Nightclub superstar and trans-visibility pioneer Amanda Lepore has just released her heavily illustrated and visually luscious new memoir, Doll Parts.
In the book, Lepore tells the harrowing story of being a New Jersey child growing up with a mentally unstable mother and absentee father who trusts the vision she has of herself from a very young age.
Windy City Times: Wonderful meeting you, Amanda. I really enjoyed Doll Parts. What made this the right time to write your memoir?
Amanda Lepore: Thank you! I was actually approached to write my memoir about four years ago by an author, it was not something I was thinking about at the time.
WCT: What is the biggest misconception people have about you?
AL: I think they focus more on my looksthe plastic surgeryand they don't think or realize how down-to-earth I really am. I am the opposite of what people generally think.
WCT: You mention in the book that early on you wanted to physically be a combination Jayne Mansfield, [an Alberto] Vargas girl and Jessica Rabbit. Has that composite of yourself changed at all in the passing years?
WCT: Reading Doll Parts, you seem so self-assured at a young age regarding your gender identityasking for gender-confirmation surgery at 10 and having your operation at 17. What advice would you pass on to a young person, maybe not so self-assured, facing the same issues?
AL: Self-confidence is important no matter who you are. If you are transgender, there may be a lot of harassment. It is very important to stay strong no matter what and stay true to yourself.
WCT: You also mention that beautifying takes up 90 percent of your time. What is the other 10 percent?
WCT: In Doll Parts, I was impressed by your toughness. You've endured a lota mentally unstable parent, bullying, being kicked out of school, domestic abuse, eating disorders, being surrounded by addiction, some scares as a dominatrix, etc. How do you view those hardships now and what makes you a survivor?
AL: I just deal with situations at the moment, so I do not have to stay focused on anything negative. I stay away from negativity and bad people, and keep myself surrounded with positive influences and happy people.
WCT: An exception was you were in the orbit of the Disco Bloodbath/Party Monster murder by being in the employ, as well as a friend of, Michael Alig. What was the biggest lesson you took away from that entire experience?
AL: Don't become a drug addict and don't kill anyone.
WCT: You refer to yourself as a preservationist. Would you care to explain?
AL: Taking care of myself really well, physically and mentally. It's something that is very important to me.
WCT: When did you first realize you had arrived as a nightlife celebrity?
AL: When people starting writing about me as the "girl of the minute," and when we did the Joan Rivers Show.
WCT: What does Amanda Lepore, the "girl of the minute," do on an evening at home?
AL: Rhinestone my outfits and accessories with Swarovski.
WCT: You mention wanting to live a glamorous life like a movie star. What has been your biggest Hollywood moment in the limelight?
AL: Any time I am surrounded by tons of photographers and flashes going off, it feels like a Hollywood moment.
WCT: What about you that makes you an ideal subject and muse for photographer David LaChapelle?
AL: David said that I was what he envisioned as his ideal woman, before he even met me. When I work with him, I listen to what he wants and follow directions well in order to carry out his visions.
WCT: What is something that is always in your refrigerator?
AL: I don't have a refrigerator. I order in.
WCT: How would you describe yourself in a personals ad if you couldn't use any physical descriptors?
AL: Independent, hard-working, very knowledgeable in cosmetics and the plastic-surgery industry.