Even out of drag, Steven Andrade bears a striking resemblance to Cher. Is it the cheekbones? Maybe it’s the jaw. Whatever the magic, it’s created a career for the illusionist, who has strutted on stages all over the world. He’ll be spending the rest of the year in Atlantic City’s Resorts’ “Believe: Divas in a Man’s World,” with some very epic costume changes. Andrade’s been sewing exact replicas of Cher’s wardrobe for the past 13 years.
Home: Just across the river in New Jersey. “But I lived on Pine Street in Philly for years.”
Years in the drag biz: 14. “My big break came when a Vegas producer came knocking. He cast me in La Cage. It’s the top of the top for female impersonators.”
First celebrity impersonation: Alanis Morissette. “A friend from Temple did the makeup. And everyone said, ‘You look exactly like Cher!’”
Transformation time: Two hours. “It takes an hour just to do my eyes with Swarovski crystals.”
Costume count: 35.
Shoe count: 20. “It’s very difficult for me to find size 13 heels.”
Makeup total: $150 a month includes Swarovski crystals, nails, Max Factor foundation, Sephora glitter (“That’s what Cher uses and where she shops for her makeup. I have the exact color”), and three different types of blush. “I use 30 different types of makeup in all.”
Favorite getup: The big white Cher coat from the 2002 Farewell Tour. “When I came down from the ceiling in it during ‘Believe,’ it made Cher fans cry.”
Standout accessory: Indian headdress. “I’m over seven feet tall in that thing.”
Organization secret: Charts for each costume. “There are too many to remember!”
Favorite Cher era: “My look is how she looks today: the 65-year-old Cher. I have the body that she has now—a little thicker and fuller than she was in the ’70s.”
Song: “Song for the Lonely”: “Growing up, I always felt so alone and isolated for being gay. I felt like I was an outcast.”
On meeting Cher: “She’s been sending me messages over the years, but when we met, she held my hand and sang to me at a Vegas concert.”