Lonette McKee

updated 05/08/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/08/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

A REGULAR ON THE WACKY WORLD OF Jonathan Winters at age 16, Lonette McKee wore dark makeup and an Afro wig. Now, says the 39-year-old entertainer, "I would take issue with anybody who wanted me to alter my looks." Who would want to? Flipping her lion's share of curls, flaunting her one-of-a-kind features (inherited from her Scandinavian-American mother and African-American father), McKee is knocking them off their plush seats in the Broadway revival of Show Boat. TIME magazine, for one, praised her "superbly acted and sung" role as Julie, the mixed-race actress forced to flee Mississippi for passing as white.

"There's an innocence to her beauty," says her rock musician boyfriend, Bryant McNeil, 31. The 5'10", 135-lb. Detroit native, who has also appeared in the films Jungle Fever and Malcolm X, sticks to a vegetarian diet and a jeans-and-a-swipe-of-lip-gloss style. But she glams up for a special night out, she says: "False eyelashes, eye shadow, blush—the whole thing." And even the pure of diet have their weaknesses: "After I sing 'Bill,' my big number, have to get two Twizzlers. I love those things!"

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