Growing up in California, Antony felt himself to be the consummate outsider until he came face to face with the image of Boy George on the cover of the Culture Club's 1982 debut album, Kissing to Be Clever. He relocated to New York City in 1990, where he found a world more accepting of his avant-garde sensibilities and sexually ambiguous nature. He created the cabaret ensemble Blacklips and modeled himself after Blue Velvet-era Isabella Rossellini and the drag queen that graced the cover of Soft Cell's 1982 single "Torch." He formed Antony and the Johnsons and released their self-titled debut on David Tibet's Durtro label in 2000, followed by an appearance on the Lou Reed albums The Raven and Animal Serenade -- he toured with Reed as well throughout 2003. He has also appeared in the Steve Buscemi film Animal Factory as an androgynous convict. Antony and the Johnsons released a series of EPs in 2004, followed by the band's second full-length, I Am a Bird Now, in February of 2005.