Out magazine is really doing a great job of trying to seduce me into subscription. The temptress with the smoky eyes staring out from this month’s cover belong to none other than Beth Ditto.
The 28-year-old out songstress with the pouty lips talks upcoming projects, growing up poor in the bible belt and describes her coming out experience to writer Vivien Goldman, including the relationship with her FTM partner, Freddie.
Out isn’t the only mag trying to get in on some quality time with Beth. The Gossip’s front woman has been the cause of a media frenzy these days and it’s about time. Pardon me if I get a bit dorko for Ditto for a second but from the first time her rebel yells filled my ears with “Jason’s Basement,” it was love. She could take over my copy of Teen Beat any time.
Of course, much of the media talk is centered around her size instead of the incredible music she has made or the awareness she has raised for the LGBT community, which is a shame. Goldman even refers to the buzz surrounding the Arkansas native as being the “Ditto Effect,” where it’s not so much the quality of her products as much as it is the confidence she exudes in presenting who she is. Either way, the mainstream music and fashion industries have taken notice and seem to be drinking the delicious Ditto Kool-Aid.
Here’s a few tidbits:
On coming out:
I just came out slowly but surely. I was brought up to always put yourself in other people’s shoes. You never want them to feel bad about who they are for whatever reason. My mom was this incredible island surrounded by redneck conservative America. She taught me what it must be like to be a flaming homo and bullied walking down the hallway at school. My other brothers and sisters were brought up like that too, and they treated me normally.
On how her hometown might react to seeing her on the cover of a gay magazine:
The local newspaper ran a story that said I didn’t believe in God. That caused a bit of a ruckus. Other than that, no one is ever surprised. I think I’m exactly what they thought I would be.
On her partner:
Freddie has asked me not to talk about him in interviews anymore. But I can tell you I met him when he was a girl … It’s more about your pronoun and the context of your gender in the world than it is about a binary gender system. It’s making things more fluid and accessible to people of all identities, who don’t really fit into one or the other.
Ditto also talked about another love of her life: Music. She and bandmates Brace Paine and Hannah Blile are getting ready to put out a new album, Music For Men with the help of uber-producer Rick Rubin (Beastie Boys, Johnny Cash, Run DMC to name just a few). Rubin also produced their Live from Liverpool album so it will be interesting to see what kind of genius they come up with in studio together.
Supposedly the sound will be significantly different than the punk soul we got with Movement and Standing In the Way of Control. The band is moving to a more Euro-disco sound, which, considering all of the band’s remixes that have come out, may be a smoother transition than one might expect.
When she’s not doing the music thing or posing for magazines, Ditto is in the midst of designing frocks for plus-sized goddesses. While I’ve seen her rock the hell out of a jersey knit dress, all signs point to something a bit more couture. She has, after all, been hanging with the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Kate Moss while at Paris Fashion Week. Whatever she does, it is sure to be one of a kind.
Still, some critics wonder if she’s just a fad. Supposedly fat is the new black which means next month eye patches will be the new fat. To that, I say “Who cares?” Ditto’s undying love for herself and her body isn’t a fad, and that’s what’s at stake here. Those of us with junk in the trunk (or under the hood, as is my case) need to wear cute clothes too; Ditto is just helping us embrace the curves.
Bring on more of the magazine covers — the world is hungry for more. This time, supersize it.