OK people, I'm just going to say it. If you listened to what Ada Vox had to say, and you thought she was just a shallow, ditzy drag queen, you weren't really listening at all. I am surprised by the people who said to me "Harvey, your interviews are so deep and probing; your guests are so layered and complex; why would you interview a drag queen with nothing significant to say? She's just a shameless self-promoter!"
OK you asked for it. So I'm going to tell you what motivated me to reach out to Ada and ask her for an interview. Ada Vox is a very talented singer. Watch any of her American Idol performances on YouTube and see - I should say hear - for yourself. Ada auditioned 13 times as Adam Sanders, the man that she actually is. She made it to the top 50 once and then got rejected. All of the other times, she didn't even get that far.
Then, in 2018, at the age of 24, Adam Sanders decided to reinvent himself as a flamboyant glitzy drag queen - Ada Vox - and took the show by storm. He sang exactly the same way he did as Adam Sanders, but this time the judges - and the public - accepted and enjoyed his performances when he was singing as Ada Vox. Ada sailed all the way to the top 8 on one of the most popular TV shows of all time.
Adam found a way to achieve success by creating a very different persona that people would like. There is an important lesson here.
All of us need to create a version of ourselves that will help us attain success, personally and professionally. And the really challenging part is that we have to find a way to stay true to who we really are, despite the fact that we may be presenting a version of ourselves to the world that is something of an invention.
How do you convey authenticity and sincerity while doing that? Ada did it, and I think it comes through loud and clear in the interview. And there's more to why I appreciated this interview. Ada is a persistent, determined individual, hell-bent on making it in show business despite homophobia, financial challenges, and no big show biz connections to help her. She is a living example of having a positive attitude and always believing in yourself. That's something I respect and admire.
And yes, there's even more. The interview opened my eyes about the reality of shows like American Idol. On screen, the judges act as if they really believe in the most successful contestants. They repeatedly assure them - and us - that they are big fans of these artists, and that they are going to have big careers, and that they will be there to help them in their careers when the show ends. But that's not what really happens. The judges are just doing a TV show. When the show's over, there's no lasting contact. Maybe I was naïve to believe the judges, and I should have known better. Will I still keep watching American Idol and other talent competitions? Yes, but with my eyes wide open. It's just a show, and when the season ends, the contestants are left to fend for themselves.
I thank Ada for giving me a reality dose of reality TV. So, to those of you who just didn't see the value of the Ada Vox interview, please take another listen. There's a lot to learn from Ada's story. And I wish her the best of luck!