Unseen Showgirl Icons: Alejandra Bogue

Actress, dancer, stripper, comedienne, impersonator, performer, singer, showgirl, TV hostess. The list goes on, making Alejandra Bogue one of the most influential queer performers in México during the late 20th century.

Alejandra first approach to the world of entertainment happened in 1979 when she was only 14 years old. At the time, the artistic and cultural life of the country’s capital was concentrated in a single establishment, the bar ‘El 9’. There, she was exposed to a whole new ambience, one in which identities and artforms couldn’t be easily defined.

Being barely a teenager, Alejandra joined the most controversial group of performers of the country, Mexico’s very own version of the Club Kids, with whom she trained in the art of performance and began her transition. By the early-1980s she was already a recognized figure of the city’s nightlife circuits, in addition to working as a model and an actress. Her striking beauty captivated American photographer Joel Peter Witkin, who immortalized her in The Soul Has No Gender, a controversial image in which Alejandra embodies a phallic Frida Kahlo. In addition to her work as a club personality, she occasionally participated as a performer at cultural events, as a voguing dancer in queer balls, and a stripper at burlesque festivals.

In the following decade, Alejandra moved from Mexico City to Acapulco, where she began a career as a celebrity impersonator at The Gallery, an internationally renowned club. The show was a very Las Vegas-style, and its attendees were mostly American and European tourists, honeymooners who enjoyed a good variety show. In just a couple of months, Alejandra went from being a newcomer to the star of the venue. Her success was such that the club manager let her perform original numbers, which allowed her to develop a new artistic phase, this time as a showgirl.

Upon her return to Mexico City, Alejandra left behind the glamour of clubs to pursue a career as a dramatic actress. She joined an all-star cast in the staging of Jean Genet’s The Maids, play with which she had full house performances for 2 years, and which earned her the recognition as a female revelation by the national association of theatre critics in 1998. Alejandra became the first transgender person to be taken seriously as an artist in the history of Mexico, which eventually allowed her to continue her career in television.

Having accomplished so much, the only genre left for her to dabble in was comedy, and so she did. Her television debut was in the 2002 show ‘Desde Gayola’, a comedy show that pioneered the visibility of sexual diversity issues in Mexican TV. In a brilliant way, Alejandra became a screenwriter, and she was in charge of writing lines for her and her fellow cast members. In addition, she created various characters, such as Betty VO5 or La Tesorito, which became a vital part of the country’s LGBTQI+ culture.

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