De Alba on Williams 

By Entertainer David de Alba*

  The first time I heard of Stephanie Williams was when she contacted me for an interview for her forum in October 1999 after she had reviewed my theatrical Web Site.   I was very honoured to accept.   I had heard about Stephanie's accurate impersonation of such Stars as Marilyn Monroe and Patsy Cline, and as one of the best emcees around.   She also produced and directed many drag shows in the New Orleans area.   One year later to the day I meet with her at her new location, Las Vegas.   After chatting for awhile I could see what a great entertainer she really is.   No wonder Stephanie was given a photographic tribute to her theatrical career, (along with yours truly), on the TG Superstars Web Site.   I asked her to be part of the distinguished line-up of entertainers on my Celebrity Interview page, and she accepted.   Again I sit on the other end of the interview table and introduce to you in the Cyberspace World, the one and only Stephanie Williams!

Stephanie Williams

David:  Stephanie dear, where were you born and where did you spend most of your youth?

Steph:  I was born in Oklahoma.   My mother remarried and we moved to Missouri.   I spent most of my life (high school-college) in a seminary.   I was going to be a priest, and yes I have heard comments, but I never saw anything bad happen or even heard of anything bad happening.   You know the saying "A few bad apples spoil the bunch".   I decided in college not to continue on.

David:  Did you have a "drag mother" or mentor who helped or influenced you into the difficult and competitive theatrical world of female impersonation?

Steph:  I had several in the time I was starting out.   The 'girls' in Oklahoma were very close.   All the older girls took me under their wing, but a black DQ named Dominique (we have stayed friends all these years) showed me how to paint and got me performing.   From there a beauty queen, formerly of La Cage (we looked somewhat alike) taught me how to do make-up better and pushed me.   Miss Sasha Lorean, she inspired me, and Mr. Tony Sinclair of Oklahoma taught me the ropes of being a pro.   He was tough but I learned much from him, and then moved on.   When in Dallas, Miss Candy Delight, my first TS friend, taught me how to strip with grace and style.

David:  Do you remember when and where it was that you got your first check for professional services as an entertainer?

Steph:  First pay check was a contest I won.   From there Mr. Tony Sinclair hired me to be one of the girls in his revue.   He was an impersonator.   He taught me "You Gotta' Have a Gimmick".   He started me at $35 a week and I worked my way up from being a back-up girl to having my own revue.   But my first real check where I 'made it' was with Tango Moran of New Orleans.   It was my first tourist show.   He made Tony look like a Saint, but I was making $225 a week.   Then I ended up with much more.   Soon I and two other 'girls' were the highest paid entertainers on Bourbon Street, and that's including the strippers. . . but that was easy to do . . . the strippers were only making $6 an hour.   Then there was Chris Owens . . . I made an excellent living but it was hard at first.

David:  Do you have any Stars of yesteryear that you idolize or try to emulate?

Stephanie as 
 Marilyn Monroe

Steph:  I love all the old stars.   I have a face that looks like everyone but looks like no one.   I am very plain.   I have been told that is great for the stage.   I can be made up to look very different.   I loved Marilyn, but I looked more like Jayne Mansfield.   An exact look-a-like I wasn't.   I was an illusionist.   I copied their clothes to a 'T', their make-up according to the lights... and their actions, which is soooo important.   All of these elements are important to make people believe you are them when on stage.   This I did.   When I would come out as Marilyn their mouths would drop.   I have never seen a photo of me that caught it really, but it was something I had.   I did Dolly Parton; loved her.   I always did bigger than life characters . . . made it more fun.

Stephanie as 
 Marilyn Monroe

David:  Can you tell us more about what you did on stage other than being an accomplished Mistress of Ceremonies?

Steph:  I was a character actress really.   I did many characters; Marilyn, Pasty Cline, Dolly . . . I love all that, but also did a lot of comedy.   My thing was not only doing these characters in one show but also doing stand-up and being a quick-change artist.   You had to be to work in shows like this, and make it look like a totally different person.   Most people confused all of us and never knew it was the same person doing Marilyn and Dolly.   It was fun.

David:  What was the hardest thing about producing and directing shows and working in drag?

Steph:  Several things:
First the owner of the clubs or the person fronting the money; always difficult.   Nothing was ever good enough or they needed to make more because they paid us too much.   That was when I knew I was doing a great job.   The more they would complain about paying us too much or how broke they were, the more I knew the show was making them money.

Another thing . . . the entertainers . . . some can be moody and 'grand'.

Last, I got so sick of the stupid questions audience members asked.   Some things weren't their business.

David:  Can you tell us about the little 'war' you had among your entertainers in New Orleans, 'live' vs. pantomime and what you had to do as an emcee to let your audience know and appreciate the difference?

