Margaret as Red Marilyn

I feel a little like an egomaniac posting two self-portraits in a row. In fact, I hesitated to use this photo for that very reason. I did have an alternate. But the moment the assignment came to use a photo that was RED, then I just knew that this is my favorite picture using that color. The mood of it is red, and it recalls a very famous red scene in a classic movie. I call a lot of my photos with me as the subject “self” portraits. In fact, I usually involve someone else to actually push the button. This person is usually Andrew or Fred. Truthfully, doing portrait after portrait of myself is a very liberating activity for me. And as another photographer said, “If you like to do self-portraits you will always have a willing model.

There is a little story behind this picture, inspired by Miss Monroe in “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”. I had been doing a series of photos to promote my jewelry using various local women portraying famous people. I called it “Icons and Divas.” During this time I was also spending more and more time with friends who perform as female impersonators. And, as I once said, “If you hang out with drag queens you’ll end up wearing false eyelashes”. You just will. So, when it was time to do a shoot with Marilyn I decided, “Why not?” Let’s face it. Many little girls have fantasized about Miss Monroe…what it would be like to be her, what it would be like to know her intimately. This photo is a testimony to the amazing skills of my pals Andrew Pentecost (Angel Electra) and Arnold Myint (Suzy Wong). Andrew did this makeup job that is so another side of me that I had never seen, and Arnold loaned me the dress and helped style the photo. What an incredible fun night. I think we did this photo about five years ago, when I was 68.

You Just Can’t Keep Him Out of the Kitchen….That’s Arnold Myint

This past March, Fred and I were staying in a lovely house in San Cristobal in Chiapas, Mexico. We always invite our friends to join us when we are in Mexico, and we were delighted when our friend Arnold, who is currently competing on the FoodNetwork Star show, had a break in filming and decided to head South. Fred and I gave some serious thought as to where we’d take Arnold to eat while he was with us there for five days. We put together a list of places we’d found. San Cristobal is not the food town that Oaxaca is, but there are some interesting places to try local food.

When Arnold arrived he was a bit tired from his long layover in Mexico City and his first activity was a little nap. But then, when he got up he announced that he felt like cooking. Well, Fred and I have known and loved Arnold (and his cooking) for years and we would never say no to that offer. So, off Arnold and I went to the markets to gather our ingredients. And then back to the house where the magic happened. A great meal and wonderful evening with three close friends.

He is doing really well on Food Network Star, which airs on Sunday nights at 8. In fact, he has been in the top three for the first three shows. He is a genius in the kitchen, and I love it when we just hang out and he cooks. Not just because the food is always delicious, no matter how simple, but also because watching him do it is like seeing a moving meditation.

Two for the Price of One


Arnold Myint, aka Suzy Wong, being crowned Miss Gay Mid-America

Two for the Price of One

This post is a tribute to my friend Arnold Myint, aka Suzy Wong. There are many sides to Arnold. He is as high-energy as it gets and can do a million things at once. He is always on the go, always has a project in the works, and will not settle for anything less than perfection.

Arnold is a phenomenal chef and a very giving person. One picture of this is that he recently raised top dollars for Nashville Cares during Dining Out for Life., combining his life as a chef with his passion for giving.

But, I’m not here to rave about his cooking, I want to talk to you about his drag. You see, I happen to love drag queens. The art of female impersonation has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. A lot of people just think of drag as a man in a dress, but it is so much more than that. I have watched Arnold develop the character of Suzy Wong from the beginning. In fact, the beginning was when Andrew Pentecost, the most incredible makeup artist I know, came to my house and turned Arnold into Suzy for one of my jewelry ads. We had a blast that night. Then Suzy started showing up more and more frequently. Suzy was turning into a brand, and Arnold found ways to combine his skills as a chef with Suzy’s skills as an entertainer. (An example of this is that at the New York Pride celebration recently Suzy was the cocktail queen for Absolut vodka). Arnold was once a professional skater, and he missed the fun of putting on makeup and shiny costumes and being in the spotlight. Suzy came in on 6″ platform heels rather than skates but the same Arnold was underneath the wig.

What came next for Suzy was pageants. There are all sorts of drag queens. Pageant queens are in a world of their own. Arnold and I drove to Cincinnati three summers ago to see a pageant together. He was a backup dancer for one of the contestants. I could see the handwriting on the wall. Arnold is a real competitor and had his eyes on a crown. So, last October I went along to the Miss Gay America Pageant in Columbus, Ohio as the chief cheerleader and confidante of Miss Gay Tennessee America, my gal pal, Suzy Wong.

This past spring Suzy won the crown of Miss Gay Mid-America, and, as the acting Miss Gay Tennessee, has worked very hard to support all the contestants in the preliminary pageants leading up to Miss Gay Tennessee, 2014. I have been very happy to do the photos for the Miss Gay Tennessee website. It has given me a chance to photograph some very interesting female impersonators and has also given me a chance to watch Arnold at work. He has been so incredibly helpful and supportive to everyone I have photographed. His genuine love for this art form, and his genuine love for helping others has shown through every time, even though some of these people will eventually be his competitors in the upcoming Miss Gay America Pageant in St. Louis this October. Once again I look forward to going along as his right-hand pal. No matter what the outcome of the contest, I know my friend Arnold will be a good sport and a source of positive energy for everyone who crosses his path. That’s just how Suzy rolls.