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Curating your life thru fashion, fitness, and cultivation. 

Blog: The Bandwagon Effect

Lifestyle Blog

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Afternoon of Opulence

Ariel Lauren

An Afternoon of Opulence with Bebe Deluxe!

Interview by Ari Laren | Photos by Josh Wessolowski

Bebe Deluxe shares pearls of wisdom with Ari Laren | Photo by Photo by  Josh Wessolowski

Bebe Deluxe shares pearls of wisdom with Ari Laren | Photo by Photo by Josh Wessolowski

 

     A large relief painting hangs in the living room of the Queen Bebe herself A matador with cape in his full display of power and grace is the perfect representation of the delicate line Bebe Deluxe walks in achieving her persona each time they dons their precious wigs and essential glitter. Strength and beauty are one in reference to Jacksonville’s most intriguing up-and-coming Drag Queen.

    You haven’t experienced opulence until you’ve spent an afternoon with up-and-coming artist Bebe Deluxe in their dapper dwelling. Rife with vintage goodies hand-picked from their family antique store or flea finds discovered with hubby, Aiden. Pup Newman and Kitty Wolfie round out the cute and cuddly crew at their humble Avondale abode.

     When the person you’re interviewing answers the door in a black silk robe it’s a good sign that things are about to get opulent. Alex Palmer aka Bebe Deluxe delivered in excess, exuding elegance and magnificent grandeur. During the interview Bebe eagerly dispensed their views on “[designing] looks of luxury, cheap make-up tips and tricks and [how to] try very hard not to talk shit. Read on to learn a little bit about the history of drag from the perspective of a Queen doing things her own way. Bebe also gives us an introspective view on the future of Drag culture and gender roles.

     I am so excited to share this beautiful being with you through this inspiration filled interview! Once you’ve read Bebe Deluxe’s pearls of wisdom you will be dying to see a live show! Luckily you can catch the opulence of Bebe Deluxe and friends at a monthly drag night  called GlitterBomb! hosted in the back room of Raindogs! The inaugural night begins on December 4th. With friends GeeXella , April Rition , Junie B. Jones , Dwight Robinson , Bebe Dee & Gerry Lee, and special guest DJ Alex E. of TOMBOi!

 

Interview with the Queen!

Important note: throughout the article you may notice that the pronouns used for BBD change from they/them to she/her. As a part of my interview process I ask people how they identify so that I can be respectful of the way they feel and want to be perceived. I encourage everyone to implement a practice of checking in with folks about how they wish to be perceived even if you think you already know. Bebe Deluxe /Alex Palmer Prefer they/them and she/her pronouns and Identify less with he/him but will accept he/him as identifiers even though the former terms are more accurate descriptors of how they feel and want to be portrayed. If you don’t get it, google it (Gender pro-nouns). More education = More love!

 

 

The interview opens with a little candid tet-a-tet as Bebe Deluxe sets up her make-up station in the front window of her home. Glorious bear chest and hair pulled back ready to do work to create the persona that is Bebe Dee!

 

BBD: I have never put my make-up on with the blinds wide open.

 AL: What would you neighbors think?

BBD: I’m lettin’ Miss Avondale have it, Darlin’! 

Behind the scenes: Bebe Deluxe and Ari Laren discuss details about the days photoshoot. | Photo by  Josh Wessolowski

Behind the scenes: Bebe Deluxe and Ari Laren discuss details about the days photoshoot. | Photo by Josh Wessolowski

Bebe Deluxe poses in a couture floral piece made in her very own drag room. | Photo by  Josh Wessolowski

Bebe Deluxe poses in a couture floral piece made in her very own drag room. | Photo by Josh Wessolowski

 

AL: How did you learn the steps you use when transforming from Alex to Bebe. Who were your influences? You don’t become a fashion icon overnight or without influence. Name style icons to whom you attribute your distinct mode of dress. 

BBD: A majority of my education specifically on this brow cover came from YouTube. I would see a thing that I liked on a drag queen and would Google-search ways to do it online, and that’s kind of how I operated before I had a “Drag Mother”.

