The original Mama Cheetah, Cheetah Girls and Catwalk Author & Creator Deborah Gregory to be honored in NYC at Abiola’s Kiss & Tell, the live monthly erotica and comedy storytelling and performance series.
Deborah Gregory is the multi-talented woman who gave birth to the worldwide multi-platform, multi-cultural Disney sensation The Cheetah Girls. Readers and fans can meet the beautiful, brilliant and delightfully over-the-top author, performer and goddess about town in New York City on Tuesday February 16th at Abiola’s Kiss & Tell LIVE at Madame X, 94 West Houston Street. This free Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday event is the second installment of our monthly sex, love and dating reading and performance series.
We plan to cure your Valentine’s Day hangover by honoring the esteemed Deborah Gregory on February 16th. Deborah Gregory overcame a rough start in the New York City foster care system to become an American success story. We can’t wait for her to regale us with her storytelling prowess live on the Madame X stage.
Abiola’s Kiss & Tell Live, a bawdy night of delicious storytelling, starring bestselling authors, comics, bloggers, intelligentsia and professional smut peddlers, takes place on the 3rd Tuesday of every month, from 7-10pm in New York City. With each installment we honor an exemplary diva. The debut show honored erotica film queen Candida Royalle and featured readers ranging from Anna David and Rachel Kramer Bussel to Mo Beasley and Demetria Lucas.
ABIOLA ABRAMS: Ms. Deborah, where did Mama Cheetah come from?
DEBORAH GREGORY: I have always lived in a leopard lair. (laughs) And that is where I created THE CHEETAH GIRLS–LITERALLY. I had forced myself to sit–and think of an idea–so that I could write a treatment to get a book deal but the vision was a synergistic one–once I created it. I saw THE CHEETAH GIRS as a group, story, that could perform in concerts, have a TV show, be books, merchandise–the sky the limit–which it literally became. The sky was the limit.
And the truth is, if I had created that vision with girls who were white–it would have been even bigger, but alas, my vision was always multicultural as that is what drives my stories because at the heart of my sagas is a girl from New York–in other words, just another girl on the IRT! So if I can see the girl on the IRT–then she become someone I can write about it–and in New York, you literally interface with people from every culture on the planet. I love that!
ABIOLA: Tell me more! What was your cheetalicious inspiration?
DEBORAH: I was lounging at home in my leopard PJs. laying on my leopard bedspread, propped up on my leopard pillows, wracking my brain trying to think what I would call my girls. I wanted to be a singer really bad when I was younger—used to whip up clothes that I sewed by hand and stand in the mirror pretending to be a singer.
My dreams were never dreams that I thought could come true; they served more of an escape from the extremely painful existence of growing up in foster homes with people who were mean to myself and other foster kids. Nonetheless, by the time I became a writer, and knew that I wanted to write something for the girlies, the editors at Disney Publishing approached me to come up with an idea while I was a columnist for Essence magazine, penning an entertainment news column called “Chit Chat and All That.’’
Once I wrapped my mind around the idea of a group of girls forming a singer group I still had to figure out, Who would they be? What would they look like? What would they call themselves? Then just like in the Wizard of Oz, I realized that I had the answer all along, right at my heels. Who was I trying to fool? Just go with what I know! I guess you could say I created THE CHEETAH GIRLS right out of my leopard lair!
Abiola: Fabulous! Did you expect THE CHEETAH GIRLS to be such a huge worldwide sensation?
Deborah: While I didn’t expect THE CHEETAH GIRLS to become so international, I did precisely envision it to have all the “legs” it had–I saw it from the moment I created it as something that would be books, movies, concerts, merchandise. My model for it was THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY. I loved the idea of a fake singing group—and seeing behind the microphone.
Abiola: Aha. And you are also a performer right?
Deborah: Yes, I’m a natural performer. Alas, I have been caught up in writing. I have performed parts of my one-woman show and stopped after my beloved playwright teacher, Rita Nachtmann died of cancer. She told me, to finish my show–but I didn’t. I have not faced how truly devastated I am about her untimely death. I will have to face all this–and move on.
Abiola: You are absolutely an inspiration. What’s next for you besides reading at Abiola’s Kiss & Tell Live?
Deborah: As you know, I created a new book series called CATWALK.The second book in the series–CATWALK: STRIKE A POSE has pounced onto bookshelves. Right now, I’m in development with TEEN NICK NETWORK to turn CATWALK into a tv series! And I will write the third novel in the CATWALK trilogy–CATWALK :RIP THE RUNWAY. Then I’m going to decide what to write next–I have been working on an adult novel for ten years! My website is: www.cheetahrama.com.
Abiola: Thank you, Deborah Greogry! I am very much looking forward to your reading next Tuesday February 16th at Madame X. You are the most incredible of all of your characters. That’s why we chose to honor you for February’s Kiss and Tell Live. You are beyond a survivor. Thank you for your work. Continued success!
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