The Thirteen Freshest Faces of Denver Drag in 2016

Jessica L'whor, one of the freshest and most beautiful faces to hit Denver's drag scene.
Jessica L'whor, one of the freshest and most beautiful faces to hit Denver's drag scene.

Last January Westword shone a spotlight on our local drag community with the selection of The Diva Dozen, twelve of the best performers who represented the past, present and future of an art form that had become increasingly popular in this town. But we could have highlighted so many more; that list focused on just one branch of a much larger tree, a tree with legends and newcomers alike.

So through the year, I offered periodic Diva Watch profiles, devoted to other personalities in Denver's drag scene. While continuing to report from the trenches as I gathered footage for my Denver drag-umentary, The Heels Have Eyes, I saw an abundance of change within the community: Some great performers like Janessa Befierce retired while some moved away, new shows took off while others closed. And as 2015 went on, it became clear that this city was suddenly full of fresh faces, strutting their stuff at the bustling venues around town — whether a tiny dance floor at Charlie's or the Compound, or the epic stage of the coveted Drag Nation show — in order to claim their places among the diva elite.

These new batches of boys always kept things interesting, finding their brushes and learning to paint like the pros, taking the training wheels off their heels they rolled down the runway — and they deserve a list all their own. Like the Diva Dozen piece, the following list (presented alphabetically) represents just a small piece of the bigger picture, the shiniest new rhinestones that caught the light just right and showed a magnificent sparkle all their own. These are the freshest faces in Denver drag — and you'll want to follow them all in 2016.

Alyssa Love.
Alyssa Love.

Alyssa Lové
Alyssa Lové (aka Brandon Gutierrez, 24) is likely to leave you truly breathless after you watch her perform. The pint-sized queen cuts a fiery path on stage, bringing high energy to a barrage of dance numbers that showcase her ability to not only shake every inch of her curvy frame but make you feel every whip and backflip as she sticks every landing in high, high heels. That intensity isn’t lost on stage mom Kai Lee Mykels, who puts her front and center in her weekly show at Charlie’s. “I love Alyssa Love because the b#$*h can twirl and she is a downright good person,” says Mykels. “I always enjoy the amazing energy she brings to the stage.”

Westword: What was the best thing that happened to you in 2015?

Alyssa Lové: The best thing was finding myself in truly accepting myself as a person and finding happiness as a gay male and as a female artist. In the year 2015 I also landed a cast member position in the drag show Kai Lee's Kiki as a contracted artist, and I love performing at Charlie’s Denver — an amazing venue to showcase my talent including flips, dips and lady kicks .

What was the worst thing that happened to you in 2015?

Well, there was the one show I was in where I slipped on a spilt drink on the floor and attempted to save myself with a split and completely pulled my hamstring! I was out of work and performing for a good two months, but other than that 2015 was a year of growth for me, to encourage myself to be happier and much better person than the person I was yesterday.

What defines drag and being a drag superstar to you?

Eeek... What defines drag? This can go so many ways. There isn't necessarily a correct answer to what defines drag, but to me drag is my form of entertainment and self-expression. I have been a professional dancer since age twelve, and now I'm 24...drag gives me the opportunity to perform and express what I cannot do in words, it's a whole other level of language for me. What defines being a drag superstar? Well, I never define myself as less or better then someone. We are all superstars in my eyes; we are all equal. I consider being a face in the community my duty as a drag superstar. Promising myself to spread smiles happiness, entertainment and "nothing but Lové."

Who do you look up to?

I look up to each and every one of my fellow supporters and family members because without them, I would be nowhere and not be the "drag superstar" I am today. But if I had to choose, my top five it would be my mother Annette, Kai lee Mykels, Venus Sexton, Missy Jo Lové. They’re my biggest supporters, because they consistently keep me together and give me even bigger and better confidence to push in my challenge to becoming a Drag Superstar in 2016. It's my year, the year of "Nothing But Lové."

What is your biggest goal, in or out of drag, for 2016?

My biggest goal this year, as far as a drag artist, is to run for another title in the pageantry system. I wish to run for a state title such as Miss Gay USofA Newcomer, which is the prize of a pageant held at Charlie’s. I think I'm ready to represent my state and community as a confident entertainer and ambassador.

