Cher!

Or someone like her

By day, 26-year-old Steven Andrade is a mild-mannered, suit-and-tie-wearing Philadelphia hotel worker. But at night, out come the wigs, the makeup, the heels and all the fierce glammy-glam glamour of his drag alter ego, Ginger Snaps. Ginger's most famous for her Cher routine, and since the real Cher plays the Pond on Wednesday, we thought it'd be vastly more interesting to chat with someone who has to really work at being Cher. Hey, you try spending an entire night with your dick tucked for the sake of other people's entertainment.

OC Weekly: So . . . why Cher?Ginger Snaps: Actually, I never planned to look like Cher, but after one of my friends begged me to be in his drag show at a small cabaret, that's when we found out how much I look like her. That first night, I was actually planning to do Alanis Morrisette, with her long dark hair, but even before I got onstage and the music started, the whole audience was screaming, "Cher! Cher! Cher!" What one word would you use to describe her?

Legend.

Why do so many gay men identify with Cher?

Because she's everything they would want to be if they were born women. She's a talented artist who doesn't have any qualms about expressing herself and doesn't give a damn what people say about her. And she's scandalous, too, with her reputation for dating younger men. I think we all wish we could be a little like Cher.

What's the range in your show? Do you go from the "I Got You Babe" era up to her current album? Do you include her disco years and her scary, late-'80s, heavy-metal hair period, when she was running around wearing ass-bearing fishnet stockings?

I mainly work in dance clubs, so I mostly perform her remixes. I was in the La Cage show in Aruba, where I did her '80s music, which I hated because it's very hard for me to get onstage with just a thong and a piece of string. I'm not too fond of that era of Cher, but I had a producer, and it was his show, so I had to do what he wanted. It was a nightmare. I looked like a prostitute, and everyone's eyes were on my crotch thinking, "Where is it?" And yes, it hurt. Oh, I hated being in that show!

Cher has said that some drags do her better than she does. How would you rate yourself on the Cher-O-Meter?

I couldn't even answer that question—she would have to. But people that have been in this business for years—Cher's dancers, her stylist, her DJs, her PR person—have all said I do a damn good job, so I'm happy.

How many different Cher wigs do you have?

I couldn't even count them all. She changes her hair more than I change my underwear. But I wouldn't want it any other way.

Your web site [www.homestead.com/gingersnapsascher] says you also perform as Celine Dion, Elvira, Cleopatra and Jesus. I've noticed that Jesus' wig is strikingly similar to Cher's brunette trusses. Is it the same 'do?

Nope. My Jesus wig is not as full as Cher's thick, luxurious, expensive hair. If I used my Cher wig as Jesus, I'd just look like Cher with a beard, and that ain't cute.

If Jesus were alive today, could he relate to Cher? Would you see Jesus shaking booty at a Cher concert?

I really think Jesus would be happy with Cher because she has a wonderful charity that helps children with facial deformities. I don't think he'd be happy about that fishnet outfit. And I'm sure he would dig her music. Plus, she's a kind soul and would never hurt anyone.

Ever gotten confused? Like, have you ever been doing Jesus, then suddenly felt the urge to bust out "Half Breed" or "I Found Someone"?

I sometimes used to do a Cher move as Celine—like lick my lips—but besides that, I've been pretty good. All my characters are extremely different to me.

What was Cher thinking when she did those cosmetics infomercials? She couldn't have needed the money, could she?

I really didn't think it was that bad. I thought she looked fierce, but they played it over and over again, which sucked, and I'm sure she didn't know they were going to do that. Poor Cher!

Gregg Allman: What the hell did she ever see in him?

He was a bad boy, something she never had. Too bad he was more than she could handle. I went though the same thing, and it ain't pretty.

Did you cry when Sonny died?

Oh, my god, I cried for days—it was so sad. He made her what she is today, and to see her hurting like that was terrible.

Do you believe in life after love?

Of course, darlin'! If I didn't, I probably would've been dead a long time ago.

Cher performs with Cyndi Lauper at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, 2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, (714) 704-2500 or (714) 740-2000. Wed., 7:30 p.m. $35.25-$125.25.
 
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