Frank Marino has performed in over 20,000 shows to over 10 million people and has successfully made over 350,000 costume changes. It takes someone who lives eight hours a day as a woman and eight hours a day as a man to be recognized by Guinness World Records for that accomplishment. Frank stars in “Divas Las Vegas” at Imperial Palace Saturday-Thursday. For tickets, please visit imperialpalace.com or visit Frank at frankmarino.com.
Walk us through a typical day in your shoes?
The ladder of success was even harder to climb because I was wearing high heels. A typical day is probably a day that a typical woman would enjoy having. I usually wake up and I have my trainer come over and we work out for about an hour-and-a-half. Most days, I have a fitting for a gown that most likely was designed by Mr. Bob Mackie. After I do that, I usually end up doing some press, an interview like this one or we go to a photo shoot or I go to have my wigs styled, which is always a lot of fun. If I am out and about, I like to go to the mall because my favorite sport is shopping. And my mall of choice is Fashion Show on the Strip. After that, I go for a nice lunch to catch up with my friends. Come home, take a shower, play with my dog a little bit and then it’s off to work at Imperial Palace to do “Divas Las Vegas.” After the show, usually I will go get another bite to eat because I don’t like to eat right before my show. I will usually eat again after the show. Then I come home and do my paperwork, I am most awake at night so I will do paperwork and all the business side of the show business. And then I go to sleep.
When it comes to free time, what is your favorite guilty pleasure?
My favorite guilty pleasure is shooting off to Disney World in Orlando as many times a year as I can. And also, in the last few years I’ve been making trips around the world to all of the Disney places. I am a big Disney fan so that would be my guilty pleasure. Not just in the states, but also abroad.
Who is your favorite character?
I love collecting all of the villains. And that is only so I can tell my friends that I am not the only evil queen on this planet.
Have you ever purchase any As Seen on TV Items?
Yes, I have. I could tell you … I just bought … let me start by saying that I am a catalog- and TV-shopping queen. This week alone, I bought the Abs Circle, which I almost killed myself on. And this … I bought this weight where you shake it?
The Shake Weight?
Yes, the Shake Weight.
How does it work?
You lift it and shake it. Sort of like what I do with my rear end.
What are your thoughts on these products?
I love them. I am a TV and catalog queen. I fall for every gimmick.
What is next on your list to buy?
There doesn’t need to be a next. The minute I see it, I buy it. I go catalog by catalog. One of my favorite things to buy in a catalog is doggie clothes. I get my dog the fanciest clothes … she has better clothes than I do. I have a little Maltese named Cheri. This puppy has more gowns than I do in a show and I change 17 times a night for the past 25 years. You could imagine her closet. She has a two-story doghouse, with air conditioning to give you an example.
Who are you most often told you look like?
For some reason when I dress in drag, people tell me I resemble Sandra Bullock. I do not see it. And I’ve been in a movie with her. I did “Miss Congeniality 2” so I got to work with her, but I don’t see it. I’ve gotten that numerous times. So maybe something in my facial features? Then, when I am dressed as myself … because I still have big hair, very ‘80s hair as a man. They tell me, this is not a good thing, that I look like Michael Jackson. So it’s either lighten my hair or cut down on the plastic surgery. I prefer to lighten my hair.
If you could destroy and grade-school photo of yourself, what year would it be and why?
It would be sixth grade because I had braces that I could have run a railroad station with. And they make you do this big smile and I was all sorts of wrong. The good news is the minute I hit high school, I got my braces off, I got a nose job and I was ready to see the world.
While grocery shopping, what is your stick-in-the-cart-when-no one-is-looking item?
I actually don’t do my own grocery shopping. But once a year I get to do it because I just enjoy doing it and I love to see all of the new products. The only reason why I get to do it only once a year is because I literally end up buying everything that has come out new in that year.
So you are telling us you have a shopping compulsion?
I definitely have a shopping compulsion. And it’s not on any item in particular. It is anything from power tools to makeup.
What’s your favorite brand of makeup?
MAC makeup sponsors me in the show and I love all of their products.
What is your favorite breakfast food?
It’s so hard because I live on a diet. My food that I shouldn’t eat that I do eat would be something like a Capt’n Crunch. On a normal day I’d eat Whole Grain Cheerios.
What is your biggest cheat food since you live on a diet?
On my days off, I like to drive around town, go to any strip mall and find a new place. So the type of food doesn’t matter, it’s just … I have my favorite Mexican restaurants, my favorite Italian restaurants, Greek restaurants so it’s not a particular item. I just love to eat. I just like finding new places.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
For the past 25 years that I’ve been here, I live like a tourist. I go to see every show, I go to most every restaurant and I love all the new things that pop up weekly on the Las Vegas Strip. So I live like a tourist. Also, let me give a little secret away. After 25 years, I’ve has people visit me so many times I have room keys from every hotel. So when I want to pretend that I am on vacation and unwind and relax, I will take one of my stolen keys and act like a tourist and go to one of the fancy pools.
I am sure they wouldn’t have any problem with you hanging out at their pool?
Yes, and I have been caught a few times with people saying, “Hey! Isn’t that Frank Marino?” And that is with a hat and sunglasses, so I am doing something wrong.
Why do you not have a cell phone?
I just learned how to do an email last year. And I know that sounds ridiculous, but I never really needed one. It was a lot easier to ask someone else to do it for me. But then I got tired of begging so I learned how to do an email. Now I wake up and I have 50 emails a day. So I don’t want to get a cell phone. While I have no text messages now, I don’t want to be out at let’s say some hotel pool and be bothered with people texting me. I do it the old fashioned way. I have an answering machine at the house and I will get back to you immediately when I get the message.
You are so stress free and don’t have to worry about being too connected.
Exactly, I know that once I start, it will become overwhelming.
So then do you Twitter or Facebook?
I do. I have all the modern stuff, I just don’t do it. I have someone who does all of my social media for me. At the end of the day, my body is fine but my one finger is really tired form asking people, “Can you do this, can you do that?” Tired of pointing.
Boxers or briefs?
I love this interview! I am so glad no one said, “How did you get started?” This is so fun! Boxers or briefs? Commando is my answer. Wait, and at night it gets really difficult because I have to put it back and tie it onto my bra strap.
What is your favorite bra?
All the breasts are sewn into my gown fully ready to go.
You wear skimpy outfits … where do you put it?
Where would you like it?
What is your preferred brand of eyelashes?
I use two pairs of lashes put together and then I put them on. I use Ardell lashes #103 and #107 put together make the perfect lash. From the queen of the Strip.
What is your best beauty tip?
Women always complain about bags under their eyes … it is not a myth. Preparation H actually works for getting rid of tired-looking bags under the eyes. It’s very powerful. I tried some on my rear end but it wouldn’t lift it.
You are a busy wo-man.
Yes, a very busy wo-man.
What’s the hardest part about being a woman?
The pantyhose. Every time you fart, your ankles swell. I just use them for the joke …
Who is your style icon?
It would definitely be Diana Ross. I just love the way she dresses and a lot of my outfits are formulated after her.
Who would you like to give style advice to?
Oh lord, how big is this page? I would like to give it to some of my audiences. When I first opened it was mink coats and furs. Now it is fanny packs and flip flops. And I don’t like the new trend. I like people getting dressed up when going to shows and dinner.
What is the hardest part of being a man?
The hardest part is explaining to people why I perform as a woman!