Chippendales star lands White Party gig

Jaymes Vaughan

What would the White Party be without a diva or two to rock the stage and the sexy glam looks attendees expect? A few of our favorite ladies will perform later this month in Palm Springs: Carmen Electra, Alexis Jordan, Ana Matronic of Scissor Sisters, and Adriana DeMoura of “The Real Housewives of Miami.”

Event promoter Jeffrey Sanker is also mixing things up a bit. In addition to the women and the hottest DJs expected to perform March 29-31, he’s added a new position to the lineup – White Party Ambassador. This year’s circuit party statesman is 30-year-old Jaymes Vaughan, Chippendales performer and former “Amazing Race” contestant.

Vaughan, who’s never visited Palm Springs before, recently spoke with Desert Outlook about how he got the gig, how reality TV changed his life, and his inspirational dad.

How did you get the White Party ambassador title?
Well I bumped into Jeffrey Sanker. He was in Vegas; it was the first time I met him. He said, “Hey, you’re that guy from “Amazing Race.” I said “yeah” and then we started talking. I told him about all the things I’d like to do. Jeffrey said he’d like to give me a platform to do it, and it just went from there.

What are your duties as the White Party ambassador?
I ain’t got a clue. I’ve never been to White Party. I will tell you I will be at all the parties.

What are you looking forward to doing in Palm Springs?
First of all, I’m really excited about getting to go to this big thing that everybody talks about every year. I get to go with Jeffrey, VIP style. That’s kind of cool.

It’s a really cool music weekend. Being a singer and that being my background, music is the thing I’m most excited about. You can’t have a party without music.

What’s the best memory of your “Amazing Race” experience that viewers didn’t get to see?
The thing about “Amazing Race” is everything they show on camera is what really happens. The coolest thing for me is that we got to stay in the whole game. We got to do the entire thing.

One of the things you really didn’t get to see is the experience you get to have in some of these poorer countries. We got to see how these people live with so much less than we have in the United States. To see that and be in a race for $1 million dollars is to realize how trivial what we were doing was. We got to see how happy these people were, though they didn’t have cell phones and TVs. It was really a beautiful thing to see.

How has finishing second with your friend James Davis affected your life?
Finishing second was a little devastating. It wasn’t how we planned to finish. But us not winning was good because we’ve gotten so many opportunities. James (who’s straight) and I have been the grand marshals for numerous Pride events. We get to do a lot of cool stuff from it. … I always joke because I feel like a Kardashian. We didn’t do anything. We went around the world and lost. It’s awesome.

What did you think of the film “Magic Mike” – was it realistic?

It was cool in the way that it brought a lot of interest to our show, back to Chippendales. But it’s not what our show is. That was very much like a strip club. Our show is a multimillion-dollar show. It definitely confused some people who thought they would come to our show and have their dollar bills ready.

What are you working on career-wise?
James (Davis) and I are working on our own television show that’s hopefully going to be on in the fall. It’s a travel show being looked at by networks, but it’s doing it how we do things.

I read that you’ve been active in raising awareness about cancer because of your dad. Any plans to continue that?
Absolutely. You know I think this is what I’m supposed to be doing. You hear about cancer all the time. I just heard it but it didn’t affect me. Now it’s close to home. That’s why we went on the race to win the million dollars. My dad’s medical expenses are insane.

I have the best, best friend in the world. James went with me without hesitation. When we didn’t win it was obviously devastating for us more than anyone else. We weren’t going to win for us.

But these appearances we’re getting booked on are amazing. We’re able to take that money and give it to my dad. And we started this website, www.forgetcancernow.com, and people from all over the world just started donating money to my dad. It was the most moving, amazing, inspiring thing I’ve ever seen happen in my entire life. We’ve raised $30,000 for my dad now, and we’re not done. We did win two cars on the show and we’re selling those to help as well. It’s given us an opportunity to spread this message.

In the end I want to create something that does help people in this situation – like my dad who is past retirement age and a military veteran. I’m in the process of figuring out how all of that works. I’m meeting with lawyers to learn how to do it right.

How is your dad?
It’s a daily fight. The one thing I got from him is he’s always in a positive spirit and he always looks at the glass half-full. We’re praying for the best.

Jaymes Vaughan is featured in the March issue of Desert Outlook magazine, which hits stands across the Coachella Valley on Thursday, March 7. Desert Sun subscribers can also see it at www.mydesert.com/desertoutlook