Birth Date: July 11, 1975
Birth Place: Las Vegas, NV, USA
Height: 5' 10"
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Baxter offers an ethereal, raplike history lesson on the white male's "obsession with colored pussy," summing up her discourse by gleaming provocatively at the row of gentleman occupying the front-row seats, affirming that it is now socially "acceptable to dip your finger in the chocolate."
Diahnna Nicole Baxter discusses how she became a Piece (of Ass)
BY JENNIFER PROSSER
On Aug. 14, the off-Broadway hit Pieces (of Ass) comes to the Hard Rock to take a personal look at the upsides and downsides of being a beautiful woman (well, that and to show a little skin). Actress/singer/writer Diahnna Nicole Baxter, who left Vegas when she was 7 years old, returns to share her story of what it feels like to be put on a pedestal.
CityLife: You grew up in Vegas. So how did that environment prime you for your role as a Piece (of Ass)?
Diahnna Nicole Baxter: I was primed from birth. I saw the big lights and always wanted to be a part of that. And I had a number of female family members in the entertainment business who influenced me as well.
CL: Do you think this town glorifies beautiful women more than others around the country?
DNB: I think it does. It's all about being an adult Disneyland here. If you look at the showgirl history, it's always been about beautiful women.
CL: Do you think, then, that Pieces will be as or more successful than shows in New York and Los Angeles?
DNB: I think it will be more successful. I think Vegas will eat it up. In New York, it was more intellectual, primed more for the theater audience. The women have always been beautiful, but for Vegas, the changes that have been made involve less clothing. There are certain standards we have to meet for Vegas. If you come to Vegas claiming to be a beautiful woman, you better be a beautiful woman, or at least have enough hair extensions and makeup to appear beautiful! [Laughs.]
For Vegas, it's also more of a comedy show. You can still get your point across without being as dramatic. It's a different atmosphere -- you can come in and have drinks, see film clips and listen to live music.
CL: Are the monologues unique to the individual?
DNB: We each wrote our own monologues. Unlike the Vagina Monologues, which has one voice you're hearing over and over, [in Pieces] you hear a fresh new voice each time. I think that's what unifies the show. There's more passion, at least for me. We're all drawing from personal experience. It's not the "woe is me, I'm beautiful" approach.
CL: What do you like the best about your monologue?
DNB: That I get a response from my very first line. I come up and hit them over the head. All through high school I heard, "You sure are pretty for a black girl," like it's supposed to be a compliment. My monologue mirrors things [people in the audience] may have said themselves. It's a chance to look at beauty and race. And the audience gets to look inside my head and at the crazy world I live in.
CL: What did you think about the concept when you first heard about it?
DNB: I saw the casting call and thought, "What is this?" I was turned off.
CL: What did it say?
DNB: "Think you're an attractive woman? Want to write about it?" But I read further, and thought about how I'd get to tell my story in my own words.
We're all drawing from personal experience, so the audience doesn't know what to expect. I think they expect a lot less and get a lot more out of it. Especially the men. They come up and say, "Wow, I never knew." They're educated by the time they leave and we love that.
CL: Anatomically speaking, what do you consider your best piece?
DNB: I consider my eyes. Most men consider my ass.
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