Drag sisters Amber (left) and Lala Shearz (right).
Drag sisters Amber (left) and Lala Shearz (right).
Roger Vega/Lala Shearz

Amber and Lala Shearz
Drag sisters and roommates Amber and Lala Shearz (Josh Gallegos, 26, and Joey Cordova, 29) emerged on the scene a year ago under the wing of drag mom Valerie Shearz, who put them to work fast in one of Denver’s best new drag shows, Bitchcraft, where weekly the ladies could work on their looks and talents in a curated showcase of other fresh, fierce talents. The weekly grind took its toll on the Shearz family, which decided to go out on top after completing a full year of the program and retired in order to focus on the family members' own growth and glamour in the new year. Mama Valerie couldn’t be happier: “I am proud that they carry my name with dignity and pride,” says the original Shearz. “Also that they ventured off into the pageant side of drag, which is something that I didn't get to do. I’ve never seen myself as a pageant queen, but I want one in the family. Hopefully one of them will make Momma really proud and bring home a title or two!”

Westword: What was the best thing that happened to you in 2015?

Lala Shearz: Becoming a Shearz. This family has been my support system over the past year, and when I felt like I couldn't continue they encouraged me to keep going.

Amber Shearz: Building a stronger relationship with my nephew. Now that he is in my life, I couldn't see living without him. He brings me so much joy.

What was the worst thing that happened to you in 2015?

Lala: Being laid off from my job. Everyone knows drag isn't cheap, so it has been a struggle. Hopefully the tables will turn soon.

Amber: A car accident that led to a series of car troubles.

What defines drag and being a drag superstar to you?

Lala: I don't feel like there is any definition of drag. I've met and gotten to know a lot of people over the past year who embrace drag differently. Drag is diversity. We are artists and there can be no one definition of art. I think being a drag superstar takes a lot more than stage theatrics: It's an attitude. It takes humility and a lot of love and compassion for others.

Amber: Drag is an art form and I don't think that there are any rules to it. Drag is a form of self-expression, and as long as you have a complete head-to-toe look and stay true to who you really are, then you are a star in my book. My definition of a drag superstar is someone who is always humble, kind and respectful to all queens and the style they choose to do.

Who do you look up to?

Lala: Well, as Joey I look up to my biological mother and grandmother. They are the two hardest-working and compassionate people I know. And for Lala, the answer would be the same, along with my mother, Valerie Shearz, and my “glamma,” Janessa Befierce. They are my biggest supporters and mentors. They've worked extremely hard with their drag careers and taught me to do the same.

Amber: I look up to my family and friends. Without their love and support, I wouldn't be able to do what I love in the drag community. I look up to every queen for bringing their own style and originality to the stage. Each one of them challenges me to try new things and to never stop learning.

What is your biggest goal, in or out of drag, for 2016?

Lala: My biggest goal for 2016... Bitchcraft: the Sequel. Kidding. But definitely looking into developing a new show or two and maybe even entering the pageant scene.

Amber: My biggest goal in drag for 2016 is to challenge myself to be more creative and crafty when it comes to my performance costumes.

Amya Kunt will C U next Tuesday.
Amya Kunt will C U next Tuesday.
Eve Katz

Amya Kunt
You can’t name yourself after one of the hardest descriptions of female anatomy without having a diamond-sharp attitude to not only bring that image to life but imbue it with a truckload of sex appeal to boot. The wild,yet mysterious Amya Kunt (Jody Lee, 26) does just that with every performance; you can feel her power from the tip of her silky smooth legs all the way to her perfectly coiffed hair. She knows what she wants from you and just how to get it, so just sit back and let it happen, sir.

Westword: What was the best thing that happened to you in 2015?

Amya Kunt: I feel 2015 was a year of enlightenment for me that showed me where I would like to be in the future and the type of life I would like to build for myself. I'm extremely thankful for the personal growth that I accomplished last year.

What was the worst thing that happened to you in 2015?

I don't really think there was a "worst" moment of 2015 for me. I'm all for any negative moments turning into learning experiences. If there was a worst moment, it was so minuscule that I don't recall.

What defines drag and being a drag superstar to you?