Steph:  I didn't really have a war, I had a difference of opinion.   When I had my tourist show one girl sang 'live'.   I did stand-up and emceed, so we were the only two who did 'live', the rest pantomimed, which is a talent in all fairness.   It is not as easy as some think.   One girl didn't like it when I said SINGING 'LIVE' or SINGING IN HER OWN VOICE, THE TALENTS OF . . .   It made her time on stage sound like she had a lesser talent.   She had to follow this 'live' singer.   I understood.   I too pantomimed in the show, and what she did on stage was just as much of a talent.   Not only did she do her own costumes, make-up, hair, but she endlessly studied this character, and she was breathtaking.   You would swear it was the real person on stage.   So what I came up with was THE SINGING TALENTS OF... OR OUR VOCALIST TONIGHT... This solved the problem.

Stephanie as 
 Patsy Cline David:  Other than New Orleans where you became "toast of the town" in what other areas have you performed?

Steph:  I performed all over.   I started out in Oklahoma City.   I worked Dallas, and all of the South.   I worked for La Cage when it was in New Orleans.   I have worked from coast to coast.   I use to travel with a queen named Wendy Rochelle.   We use to go to Colorado Springs a lot.

David:  Who designs your wardrobe?   Did you suggest to your designer the effect that you wanted to achieve on stage?

Steph:  I was very tiny at one time and I bought clothes from the stores and other girls, but then I met a designer from New Orleans, David Kemp.   He designed and made all of my pageant clothes.   He taught me design was math.   I was horrible at math, but understood this quite well.   I learned how to sew and did much of my own stuff, or would buy stuff from the stores and remake it.   When starting out and then when working at it as a living you had to known how to do it all.   It was beauty on a budget.

David:  Since you left New Orleans and now reside in Las Vegas, if the right situation came along, would you consider forming a female impersonator revue again, possibly one that would be all 'live'?

Steph:  Yes I would.   I do miss it.   I thought about an all TS variety show.   I much prefer to MC than perform as an entertainer in it.

David:  Is there anything about Stephanie Williams that you feel is often misunderstood that you would like to clarify in this very public online forum?

Steph:  LOL   Well yes, I am human.   I am now in the adult industry.   Many entertainers stick their noses up at that.   Men think I am just about sex.   I am just a girl trying to make living.   I am no longer an impersonator.   I am what you would call an illusionist.   I do live full time as a woman, and don't plan on SRS.   Many people think "Oh you do hormones and live this way because it's easier".   Not true.   It is much harder, and when on stage you have to work harder because females get uncomfortable with you, and men also, because they don't know how they should look at you.   I am just an entertainer who loves entertaining an audience and would actually love to meet a guy who not only accepts this entertaining side of me but also accepts me as the woman I am.

David:  Do you have any hobbies or interests that occupy your time when you are not performing?

Steph:  Yes I read a lot, and I love going to movies.   I am also very much into cooking.   I love Italian food.

David:  New Orleans is famous for its variety of ethnic and local (Creole) foods.   Have you found other foods here in the Southwest that you like?

Steph:  Well Vegas has it all here . . . some as good as New Orleans, but only at the better places.   I am from the Southwest really, Oklahoma and Missouri, and love just some good 'ole pot roast meal, or fried potatoes and ham.   I know, all fatty foods!   LOL, but aren't those the best.   I love pastries more than anything.

Stephanie Williams

David:  Is there anything that you would like to accomplish in the year 2001 either in your personal or theatrical life?

Steph:  Well it would be nice to be back as a tourist . . . would love that . . . impersonal life.   I would like to find Mr. Right.   I am in the process of buying my own home . . . hope to have this within the next 2 years.

David:  If you could ask Las Vegas Lady Luck to grant you one wish, what would that be?

Steph:  A happy, healthy, comfortable life . . . oh, with a wonderful husband.  :O)

David, thank you so much. I was very flattered by you asking me [to do this interview].   There's not many 'live' entertainers in drag/illusion anymore.   I have learned over the years to do it all.   I learned from the best from [entertainers] like you and I just want to say thank you and you keep the ART ALIVE and keep up the wonderful job you are doing.   Thanks.   xo, Steph

You can e-mail Stephanie at  TS38DSKYLER@AOL.COM

* Cuban/American entertainer David de Alba (also known as "Heri, Hairstylist of the Stars") is known for his live singing impressions as a concert artist since 1965.   He has worked at the world famous Finocchio Club of San Francisco (USA) for many years.   Visit the award winning Web Site "David de Alba’s Theatrical Arts & Tributes" at and you can e-mail him c/o