Meet Dee W. Ieye, Tupperware lady

By Jackie Mantey ∙ Photos by Tessa Berg
From the May 24, 2012 edition

The man wearing platform high heels and daisy dukes while singing a Dolly Parton song is but one hint that this ain’t your average Tupperware party. The five bartenders, 150-person guest list and talk about what makes the best fake wobbly bits (plastic onion savers, apparently) also point to … WTF, y’all?

That man rocking the pumps is Kevin Farrell, an actor who recently moved back to his hometown, Columbus, after a 15-year career in Hollywood. He once played David Hyde Pierce’s lookalike on “Frasier.”

Despite his acting success, Farrell’s fame has come to him via a busty blonde 22-year-old former Miss Tennessee who has a charming little potty mouth and a bad habit of swilling whiskey.

That woman is Dee W. Ieye, his drag alter ego. Farrell first created the character for an AIDS awareness fundraiser in 2004. He was happy to “hang up the wig,” he said, as soon as the show was done, but a friend encouraged him to start selling Tupperware as Dee.

“I said, ‘I’m not dressing up as a woman, and I’m not going to sell Tupperware,’” Farrell said. “I didn’t see how it would work for me. I couldn’t figure out how to translate Dee W. Ieye into being a Tupperware lady. I couldn’t get past that obstacle in my creative mind.”

As he started to develop Dee’s story — she sells Tupperware “to augment her rehab habit,” Farrell said, laughing — he decided to take the plunge into peddling for the plastic powerhouse.

“When I moved to LA, I thought I was going to be this huge television star,” Farrell said. “I ultimately got what I wanted, but it came in a totally different package. Don’t underestimate the fact that your dreams are going to come true; they just might come true in a totally different way than you expected.”

Parties with Dee double as theater performances. She’s got a crass sense of humor delivered with a Southern twang that makes it all go down smoothly.

Customers eat it up. Since Farrell began selling, he has been the top-ranking personal Tupperware representative in the U.S. for four years. He said he used to do about “17 Tupperware parties a month and easily sell $22,000 to $30,000 worth of it a month.”

He hopes to sell just as well in Columbus. He will if Christine Fusner, the hostess of last weekend’s Grove City booze-and-Dee-fueled Tupperware extravaganza, has anything to do with it.

“I love it, and I love the Tupperware,” said Fusner, who sold more than $4,200 at her party with Dee hosting last Saturday. “Everyone wants a picture with her. I feel like everyone wants to be her best friends. It’s such a show. She is so great.”