I always say that you have to look like shit ten to fifteen times before you look good in drag. I met Trinity Baker maybe the 3rd time I got in to drag. She gave me little tips here-and-there about matching my foundation and how to apply my eyelashes. She would give me little things. Then finally [two years] in to doing Drag she officially did my makeup for me. She taught me all about certain techniques. Where to apply your foundation and how to do it.

Bebe Deluxe looks at herself in the mirror and says “YAASSS! I love when I look up and I see her. Hi Bebe! Bitch you owe me $10!” |Photo by  Josh Wessolowski

Bebe Deluxe looks at herself in the mirror and says “YAASSS! I love when I look up and I see her. Hi Bebe! Bitch you owe me $10!” |Photo by Josh Wessolowski

Bebe Deluxe poses at their piano | behind the scenes photo by Ari Laren

Bebe Deluxe poses at their piano | behind the scenes photo by Ari Laren

 

AL: You were talking about Trinity. Do you consider her your Drag Mama?

BBD: Absolutely! Absolutey! Trinity is a biological female. I met her through a friend of mine who knew her. She was running this gig called Art Friend’s Electric where a bunch of artists got together in San Marco, would sell art and it would be a function. [One time] she told me I should come and dress up. It was at Art Walk and I showed up. Oh! I was wearing some bookie drag! Oh, I looked so stupid! I looked a damn fool, but she really saw something interesting in it. She would just invite me to go out with her and chill with her.

AL: Bebe Dee is self-made but hails from the House of Deluxe. Describe the process of finding a home that helped nurture the growth of your inner Queen? Was it filled with all of the glitter and glory you dreamed it would be?

BBD: [Trinity] has been really good about teaching me not only technique about how to actually make my face look good. She’s taught me a lot about attitude. I think when a lot of Drag Queens start out they [feel they] must overcompensate. You have to let people know that you’re badass and you get lots of stares. You’re still getting used to people acting funny when they see you in Drag. You can get really defensive. She taught me to chill out and enjoy the moment and be the glamorous creature and not have to fight over it.

She also taught me I don’t have to follow a ‘Drag Queen kit’. Because lot’s of Drag Queens you see they all have the same look. It’s a sickening look but they all got the same eyebrows, the same cheeks, and the same porn-star lips. You start to loose a bit of yourself when you follow that mold too extensivelyShe taught me to do what worked for my face and she’s been a great guiding light for me.

AL: Tell me about your your extended Drag Family. I want to know more about how you developed the persona of Bebe Deluxe. 

BBD: As for my extended family I have sisters that I roll with. There is my good friend Nick who is Miss Didi Boniva. She did Drag way-way-way-way-way-way long ago in the 90’s because she’s old, is the joke! She did club-kid Drag as Didi Seven. We were kiki-ing one day and I said Didi Seven? More like Didi Boniva! (Yes, like the bone supplement.) She loved it and now she plays this old lady character. She has encouraged me to appreciate Drag as a cultural heritage because Drag was a direct root to camp which is Queer Society making fun of upper echelon, high-end society and lampooning them.

AL: You live in a very stylish home with a super dapper husband and two ultra sweet fur babies. How does your personal life influence your style?

BBD: I consider Hayden, [my husband] a piece of my Drag Family. Not so much because of him getting in Drag because that’s not really what he does. He is very smart about these sorts of things and he helps me to be this persona. We bounce jokes off of each other, we kiki. I like to call him my manager.

Princess phone and wine props all inspired by Husband /Manager Hayden. | Photo by  Josh Wessolowski  

Princess phone and wine props all inspired by Husband /Manager Hayden. | Photo by Josh Wessolowski 

  

 

AL: Let’s travel back in time to learn about your roots. A Jacksonville native, you attended Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in High School and grew up with a father who did stand-up as a road comic. How did this shape your progression as a performer? Were there any other influences you feel helped you develop your style?

BBDMy dad was a stand-up comedian for [about] twenty years. He was a theater major at Auburn University. He dicked around forever and realized he enjoyed telling jokes on stage. I always enjoyed telling jokes like my dad but stand-up comedy was always something (releases deep sigh). How do I say this without offending anyone? I always thought that stand-up was kind of gross and male dominated. 

