Back in college when he was a musical-theater major, Kevin Farrell always figured he’d have a career singing and dancing – just not quite like this.
Donning a dress and a big wig, Farrell transforms himself from an unassuming journeyman actor to a tipsy, raunchy Jack Daniels heir known as Dee W. Ieye, then goes to work selling plastic.
Lots of plastic.
Farrell is the nation’s top-ranking solo Tupperware salesman four years running. He has a six-figure income and a fan base of Southern California women who clamor to watch him primp and pose and do his lively song and dance act as his flamboyant alter-ego.
Not bad for a guy who just a few years ago toiled as a waiter between occasional day player gigs on Frasier, Friends and My Name is Earl.
Best Acting Job
“I get more joy out of performing live than any soundstage I ever worked on,” says Farrell, a Columbus, Ohio, native who attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Farrell created Dee to perform in the 2004 Aid for AIDS Best In Drag Show, and a year later, urged on by a fellow Tupperware salesman (also doing it in drag), was playing to small parties in living rooms across Southern California.
“An Orange County housewife gave a party for me, and it’s been nonstop ever since,” he says.
Dee became the breakout star among what is actually a handful of salesman hawking their products in drag.
“He’s everybody’s favorite drag queen,” laughs Barbara Venezia, an AIDS Services Foundation Orange County board member who credits Farrell’s act at fundraisers for helping raise $400,000 for the organization. “You forget he’s a man; he doesn’t think he’s a woman; he’s not bitchy; he’s just a funny entity.”
Dee arrives as Farrell to each gig and spends an hour becoming Dee, drawing 30 to 50 patrons a party to his 50-minute show/sales pitch. Between tips on how to close Tupperware lids with a “burp” to make the container airtight, Farrell sings his own R-rated rendition of “9 to 5” and delivers enough off-color jokes to keep his crowd howling.
“Dee’s very Dolly Parton,” he says. “Big blonde hair, Tennessee accent, Daisy Dukes, red platforms, red Gingham shirt tied at the waist, lives in a trailer – she’s not the sharpest tool in the shed.”
Dee’s so hot that Farrell’s got a Hollywood publicist and, during a nine-stop tour through his hometown of Columbus last month, he made headlines and drew hundreds of fans, grossing $24,000 in sales (he keeps 25 percent).
Tupperware recently gave him a bonus – a Pontiac G-6 convertible. “Kevin’s done a great job, as you can see by his successful business,” says Tupperware spokeswoman Elinor Steele, who confirms Farrell’s No. 1 ranking. Tupperware won’t disclose his total sales figures for privacy reasons, but Farrell says his income is in the “six figures.”
Even his dad, a retired military serviceman, is impressed. “He’s amazed how I turned this into a business,” says a beaming Farrell.
Farrell’s only pet peeve about his popularity: “Some people come for the show and don’t buy anything.”