The MirrorARCHIVES: Jul 29-Aug 4.2004 Vol. 20 No. 6  

Divers/Cite

INSIDE: Black Moustache, Tommie Sunshine, the Jane Waynes & more Sam FoxNight of the living lesbiansHandy cruising guideGay marriageHow to bring your kids up gay

Sam I am

From '80s pop pin-up to diva dyke, Samantha Fox reflects on her womanly ways

by JOHN CUSTODIO

Consider the package: the long blonde hair framing the pretty girl-next-door face, the skintight jeans artfully torn just below the butt cheeks, and of course, the deservedly famous rack, 36D and 100 per cent genuine. Then there were the songs: "Touch Me (I Want Your Body)," "(Hurt Me! Hurt Me!) But the Pants Stay On," and who can forget "Naughty Girls"? And underscoring these messages of sexual availability, there was the performance style: the jiggling, the shimmying, the kneeling and crawling and writhing.

Given all of the above, who would have guessed that '80s pop princess Samantha Fox was a lesbian? How did she slip under everyone's gaydars? Sam (as she now prefers to be called), chatting with the Mirror from her home in London, didn't share that secret, but she did talk about challenging stereotypes and channelling Dusty Springfield.

Mirror: You recently played Gay Pride in London. Are you trying to cultivate your gay following?

Sam Fox: I've always had a very big gay audience, but I'd never been invited to perform at a Gay Pride event until last year in Manchester. I'd always wanted to, though, because I've a lot of gay fans.

M: Do you feel a special bond with gay audiences?

SF: Gay guys love a diva, don't they? They love strong women. Also, my music is a lot of fun. It's very positive. When people first come out, they get into that. They start clubbing and dancing and celebrating what they've hidden for so many years.

M: What does Gay Pride mean to you?

SF: People being gay and proud of the fact. They're being honest about it. They're out and they're proud of it.

M: I ask because I recently read a quote attributed to you: "I love a woman but I'm no lesbian." Please explain.

SF: I didn't say that, but it's true I didn't want to be labelled. I've been seeing a woman for the last four years, but before that I'd been in many relationships with men. When I first started seeing Myra, everyone wanted to label me: "Sam Fox. Lesbian."

All I know is that I fell in love with Myra, who happens to be a woman, and for the first time in my life I'm really, really in love. With guys I was always waiting to meet my prince in shining armour, but it never happened. Then I met Myra. She's my princess in shining armour!

Kiss and tell

M: Do you feel any pressure to be a role model for queers?

SF: When you're very famous, like me - there's not a country in the world that doesn't know Sam Fox - you have to accept it, so yeah, I guess I am a role model. I get a lot of e-mail from young girls who tell me they're not afraid to come out anymore, because I've done it. "Look at Sam," they tell their parents. "She's alright. She's happy."

I think gay people obviously do need more role models in the entertainment industry. A lot of people in the music business - guys especially - are scared to come out. Record companies think it ruins sales.

M: People - lesbians in particular - find it hard to believe you're a lesbian, because your image is so relentlessly heterosexual.

SF: Too bad for them! I'm not gonna cut my hair off. That's such a stereotype. Gay people can look however they like, can't they?

M: I find this disturbing: people think you've "gone lesbian" because the men in your life screwed you over.

SF: No, no, no. How many women meet men who screw them over? What, they all turn gay? How ridiculous! No, I've had some great love affairs with men. I was with Paul Stanley of Kiss for two years and had a wonderful relationship with him. But I never wanted to spend the rest of my life with him - or any of the other guys - and I didn't want to marry them. And I've always been attracted to women. When I was 11 I had a crush on the Bionic Woman.

M: Lindsay Wagner?

SF: Lindsay Wagner! I'd look at her and think, "Oooh!"

Behind the beehive

M: You once covered a Dusty Springfield tune: "I Only Wanna Be With You." Did you learn much from Dusty's experience as a lesbian pop idol?

SF: I never met her, but I grew up listening to her. My mom was a big fan. I always loved her voice. She was completely underrated. She never got the respect she deserved. Even when she died, there was almost nothing in the papers about it.

The British press was so awful to her! That's why she went to live in the States. It all went wrong for her after that, because she left her family and her roots, all because she was gay - in the '60s! I can't imagine what it must have been like. But I bet she's looking down on me now, going, "You go, girl!"

A few months ago, I did a TV show in England called Stars in Their Eyes, where famous people dress up like their idols and sing their songs. I did "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me." My mom was in the audience and I dedicated the song to her - it was very emotional. The next day, everywhere I went, gay guys kept coming up to tell me how brilliant I was.

M: Did you do the beehive?

SF: It was massive! They kept backcombing it at the rehearsal, so it just got bigger and bigger!

Girl power grows up

M: Take me back to when you released, "Touch Me," your first big hit. You were what, 19? You must have been aware of your sexuality, just not in the sense most of us thought.

SF: I wasn't singing about anything I didn't know about. I've always been very sexual, but I don't think I was ever tacky about it. I did it in a cheeky way, with a smile on my face, like, "Don't take me too seriously, okay?" And it caused such a stir! That was the beginning of the Girl Power thing, I think, girls saying what they wanted for a change. Like Madonna. She was a great role model for a lot of women. I like to think I was a part of that, too.

M: The biggest comeback success story of the last few years has to be Kylie Minogue's. The two of you are almost exact contemporaries. Do you ever look at what's happened to her and think, "That should have been me?"

SF: No. It's not my turn yet. I'm still working on my album, and I won't put it out if it's not finished and I'm not really happy with it. When the album's ready, maybe that's when my comeback will be. Who knows? But I'm very pleased for her. She's my age, which makes me feel a lot better about everything, because sometimes I wonder whether I can still be a pop star at 38. Then I look at Kylie.

M: One last question. You'll be turning 40 soon. What do you see yourself doing then?

SF: Probably working on another album. Still being a rock chick. Why not? Look at Tina Turner.

Samantha Fox headlines Divers/Cité's outdoor party, Le Grand Bal Disco, in Parc Émilie-Gamelin, Sunday, Aug. 1, 1:30pm, pay what you can. The complete interview airs on QueerCorps (CKUT 90.3 FM) on Monday, Aug. 2, 6pm

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