I hate the idea that drag has to have specific requirements or limitations. What defines me as a Kunt is staying true to myself and my vision at all times regardless of popular opinion. What works for me doesn't work for everyone, and vice versa, but I feel as long as a queen strives to bring her own unique twist to things, it makes it much more relatable than trying to mimic what someone else does.

Who do you look up to?

I look up to the Nicki Minajs, Beyonces, Lady GaGas and Rihannas of the world. Women who know their own worth and value and are not afraid to get what's theirs. Individuals who are passionate and dedicated to their craft, and paving the way for new and upcoming artists to express themselves however they see fit. I strive to embody that same essence every time I'm in drag.

What is your biggest goal, in or out of drag, for 2016?

My biggest goal of 2016 is to constantly challenge myself and learn as much as possible. I'm so eager to brand myself and make Amya Kunt a business. I have so much to offer and I'm finally ready to let the world in and show everyone what I'm really made of.

The alluring Arial StaxXx.
The alluring Arial StaxXx.
Arial StaxXx

Arial StaxXx
The newest member of the sassy sorority known as the StaxXx family, Arial (aka Jonathan Torres, 24) hit the ground running in her high heels — for the first time ever — at this year’s Ultimate Queen competition. This La Junta native’s premiere prowess took her to the final two; despite not taking the crown, she made worked her way onto the Drag Nation stage and numerous others, ready to impress with her furious moves and, occasionally, her own  butter-smooth voice. In 2016, she’s coming for your heart, eyes and ears.

Westword: What was the best thing that happened to you in 2015?

Arial StaxXx: Being able to perform in front of hundreds of people on the Denver PrideFest main stage, feeling their energy. It let me know that this is where I belong.

What was the worst thing that happened to you in 2015?

I would have to say one of the worst things I've experienced is the backlash I first received when entering the drag scene as a new queen. It was something I thought would never end, but I continued to fight the stereotypes and do what I love.

What defines drag and being a drag superstar to you?

I don't think anything in particular defines a drag queen besides passion and commitment. There are different beliefs in what is drag and what is not, but I say if you’re doing what you love and loving what you’re doing and feel that it's drag… then it's drag!

Who do you look up to?

I look up to many queens that I have seen pave the way: my (StaxXx) sisters because to me they are flawless, and, of course, my idol, (RuPaul’s Drag Race star) Adore Delano.

What is your biggest goal, in or out of drag, for 2016?

My biggest goal in drag for 2016 is to be able to bring my singing voice into my drag more and perform out of state somewhere. My passion since I was a child was to sing, and now I've opened a new chapter in my life, which lets me expose my other talents. I'm ready to show people the other sides of me.

Daphne DeCoteau.
Daphne DeCoteau.
Paige Eden

Daphne DeCoteau
The precious and precocious daughter of Diva Dozen queen Daniella DeCoteau, Daphne (aka Justin Baker, 24)  blossomed on stage last year in a few limited but entertaining drag-stravaganza shows, including a unique, theatrical spin in a special Fairytales & Fantasies show, where she embodied the best of Disney’s most gentle princesses with the freshness of a just-bloomed tulip. This Pueblo native is ready to let her garden grow this year.

Westword: What was the best thing that happened to you in 2015?

I got to leave Colorado for the first time ever in my life. I went to New York City with my best friend and mentor, Todd Peckham (Daniella DeCoteau). Such an amazing city! I can't wait to go back!

What was the worst thing that happened to you in 2015?

Todd went through a gall bladder surgery in September. It’s pretty common, but the ER visit was a little traumatizing as Todd ended up going code blue due to an unknown opiate sensitivity with the pain medication. Thankfully, he is doing great now.

What defines drag and being a drag superstar to you?

Drag for me is a way to be creative and make a voice for myself where in everyday life I am not often heard. It’s a way to be expressive through performance and art.

Who do you look up to?

Although I have had many individuals influence me in my life, who I look up to the most is my Todd. He has pushed me to being a better performer and a better person. We have been through a lot together and I honestly would not be where I am today, or the person I have turned out to be, without him. Who can say if I have been changed for the better — but, because I knew him, I have been changed for good.

What is your biggest goal, in or out of drag, for 2016?

