30-DAY IDOL CHALLENGE WINNER
April 30, 2019
Each day for 30 days we posted a challenge on our Facebook page for fans to find a specific style photo of Cyndi.
The winner is Sean Simpson of Melbourne, Australia! Sean has won a fabulous Lauperland t-shirt and a Fan Spotlight here on Lauperland.com!
So, without further ado, meet Sean Simpson!
CURTIS NEWART: Hi Sean! Congratulations on winning the challenge, and welcome to Lauperland. Let's start with the basics. Where were you born and where do you live?
SEAN: I was born in Melbourne, Australia, where I still reside. How could I move away from the world’s most livable city as voted six years in a row? If you haven’t visited, come down under and check out this amazing city.
Sean Simpson wearing his Lauperland contest prize t-shirt. Photo credit: Craig Moore
What do you do for work?
My background is in I.T. but after 20-odd years, I recently changed careers. I am currently studying Horticulture and work in Conservation Land Management creating environmentally friendly landscapes and streetscapes. My goal is to work for one of our world-renowned Zoos in Melbourne and grow food and create habitats for these amazing creatures from all around the world.
How do you spend your free time?
I have worked with, and been involved in the gay scene for many years but these days I very rarely go clubbing. Maybe about six times a year. These days I try to save as much money as possible for travelling. I have been to 23 countries so far, mostly in Europe and Asia, and have many more to go. I’ve yet to travel to the US, but it is definitely on my bucket-list.
There is so much to do and see in the US that I would like to cover as much as possible in one trip and then return later to discover more. I try to plan my travel around Pride events and my favorite artists' tours so that I can see them in other countries as well. Hopefully I’ll get to see Cyndi in the US while I'm there.
I love the theatre, so I attend all of the main productions that tour. I was fortunate enough to see Kinky Boots six times: four in Melbourne, opening night in Sydney, and once in London. I thought the Australian production was better, as the two Callum boys did a fantastic job.
I also enjoy concerts, movies, kayaking, running, and bike riding. I am loving getting back into roller skating since recently purchasing a pair of roller skates.
How long have you been a Cyndi fan?
Thirty-six years. Cyndi caught my attention with the release of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" in 1983. I was 11 years old at the time, and I was blown away by this colorful character.
Sean posing with a She’s So Unusual album cover mural in Melbourne. Photo credit: Craig Moore
There was always music playing in my household, due to my mum's love for ABBA and Cher. I guess there was no doubt that I was going to be gay, since I was dressing up, singing and dancing along to their music from a young age. As soon as Cyndi hit the music scene, I wanted to be just like her. She was different to any other artist at the time, with her fire-engine red hair and outrageous clothing style, and it was something that I wanted to emulate.
At an early age, I started coloring and shaving stripes in my hair. My clothing style didn’t really change that much though because of a lack of finances at that age, but I did have my own style. She was an inspiration to me.
Cyndi and her music brought me much joy as a young boy and teenager. Her bubbly personality, colorful hair and outfits, and body of work is unlike any other artist. To this day, it seems she is admired by every other artist for her talent and works.
I really struggled with my identity as a child, trying to work out where I fit into the world, especially being surrounded by Bogans (Australian slang for an uncouth or unsophisticated person) and hate-filled people. For some time, I would come home from a day of being beaten up and harassed, and just listen to Cyndi’s music or watch her videos on MTV. Her music always cheered me up and kept me going. I knew I was going to be different like her and that someday I would find similar people with similar interests.
To this day, I still battle with depression and have some very low times in my life, but then Cyndi releases a new album, announces a new tour or does something else uplifting (like a musical), and that drags me out of that dark place and keeps me going. I can honestly say that if I didn’t have Cyndi in my life that I would not be here.
I just love, respect and appreciate her so much that I’m forever grateful. I’ve always said that there are two people that I admire in my life: my mum and Cyndi. Two very powerful women that I’ve always looked up to.
Sean and Cyndi. Photo credit: Craig Moore
Have you seen Cyndi in concert?
I’ve been to every tour Cyndi has performed in Melbourne, Australia.
The first one down under was the True Colors Tour in October 1986, which I was able to attend twice. My best memory was of Cyndi flying over the audience in a rubbish bin -- it was crazy!
After the show, I waited at the gate for Cyndi to come out and I ran after her limo all the way to the hotel that she was staying at. The next day I skipped school so that I could go to the hotel and hopefully meet Cyndi, but she never came out the front door where I was waiting.