Getting to do comedy and jokes, crowd work with the audience is something that comes natural to me. I grew up in comedy clubs watching my dad. When you’re a comedian you have a set you do that’s 30-45 minutes. When it’s not working or the audience isn’t responding, you cut it and you do crowd work. A lot of comedians are going to say that’s not real stand-up. I think for road comics, which is what [my dad] was, crowd-work is how you get asked to come back. You make a good impression on the crowd [and] get them to like you.

AL: Most drag queens lipsync or cover popular music. Your act incorporates live vocals and even original songs that you wrote along with partner Gerry Lee. How did the two of you meet and How would you define your style of performance? 

BBD: Sooooo! BebeDee and Gerry Lee is a project with myself and an astounding pianist from Tallahassee Florida named Gerry Nielson. We met at a day program for Adults with developmental disabilities. He taught music and I taught Theater darling! It was a stressful job. After work we would get in to a music room together. We’d stay for an extra half hour and jam out with music. Then I moved back to Jacksonville and these people I know were having a drag show and they offered a position to me to host and do musical performances. I asked Gerry if he could do some piano music for me. The rest just fell in to place. [Gerry and I worked a few drag shows where] the theme was soundtracks so we did a bunch of songs from movies. We had all these themes that we had to do together.We basically just try to go for an old Hollywood golden-age musical sound but with contemporary music thrown in.

Bebe Dee & Gerry Lee promotional image

Bebe Dee & Gerry Lee promotional image

 

AL: It can be a beautiful challenge to collaborate with other. You and Gerry seem to have a good thing going. How do you sustain your friendship while conquering musical feats.

BBD: Gerry Lee is such an amazing special piece of the puzzle because I was always of the school of sell it and he is of the school of do it right! Our rehearsals are more tense then you might imagine because what’s good for me isn’t always what’s good to Gerry. I’m sure that TOMBOi (Jacksonville-based Queer indie-electronica female trio) doesn’t always get along.

AL: TOMBOi are very much like sisters in that way. It’s very intense and personal.

BBD: That’s the thing about making music you don’t think about. You basically have a connection with someone that isn’t romantic and it isn’t sexual It’s very intense, Its very symbiotic. It is very personal. Music is one of those things that can make you cry, laugh , it can heal you. So, sharing that with someone I’m learning is a challenge and it’s different than just hanging out with your friend.

AL: At recent drag events i’ve noticed more families with young kids supporting the performers. I think one of the most heart-warming things to me is watching a child mesmerized by the glamor of a Queen! Do you think drag is becoming more family friendly? What do you hope is in store for the future of public opinion about drag culture?

BBD: My favorite part of it isn’t that I get to sing these songs, but the sense of community is great! I try to sing songs that I feel like the audience would have resonated with at [some] point. I try to do things that are personal like ‘Unpretty’ by TLC which everyone really felt. Basically just taking an era where we were most emotional. My era where I was most emotional was between 1998 and 2004 because it was the beginning of my plus sized queerdom. Lot’s of Brittney, Destiny’s Child, Kelis. Things that I grew up with at the time. We are doing some old school stuff too, like ‘True Colors’.

[The show] is basically a homage to people that helped us discover parts of who we are and people who laid the ground work for what we can be.We talk about history. My favorite part of the show is getting to tell little stories in-between each song. I am just surprised and tickled each time people sit and listen to what I have to say.

Garden portrait of the Queen Bebe Deluxe | Photo by  Josh Wessolowski

Garden portrait of the Queen Bebe Deluxe | Photo by Josh Wessolowski

 

BBD: This has been Bebe Deluxe giving you looks and luxury, cheap make-up and tips and tricks and trying very hard not to talk shit. I hope you enjoyed it!

Remember! Don’t miss the debut night of GlitterBomb!on Dec. 4th to experience all of the OPULENCE Bebe Deluxe and their crew bring to the stage!

FASHION?? IN JAX??.... A CHANGE IS COMING!!!

