Dragging Elvis out of the closet

Dragging Elvis out of the closet

When a 10-year-old Jacqueline Feilice started hoarding newspaper clippings, records and photographs of Elvis Presley, her family put it down to a phase.

Almost 25 years later and her collection has expanded to fill a large bedroom.

These things are supposed to wear off as you get older, but it gets worse, she said.

I am not allowed to go outside of the boundary of my Elvis room at home, but it is getting to the point that it is going to infiltrate the rest of the house.

But there’s a logical reason why this 30-year-old woman with a lust for racing motorcycles has such an extensive agglomeration of Elvis memorabilia.

Feilice, or SHE IS THE KING, is a full-time Elvis interpreter -“ and has just become the only woman to be invited to perform this month at Graceland Crossing to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Elvis’s passing.

It’s the biggest honour of all, because you have to be invited to go, she said.

There is a considerable amount of pressure involved but the excitement overrules that.

Hard pressed to decide whether she’s dressing as Elvis or dressing as a man that she loves, SHE IS THE KING simply said she has never been a frou frou girl.

I can’t remember the last time I wore a dress, put it that way, she said.

The masculine side of things is definitely up my alley, but if you look at Elvis up until the time he died, he was really quite effeminate in his style of dressing.

The journey began in 1997 when SHE IS THE KING produced a solo female Elvis show. And while the audience was initially shocked, SHE IS THE KING said they quickly started to get it.

People’s jaws were on the ground at first because they really didn’t understand it, she said.

I needed to teach people, show them that I am not trying to emulate Elvis exactly, and anyway I can’t -“ I am not a guy -“ but instead I am interpreting him.

She soon soared to the heights of Memphis, Tennessee, where she was awarded second place in the first worldwide, Elvis Presley Enterprises-sponsored Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist competition.

Even at that stage, a year ago, I don’t think they were ready to award a female the biggest gong of all and make her the winner -“ it is still an education process, she said.

Having just returned from her tour of the United States, SHE IS THE KING is preparing to release her second single Edge of Reality.

When asked how she felt about her overwhelmingly female fan base, the dark-haired Elvis look-alike with the trademark Elvis shades blushed.

Ninety percent of my fan base are women, she said.

I love that -“ I would take a compliment from a woman far more seriously than I would from a man. If a woman compliments you, you know you are doing something right.

But has she, more importantly, swayed to this side of the fence? I have never been there before, she said. But I am very open-minded.

SHE IS THE KING will launch her debut album in October. For more information visit www.sheistheking.com.

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