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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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Dixie keeps her hands full with her Tupperware business and off-Broadway show.
Dixie keeps her hands full with her Tupperware business and off-Broadway show. (Photo: Bradford Rogne)

Tupperware makes Dixie Longate want to kick some...well, you'll see

Watch out, Milwaukee. You’re about to see a whole new side of the Tupperware party. Sweet-talking, big-haired Southern belle Dixie Longate came into town yesterday with her off-Broadway hit show, which runs at the Marcus Center’s Vogel Hall May 14-26.

Dixie’s just as sweet as sugar, with a mouth on her like you would not believe and a past as colorful as the skin-tight tops she wears. Known as America’s No. 1 Personal Seller of Tupperware, this Mobile, Ala., native is a three-time widow and proud trailer park resident who began selling everyone’s favorite plastic bowls in 2001 after she got out of prison and needed to regain custody of her kids, Wynona, Dwayne and Absorbine, Jr. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Dixie closely resembles one Kris Andersson, an actor who used to make ends meet by selling Tupperware and developed a drag persona around the illustrious world of direct-sales kitchen storageware – but we’re sure that’s just a coincidence.

If you catch "Dixie's Tupperware Party" at Vogel Hall, be sure to bring your checkbook – just like at a real Tupperware party, there will be plenty of inventory on sale! Visit the website for more information.

Dixie was kind enough to sit and chat with OnMilwaukee.com about what she’s looking forward to in Milwaukee, why she loves us Yankees, and why Tupperware makes her feel like she can really kick some ass.

OnMilwaukee.com: We’re very excited to have you here in Milwaukee, Dixie; are you looking forward to the show here?

Dixie Longate: Oh, I can’t wait, it’s my very first time! I’ve never been here before and I’ve been hearing such wonderful things. People are being so neighborly, I just cannot wait! All I know about Milwaukee is from watching stuff on the TV, "Happy Days" and everything, so I’m gonna be excited to be there. I can’t even wait.

OMC: What area attractions are you going to check out while you’re up here?

DL: Well, do you know, there is a restaurant up there that has a mechanical chilli pepper they were telling me about ...

OMC: La Perla!

DL: Yes! I’m gonna go up and ride the mechanical chilli pepper. I’m tellin’ ya, nothing has made me laugh harder than when they said ‘Guess what we have?’ I said 'I am so there, that is the best thing I’ve ever heard of in my life, I cannot wait!'

OMC: You’ve got to take pictures of that!

DL: Oh, it’s gonna be all over my Facebook, because how can you get the chance to ride on a chilli pepper and not take pictures? It’s amazing!

OMC: Can we talk about how you got started in the exciting Tupperware business?

DL: Well, you know, it’s funny, I started when I got out of prison and my parole officer, she’s so adorable, she said, ‘You need a job in order to get your kids back.’ Add I said, ‘Aw, damn it all to hell,’ ‘cause you know, who wants kids? They’re sticky, and I have nice things, and it’s just a hassle. And so she said you should do something that’s easy and fun and isn’t going to get you a restraining order, and she said 'Why don’t you try Tupperware?' And at first I said, 'Oh Tupperware, that’s for old ladies.' And I did my first party and I had so much fun, everyone was having a good time and I got to drink for free – and that’s why I really wanted to stay.

I mean, let’s be honest, what other job lets you drink for free on the job? And then I went to the Jubilee, which is a Tupperware convention, and I saw all these people having a good time and ladies getting recognized for stuff, and I thought I can do this, I want to try to get on that stage. And so that second year I got up on stage and oh my Lord, it was just a life-changing thing for me, having people cheering, having a good time, and so I said I’m gonna keep doing this, and I’ve been doing it almost 12 years.

OMC: You travel all over the place. What’s been your favorite place so far to sell Tupperware?

DL: You know, it’s so funny, every place is different. Some places, they love to buy the Tupperware, some places they just have a great time at the party and that’s always awesome. I’ve gotten to go to a bunch of different countries now – I got to go to Australia, it’s one of my favorite places in the world because, I mean, they don’t even really speak American, and the food down there is crazy!

I went to London, which was crazy fun. And in the States – Lord, I’ve been so many places; I’ve been to Denver, I had the best time there for a bunch of weeks, and you know when you’re there you can barely even breathe because the air’s so thin but it’s real fun because when you pass out a lot, the firemen come and they try to revive you – it’s a great way to get handsome firemen to rescue you, just fall to the ground! It’s fun. I just came from Texas, I just love Texas, oh my Lord, there’s plenty of people who will throw you on a mechanical bull at a Denny’s, and that’s one hell of a hootenanny for breakfast! So every place has a different charm to it!

OMC: So you’re from the South, obviously, and I just love your accent.

DL: Aren’t you sweet!

OMC: What do you think of us Northerners up here? What are we like from your perspective?

DL: You know, I love being up North, because y’all get crap done. Because us people in the South, oh, we take our time, we’ll get to it when we need to, no speeding to work, and I'm like Jesus Christ, get out of my way, damn it! That’s why I love coming to the North because every day y’all get on target, y’all keep moving, and it’s fun.

OMC: What do your kids think of your career?

DL: You know, they love it because – I don’t get to see them that much right now because I’m traveling so much but what I do come home, you know, I’ll bring ‘em some gifts and some nice things and oh! They get so excited, the little one, Absorbine, Jr., he’s 3 years old, he is so funny – and he drinks a little, so he shakes, but he is cute and he gets so excited every time I see him, his mouth gets real big and his eyes pop open. All my kids are so neighborly and so grateful to have a mama that travels and can show ‘em stuff and show ‘em around.

OMC: I’ve been to a few Tupperware parties. What makes yours different?

DL: Well, you know, when you go to a Tupperware party everyone thinks you’re gonna go there and talk about bowls and everyone there is gonna be the grandmama-type. Well, listen. This is more fun than you can shake a stick at. I mean, of course I have games and prizes and raffles just like you’d get at a regular Tupperware party, but it’s more than that. It’s an evening of empowerment.

You know, I talk about how the Tupperware party got started and Brownie Wise, the woman who created the Tupperware party 65 years ago and just how it relates today. So many people say, ‘Oh, I come to that and I’m having trouble in my life;’ I say ‘Hooker, this is a story that’s gonna empower you and make you excited.’ So many people leave thinking you know, I can do this and if I’m having trouble there’s always a way out of it, I’m gonna kick my own butt and get goin’.

And that’s what I love about the Tupperware party. It’ll make you feel like you can go out there and kick some ass.

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