Fitz Pullins

   Jacksonville is not particularly known as a fashionable city. We tend to fly under the radar. However, we are saturated and heavily involved in other mediums. For instance, Art.  Art is  the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.   Now, let's think about this for a minute........ keywords being   visual     form, beauty  , and   emotional power.   I don't know about you, but I strongly feel that way towards fashion. Its a form of art and evokes emotion, whether its a self esteem boost  ( sidenote: feeling myself by Nicki & Baby B.. instant ego stroke.  ) or someone checking you out.  Now that we have established that fashion is indeed, a form of art. Jacksonville, get ready for some REAL fashion. We are about to make some progressive history. A CHANGE IS COMING!! Starting out with my talented BFF Meester (inside joke peeps)  BOBBYK . He has teamed up with  Perversion Magazine.  To give Jacksonville a taste of his many talents. Be sure to come out on September 4th @730pm to  Perversion + Bobby K Kontrast Fashion Show  located at 1037 Park St. 32205. This is something you should not miss. Following the show, is a Soul-Themed Dance party featuring local celeb Dj's  Wes Reed  +  Matt Caudler . Click on the link to purchase your    Presale tickets: $10 at    https://squareup.com/market/perversion-llc/perversion-bobby-k-fashion-show-ticket   .    Next, Yours truly will be curating a Fashion show at  MOCA  on October 7th @730. The show will take place during Art Walk in the atrium. This show will be featuring looks inspired by this year's  Contemporaries NYE333  Theme. As an adding bonus, I will be designing a dress for the grand finale. To find out more details. Please sign up for email updates at  www.fitzpullins.com . Also, be on the look out for updates on upcoming event on  our page . Maybe even become a member of the contemporaries ; )   

 

Jacksonville is not particularly known as a fashionable city. We tend to fly under the radar. However, we are saturated and heavily involved in other mediums. For instance, Art. Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. Now, let's think about this for a minute........ keywords being visual form, beauty, and emotional power. I don't know about you, but I strongly feel that way towards fashion. Its a form of art and evokes emotion, whether its a self esteem boost (sidenote: feeling myself by Nicki & Baby B.. instant ego stroke.) or someone checking you out.  Now that we have established that fashion is indeed, a form of art. Jacksonville, get ready for some REAL fashion. We are about to make some progressive history. A CHANGE IS COMING!! Starting out with my talented BFF Meester (inside joke peeps) BOBBYK. He has teamed up with Perversion Magazine. To give Jacksonville a taste of his many talents. Be sure to come out on September 4th @730pm to Perversion + Bobby K Kontrast Fashion Show located at 1037 Park St. 32205. This is something you should not miss. Following the show, is a Soul-Themed Dance party featuring local celeb Dj's Wes Reed + Matt Caudler. Click on the link to purchase your Presale tickets: $10 at
https://squareup.com/market/perversion-llc/perversion-bobby-k-fashion-show-ticket .

Next, Yours truly will be curating a Fashion show at MOCA on October 7th @730. The show will take place during Art Walk in the atrium. This show will be featuring looks inspired by this year's Contemporaries NYE333 Theme. As an adding bonus, I will be designing a dress for the grand finale. To find out more details. Please sign up for email updates at www.fitzpullins.com. Also, be on the look out for updates on upcoming event on our page. Maybe even become a member of the contemporaries ; )
 

YOU'RE UP.... Let's see what your working with!

YOU'RE UP.... Let's see what your working with!

Now that I have covered all the info. You might be asking yourself... what in the hell do I wear to something like this. In a nutshell: Be creative. Step outside of your comfort zone. Have fun with it. This may not be enough info for all of the newcomers, so I provide a few tips:

  • Please keep it sophisticated, not slutty. We need to work on taste here folks. It's one thing to wear a tasteful mini, but another to some everything your working with. Please leave something to the imagination... PLEASE!! Try stepping outside of your comfort zone. Take this look for example, mixing patterns. ( This may be a lil too much for some, but try with just a top or skrit.) Although, they are different patterns. They complement each other.
Print on Prints On Prints

Print on Prints On Prints

  • Basic blacks. Been there..done that..got the t-shrit. Instead of wearing your simple favorite black on black look. Whether its that same cocktail dress or favorite tee w/jeans. Up the ante with some texture and movement. Like this leather pleated skirt. Put this on, and your milkshake will definitely bring all the boys/girls to the yard.
Make sure you wear it and it does not wear you.

