By day, Matt Endrizzi is a mild-mannered gay man. When night comes, however, you can often find him in a dress, batting his long eyelashes and making audiences laugh as the fliratious hostess of the Betty Desire Show. We caught up with Endrizzi’s alter ego to find out what makes her tick.
Cascadia Weekly: How did Betty Desire come into this world?
Betty Desire: In the early ’90s, when I was coming out, I went to Rumors. At that time it was the only “safe” place in Bellingham for GLBT people to let their hair down and be themselves. I noticed that a lot of people ended up sitting alone by themselves and thought that was a shame because we were isolated enough. I had some theater training and realized it was easier to break the ice and start conversation using the mask of the makeup, and Betty was born.
CW: How long has the Betty Desire Show been lighting up the stage?
BD: I think the Betty Show is starting its 14th or 15th year. It started as a summer fill-in. It has been a long, hot summer.
CW: To someone who’d never been before, how would you describe the Betty Desire Show?
BD: The Betty Desire Show is an hour of music and audience participation games topped off with dancing the “Time Warp” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight.
CW: What’s the transition time transforming from Matt to Betty?
BD: It can take about an hour, but the fastest I have transformed is 17 minutes.
CW: What do enjoy most about your alter ego?
BD: When I am “in character” as Betty I find that I am much more outgoing. Betty has a way with innuendo that I really enjoy.
CW: You’re going to be taking part in Bellingham Pride this week. What is the most exciting part of the weeklong event to you?
BD: Watching all the people who show up to the festival. I see people at Pride that I do not see other times of the year, and I really enjoy connecting with old friends and meeting new ones.
CW: What advice would you give to those who haven’t come out of the closet yet, but want to?
BD: I would encourage those who want to come out of the closet to take that step. Fear is paralyzing, and it is fear of rejection by family and friends, and possible loss of employment, that stop most from coming out.
CW: Is Bellingham a good place to be a gay man?
BD: Bellingham is a great place to be a gay man! I think our city is very progressive. We seem to have retained a live-and-let-live attitude, and I think that is something to be proud of.
CW: Why should everyone celebrate Bellingham Pride?
BD: Well, I think everyone in Bellingham enjoys a good party! Besides, we are all in this together, and it is that diverse mosaic of people that give us our unique flavor as a city. We are all neighbors, and all of us have our own reasons for loving this place we share as home. There is something for everyone at Bellingham Pride.
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