Debi Mazar: Debi Does Dancing

The Entourage star discusses her ulterior motive for participating in Dancing With the Stars and why she dedicated her salsa to the queens who helped make her the lady she is today.




You also tweeted that you thought you looked like a drag queen when you watched your first performance. You’re not doing your own makeup?
I wanted to release control and allow myself to get into the full pageantry of the first week, so I just went for it with the fake tan and that Gleam stuff that makes you shiny like Goldfinger. But after I saw it, I was like, “Oh, my God, I look like Mommie Dearest in high-def.” It was too much. The tan looks good on the legs because it brings out your definition, but I’m going to go with body makeup from now on. The bad thing about a fake tan is that after two days it starts cracking and you look like the Mojave Desert or a diseased calico cat.

DWTS irked me when Lance Bass was a contestant on season 7. I think they missed a great opportunity to give him a same-sex partner.
That would’ve been genius. I only wish that I could’ve had Cheryl Burke as a partner, but she got Tom DeLay. She could’ve made me look really smooth, and it would’ve been so sexy. I did pitch a dance with Maksim where we would switch roles so I got to be the man, but the show plays to Middle America, so I can’t even show the fact that I have nipples underneath my leotard.

Growing up in New York in the late ’60s and ’70s, what was your earliest exposure to gay people?
Well, my mother had me at 15 and was divorced my father by the time I was two. After that, we were living with two Puerto Rican queens on the Lower East Side, so I’ve always been in the life. I’ve had gay uncles, lesbian aunties, and, quite frankly, it’s the queens that raised me. I didn’t get to go to ballet class or to acting school, but I did have queens who came to New York from Cuba and introduced me to Reinaldo Arenas. Intellectual gay men turned me into a lady and took me to museums, the theater, fashion shows, and turned me on to all the things I’m interested in. I’ve always been fighting for equality and for finding a cure — I just did the No H8 campaign — but who someone fucks is the least interesting thing about a person.

Your gossipy manicurist was the best thing about last year’s remake of The Women, but you’ve been stealing scenes for 20 years. Among your more memorable supporting roles, you camped it up in Batman Forever, scammed the Suarez family on Ugly Betty, appeared in Gregg Araki’s Nowhere, played an HIV-positive thief in Red Ribbon Blues, and even portrayed a transsexual in Things I Never Told You. To which role do your gay fans seem to respond the most?
Most people these days identify me with Entourage, which is kind of insane because I’m barely on it. My gay fans are always supportive of me no matter what, and they appreciate that I play strong women. They also appreciate the fact that I embrace fashion and glamour in my daily life. I hope I can continue to make my gay fans happy on Dancing With the Stars. In fact, my first salsa was probably the most important dance to me because my gay friends I lost in the ’80s used to take me to salsa clubs on a weekly basis. I wanted my salsa to be fabulous so all my queens in heaven would be like, “Yeah, Debi!” I felt bad because I messed up a lot of the footwork because of my nerves, but I hope they’re still happy.

Tags: Dance