Reality TV twunk Cheyenne Parker is often associated with the beaches of Fire Island.
But when quarantine hit while he was traveling in Mexico, the former model made the best of it by carving a niche for himself in the beachside homo hamlet of Puerto Vallarta. Utilizing his affable charm and business savvy, Cheyenne founded a company dedicated to providing Covid-safe services, proving there’s a big ol’ brain behind that pretty face.
In order to glean a global perspective of queer culture outside of the US, we kiki’ed with Cheyenne about Puerto Vallarta during quarantine and finding sanity through, yes, pottery.
When the pandemic hit, you were already down in Puerto Vallarta? Why did you decide to stay down there?
The day I was supposed to fly back, I got a call from my roommate back home and he says, “Don’t get on that plane. I got Covid.” He had it for 4 weeks. So I ended up, for financial reasons it was smarter, to rent a condo for an entire month. So I asked the owner, “If I brought you USD for two months, would you give me a better price?” He was actually the owner of Cafe De Artistes out there, which is an amazing restaurant. He’s super chill. He’s like, “Yeah, everybody likes cash out there.”
So that’s what I did.
What would you say would be the biggest benefit of staying in PV during Covid?
You wouldn’t think that a place with its economy and poverty would have electronic thermometers in every single little bodega and farmacia, and all have masks. They were taking it very seriously. And at that point, it was very early in all this.
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So what was still open?
You could still go into establishments and eat indoors. They set up social distancing and moved the tables and stuff. There were some nightclubs still open, and that part was a little bit alarming. I didn’t expect it. But that was changed and shut down shortly after I arrived. Which made a lot more sense. I think they were catching on to everything and figuring it out. And we’re talking about a place that is driven on tourism alone.
Oh, yeah, their entire economy runs on disposable gay income.
Exactly. And I happened to be down there, and started getting a constant influx of calls from people who were already traveling like, “Our flights are booked. What’s it like down there?”
That’s Leisure in Life, right? What exactly does that offer?
Its a luxury concierge service for private clients. There are certain things you can do, and certain services we provide, but we advise it be done in the safety of your home. I’m not out here slinging party tickets for circuit parties and all that. It’s not right. It’s just not what we do.
Once Covid is over and its safe to travel again, what in PV would you recommend to gays visiting there?
There’s a place called Majahutias, that only accessible by boat. On Saturdays and Sundays, they have a private beach party. Tables and chairs for lunch and dinner are socially distanced. And they happen to have a sister property that isn’t being utilized yet. We want to organize and perfect a high-end gay private beach club, that has socially distancing in place and safety protocols.
Besides work, what have you been doing to keep yourself sane?
On Fridays, I try to make pottery, making dishes and tea sets and whatnot, at the ceramics studio down the street from my place in Mexico. It’s called Arte De Ceramic. I’m making stuff our clients can bring home.
Once this is all over, what’s the first thing you haven’t been able to do, that you are going to do?
Travel [laughs]. It’s the next natural step for my business. Staying in some other countries is the first thing.
And I miss traveling myself.