New found fame helps with charities


Posted Tue, Nov 2, 2010

Denver—Big hearts, big changes; the new international celebrity Bebe Zahara Benet, after tasting the fame of winning the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race reality television show, is reaching out to help underprivileged children in Africa.

Benet, whose biological name is Nea Marshall , was born in Cameroon and was raised in both Cameroon and France before moving to the United States in 2002. Benet  started a career in the fashion industry as a male model. It was there on runway in France that he was exposed to the art of feminine illusion.

During a fashion show, one female model did not show up so Benet was asked to fill in, as a female. This is when the indistinguishable, Bebe Zahara Benet was born. Benet’s ability to create a flawless feminine illusion is remarkable.

 “When you are working,” Benet says, “people never see you as this person they always have coffee with, but as something else. This is because you are embodied by a different character. ”

Benet has used his fame after winning RuPaul’s Drag Race, to help other people. He has done multiple gala events, appearances and full performances free of charge to help raise money for underprivileged children in Cameroon.  Usually at the cost of $6,000 to make an appearance, she has done free performances to help raise money for HIV/AIDS research. 

A charity foundation is in the process of being set up by Benet and his affiliates. Along with the charity, he has is trying to open a school in Cameroon with the proper materials and certified teachers to provide these children with a proper education.

Bebe spoke of her “When I was growing up I wouldn’t have been able to learn or get an education had I not had the help of charity work,” Benet explains about the childhood and the hardships he had to endure. “It kills me to see other children like me with so much potential being held back simply because a lack in funds and resources.” 

Benet’s big heart has already touched the lives of so many people, and with very show and every encounter, he continues to touch other lives and warm the hearts of many people.

When meeting Benet for the first time, one can instantaneously feel the radiating, peaceful vibes his bubbly and humble personality gives off.  Benet truly is an inspiration. Most people let newly gained fame change their attitude and diminish their once peaceful demeanor.  Benet however, has not.

Benet has opened the eyes of many Americans to the world of “drag” or female impersonators. Drag illusionists for many years have had a naive and poor stigma associated with what they are and what they do. The most common misconception is that female impersonators are transgender, transsexuals or want to live their lives as women.

This is incorrect.

 “I love being a man” he says. “I would never want to be a woman. God gave me the body I have and I plan to keep it. I do what I do, as a form of art.  Drag is a way for me to express myself and express my individuality. Drag is nothing easy and takes serious dedication, hard work and practice, the way any art form does. I do it because I feel like Benet Zahara Benet makes a stronger, more powerful and inspiring impact on individuals than Nea Marshall Kudi could do alone.” 

Local night club, Tracks, invited Benet to perform for an event called Drama Drag on Jan. 29.  Tracks night club management  said, “the show was a major success.”

Drama Drag is a monthly “drag show” where the city’s most talented female impersonators perform on the last Friday of every month at the night club. All the proceeds that were collected were donated to a local charity.  

“Seeing the show brought me to tears,” says Kristen Evans, a Metropolitan State College of Denver psychology major. Her generosity really touched my heart and inspired me to get involved rising money for different local charities.”

Benet was invited by her good friend and our own local celebrity, Jorge Flores. Jorge, also known as Nina Flowers, a female illusionist. She was runner up on the first season of RuPaul’s Drag race, just behind Benet. 

 “I love touching the lives of people,” says Nea Marshal Kudi, “and I plan to be around for a long time doing what I love doing. This is only the beginning.  RuPaul’s Drag Race really opened up so many doors and opportunities to so many different avenues. I can’t wait to see what else is out there for me to accomplish and so many different places I can travel to make and help touch other people.”

 Benet has released a music single and video called, “I’m the sh*t” which has generated a lot of money, some of which is being used towards opening the school in Cameroon. 

Benet’s manager has not yet released his next tour dates.


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