Visibili-T is dedicated to transgender members of our community in Central Florida and Tampa Bay, some you know and many you don’t. It is designed to amplify their voices and detail their experiences in life.
This issue, we check in with Daisy McCarthy Tucker, a Central Florida performer and costume designer. Tucker will have both talents on display as she and her costumes will appear in Central Florida Community Arts’ upcoming “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast: In Concert” at Northland Church in Longwood Sept. 7-8. She will be playing the role of Madame de la Grande Bouche, aka Wardrobe.
“I think it is so fitting that I’m playing Wardrobe since I also worked on the costumes for this show,” Tucker says with a laugh.
Thanks to Central Florida’s theme parks and tourism industry, Orlando has a large transient population, but Tucker is one of the few Central Floridians who is born and raised here.
“I truly owe so much of who I am to having grown up in Orlando, especially as a performer and a creative,” Tucker says. “Being in this area from a very young age, I understood the entertainment industry in a way that I don’t think I would have if I was somewhere else. I visited the parks an awful lot as a kid.”
Tucker’s love of performing came partly from her mother and father’s love of watching live theater, something they exposed Tucker to from a young age, and partly from seeing the parades at Walt Disney World.
“I remember from a very young age understanding that a parade performer is a job and that the shows I was seeing were theatrical performances,” she says. “I remember being like 5 years old and asking my mom if I could be in a Disney parade, and being like, ‘I can play Peter Pan. That’s a kid.’ And she was like, ‘No, they’re not played by kids. Maybe when you get into your teenage years.”
While the parades would have to wait until she was a teen, Tucker was more than encouraged to perform at home with her family as her audience.
“I’ve been recounted by my family that I’ve always wanted to perform and that I was always a little ham, always performing and always playing with costumes and fabrics,” she says. “Some of my earliest memories are performing along with my VHS tapes, specifically I remember performing along with ‘Jolly Holiday’ and pretending I was Mary while watching ‘Mary Poppins,’ and then some of my other earliest memories were seeing ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ at Disney’s MGM Studios, and being totally entranced, being so excited and transported and really wanting to be on that stage and to join them.”
Tucker says she started doing theater in the second grade and continued right on through high school and into adulthood before deciding to step away.
“I couldn’t find my place in it until the last like two years when I’ve reentered performing again,” she says. “I was able to figure my own gender identity out and find my place on stage with a new perspective on what I was doing.”
While in high school and before she started living as her authentic self, Tucker had a moment of terror when, during her junior year, she learned that the school was doing a production of “Hairspray.”
“I was terrified that I would be cast as Edna because I knew that I sang very high and I thought, I can’t let anyone see me dress up as a girl,” she recalls. “I was so afraid of being perceived as feminine and thought it would have a really bad effect on, not only my career, but also my social life. I thought that boys that I was attracted to wouldn’t be attracted to me if I was wearing a dress in a show.”
Tucker did get cast as Edna but the terror of the experience faded quickly.
“It was such a wonderful time getting to explore a persona on stage that felt much more akin to how I actually walk through the world,” she says.
After high school, Tucker played Edna again and also got to play Ursula in “The Little Mermaid,” as well as a few masculine roles but she found herself auditioning less and less.
“I look back now and realize it was because I just wasn’t finding myself on stage and wasn’t seeing myself reflected on stage,” she says.
Tucker began to focus more on her love of costume design and a couple of years ago found herself sitting behind the table during auditions for The Garden Theatre’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.”
“I got to see a lot of people audition for roles that even just a couple of years ago they never would have been able to audition for,” she says. “All of these actors and this creative team are coming with their full authentic selves and I can’t come to this process if I’m not going to do that too.”
That is when Tucker decided she was changing her name and would live as her authentic self moving forward.
“It’s been really cool to be able to step into my trans identity while stepping back into theater because it’s really stepping back into who I already was as a very young child before I was encumbered by all of these concepts that pushed me into an identity that I didn’t ever really want to be a part of,” she says.
Interested in being featured in Visibili-T? Email Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Williams in Central Florida or Managing Editor Ryan Williams-Jent in Tampa Bay.