As ‘Aunt Barbara,’ Robert Suchan draws a cult following among visiting hipsters from New York. Last year he made $275,000 in sales – a Tupperware ‘milestone.’

Tupperware party means big bucks for ‘hostess’ in drag

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Hometown U.S.A.: Paramus, N.J.

As ‘Aunt Barbara,’ Robert Suchan draws a cult following among visiting hipsters from New York. Last year he made $275,000 in sales – a Tupperware ‘milestone.’

January 27, 2013|By Gigi Anders

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Robert Suchan, aka “Aunt Barbara,” inspires laughs as well… (Rick Odell )

Growing up in a big, bubbly, close-knit family with six brothers and sisters, Robert Suchan’s role models were his beautiful mother Janene (“like Barbara Eden meets Grace Kelly meets Carol Brady and June Cleaver”), whose picture he keeps in his wallet, and his Aunt Barbara (“Eve Arden meets Jo Anne Worley meets Mrs. Roper, with a touch of Bea Arthur”).

 

In time they would provide the ruggedly handsome Irish Catholic Long Island native — he looks like a cross between Alec Baldwin and Vince Vaughn — inspiration and a livelihood.

The awakening came with the Dawn. As in dishwashing liquid. Suchan (SOO-hahn) was pushing 40 and earning peanuts as a social worker.

“My credit cards were maxed out; I was spraying my clothes with Febreze because I’d run out of quarters for the laundromat; I had no soap or shampoo,” says Suchan, now 44. “One day I had to shower and shampoo with Dawn.”

Around then he remembered his sister Janene (named after their mom), who used to host Tupperware parties. They were tragic.

“Five people would show up,” Suchan recalls, “three of whom were us and the Tupperware saleslady. My sister was always in tears. ‘Nobody’s here!'”

Suchan loved the products and thought the demonstrator could sell more if she jazzed up her sales pitch. He had been a communications major at the State University of New York — graduated with a 3.9 in 1992 — and loved drama, excelling in comedic character roles.

“I could do that, but as a comedy routine, Like Dustin Hoffman as Tootsie.”

As “Aunt Barbara,” Suchan has in four short years become the highest-selling Tupperware consultant in North America.

Suchan racked up about $275,000 in sales in 2012, a “milestone for Tupperware,” said Nora Alonso, a spokeswoman for the Orlando-based company. “Bobby is witty, has a great business mind and is fabulous with people,” she said. Alonso also noted that of the 10 top-selling consultants — who are independent contractors — three work in drag.

On a winter night at Abbe Estevez’s house, the 6-foot-1 Suchan is holed up in the upstairs bathroom, transforming himself into herself: a massive black beehive wig, a ton of makeup (Aunt Barbara favors MAC products), a faux Pucci dress in a hot pink and black paisley print, two pairs of L’eggs pantyhose to cover leg hair.

(Suchan is a moderately hairy guy who draws the line at shaving anything beyond his face: “I have to maintain some of my manhood; Aunt Barbara has enough of my life.”)

When a reporter suggests a photographic before-and-after, Suchan demurs. He’s him. Aunt Barbara is her. “You want to believe in Aunt Barbara the way you want to believe in Santa Claus. Some people may think drag queens are mean-spirited and raunchy. But Aunt Barbara is always a lady.”

Thanks to her Facebook presence and hilarious YouTube videos — don’t miss “Aunt Barbara Italian Style!” — she’s amassed a cult following among New York City hipsters who rent Zipcars and drive into deepest Jersey to see her.

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Should Animals have rights?

Should Animals have rights?

After two years of legal battles, the town of Belfast in Northern Ireland killed Lennox, an innocent dog, based solely on his resemblance to a pit bull.

Lennox had never bitten or attacked anyone. He was killed because of the length of his rear legs and muzzle. Lennox’s family said that he was an American bulldog-Labrador cross, but whether he actually was a pit bull doesn’t matter. Killing an innocent animal because of his breed or his appearance is wrong.

This story made international headlines and brought the inherent injustice of breed-specific legislation to the forefront. Read more about Lennox’s story here.


Malala, Shot For Speaking Out Against Pakistan’s Taliban, To Stay In U.K.

by Mark Memmott

January 02, 2013 1:56 PM

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In November, Pakistani students in Karachi participated in a “Malala Day” to show support for the girl who was shot when she spoke out against the Taliban.

Masroor /Xinhua /Landov

Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old girl who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman because she had been speaking out against that group’s efforts to stop Pakistani girls from going to school, will be staying in Great Britain.

Voice of America reports that Wajid Shamsul Hassan, Pakistan’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom, says Malala’s father has been named an education attaché at Pakistan’s offices in Birmingham, England.

The BBC is also reporting the news. ITV says the job Malala’s father has been given will last at least three years.

Malala was shot last October near her home in Pakistan’s Swat Valley and later flown to the U.K. for treatment. This week, it was announced that she’s being honored with Ireland’s Tipperary International Peace Award for her courage that has “proved to be an inspiration around the globe.”

Meanwhile: “Attack On Aid Workers In Pakistan Leaves 7 Dead.”