Sandy Beach, why working during the early days of HIV crisis was a career gamble
From Philadelphia to Atlantic City, if you don’t know Sandy Beach, you’re not into drag. Sandy is the hostess du jour from the days gone by in Atlantic City, and while Philly is her home now, she heads back to AC many times throughout the year to support the LGBTQ community whenever they need her signature sass on stage.
As Sandy takes the stage this weekend at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa at the helm of Pride Bingo (hosted by Shangela) she will be spinning balls with Whendy Whaxwood, and delivering her patented blend of game show hostess and drag show ringmaster. I sat down to talk to her about what in her career she would say is her biggest gamble—a must-read—as well as the best way to wiggle out of a badly delivered joke.
What would you consider your best casino game?
Sandy Beach: My best casino game would be the slots. I find them relaxing, and as I do a lot of observational humor, you can overhear some very funny conversations from some interesting characters!
What do you consider the biggest gamble you have ever taken in your career?
SB: The biggest gamble I have taken with my career? There have been a few.
Back when the AIDS crisis began, I started some fundraisers. It was not something people did, as few would even speak of it. Creating funny shows, pageants and bingo that addressed the health problem, but also made the public aware of the ways to prevent it from spreading and the misinformation people took as fact. Things like, if you kissed the wrong person, no, your arm won’t fall off! The other was me going back to live theater. Being a Cabaret performer for twenty years, my act was mostly improv, so learning a script, songs, and choreography was a discipline I had not used in years. Luckily, the vehicles I picked went over well, and the critics and public were very kind.
Recovering from a bad joke, that went in the toilet, with a great save, is my Royal Flush!
The Queen is one of the most popular cards in the deck; tell me, what makes a phenomenal queen?
SB: For me, a phenomenal Queen is someone who is unique, has their own look/style, and a talent that makes people take notice.
In life, what is the biggest “jackpot” you have won, personal or career-wise?
SB: My biggest jackpot is being able to make people laugh; that sound is like coins hitting the tray for me. Plus, the many friends I have made. I have tons of awards, but [my friends] love and friendship are the biggest win you can have.
Everyone has their “Ace” in their performance arsenal; what do you consider your ace that truly sets you apart from the rest?
SB: My Ace is that I give the audience my heart. I often say what others think or feel, and if I can make them laugh at the same time… it’s a full house! And recovering from a bad joke that went in the toilet with a great save is my Royal Flush!