Dixie Longate (www.facebook.com/dixielongatefans), the really fast-talking, irreverent, fiery redhead, is an award winning, top selling Tupperware lady in the United States and Canada! She’s the creation of drag performer Kris Andersson, and her raucous, sold-out shows leave her audiences exhausted from laughter as well as motivated and inspired.
Personally, I love all things Tupperware. When in my early 30s, I attended my first Tupperware party. A bevy of us gays gathered in a friend’s apartment and a very perky young man threw a fantastic party. I had a blast (and the bottomless pitcher of smart cocktails didn’t hurt, either.) I still have several of the Tupperware items that I won that night.
Dixie, thank you for taking time out of your very busy schedule to allow us an opportunity to get to know you better. Can you share with our readers who may not be familiar with Tupperware parties, what it’s all about, what to expect, and how your parties differ from the average?
First of all, if you ain’t familiar with a Tupperware party, that means your parents didn’t love you. Everyone’s momma went to at least 22 Tupperware parties when she was a newlywed. It was a way to get together with friends and drink and shop. It was like what you do on your computer now, but usually without as much shame, and without being on your own.
What was your first experience with Tupperware?
When I got out of prison, my parole officer told me that I needed to get a job in order to get my kids back. That’s what bothers me about the law. They make you take your kids back rather than putting them to work and teaching them a skill. Now I have to do that.
But my parole officer said that I should do something where I can make my own schedule and have fun. She suggested I sell Tupperware, but then I reminded her that I was not allowed in people’s homes because of the restraining order. She waved her magic taser and got that lifted and I started doing boatloads of parties. With a lot of work and a ton of bowl sets under my belt, I became the top selling Tupperware lady in the entire US and Canada. Isn’t that crazy?
Truly! How did you shift from friend’s homes to the theatre?
Well, back in 2004, I took my parties from the living room to the stage and created a little show. It started at the NY International Fringe Festival and got a lot of attention. Then I took it to an off-Broadway theater and that exploded and led to my national tour. In 2007, my show in NY opened with a great team of creative people behind it.
You were nominated for an award: Outstanding Solo Performance. How was that experience?
I got a Drama Desk Nomination which blew me away. I went to the award ceremony in the prettiest dress I owned at the time. I was even asked to do the ever-so-exciting “Thank yous” in the middle of the event. I thanked the liquor sponsors the most, obviously. Then when my category was called, I lost to Laurence Fishburne who was on Broadway that year in “Thurgood.” I think it was rigged. But I congratulated him graciously like a true southerner.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to see Dixie’s Tupperware Party. How did it work? Did you actually sell Tupperware during it?
During the show, everyone gets a catalog and an order form. If they want to purchase anything at the end, they can, but most people just come and have a ball at the show itself. It’s a Tupperware party on stage, but there is also a great message of positivity and empowerment throughout the show.
When Tupperware first hit the scene, no one was really interested because it was so different from anything else out there. No one had ever sold a plastic bowl with a lid on it before. This was revolutionary.
A woman named Brownie Wise got a set of the bowls and was so blown away by them, she started telling everyone and actually selling more than the local stores. When Earl Tupper, the head of the company, found out about it, he asked her to teach other people what she was doing. She created the Tupperware Home Party. If it wasn’t for her, Tupperware would have faded from existence on the store shelves and I wouldn’t have a job right now. Which means I would never have been able to purchase my double wide. I’m so grateful to her for what she did. She championed so many women and created an opportunity for women to actually thrive after the war was over.
I share her story and encourage people to find their little inner champion inside. So, the show is much more than just me hawking plastic crap. It’s a call to find your inner rock star.