Rosie Schoen, aka Red Rosie, is a 17-year-old actress, vintage movie and clothing buff, and the 2011 Doo Dah Queen. Tall, thin, brunette and gorgeous, she’s an Alverno High School junior whose favorite class is AP U.S. History.
I’ve known her since she was in diapers, and I have always been struck by her sense of style and joie de vivre. I never saw her as the Doo Dah Queen type – she’s not flamboyant or outrageous, just quietly intelligent, slightly mischievous and only a little quirky around the edges. But she fulfilled her Doo Dah Queen role to the utmost, riding in a funky old Chevy pickup in a modest red-and-white polkadot dress and hot red lipstick, tossing fake red roses and tortillas, and mugging for about a zillion cameras. This girl was born to Doo Dah, and though she says “my feet were killing me” after attending the parade and afterparties, she clearly relished her part in the festivities, from tryouts to trudging home.
What was the inspiration for your Doo Dah Queen audtiton, which involved morphing (some might say stripping) from Catholic school girl to Wonder Woman, while singing “The Man Upstairs”?
I was inspired to try out for Doo Dah by Tom Coston and Paddy Hurley of Light Bringer Project. I intern for Light Bringer, and I spent last summer doing clippings of former queens. They became celebrities to me. Tom and Paddy encouraged me to try out. For the audition itself, I asked my mom and my best friend for advice. The idea of singing came from me, though. I’ve got one of the worst singing voices around. Why not show it off?
How many new Facebook friends do you have now that you’re queen?
I have ten new friends and many pending friend requests. People from Sierra Madre to Australia have tried to add me, but I’m sticking with people I’ve actually met.
1. Getting to stand up on the back of a truck.
2. Getting a back rub by Tequila Mockingbird, my queenly role model.
3. Being in multiple newspapers.
4. I wore the crown to Islands the day before the parade. They gave me free ice cream. That was pretty cool.
Did anything freak you out?
Nothing freaked me out. I am fearless. Well, except maybe almost falling off of the truck.
Want to give Light Bringer a plug? What do they do, and why do they exist?
I would not be in the parade or even know about trying out if it wasn’t for last year’s Doo Dah Parade. I volunteered to help direct the float traffic. I then volunteered for another Light Bringer event, the Pasadena Chalk Festival, which will be happening again in June. The spirit of the organization was what drew me to volunteer. Tom and Paddy and the other wonderful people connected to the organization are some of the most interesting and generous people I’ve ever met. I’m so glad that I get to not only be apart of the Doo Dah Parade, but the organization as well.
Your religion teacher, your history teacher and your math teacher rode with you, as well as a bevy of Alverno girls. So I guess the school was supportive of your goof on Catholic school girl as superhero. What do you like most about Alverno?
Alverno was delighted to be a part of the parade! I was so glad that so many people participated in it. I was worried initially that they would have preferred me to be the Rose Queen rather than Doo Dah Queen, but they were completely supportive. Alverno as a whole has been good to me, and the all-girls environment has helped me become more confident and less self-conscious.
You are not the youngest Doo Dah Queen ever (that distinction went to a 10-year-old on the tenth anniversary), but you went for the most innocent. Why?
I took the innocent route because I am only 17. I didn’t want to be an underage sex symbol, but I’m sure the 10-year-old didn’t, either. I did what I was comfortable with, which was being a high school student. And Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time” aside, Catholic school girls are generally innocent.
What do you want to do when you grow up, besides be Doo Dah Queen in perpetua?
I’d like to become a therapist, but I don’t want to start practicing after I have a little more life experience under my belt. I wouldn’t trust a 25-year-old with my life’s issues. Until then, I’m not sure what I’d like to do. Maybe something to do with writing or with children or training women to become Doo Dah Queens.
What else do you do for fun?
I do a lot of exploring of L.A. Solo or with friends, I like to see what Los Angeles has to offer. Some of my favorites are the Griffith Park Observatory, the hike to the Hollywood Sign, Poo-Bah Records (Ron Stivers, the Doo Dah Grand Marshal, owns the shop), Hollywood Forever Cemetery and any Denny’s. I also watch movies a lot. The older the movie, the better. I especially love Billy Wilder and the older John Waters movies.
What are the best thrift stores in Pasadena?
My favorite is the Salvation Army on Del Mar. It’s massive. I could spend all day there. Another great one is Acts on Hill. I discovered it recently, and I really love it. The Antique Mall in the Paseo is also sort of a hidden treasure. Walking in there is like going into another world.
And finally, tortillas or marshmallows??