Even in the year 2015, noted agender celeb Andre J has a style that turns heads and garners everything from question marks to praise and even Vogue magazine covers. But in a frank new interview with “I’m From Driftwood,” Andre opens up about not being accepted as a child and how he overcame being bullied.
In the video interview, Andre talks about growing up in Newark, New Jersey, and how an older neighbor called him a “f—-t” when he was just 5 years old.
“I remember this one particular time growing up in the projects that I was coming home from school and a 20-year-old looked at me and said, “You’re a sissy now and when you grow up you’re going to be a f—-t and you’re going to take it in the —. I’m not going to say the graphic part,” Andre said.
He added, “And it’s ironic because my auntie overheard her and my aunt was just shocked that, how could someone say something as mean to a child, and my auntie committed an act of whoop-a–, that’s what we called it. She and my aunt actually started fighting and from that moment on, I was shocked. I had never experienced anything as severe or as critical as that. And that made me not like going outside, that made me stay in the house, and from staying in the house I found this passion for television.”
Andre explains that he eventually found a way to embrace himself after seeing divas like Diana Ross and Cher on TV, owning their uniqueness and power.
“I remember at 10 years old, I remember going into the bathroom one day and I saw my reflection in the mirror and I said, ‘Andre, I love you,’ ” he said.
As an adult, Andre found himself in L.A. looking for stardom and appearing on shows like “Being Bobby Brown” and “Jay Leno.” But after deciding to head back home, Andre found what would eventually inspire both his life and his style.
“So I went back to Newark and from Newark, on the airplane I saw something about Two-Spirits. Now Two-Spirits are Native Americans and the Two-Spirit basically represents the balance of the masculine and feminine spirit. But with Two-Spirits, they focus on gender and your gender is the focus of the role you play in your community. So when I saw that, I was like, ‘oh my goodness’ so this is not just about gay or straight, this is about the spirit of people, this is about the way people feel about themselves. So when I returned back to New York City I had this new idea of life, this new energy, this spice. I decide I’m going to wear a wig and women’s clothes and heels and dresses. When I was doing this in 2005, no one looked like what I was doing,” Andre said.
And it’s that unique style that won Andre a cover of French Vogue in 2007.
“… So I show up for this casting and to make a long story short I end up booking the job. And to make it even more fantastic is I am on the cover of French Vogue 2007 which makes me the only African American male — statistically male — but the only African American male, genderless, to grace the cover of French Vogue. It’s the most unbelievable experience that one can have.”
Now, Andre explains he has a message to share with all of his fans about the power of self-love.
“The most important thing you can do regardless of what anyone is saying to you, find out who you are. Love yourself,” Andre said.
We couldn’t have said it better.