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Columbus Tupperware party fit for a queen

Courtesy of David Arenas

Tupperware? Check. Free hostess gifts? Check. Drag queen? Check. This is not your mother’s average Tupperware party.

Columbus native Kevin Farrell has made what he considers his fortune hosting Tupperware parties dressed in drag as character Dee W. Ieye (pronounced: D.W.I.).

Farrell is scheduled to perform as Dee W. Ieye at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Short North Stage’s Garden Theater, located at 1187 N. High St. for a fundraising event titled “A Tupperware Evening with Dee W. Ieye.”

Farrell got his start in Tupperware in 2005 when he lived in Los Angeles, where he was initially pursuing an acting career.

“After about a year, it just took off like crazy,” Farrell said of his business.

At the time when his career went on the upswing, Farrell was booking about five Tupperware parties a week and was selling about $22,000 of merchandise per month.

While living in California, he made an effort to visit Columbus twice a year to host Tupperware parties for women in the area, he said.

“I would do 10 or 12 parties over a two-week period and all the girls in Columbus just went crazy over me,” he said. “They would wait six months for me to come back. Before I knew I was coming back I would fill my calendar with dates with girls from Dublin and Powell and Westerville.”

About a year-and-a-half ago, Farrell decided it was time to come back to his hometown.

“I knew that people wanted me here,” he said. “And I wanted to go home and be closer to family.”

The house he built in Columbus would not have been possible without the success of his Tupperware business, Farrell said.

“Seriously, every brick in this house was paid for by me selling Tupperware,” he said.

Farrell said he is happy to be home in Columbus and meeting people.

“It’s going to be a hoot,” he said. “I can’t wait for that show on Wednesday night.”

Rick Gore, executive producer of the Short North Stage, said the organization is looking forward to having Farrell back in Columbus.

“It’s a delightful on-stage journey that fits our mission to bring quality performing artists of many varieties to the Short North and the Garden Theater,” Gore said in an email. “We view the Garden indeed as a garden providing lots of colorful diversity to our neighborhood, Columbus and all of Central Ohio.”

Farrell is also scheduled to participate in Columbus’ Gay Pride Parade on June 16.

“I’m going to be in my red Pontiac G6 convertible on Gay Pride Day,” Farrell said. “The car was actually given to (me) by Tupperware. They just gave me a free sports car.”

Farrell said he hopes Columbus’ gay community will accept him and treat him as a friend.

“I’m not here to steal their thunder,” he said. “I just love to play with other people.”

Michael Kramb, an OSU alumnus who performs drag regularly throughout Columbus under the stage name Natasha West, approved of Farrell’s sales style.

“It’s very interesting, very powerful, for someone to be able to dress in drag and sell something that everyone needs like Tupperware,” Kramb said.

He also commended Farrell for selling in drag when there are states such as North Carolina that just passed an amendment ruling a marriage between a man and woman the only domestic legal marriage.

“It’s very powerful for the (gay rights) movement itself,” he said.

But when it comes to feeling comfortable as a gay male in Columbus, Farrell said he doesn’t see any problems ahead.

“I’m just ready to have fun in Columbus, Ohio,” he said.

Proceeds from the event will go toward Short North Stage. Tickets are $10 at the door.

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