When we think of retirement, we often think of people relaxing, sleeping in, and buying a condo in Florida where it’s always sunny, and the golf course is the desired playground. But for one local retired woman, Earlean “Queen Cookie” Belcher, life is just getting into full swing, with no Alfred Dunner trousers or St. John’s Bay floral polos in this Queen’s closet.
Retiring from The Toledo Blade at 63 years young, Earlean traded in her work clothes for bold, bright, and fun clothes that make her stand out. Not only is she standing out, but she is standing up, on stage as a comedian! After being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, she entered a weight loss challenge on 13 ABC and lost 55 pounds. That gave her the courage to get on stage at the Toledo Funny Bone and try out her act “It’s not me, it’s menopause.” She was well received and noticed by actress Mo’Nique, who was there when she performed there. Today, she continues her new career in comedy, dressed in royal style.
How did you come up with the name Queen Cookie?
First I came up with the name Cookie because I used to sing in karaoke contests on cruise ships so I didn’t have to use my real name. In 2009, for my 60th birthday, I had a party with the theme “African Queen” and 4 years later, when I started doing comedy, I put the two names together.
What suggestions do you have for someone who wants to start getting healthy?
I would suggest to take your time, bite off what you can chew. Even if it is just walking to the corner then increase your distance and time each day. I used to have workout partners but when they didn’t go, I didn’t either. I need to still maintain my health, so I decided to continue working out alone.
Does your personal style translate into your workout apparel also?
Yes, I like to be comfortable. I had an aunt tell me “ As we age don’t leave the house and go into public without color on your face and always look good.”
You have very long hair, but it’s often wrapped up. What does the headscarf represent for you?
Being that my hair is natural, it’s natural for me to love scarves and headwraps. They represent my royalty.
Many times you can be seen rocking a unique symbol. What is it called and what does it mean?
I love the Ankh, which is an Adinkra symbol, and it represents everlasting life.
You also have a tattoo of the same symbol. What inspired your getting this your first tattoo?
I was a tattoo virgin but I lost my grandson unexpectedly to suicide in February of this year, and I got this to honor his life. It is placed over my heart, along with a King’s crown; a heart in the center; and his initials are inside of the heart. This is part of the way that I cope with his passing.
You seem to be very confident in yourself and your style. What’s the recipe for self-acceptance and confidence?
My recipe has been as I gracefully age into maturity, I know who I am, I am not people pleasing and I am standing in my own light and hopefully, that light beckons others.
Do you prefer mom jeans or leggings?
Leggings! They can be cute with different kinds of tops or dusters and they are so comfy. They stretch with you. As a matter of fact, I joined a yoga class a week ago and I had on leggings! I didn’t forget my lipstick!
What’s one accessory you can’t leave home without?
My rings. If I don’t have on my rings, I feel naked. It’s the same for earrings. I’ll leave home and if I don’t have them, I will turn around to get them.