Miss Coco Peru Comes to the Sunshine Cathedral
Miss Coco Peru, who is no stranger to South Florida audiences, returns with her hit show "A Gentle Reminder - Coco's Guide to a Somewhat Happy Life" for one night only at the Sunshine Cathedral (1480 SW 9th Ave, Fort Lauderdale) on Friday, March 17 at 8 p.m.
Coco Peru aka Clinton Leupp has appeared in many films and TV shows but is perhaps best known for her role in 1999s "Trick" which also starred "Beverly Hills 90210" alum Tori Spelling. Since 2005, she has been the host of "Conversations with Coco," a successful internet series that has put Miss Coco in front of legends like Liza Minnelli, Jane Fonda, and Bea Arthur.
It was a pleasure to chat with Miss Coco Peru for this Hotspots exclusive interview.
You are an interview pro at this point after spending more than 10 years doing "Conversations with Coco". What are some of the standouts?
Well they really all standouts, but I think the ones that would be most recognizable would be Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Allison Janney, Liza Minnelli. Of course, Lily Tomlin was a huge icon for me as a kid, as was Liza. But, the real standout for me would be the first one which was with Bea Arthur. She was THE idol of mine and I was obsessed with her, so that fact that I got the chance to actually be friends with her was so surreal.
Are there any new conversations in the works?
No, we are trying to sell the pilot right now. I made it last summer with Lily Tomlin. We are shopping it around now.
Lily Tomlin has really done a lot to help other comedians, right?
Oh yeah, she's amazing. Anytime she has been to see my show, she hangs out afterward. People come up to her and she really engages them. She acts as if she is any other theatre goer, same thing with Allison Janney. She hung out as if she is just one of the people, and they are if you think about it.
What can the Fort Lauderdale audience expect from this show? Is this the first night of a new show?
I actually have a newer show, but I am bringing "A Gentle Reminder - Coco's Guide to a Somewhat Happy Life to Fort Lauderdale because I haven't done it there yet. If all goes well, I'll bring my newer show to Fort Lauderdale. This show still feels really new to me because I haven't gotten to do it in a lot of places. I am really looking forward to being in Fort Lauderdale; the audiences there have always been great, really generous.
Did you do "other drag" before you created Miss Coco Peru?
No, I had never done drag before. I wrote my first show before I had ever even done drag, so I did things backwards so to speak. I thought "OMG now that I have written this show and booked it, I hope I look ok in drag." I didn't even know how to do makeup, I had to get my niece to do it for me. It was crazy but I had a vision of what I wanted to do, and on some level I thought it was going to really work out. It may be that I was in my 20s and had nothing to lose! That doesn't mean I didn't have fears, but my vision and my drive was so much bigger than my fears.
Where did the name come from?
I was dating a guy from Peru at the time [I was writing that first show] who introduced me to a drag queen in Peru named Coco. I was so impressed that in this very macho Catholic country, where you had to knock on the door to get into a gay bar, this drag queen had crossed over into main stream Peruvian society and was on TV. I thought, there is something about being in drag that is just powerful. When I started writing my show, I didn't really know other drag queens but I started calling myself Coco in the script. That's how she came about. I had seen Charles Pierce on television as a younger person, and then when I was graduated college, I saw Charles Bush on stage and that was really one of the driving forces behind me creating Coco. I realized that I could embrace what I had been taught to hate about myself and celebrate it. It was very healing and it continues to be on some level.
You spend a lot of time on the road. Where are some of your favorite places to visit?
I love Seattle. The audiences there always come wanting a great time. I do like performing in Florida because people there come waning to have a good time. My last show there was just great, and Fort Lauderdale has always been some of my best audiences. I love this show that I'm doing right now. I feel like with how everyone is feeling these days, it's like a big group therapy session.
As of press time, there are still tickets available to see Miss Coco Peru her show at the Sunshine Cathedral. For more information, visit OutlandishFL.com