Club Icon Amanda Lepore Talks David Bowie, 'Drag Race' & Her New EP

Josef Jasso
Amanda Lepore

“I think that [Bowie] was way ahead of his time, especially in terms of genderf--king.”

Only one star of the club scene can stake her claim to having “the most expensive body on Earth.” Amanda Lepore, the transsexual NYC celebutante known the world over for her extensive plastic surgeries, has made a career of turning out iconic looks and performing in clubs across the world.

Lepore, among her many other professions, is also a singer. Her latest EP Lepore. is a beat-heavy collection of dance songs best suited for her regular performances at nightlife venues throughout America. “I work and perform in clubs all of the time, so naturally it's an influence for me,” the star tells Billboard.

Among the four tracks on her EP is a cover of David Bowie’s glam-rock classic “The Jean Genie.” Lepore says that Bowie was a major inspiration for her while she was growing up. “I think that he was way ahead of his time, especially in terms of genderf--king,” she says. “His whole androgynous style, I think it was really a moment when he started doing it.”

The singer wanted to include the track on her 2011 album I … Amanda Lepore, but she was never able to work it in. It wasn’t until after Bowie’s death when Lady Gaga  performed a massive tribute to the singer at the 2016 Grammy Awards that Lepore knew she had to include a Bowie cover on her next work.

“[Gaga] did an amazing job paying tribute,” she says. “I was like, ‘Okay, we have to do this,’”

Lepore has been working in the clubs of New York City since the ‘90s, when she flaunted her looks and talent as one of the famous Club Kids. While many of the Club Kids today would tell you that the scene has dramatically changed since the ‘90s, Lepore disagrees. “I love the process of dressing up, and people that dress up, and serving looks and drag queens and club freaks and all of that. That's what attracted me then, and it's still around, honestly!”

While she acknowledged that aesthetics have shifted since the ‘90s, Lepore says that the worldwide popularity of RuPaul’s Drag Race has kept much of what she loved about the club scene intact. "With RuPaul's Drag Race getting popular, you see more and more people dressing up and going out," she explains. "There's that element that's still there."

Drag Race has also brought about a significant bump in the starlet’s popularity. “I feel a pretty deep connection to the show,” she says. “I was kind of in that circuit that they were all in before the show started, so it elevated the circuits that I was doing.”

But in the past week, the world of Drag Race has been embroiled in controversy following RuPaul's statements about allowing transgender queens to compete on the show. Lepore offered up a solution to the controversy: “I honestly think they should just start another show,” she offers. “Do a spinoff with bio girls and transsexuals and transgender queens, that would be amazing. There's spinoffs already with Dragula, and there's a Thailand show now, so it could work.”

The club star adds that she wouldn’t be where she is today had it not been for the bio queens who inspired her to start performing in clubs. “The bio girls are what kind of inspired me to get into the club scene. I related to them more -- like, Dianne Brill was a huge inspiration for me,” she relates.

Amanda Lepore’s new EP Lepore. Is now available to stream and purchase everywhere.


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