Make sure you wear it and it does not wear you.

  • If all else fails, stick to a clean tailored look. If you are not ready to take the plunge, just keep it simple with some color blocking using this seasons Pantone colors. Please, whatever you do, make sure its fits.Top it off with a statement piece.  Ask a friend who's closet you wish you had, for help. This also applies to the guys as well.
IMG_0622.JPG
  • Final tip: Your best accessory is your friend or group your going with. It's always more fun and less stressful with your partner in crime. Friends are the BEST accessory to always have. They will give their honest opinion. Plus, they won't let you go out looking like anything. Stay calm and have confidence. Step out of your comfort zone, but always remember, you're YOU. XoFitz<3
Adore.

Adore.

PERSONAL STYLING CLIENT - KEDGAR VOLTA - TOP 100 ARTISTS IN THE US

Fitz Pullins

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New Client: Kedgar Volta, ArtistEvent:  Crystal Bridges - State of the Art Exhibition - Volta was chosen as one of 102 artists within the United States.http://stateoftheart.crystalbridges.orgGoal: Create a look that was sophisticated, affordable and world class.The Results ...  Photo courtesy :  Posewell Studios http://www.posewell.com Once the project was complete, Volta's partner, Adianez Garcia, wanted to match him and stand by side.  Again the goal was something world class, affordable and stand out.The result ...Kedgar Volta Pants, Shoes, Shirt and Jacket - Zara Man Adianez Garcia Pants :  Josie Blouse :  Vince Shoes : Calvin Klein Jacket : Nordstrom Brand   To see more of Volta's available work visit http://floridamininggallery.com/artists/kedgar-volta/ To see more of Volta's professional work visit http://brunetgarcia.com

One To Watch : Anthony Edwards

Fitz Pullins

Photo Credit:  Posewell Studios

Photo Credit: Posewell Studios

The Bandwagon Effect publishes a monthly interview featuring stylish people.  These are people we just love to watch.  This month we are focusing on Anthony Edwards, more commonly as Tony. Tony is a 20 something suit superstars in Jacksonville. 99% of the time you will see him walking the streets of downtown with a suit and his signature pocket square.  We enjoy watching him and his confidence in what he wears and inspires others by taking a stand on men's fashion. 

Tony is passionate about his drinks and is an amazing mixologist if you ever get a chance to taste one of his cocktails. Tony is a business development leader at Hi. Innovation Group.  www.innovatewith.us He is responsible for brining innovative solutions to businesses needing digital signage and content through a strategic process. – This Jacksonville millennial man is one to watch.

Photo Credit:  Posewell Studios

Photo Credit: Posewell Studios

HOW FASHION TRENDS START

Fitz Pullins

IMG_3799 Photoshoot for Jeff Whipple, Artist www.jeffwhipple.com

What is a trend?  A trend is a social process in which style changes. A good example of this is how we dress, of course my first obsession.  If a change is short lived its known as a fad.  Trends typically last long term. A lot of fashion changes are fads because they do not stick around for longer than 2 seasons.  A good example of a trend would be pleats.  They lasted a LONG time and then gone, some people are thankful. 

Trends are created by, you guessed it, TRENDSETTERS.  Think Madonna, Michael Jackson even Miley Cyrus, Chanel ahhh and of course J.Crew.  This may sound simple but for some it is not easy.  Trendsetters COVET change from time to time and in fact, often.  They are open to new originative styles and ideas embracing the new.  Personally, I find most trendsetters to be fascinating and can be found within the creative class.

Most wide spread trends are, of course, started in large cities like New York, Los Angeles and my beloved, Atlanta.  On a more international scale, Paris, Tokyo, Milan and London are filled with trendsetters, trendsetting. 

This important anthropological phenomenon is why I started the Bandwagon Effect.  Here in the southeast we have to embrace and not be afraid of TREND and become more bold with our style and how we approach everything we do.  Let's try new things, adopting an attitude of change is good.  Here at the Bandwagon Effect we are looking for those who embrace this spirit. In the next few days I will post my second feature Jacksonville style "One to Watch".  

I would love to hear from you with your ideas of what is hot, what is now and what is on TREND here in Jacksonville and all over the southeast. 

