Dixie Longate, America’s favorite Tupperware Lady, is settling into Los Angeles with her plastic containers tightly in hand to help y’all with your holiday food storage needs.
She started selling Tupperware as one of the conditions of her parole.
Her unique wit and alternative uses for the iconic bowls made her a hit with housewives in her native Alabama and soon catapulted her to become the highest selling Tupperware lady in the entire United States.
Her secret weapon, “Booze. The more you drink, the more you buy.”
It was that formula for success that got her noticed by a New York theater producer who took her from the living room to the stage. In 2007, “Dixie’s Tupperware Party” opened in the Big Apple, garnering praise from critics and audiences alike and nabbed her a Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance.
Hot on the heels of that success, she took her show on the road.
After 10 years and more than 1,300 performances in five countries, “Dixie’s Tupperware Party” has become one of the longest-running off-Broadway tours in history.
She played the Geffen Playhouse four years ago, earning rave reviews in LA, so she figured it was time to come back. This time, she’ll be spending the entire holiday season at the Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City.
That makes her an Angeleno, right?
“I love meeting people and sharing bits of my life growing up in the south so getting to do that in a theater is a perfect job for me,” Dixie says. “My goal is to make people smile and hopefully inspire them a bit so they leave the show feeling a little more empowered than when they came in and ready to take on the world. In all my years, one things I have learned is that a little smile goes a hell of a long way.”
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I got out of prison the last time almost 18 years ago. The toughest people to tell were my kids because I knew that meant they were going to come back and live with me again. If you have any, you know kids muck up so many weekday drinking plans.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
I’m quite partial to Ellen. She just puts a dang smile on everyone’s face that she comes across. I don’t think there is a person’s day she doesn’t make brighter and I think that is a great thing. We need more smiles these days.
What’s Los Angeles’ best nightspot, past or present?
One time, ages ago, I did a giant Tupperware fundraiser at the Backlot that used to be Studio One. I have never seen so many well-built, well-dressed and glitter covered people in all my days. It was magical.
Describe your dream wedding.
I’ve been married three times and each one was a little more regretful than the one before. Now I reserve weddings for the people in movies because their “happily ever after” only has to last until the credits.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
I don’t like seeing so many homeless and hungry people these days. It crushes my soul. We have the resources to change it but we don’t seem to have the heart to do anything about it long term.
What historical outcome would you change?
Wars: Any of them and all of them. We fight for the dumbest reasons. And because we watch most fighting from the comfort of our homes on TV, we don’t even have a grasp on the human cost. I’m not sure why we can’t find more common ground in the world. Oh, and Titanic. I was so sad to see Leonardo freeze in the ocean.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Here’s a blast from the past. Remember “Hands Across America?” Back in 1986, people from all over the country held hands making a giant squiggly chain from coast to coast. I remember it so well because it didn’t run through Alabama, so my momma put me in the car and we drove all the way up to Indianapolis. It was that big of a deal. That was the first time I ever crossed the state line not being tailed by a cop car.
On what do you insist?
A 32 pack of batteries to keep my little friend in the nightstand going in case we lose power during a storm and it doesn’t come on for a week. Gotta be prepared. That’s what the Boy Scouts say.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
My last post was talking about my show at the Kirk Douglas. Gotta start getting the word out to all of my friends in LA.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“Vodka – Not just helpful for getting through church services anymore.”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Talk about it over vodka.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
Sandra Bullock. I saw that movie where she got stuck in space. It was terrifying. I believe in Sandra Bullock.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
No one knows how to find the joy in life like gay people. It’s like their default position. I think most of the rest of the world could take a lesson from y’all. My advice: Be proud of yourselves for all you’ve done and will do.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
A honky tonk with a mechanical bull in the corner.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
The idea that gay people are just bitchy and catty. I have met many of y’all and I find most gay people to be as neighborly as any sweet grandmother from the South. Gay people just have a way of coating the world in sugar.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
Don’t know if this counts, but “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” That was the first time I saw people dressing up when it wasn’t Halloween. All the screeching and singing from the audience makes me giggle.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Waiting to have sex till after you get married. Who the hell came up with that?
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
I got a “Drama Desk Nomination” when my show ran originally off-Broadway. I lost to Laurence Fishburne. I remember I made him laugh at the awards ceremony in NY and he shook my hand and said, “You have a new fan.” I almost pooped my pants.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
I’m better than I give myself credit for. That would have taken a lot of pressure off me and made me take even bigger risks in my life, I imagine.
Why Los Angeles?
I played LA in 2014 at the Geffen Playhouse and had such a blast, I wanted to come back and do it all again. The Kirk Douglas was nice enough to open their doors for me so how could I possibly say no.