My goals for 2016 would be to push myself in physical fitness and a healthier lifestyle, continue to entertain audiences with drag and perform in more shows in Denver, along with all of our city’s great talent. Oh, and travel more.

The ferocious Jessica L'whor.
The ferocious Jessica L'whor.
Jessica L'whor

Jessica L’whor
This fierce and feisty 22-year-old phenom has nearly set her high heels on fire with the mileage she's put on stages all over Colorado, from her home in Fort Collins, where she continues to keep that scene’s fires stoked, to the many venues of Denver. Honing her skills sharper than a stiletto, she takes risks worthy of the L’whor name, long may it reign — all while completing her degree at Colorado State University Fellow Fort Collins pal and Diva Dozen mentor Khryst'aaal has nothing but kind words to say about the nimble newcomer: "Her determined work ethic reminds me of myself at that age; she is truly unashamed and unafraid to make her goals become reality."

Westword: What was the best thing that happened to you in 2015?

Jessica L'whor: The best thing that happened to me in 2015 was probably being welcomed to be part of the cast of Felony's Cellblock, a show produced by Felony Misdemeanor. In all honesty I tried for a little while, before the start of 2015, to get into shows in Denver and no one would give me a chance on stage. In all respects, I was extremely new to the drag scene, but I still wanted the opportunity. After asking a couple of times, Felony made me part of her show and then welcomed me to be a cast member. After that, it opened so many doors. I felt like people started taking more chances on me in other shows that I really wanted to be part of and really wanted to experience. I am so grateful for that one chance Felony gave me to be part of her cast. Still, the best moment of 2015 had to be being on the stage of Drag Nation for the first time. I remember watching Drag Nation on Halloween two years ago, just when I started drag, and saying ,"I will do whatever it takes to get on that stage." To have it finally happen last June was an experience that I have never had in my drag career, and gave me a feeling that never felt so good.

What was the worst thing that happened to you in 2015?

Losing my grandpa in late July. My grandpa was one of the most influential and inspirational people in my life. He was my male role model growing up, and although he was very set in his ways, he was extremely willing to talk, listen, understand, offer advice and modernize his ways to better relate to who he was talking to. This man was selfless, compassionate and continued to help other people before needing to help himself. HIs passing continues to be the hardest thing I've been going through, and as much as I wish I could have come out to my grandpa before he passed away, I know that deep down he loves me no matter what. He continues to remind me that life is too short, and to embrace the moments and people who help make life worth living. It is because of him that I try to constantly think about and love this quote by Maya Angelou: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

What defines drag and being a drag superstar to you?

Drag, in my mind, stands for Dressing to Represent Another Gender and because gender is such a broad spectrum and not binary, to me it is anything you want it to be. It can be as extreme or as simplistic as you would like to make it with characteristics that are socially seen as masculine or feminine. It can also be a combination of the both! The drag community, in my opinion, needs to recognize that there is more than drag queens and kings, but there are performers who identify as androgynous, faux queens, faux kings, etc. that are looking for an outlet of expression outside the social binary.

To me professionally, a drag "superstar" simply is someone who is booked all over the world, is a celebrity, and/or is someone who is seen in the drag world as famous. On a personal level, everyone can be a drag "superstar." Everyone has the ability to better the people around them, innovate drag, genuinely connect with people, try new things, be critical and supportive, provide opportunities, be humble, take risks, and, most important, have fun/love doing what they do!

Who do you look up to?

I feel like the odd queen out because I don't look up to any RuPaul’s Drag Race queens like most performers I have met. From the time I started to now, I still look up to performers that I have had amazing interactions, memories and experiences with, and have been inspired by their unique skills/talents. I look up to the first queen I ever talked to, Victoria Sexton, and the first queen I ever saw perform, Ginger Douglas. I look up to the queens that I first started with in Fort Collins (Khrys'taaal, Alanna, Natalia and Anya) for being mini mentors and just watching them do drag and doing their makeup. I look up to the Shearz family and LeCher family who truly represent being genuine and community-building. I look up to show directors, hosts and DJs like Felony, Kai Lee, Erik, Mandi, Marki, DeMarcio, Matt, Duane and Le'D for being positive forces, taking a risk on me, and providing me amazing opportunities. I look up to the absolutely creative and amazing performers like Janessa, Bootzy, Mia, Andrea, Yazmeen, Coco, Vandy, Jesse, Kiera, Kiana, Odette, Mani, Yvie, Mariah, Daniella, Jordin, Jaime and so many others for indirectly pushing me to want to be better and showing me different styles of what drag is and can be! I look up to the queens who paved the way for drag to even be a thing here like Nina, Rosa, Brittany, Krystal, Cleopatra and so many more. In addition to those individuals, I look up to so many other performers I have had the privilege to work with, interact with, and especially all the new performers getting their name out there.

