Randy Fenoli is Princess Cruise Lines’ new love and romance ambassador.
Today Randy Fenoli is all about weddings and romance, especially with his new gig as Princess Cruises’ romance ambassador. But back in the day, he ruled the drag stage as Brandy Alexander
JENNY BLOCK | Contributing Writer
There’s something so romantic about cruising: the shows and the fancy dinners; the exotic locations and the sea air; the dancing to live music and drinking fruity drinks by the pool.
It’s like a floating hotel that allows you to go to a zillion places without ever having to unpack more than once. It’s just all so dreamy.
That feels like it goes double on Princess Cruises. I mean, they are the original Love Boat, after all. And these days, they are really leaning in to love. They have brand-new Princess Perfect Wedding Packages for couples who want to get engaged, tie the knot or renew their vows on board. And Dallasites have it extra easy. Regal Princesse now calls the port of Galveston home. So you don’t have to fly through the clouds before you can sail through the waves!
Their ships have it all. And just to up the ante a bit, Princess Cruises recently got themselves their very own love and romance ambassador, Randy Fenoli.
Fenoli taught himself to sew when he was 9. He studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology and launched two bridal industry collections when he graduated. He’s been honored with two Design Excellence in the Bridal Industry awards.
He’s the star of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, Big Bliss, Randy Knows Best and Randy to the Rescue. He’s been on The Today Show, The View and The Martha Stewart Show. He’s featured and quoted in People, Parade, Brides and countless others. He’s contributed writing to TheKnot.com, TheRingBearer.com and TLC.com.
And now he’s the love and romance ambassador for Princess Cruises.
In the midst of his hectic schedule, Fenoli recently took time to answer a few questions for us.
Dallas Voice: What might people be surprised to learn about you? Randy Fenoli: You may or may not know this, but I did female impersonation for about 10 years. I was Ms. Gay America 1990. I was crowned at the Dallas Convention Center. There were 72 contestants, and I won every category. I made everything I wore. So, that’s really where I got into fashion.
I went to a drag show, and somebody saw me and said, “Oh, you’re such a cute boy. We’re having a pageant at this bar, and you should enter the ‘mister.’ Well, I was like 125 pounds wet, and I tried lifting weights and getting a tan and nothing worked. And I said, “Oh, we’ll just paint your face and you can enter the ‘miss.’” And, so, I entered, and I won a lot of money. And I’m like, “I made more money tonight than I did all week doing hair, and this is much more fun.”
So, I started making all my costumes and performing and taking that on the road, and I made a lot of money and a good living and enjoyed the heck out of it. Brandy Alexander was my stage name. And I did all my makeup and my hair, and I did all my costumes.
But the entire time I said, “Well, after I win this Miss America, I’m going to sell everything and go to New York City and go into fashion.” And they all laughed at me because they’re like, “Look at you! You’re never going to make it.”
Don’t ever tell me I can’t do something. I will prove you wrong.
When you were growing up, did you think, “One day I want to grow up and be a fashion designer”? No. It was really interesting when I was young, because I did everything. One of my first businesses was making macramé plant holders. I would make them in my room, big ones, and my mom would put mirrors in them and glass, and she would put plants on them. And I got really good at it.
I would cook a lot, and I sewed. I would sew curtains and cushion covers and put zippers in my dad’s pants if they broke. Anything that was creative was kind of my thing.
And were you just automatically good at those things? For me it was like second nature. Literally, my mom could not put a hem in a terrycloth towel to save her life. She could not sew. And I would stand by her at this new machine that she bought, and I’m like, “What’s the problem? Oh, you just put your foot on the pedal and just feed the fabric through and you have a dress.” I couldn’t understand why she couldn’t use it. So, I’m like, “Well, I can do this.” So, she went to work, and I made her a dress.
What advice would you give to a couple at their wedding just about to head into their big day? Something’s going to go wrong. Just let it go. Because nobody at the wedding is going to realize it except for you unless you make a big deal out of it.
You’ve stressed for a year planning the wedding. So, enjoy and take little moments throughout the wedding to step aside from your guests and make little memories and be able to talk about what’s going on and to make those memories.
Because those memories and the photos and the dress are the only things you leave with. The cake is gone. The music’s gone. Everything’s gone. But those memories are going to last forever. So enjoy it.
Why do you think people love cruising so much? It’s such a great way to vacation because there’s so much to do. I mean, you cannot get bored on a cruise ship. And Princess is the king of service. Like every person that meets you has a smile on their face, and they’re there to help you. And they never say no to any request. And it’s just amazing. When you’ve got the spa, and you wake up every morning, you have a different vista out your window. There’s a spa. There’s a casino.Everything you need is right here.