Andre J. at Dick's Bar in the East Village, March 2007
October 16, 1979
Newark, New Jersey, USA 
|Residence||New York City, New York, USA |
|Known for||Gender-bending personal style|
Andre J. (born 1979) is an American party promoter who is a presence in the New York City fashion scene. He is known for his distinctive, gender-bending personal style and has been featured in photo spreads in French Vogue and V magazine.
For several years in the early 2000s, he lived in Los Angeles, California. During those years, he worked at a boutique on Melrose Avenue and made three brief appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno segments "devoted to human curiosities". He typically wore a fur hat, a hole-covered beige fishnet shirt, and jeans so low that they revealed his pubic hair, though he changed before leaving for fear of being mistaken for a transsexual prostitute on his way home to the $60-a-night Sunset Strip hotel in which he lived.
He later moved to New York City "for the liberation, the freedom, the action" and worked variously as a perfume salesperson at Lord & Taylor, as a publicist for Patricia Field's boutique, and as a party host for the clubs Lotus and Hiro. While on the street one day in summer 2007, he was spotted by stylist Joe McKenna, who was then on the phone with fashion photographer Bruce Weber. With McKenna's encouragement, Weber decided to shoot Andre J. for French Vogue, and Carine Roitfeld, the magazine's editor, deemed Andre J.'s photos the freshest of all Weber's images. Roitfeld put a photo of the bearded Andre J., dressed in a women’s blue neoprene Burberry trench coat, ankle boots, and a cocktail ring, on the cover of her magazine. "There is not a special message in the cover, I just loved it," she said later.
Though Andre J. often wears women's clothing, he does not consider himself a crossdresser. Rather, he sees himself as unconfined by gender and social conventions. "Most people are conditioned to think of a black man looking a certain way," he told the New York Times. "They only think of the ethnic man in XXX jeans and Timberlands, and here Andre J. comes along with a pair of hot shorts and a caftan or maybe flip-flops or cowboy boots or a high, high heel." Most recently, Andre J.'s style inspirations have included Cher and model Donyale Luna. He describes his aesthetic as a "60s, not mod, but mod-ish, and hippie look" that is also influenced by the style of 1970s blaxploitation films.
Called a "cheerful muse" by New York Magazine, Andre J. says his positive outlook on life has influenced his style: "I want people to look at me and feel inspired, to feel hope, to smile. I want to surge positive energy in your body, confirm that you too can be yourself." He says he has been affirmed by strangers telling him that they were glad he was alive, and he believes that he was put on the earth "to be a bodhisattva, to just glow, emanate love, respect, peace, pizzazz".
- Trebay, Guy. "A Cover Girl Who's Simply Himself." New York Times (November 25, 2007).
- Bruce Weber, photographer. "Love Me or Leave Me." French Vogue (November 2007).
- Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, photographers. "The Alphabulous." V (September/October 2006)
- Larocca, Amy. "Look Book: Cheerful Muse Andre J." New York Magazine (March 4, 2007).