Andre J.

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Andre J.
Andrej.jpg
Andre J. at Dick's Bar in the East Village, March 2007
Born Andre Johnson
October 16, 1979[1]
Newark, New Jersey, USA [1]
Residence New York City, New York, USA [1]
Nationality American
Occupation Party promoter[1]
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.[2][3]

Biography[edit]

Born Andre Johnson in Newark, New Jersey, Andre J. was raised by a single mother in a housing project called Academy Spires[1]

For several years in the early 2000s, he lived in Los Angeles, California.[1][4] 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".[1] 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.[1]

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.[1] 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.[1] 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.[1] 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.[1][2] "There is not a special message in the cover, I just loved it," she said later.[1]

Personal style[edit]

Though Andre J. often wears women's clothing, he does not consider himself a crossdresser.[1] Rather, he sees himself as unconfined by gender and social conventions.[1] "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."[1] Most recently, Andre J.'s style inspirations have included Cher and model Donyale Luna.[1] 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.[1]

Called a "cheerful muse" by New York Magazine,[4] 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."[1] 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".[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Trebay, Guy. "A Cover Girl Who's Simply Himself." New York Times (November 25, 2007).
  2. ^ a b Bruce Weber, photographer. "Love Me or Leave Me." French Vogue (November 2007).
  3. ^ Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, photographers. "The Alphabulous." V (September/October 2006)
  4. ^ a b c Larocca, Amy. "Look Book: Cheerful Muse Andre J." New York Magazine (March 4, 2007).

External links[edit]