I’m going to age myself here; I was 16 years old when the first season of the reality show The Real World premiered on MTV. (Google it. Wiki it. Do the math.) Since then, reality television has saturated the market. So, when MTV announced that they were airing their 26th season of The Real World, I thought that I had seen it all. How could MTV possibly manage to pique my interest by once again documenting what happens when their producers place a bunch of strangers in a house and follow them around with a camera? And then I saw an ad featuring the season’s cast, which included a young, fresh-faced dapperQ, 21 year-old Sam McGinn from Chesapeake, VA.
With so few dapperQs represented in mainstream media, it was a given that my partner and I were going to be glued to every episode.
Since her appearance, Sam’s popularity has exploded. (She has over 26,000 Twitter followers to prove it.) One of the things her fans love most about her is her swagged out beach bum style. I caught up with Sam to get an exclusive interview about her effortlessly cool look.
dapperQ: Your MTV bio states that you are a “self-described ‘stud lesbian.’ How would you describe your current style?
Sam: Well, my style is the basic Express button down with a nice fitting pair of jeans, high top sneakers, and a fitted hat, or a beanie. My girlfriend tells me that I dress along the lines of Justin Bieber. I have a few different looks; I have the prep school look with a tie and a button down; I have the surfer look with a Volcom t-shirt and a pair of worn in jeans; then the “swagger” look with baggy jeans, an Ed Hardy sweatshirt, and obnoxiously bright high top sneakers.
Via MTV Networks
dapperQ: When did you start dressing dapperQ?
Sam: I have had a masculine look to me my entire life. When I was younger, I would have to lay my clothes out for school the night before. If I didn’t, my “punishment” would be that I would have to wear dresses to school for a week. That was just HELL for me!!!
dapperQ: Have you experienced any challenges, such as discrimination, when it comes to dressing dapperQ? If so, what are they?
Sam: The discrimination I have received would be the misidentification between me being a male or a female. Also, the weird and awkward looks I get when I walk into the women’s restroom.
dapperQ: How do you deal with those awkward looks?
Sam: I just nod at them and go on with my day, although it does suck having to deal with it.
dapperQ: Have you encountered any obstacles with fit and sizing with respect to finding clothing and accessories that represent your style?
Sam: Yes, I sure have. I have a very small build. I am 5 feet 6-inches and about 125 pounds. So, [there are challenges with] finding pants that fit at the right length, as well as shirts that work well with my broad shoulders. And for my hat selection, I have a little head so finding the right size is always a task.
dapperQ: How do you overcome these challenges?
Sam: Express has a really nice fitting button up, the 1MX Extra Slim Fitted; for the smaller person, it’s a nice fit. And as for jeans, Buckle does in house tailoring. Vans jeans seem to be a perfect fit with me. But most of my t-shirts and things are an extra small or a small.
dapperQ: Are there any differences between dapperQ fashion in Chesapeake, Virginia and San Diego? If so, what are they?
Sam: In San Diego, they dress more hipster with the beanies, Toms, super skinny jeans, and vests. Here in Chesapeake, VA, [the style] is normally the surfer girl with a surf brand t-shirt, jeans, and flip flops or old sneakers.
Via MTV Networks
dapperQ: dapperQs in the media are few and far between. What was your experience like as a ‘stud lesbian’ on a mainstream media show?
Sam: It was awesome being on a mainstream show. It helped other girls going through the same thing that I had been through out with there personality and who they truly are… By me being so comfortably out, I helped bring other people out.
dapperQ: What advice would you give to others who are seeking courage to transgress men’s fashion?
Sam: Transgress with confidence. Don’t go into it with doubt. Because if you doubt yourself, everyone can tell by the way you dress. Also, look at how men you know dress, or look online at men’s fashion see what you like the best and progress from there.
dapperQ: Who are your fashion icons or inspirations?
Sam: I can’t really say that I have anyone that is an icon to me. I mainly take fashion ideas and make them my own. Basically, if I like something I will try it out and work it into my wardrobe. There is a local in Virginia Beach that I love the way he dresses, Rich Earl. He is the bartender at my local gay bar. He always dresses so nice and looks so clean.
Via MTV Networks
dapperQ: Can you tell us about your drag king alter ego, $hawn Jade?
Sam: $hawn Jade is my drag alter ego. I started doing it just for fun and some extra money. Then people started loving me and wanting me to do it all the time. So, what started out as just for fun turned into a weekly event. You can find $hawn Jade at Klub Ambush in Virginia Beach, VA.
dapperQ: here can our readers find you hanging out during your leisure time (not to encourage any stalking)?
Sam: Klub Ambush, normally. But I’m almost always with my girlfriend, Serataren
dapperQ: What can your fans expect to see next from you?
Sam: I’m just going to go with it. Whatever comes my way, I’ll be sure to do it with the same “Sam Swag.”