The next tour I saw was A Night to Remember in 1989, which I also managed to see twice. At that time, I had bleached my hair and had a friend spray some black in my fringe before the concert. By the end of the concert most of it had run down my face from all of my sweat from dancing.
Cyndi didn’t tour Australia again until the At Last Tour in 2004. This was held at The Palais Theatre in Melbourne, which is an old cinema built in 1919. It was an intimate performance which allowed Cyndi to come down into the audience and stand on chairs in the crowd while she sang. Of course, I waited at the gate at the end of the concert to wave as she sped off in her car.
The next tour I saw was Bring Ya To The Brink in 2008, once more at the Palais Theatre. Cyndi performed in signature style: barefoot, laying on her back with her head hanging over the edge of the stage while she sang, plus venturing into the audience. This time I was able to touch her arm lightly as she walked past. Again, I waited at the gate afterward to wave goodbye.
It was also in 2008 that Cyndi performed at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras after-party. I don’t usually go to Mardi Gras as it’s in another state but there was no way I was going to miss seeing Cyndi perform if she was doing a one-off in Australia, so I went.
The following night, I was at a nightclub when a friend told me that Cyndi was upstairs! Although I'd had a few drinks, I ran up the stairs to find her.
I managed to find her and meet with her for a moment as she was leaving the club and I was able to get a photo with her (shown above). This was the highlight of my life! To this day my friend teases me suggesting that I had scared Cyndi off.
Sean in kinky boots, posing with THE kinky boots. Photo credit: Craig Moore
Cyndi returned to the Palais Theatre with her Memphis Blues Tour in 2011. It was simple staging: simply her band, and laser lights projected onto the back walls. As always, though, Cyndi showed us how versatile an artist she is by weaving her previous re-worked hits in with her new blues tracks.
The She’s So Unusual 30th Anniversary Tour came to Oz in 2013 for two sold-out shows (again at the Palais Theatre -- she must love that place). She performed her debut album, plus a few other hits.
I always have so much fun at her concerts. Melbourne shows her love for Cyndi by cheering and screaming until Cyndi is close to tears, even though it’s evident that she has a lot of fun as well.
I also won tickets to see Cyndi being interviewed for a news program call The Project. Unfortunately, after the interview, Cyndi left the building before we were let out of the audience.
She returned in 2016 for the opening of Kinky Boots Australia. My hometown of Melbourne was the first stop on the tour, most likely because it is known as The Theatre Capital, housing some amazing theatres. It rained on this night but the red carpet was covered, so Cyndi stopped for a few press photos before being whisked inside. While in Melbourne, Cyndi did an interview about Kinky Boots which I (again!) won tickets to see.
Kinky Boots moved to Sydney in 2017 and Cyndi came back down under for that opening. I flew to Sydney to attend the opening but couldn’t get any closer than the press to get photos or say hello. Once inside, she was whisked away to the VIP area.
The latest tour was Detour, which I saw twice at two different venues in Melbourne in 2017. The first was at the Rod Laver Arena, and the second was at A Day on the Green outdoor venue at a winery. Blondie with Debbie Harry co-headlined with Cyndi -- two fantastic female artists belting out their hits and new music. I remember it poured rain at the winery concert, but that didn’t stop us from dancing.
Sean's custom-made Cyndi doll from the "True Colors" video. Photo credit: Iconic Dolls Spain
What is your favorite song or video?
I’ve always loved "True Colors". I remember holding up a cigarette lighter during the song the first time I saw her, burning my finger and crying, not because of the burn but because the song means so much to me and just brings me to tears. I love all of her music, though, from the rarities and unreleased songs right through to Detour.
Her videos have always been zany and a lot of fun. I love them all and have them saved in some form or another so I can watch them over and over.
Do you have a collection?
Unfortunately, all of my Cyndi albums were stolen many years ago but I have re-purchased them digitally. I have a couple CDs that were signed when I purchased or won them.
I’ve still got a few of the posters that covered my bedroom walls as a teenager, a screen-printed jumper that I made for a high school project back in the 80s, a beach towel and her autobiography.
I have at least one or two concert tour t-shirts from each of her Australian tours, plus a couple others that I won or purchased from her website. My pride and joy is a "True Colors" doll in the newspaper dress and denim shirt that I had custom-made.
What would you ask Cyndi if you could?
That’s a tough one. She’s lived such a colorful life that has been so well documented in some form or another, and she has always been open and honest about her life.
Maybe I'd ask her if she has a favorite moment in time that she cherishes the most.
We hope you get a chance to ask her that question. Again, congratulations, the shirt looks great on you, and thank you for a fun interview! See you online soon!