plans for some shopping later in the week!
Then it was time for the main event…White Party at Vizcaya!!!
Being a “White Party Virgin” this year, I really didn’t know what to expect. Like every gay man, I’ve seen footage of the parties on TV…Elton John making his grand entrance in full French-royalty fashion…and countless other celebrities
dancing and cocktailing the night away with the “fabulous ones” of Miami. Well, I certainly was not disappointed…our evening began with the owners of justcircuit.com, my absolute favorite bumper boyz, Shane and Victor coming to pick me up in Miami Beach and wisk me down to South Beach to rally up the rest of our bumper boyz at the Surfcomber Hotel on the strip. Now, the best thing about this is that famed event promoter (Disney Gay Day) Mr. Johnny Chisholm himself was our fearless leader this evening. He had a super-stretch limo for all of us out front.
So, picture this…Jessika Sterling is a short white cocktail dress, stoned strappy designer heels, silver and stoned jewelry, my short blonde hair…and 12 white cladded bumper boyz having cocktails in the VIP lounge of the hotel…with the owner…then proceeding off to the Vizcaya mansion in a limo!
Our arrival was priceless…here I come walking in with 12 hunky guys surrounding me…looking like some fabulous version of Snow White and her posse…and all of us just being the belles of the ball.
Oh…and…you would have loved my little moment with none other than Carson Kressley of “Queer eye for the straight guy”! The fun thing is how we met…famed Miami photographer JR Davis, who I’ve met from my previous visit, proceeds to grab me as I’m walking by and says “Jessika, darling, you have to come with me!” and drags me over to Carson, who is chit chatting. Well, I’m guessing JR is expecting me to just walk up and butt in for the picture since he’s too shy to do it himself…so, of course I do it!…haha
Well, as I move in…Carson sees me coming (how could he miss me, right?!) and basically pushes the others apart and pulls me in with a “Hey, darling…wow, don’t you look fabulous?!”
So…of course I say….”Yes, I know.”…lol.
And the rest is history…we chatted for few, and surprisingly he is not half a froufrou as on TV…actually, quite normal…for a fabulous gay man, that is.
Then, certainly another fabulous highlight of the evening was everyone’s much-anticipated meeting of Jessika Sterling and Miss Elaine Lancaster! Now, let me give you a little back-story on this one, Miss Elaine is the resident grand dame of Miami/SoBe, the toast of the charity events, hostess extraordinaire, and supposedly as tall (if not taller) than yours truly. Also, being that we are both known for possessing a certain level of style and charm…and being blonde…along with a fair share of comparisons, mistaken identities, and conversations by mutual friends being thrown around…having us finally meeting face-to-face seemed to greatly interest numerous party guests.
So, when the moment was right, obviously we both saw each other coming from above the heads of the “vertically challenged” crowd, we seemed to instantly have a connection…possibly mutual respect…maybe sizing each other up…or maybe each of us having just a few too many cocktails and not giving a shit…but we hit it off famously. I think the fact that me meeting another “boy-queen” who was not build like a truck driver, obviously skilled in the diva-arts as myself, and the fact the we have a few things in common…one being Dennis Rodman…I found myself quite disappointed that I didn’t have more time to chat. But, both of us had our party responsibilities to our respective bumper boyz and “getting our schmooze on”.
Oh, and by the way…I was taller!…haha.
I encourage everyone to check out her new fabulous website, www.misselainelancaster.com, and new television travel/entertainment show on Qtv coming soon. Keep an eye out, I’m sure our paths will cross again soon and it’s sure it will bring many more fabulous stories!
Well, the White Party was absolutely fabulous…the scale and décor of the mansion and grounds where amazing…the location of being on the bay in Miami and having 60 foot luxury yachts arriving to dock…and chit chatting with fabulous promoter/artist, Mr. Michael Tronn himself, looking extra hunky in his little tight white short and bath robe…the whole experience was just lavish!
Then, before we knew it…it was time to rally up the boyz and off we all went to the after party at State in South Beach. Upon our arrival out front, we were all escorted past everyone else waiting in front up thru the private VIP entrance, and off we went upstairs to the very private VIP lounge and surrounding balcony above to witness Mr. Junior Vasquez just tear up this club with some amazing music. Something about being all dressed up, partying in the exclusive VIP areas, and having all your bumper boyz around you just makes for the perfect evening.
“It’s good to be the queen!”
Well my dah’links…that’s about it…yours truly is officially writing this column from her new home in Las Vegas, Nevada now and will soon be following up with her continued adventures with a whole new set of bumper boyz from all the fabulous clubs yet to be explored here in Sin City.
…and you know I’m up to the challenge!
Now, here are all the pictures to prove it!
“I love you more than my luggage!”