Making the transition from part time drag gig to full time show biz because business is good must be the dream of many performers. But who would have thought going through the transition from drag performer to transgender woman would almost stagnate a career. Aunt Barbra is seeing this decline first hand.
As a Tupperware goddess and the top seller of the product Aunt Barbara had a hand in the company doing $2.3 billion in sales last year. Making 25 percent commission as a consultant was great especially when a home party happens somewhere in the world every 1.4 seconds.
Within two years of starting her business in 2006, [Bobby Suchan, now Jennifer Bobbi] Suchan, became North America’s top Tupperware personal seller, a title she maintained through 2014. In 2012 she sold $275,000 in products — which a spokeswoman for Tupperware called a “milestone” for the company — and she’s done more than three thousand Long Island house parties and fundraisers. After New York magazine wrote about Aunt Barbara in 2009, other media outlets took notice. Now she regularly appears on ABC News to talk about Tupperware before the holidays. To build a fanbase beyond her in-person appearances, she posts YouTube videos where Aunt Barbara samples food oddities, including bacon-wrapped Twinkies, single-servings of Spam or spaghetti and meatballs, served in a plastic bag. – Narrative.ly
“I’m around women all the time. I hear it, I get it, they talk to me,” she says. “I know you have three kids driving you crazy, plus a job, plus a husband who’s a piece of shit. Whatever it is you have in your life… I want to listen and I’m an ear for them.” But most importantly, Suchan offered a damn good show. “In direct sales you gotta offer something more,” she says. “You have to separate yourself from Susie and Joanie and Marie and all the other ones selling those products… Let me tell you, for a while there it was such a status thing to have an Aunt Barbara party.” By 2009, Suchan had quit her old job to sell Tupperware full-time. – Narrative.ly
Narrative.ly gets Jennifer Bobbi to open up about the transition from drag salesperson to where she is at now. She opens up about feeling suicidal, the email she wrote to her family while contemplating going through the transition and not wanting to live as Bobby anymore, and what happened because of the life change.
After she made her announcement, people unfriended her on Facebook. Within a month, eight clients canceled with no explanation or request to reschedule. One woman sent her a remorseful private Facebook message explaining that her friend’s husband was a “jerk” who said he “didn’t want someone like you in [their] house.” Since she became Jennifer Bobbi, her father hasn’t spoken to her, even though he once bragged about her fame as a Tupperware-selling drag queen.
In October, Suchan took a day job as a receptionist for a human services organization. She wants to re-enter the workforce as a trans woman, but she also needs more income now that the Tupperware business has dipped. The procedures and surgeries required to fully transition will cost $100,000. Rather than nightly parties, she’s down to a handful a week. Next month, Tupperware will take away Suchan’s company car, since she’s fallen below the monthly sales minimum of $12,500 three times in a row. – Narrative.ly
Aunt Barbara is still bringing in the business but not where Jennifer Bobbi was and wants to be. Will she be able to grow her business back up to where it was and be #1 once again?
Is this a thing? Are we happier to laugh, tip, and go see a man performing as a woman than watching a transgender performer?
Would we rather stuff the dollar bills down between a fake set of breasts and not implants?
Do we need to look inward before we scoff at the straight community and the housewives for turning their back on someone they held near and dear and laughed with / at ?
What do you think of Jennifer Bobbi's story? Was it expected or is it a form of rejection?
We have our opinions, we want to hear yours.
Aunt Barbara Goes Christmas Shopping in Manhattan (2015)
h/t: text and photos from Narrative.ly
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