Stay tuned for more fashion as we continue to roll this Bandwagon down the streets and pick up more momentum on our goal to inspire and feature those who inspire through their bold trendsetting nature.

KEEP UP THE TRENDS AND KEEP FASHION NEW AND BOLD

xo-Fitz

5 Tips to add Color to your Style ... like a PRO

Fitz Pullins

It is official, color is here to stay.  I always like to say, “Just add a pop of color” but I do not say it lightly.  Using color to put a stamp on your look is not only easy, but it’s on trend and at the same time become a classic solution to creating personal style.  

Color blocking, pattern mixing and just being smart about color are sometimes hard during our busy week.  We are thinking about meetings, and children and what is the next mean going to be but I am here to tell you that simplifying and adding color with confidence doesn’t have to end you up on the floor of your closet crying.

brightideas
brightideas

Photography:  Agnes Lopez  www.posewell.com Makeup:  Kimtasha  www.kimtashastore.com  Hair:  Grazyna Mercado www.grazynamercado.com Styling:  Fitz Pullins www.fitzpullins.com

HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO SIMPLIFY YOUR STYLE AND ADD COLOR LIKE A PRO 

  1. DO NOT OVER DO IT.  Adding a colorful jacket to a simple outfit that is more neutral can give you a powerful piece that everyone will take notice.  If you are a woman, try an all-neutral look (tan, black or gray) and then add a big bold colorful necklace.  If you are a man, do the same with a tie.  A unique piece to make you own the runway of your life.
  2. MIX AND MATCH.  Color can come in a solid bold or even in patterns that can be mixed in a unique way to help your personal brand be creative and unique.  Maybe think about a polka dot tie on top of a striped shirt.  Or for a woman, add a striped blouse with a skirt that is striped in another direction complimenting each other for a show stopping head turning color blowout.
Unknown
Unknown

Photography:  Agnes Lopez  www.posewell.com Makeup:  Kimtasha  www.kimtashastore.com  Hair:  Grazyna Mercado www.grazynamercado.comStyling:  Fitz Pullins www.fitzpullins.com

3.  TIGHTS TIGHTS TIGHTS.  Oh and SOCKS. SOCKS. SOCKS.  I would never advocate for too much of over the top color.  It has to be a perfect mix and sometimes that means just going a bit below the radar.  Add some tights to a tired plain look or for men, a pair of signature socks.  An all black soon with a neutral tie that incorporates a nice red polka dot can be perfectly paired with a pair of red socks.  Come on guys don’t be scared put them on.  The only time anyone might notice is if you are in a meeting, on the bus or sitting on the skyway heading downtown.  And GIRLS you know how to do this.  A pair of wonderful tights under that favorite plain skirt or dress.  Adding a “pop of color” can be fun and invigorate any tired old look.

4.  REFERENCE.  I know you ladies like to pinterest.  Now here is your assignment and for the guys too, get on Pinterest and type in “color trends in fashion” and you wont believe your eyes.  GREAT ideas for every day.  Look at reference when you are losing inspiration.  It helps you think about what is in your closet closest to the looks that are on trend.  Don’t be scared guys looking at this stuff is fun and only takes 10 minutes the night before your important meeting, or a high school reunion, you know you want to look good and you CAN DO IT.  Also Pinterest is a great social media tool you can use to help set your own personal brand.

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5. HAVE FUN.  No one wants to cry in the closet and usually when you make it hard getting dressed, people will cry when they see you on the street.  Make it fun, make it light and do something different.  That’s why it’s called FASHION.  OWN IT, WORK IT and everyone around you will take notice.  You will probably land that job you have been looking for, meet that special someone you have longed for or even make a great impression on your current boss.

So all of that said, I hope I see you running around town in your stripes on plaids, bright colors on top of neutrals or something totally unexpected.

ADD COLOR LIKE YOU MEAN IT and you will LOOK LIKE A PRO.

xo- Fitz

Anita Bruno Morrill

Fitz Pullins

Owner of Empty Nest Boutique Events. Loving wife, Mother of 3 grown sons (I know, right?). From Western PA. Majored in Fashion Merchandising. Jacksonville Native for 16 years.

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