When female impersonator Carl Max walks into a room as Whitney Houston, you are transported back in time. With his style and grace, he brings Whitney alive again. During his performance, hearing the powerful yet angelic voice, reminds you of what she was to many of us.
What’s in your soul is in your soul.” Whitney Houston
I sat down with Carl to talk about his career and his passion for what he does. Going back to Atlantic City, over 20 years ago in the Rendezvous Lounge, the iconic drag queen Sandy Beach saw him and said Carl would be perfect as Diana Ross singing Billie Holiday. After performing as Diana Ross, Carl went on to perform in La Cage aux Faux at Bailey’s in Atlantic City, skyrocketing his career.
In 2009 Carl began his entertainment company, Diamond Entertainment Management, representing female impersonators. He said “A female impersonator represents a celebrity and acts in tribute to them.” His show, The House of Legends celebrated its one-year anniversary this June. His performers represent in drag Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland and recently Adele.
When asked why he chose Whitney Houston, Carl said he loved her sound and her music. He said he was, “Blessed, humbled and honored to be following in her footsteps.” He admired her humble beginnings as a Gospel singer and her spirituality. Carl said Whitney’s music was vibrant and her charisma with the audience inspired him.
Carl exudes his own charisma, and uses his fame to give back to the community. He said it’s something people don’t know about him. In between his performances, Carl works tirelessly for so many charities. When a young girl from New Jersey found relief in medical marijuana, Carl championed for her. Tatyana Rivera has a rare form of epilepsy and was suffering from over 300 seizures a day. The use of cannabis has almost eliminated her seizures.
Carl performed at Smoke Down 2.0 in Philadelphia in 2015, campaigning for the legalization of medical marijuana in the State of Pennsylvania. On May 17, 2016, Act 16 was passed in Pennsylvania legalizing marijuana for medical use.
Carl loves animals. He believes they deserve the same respect as humans.
And respect is something Carl knows about firsthand. He is an activist for the LGBT community. His philosophy on life is that “Everyone is to be treated equal, not judging others, respect as a human [as] they are.”
His focus is on LGBT youth. “Love is all around, and all we have to do is get along, he said. “By protecting and supporting youth it broadens the spectrum of humanity.”
In 2015, Carl was crowned Miss Southern NJ Pride Queen. There he met a young boy with his mom. The boy said to his mom that he wanted to be like Carl when he grew up. Carl decided to invite them to one of his performances and has watched over him. He said that today’s youth has to understand that “love is love.”
Carl has performed at “Fierce,” a Youth Drag Camp, and in addition to participating in Fierce, he is a mentor for medically and mentally challenged LGBT youth at the Diamonds in the Sky youth camp. He also donates proceeds from one of his shows each month to help homeless LGBT youth. He helps to provide food, clothing and shelter. His work also helps them get into foster care. He works with many celebrities who have chosen to remain anonymous with their donations.
Carl was recently crowned Chester County Queen 2016 in Pennsylvania. He said he has been fortunate to be able to do what he loves, and has met so many wonderful people along the way. In parting, he gave me three tips to live life by. The first he said is to “Forgive and forget,” second is to “Teach our youth love” and third “Be what you want to be.”