Anyone who’s ever worked gay events will undoubtedly, at some point, work with a drag queen. Some are exceptional, some are awful, and some are just plain weird. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a number of local and nationally known drag queens at various events I’ve managed and/or produced. While this is far from a “tell all,” here’s a list of some of the more well known queens I’ve worked with and what they were like.
Adore Delano: I’ve worked with Adore on multiple occasions and found her to be delightful, easy going, and very professional, both in an out of drag. She’s a working girl, for sure, and knows it. She’s all smiles and no drama (even when she forgot to pack her black nail polish,) and cares about her fans more than any other queen I’ve met. Special props to her cousin/bestie/assistant John, too.
Alaska Thunderfvck: The first time I worked with Alaska, she was so trashed she nearly fell down the stairs. She still put on an amazing show, of course. She’s upped her game since then, because the second time I worked with her she was as dry as a Mormon in the desert. Good for her, I say. Being a drag queen is a job, after all, and just because you’re working in a bar or two doesn’t mean you can’t be professional about it.
Alyssa Edwards: Total diva. It will probably come as no surprise that Alyssa is exactly like she seemed to be on RuPaul’s Drag Race. In fact, I suspect the editors took pity on her and tried to make her look better. Of course, there’s no question of her dance talent, and girl beats a mean mug. But she’s definitely the queen you need to give an early call time to, because she’s gonna be at least an hour late. And don’t even think about giving her a 10 minute costume change, because she’s gonna take 45. Don’t worry about getting her to the airport on time, though, because she won’t be ready to leave when you pick her up.
Amanda Lepore: A fabulous queen, if not a true drag queen. She’s astoundingly sweet and easy to work with, and looks better after having stepped off of a six hour flight than I have on my best day. She’s also very short. I’m talking 5’3″ in four in. heels.
BenDeLaCreme: I’ve worked with Ben a lot, both before and after her stint on RuPaul’s show. She’s easily one of the most professional people I’ve worked with, and probably the sweetest. Perhaps from being an uber talented producer in her own right, I’ve yet to experience even a hint of diva syndrome from Ben, and have enjoyed every experience I’ve had with her.
Detox: Every bit as fun, funny, and irreverent as she seems on TV. She definitely puts her all into her craft, but leaves the diva onstage where it belongs.
Honey Mahogany: Sweet, kind, and high as a kite. She’s great on stage, but almost needed to be carried up there.
Ivy Winters: I had to look her name up just now because I couldn’t remember it. Even though she juggles fire and walks on stilts.
Jiggly Caliente. I once watched her climb in to a 25 sq. ft. cage at the Seattle Eagle. Well, climb isn’t exactly right. It was more like watching a half dozen hipsters trying to stuff a bowling ball into a garden hose.
Jinx Monsoon: I’ve known and worked with Jinkx since she was a baby queen with the voice of a Broadway star and the nose contouring of an elementary school girl experimenting with her mother’s makeup. She, and her contouring skills, have come a long way since the early days. But, even with her star shooting towards the heavens, she’s totally down to earth and easy to work with.
Joslyn Fox: Far more intelligent than she came off on the show, and sweet as can be. Maybe a little too sweet, though. When I checked in on her after she’d gotten to her hotel, she told me everything was fine when, in fact, the airline had lost her luggage and she didn’t have any of her costumes or makeup. She didn’t want to worry me, she said. So she waited until three hours before the show to let me know. Not effective.
Lady Bunny: Let’s face it, Bunny has been doing drag forever. But with that experience comes a level of professionalism that most young queens seem to lack. She shows up early, and does her job well, and with aplomb. Even if she’s lip synching to the same jokes she used two years ago at Pride.
Manila Luzon: Girl likes to party, but still manages to show up on time. Her drunken lip synching may be a little lackluster, but nobody works a room like she does.
Michelle Visage: To be honest, I’ve never actually worked with Michelle, but I did get to meet her backstage, and she was pretty amazing. She feels like a mash-up of drag mother, den mother, and the one cool friend everyone loves to hang out with.
Milk: Fun, easy-going, and easy to work with. Milk actually walked the 12 blocks from where she was staying to the venue she was performing at. In heels. And she’s tall. Seriously, she’s like eight feet tall in heels.
Sharon Needles: I worked with Sharon fresh off of her Drag Race win, and sensed not an ounce of diva. In fact, she once stood in the same place on a hot, crowded mezzanine for 90 minutes taking picture after picture with hundreds of devoted fans, and didn’t complain once.
Vicky Vox: No queen has benefited from more from Drag Race without actually appearing on it then she has. And more power to her for it. I’ve never seen anyone put Willam in her place like Vicky does, and her motto is very down to earth: You can pay me to work hard, but you can’t pay me to care.
Willam: Always in character, if you know what I mean. Has guest starred in every episode of Law & Order and Sex In The City, I think. For god’s sake, don’t misspell her name, unless you want to hear about it for an hour.