Elvira, aka Cassandra Peterson, opens up about freedom to go out: ‘I feel lighter’

too much, vera She is the horror hostess who gained notoriety in the ’80s with that signature black dress, raven black nails, and stark red lips. For her friends and family, it’s simply Cassandra Peterson.

Like Elvira, Peterson has acted as Mistress of the Dark for four decades, starring in dozens of B-grade films and a while back in several TV shows. But behind the makeup, Peterson has been guarding something very close to her heart – her sexuality. “I was afraid I might do some serious damage to my career by going out early,” she admits.

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Peterson revealed it all in her 2021 memoir, “Yours Cruelly, Elvira,” which details her 20-year relationship with a woman while describing herself as sexually fluid. The reluctance to talk about her personal life came from seeing several good friends walk out – only to have their careers end in tatters. When asked, she did not name names, but did see what happened. “They were men” is all she offers, and she couldn’t imagine what it would be like for a woman if she did the same.

Peterson, who gave this interview via Zoom from Portland, is fiercely protective of the empire she’s built, which includes conference appearances and merchandise. “I didn’t want my personal life to encroach on the character,” she explains. “I never told people I was married. I never talked about having a baby because no one was thinking about Elvira being at home and changing soiled diapers.”

But there were consequences and guilt: “You made my personal life unpleasant. I felt like a hypocrite. You’re hiding something, and it definitely didn’t make T, my partner, feel good.”

“T” is Teresa Wierson. The two met 20 years ago, and began dating around the time Peterson secured a divorce from singer and manager Mark Pearson in 2003. Peterson introduced her as her assistant. “People were just ignoring it and it was awful,” she says.

After Peterson turned 70 last year, she decided she was ready to be herself in public: “If I don’t do it now, when the hell am I going to do it? Who cares if people hate my character like Elvira and the pipes sink?”

Sharing her relationship with the world was a difficult chapter to write. “I wanted to make sure it came out the right way. I didn’t want it to look like I’m doing it like, ‘Oh, it’s so cool that you’re gay now,'” she says.

Peterson says she lost 11,000 followers on social media due to her exit. But for every follower she lost, her story resonated with others. “A lot of people have said, ‘You are an inspiration to me. Or “You make me feel like things are going to be okay,” she says. While her journey has taken time, she is aware of the struggle members of the LGBTQ community face in getting out, whatever the reason: “I think living a lie is not good for you physically or mentally, But I understand.”

She shines when talking about her “T,” and writing about their relationship has proven cathartic. “It feels good to be able to offer her as my partner, to be able to hold hands,” Peterson says. “We just went to Hawaii on vacation, walking on the beach and holding hands and acting like we were together was great.” She says that others in her life have noticed a change in her as well. “They commented that I feel lighter. I no longer feel fake.”

Next, Peterson played a role in Rob Zombie’s reboot of “The Munsters”, in which she plays a real estate agent. She also has a documentary in the works based on her memoirs. She says, “It’s with some great people that I can’t even name yet, but we’ve really started working on it. It’s the book that comes alive.”

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