I thought that I would start out with a lesser known Gay Icon, Carmen Miranda. You may or may not recognize her depending on your age. I remember her best in her big fruit hat!
Era: 40's and 50's
Who was she:
Carmen Miranda was popular in the 40's and 50's and was a Portuguese born Brazilian samba singer and actress. Carmen was pure camp at its best. She was larger than life and dressed in outrageous outfits. She was sort of the predecessor to Charo, if you remember who that is. Carmen appeared a quite a few movies but two of her more well known movies were " Copacabana" and "The Gangs All Here."
Why is she a gay icon: She was flamboyant, an immigrant that managed to overcome adversity and make it big in Hollywood during a time when Latin women didn't hold very many screen roles, and lets face it, her wardrobe and makeup was every drag queens dream! Her movies were pure camp at its best. Big hats, dancing women in banana costumes, monkeys, giant over the top fake palm trees and coconut bras. It was like a watching a drag show.