A Tallahassee woman who has assumed a unique character and appearance has won an international title through that portrayal. At the same time, she’s connecting with fans who have been bullied and degraded.
She seems an apparition from a fantasy film: a fire-engine red wig, chalky facial makeup, piercing ice-blue contact lenses in her eyes, a black leather Victorian bodice, spider, bat and coffin imagery all over this exotic costume. And she is actual royalty.
“I’m World Gothic Models’ Goth Queen, Alexandria Gothe,” she intoned by way of introduction.
Until recently, her stage name was “Barbie Gothe.” But Mattel, the company that makes Barbie Dolls, became a bit possessive over that name. So she merged her stage name with her given name to become “Alexandria Gothe,” which she admits is a bit more Goth anyway. Besides the spectacular get-up, Alexandria’s deep, husky voice is also attention grabbing. She attributed that to the same incident that put her on the Goth path many years ago.
“And I did get beaten very badly,” she said, recalling her abuse at the hands of other kids in her neighborhood. “I was beaten terribly. I was kicked in the throat that damaged my vocal cords forever and killed me basically. And I was thrown into a dumpster and some people pulled me out and got me to the hospital. I had to learn how to speak again. I was just 13 or 14. When I got out of it, I decided that nobody was going to shut me up ever again.”
She also learned that adopting weird, morbid persona was an effective shield against subsequent bullying.
“When I went to the cemetery, they were afraid,” she said, describing how she would seek refuge from her tormentors in the one place they feared following her. “Because it was back in the 80s and people were more religious and superstitious back then.”
The exotic costumes and makeup followed. Alexandria typically stayed in character as much as possible, which she admitted could make day-to-day life a bit complicated.
“As I got older and I raised my kids the towns would get used to me when I moved in. But they still wouldn’t let me pick my kids up in front of the school. I had to go around because it would upset people. And they have the right to their opinion as much as I have the right and I respect that. So I’m cool with it, although some people say, ‘I’d be mad!’ But no, it upsets them and I have the right to do this and they have the right to be upset. Whatever.”
Other than that, Alexandria’s life remained relatively routine until she visited a dance club one night not long ago.
“So we went there to listen to some of the music that I listen to; 80s and 90s Gothic type of moody music. And while there a photographer started taking photographs saying, ‘I can get you published!’ And I was like, ‘Whatever; I’m a 46 year old grandmother,’ and he kept saying, ‘You’re amazing!’ And so I got published.”
The international buzz was quick in coming. The Goth ethos it seems is a much bigger deal in Europe than in America. Alexandria became involved with the World Gothic Models organization and, last year, entered its Goth Queen competition, one of 35 vying for the title.
“I beat out THE model who had been around since the 90s who had been allegedly THE Goth queen,” she remembered. “I whipped her solid by about 3,000 points. I had the most comments ever seen and blew it out of the water!”
It’s a title Alexandria still holds.
“The contest was supposed to run in June, but they did not run it this year. They kept me. I’m now Goth queen 2019 as well as 2018. That makes me historic and very famous; the only Goth queen without a year (in between title years.)”
She also picked up hometown accolades, including a congratulatory resolution from the Tallahassee City Commission. Now it’s a whirlwind of personnel appearances; a chore made all the more challenging as her earlier injuries preclude air travel. Alexandria’s legion of fans - overwhelmingly female - are attracted to her surprisingly sunny disposition and message of personal empowerment and self-actualization.
“I went out there and thought, ‘Okay, my background is in diagnostic psychology. There’s a lot of rampant mental illness and personality disorder, social insecurities because of all the social media. People have learned not to interact the way they should. And so I decided to start helping them to rebuild their lives if they can that way. And also to start helping them to accept difference. I can take my makeup off, but some people can’t and they are always going to be different. So we need to stop looking at the differences between us and start focusing on what makes us the same.”
All hail the Queen, Tallahassee’s own Alexandria Gothe!