So many people have helped me grow as a performer, pushed/challenged me to be better, encouraged and supported me, inspired me, shown me an immense amount of kindness, and/or have been true friends to me… for all these reasons I can't help but say I honestly and genuinely look up to so many different people in the drag community.

What is your biggest goal, in or out of drag, for 2016?

My biggest goal out of drag is to graduate in May from Colorado State University with my bachelor’s and take my life to the next step. For the two and a half years I have done drag, my goals have always been to continue doing one big thing I have been doing, try something completely new and to challenge myself to improve myself further. My "continue doing one big thing goal" is that I want to continue to be on the PrideFest main stage. I have been honored and privileged to have been provided the opportunity and to work with amazing people to make this goal successful the last two years, and I hope that I can continue to be part of this amazing Denver tradition for 2016.

My "trying something new goal" is to learn more and get involved in the pageant world. I have started looking at a couple different pageants that I would like to compete in and run in. This is extremely new for me and will help me learn about a side of drag I don't practice regularly. My "challenge myself goal" is to explore and teach myself more about wig styling and sewing. These are skills I would really like to focus my time on and find the resources to become more successful in these areas to further my drag career.

In addition to these main goals, I have a few other goals of coordinating the largest and biggest university drag show that Colorado State University has ever experienced. Also, to produce/coordinate a show in Denver. In addition, continue being part of the amazing show families that I have been. And finally, to travel to a couple different states to perform.

Keep reading for six more fresh faces...

 

Krystina Fatale is on point.
Krystina Fatale is on point.
Krystina Fatale

Krystina Fatale
Adopting the Fatale name of her drag mama Le’d, Krystina wants you to love her — but don’t get too close, or you might get singed by the heat that this Texas-born honey leaves behind when she takes a stage. Exhibiting a Beyonce-like fever and ability to whip wigs and punish a floor with a flying split, Krystina won’t spill a drop of makeup while she spins you round her little finger. Look out!

Westword: What was the best thing that happened to you in 2015?

Krystina Fatale: I would say that the best thing to happen to me would be gaining the respect from my peers, queens and businesspeople I look up to, as well as fostering relationships with girls I’ll consider sisters for years to come. I would also say the best thing to happen to me was really putting in the hard work and pounding down doors to get my name out to the masses and have my face, drive and talent seen. It awoke a sense of hard work that has never been displayed in any other aspect of my life. In 2015, I discovered that being a drag entertainer is truly what I want to do and would be more than happy doing for the rest of my life. I discovered that it isn't just a hobby for me, but a business as well as a passion.

What was the worst thing that happened to you in 2015?

The worst thing that happened to me I look at as a double-sided coin. I would say it was the dissolution of my three-year relationship with a man who couldn't handle, nor like, the fact that I was a drag queen. When I decided that this is what I wanted to be in life, I ended things. I couldn't be with someone who couldn't accept such a huge part of me and wanted me to stop something that brought me so much joy. Fortunately, I feel blessed for this to have been the worst thing, 'cause it really was not that bad. After the relationship ended, I really had time to focus on my craft — which is why I look at it like a double-sided coin.

What defines drag and being a drag superstar to you?

I don't think that anything could ever define drag. There are way too many types of drag to be able to place it in a box. I do, however, think that a "drag superstar" must possess qualities that will suck the audience in and entrance them, making them forget about their troubles for that time you are on stage, and just have fun watching you perform. I wouldn't consider myself a drag superstar. I would say I'm just a girl who gets high off of being on stage and making people smile and enjoy themselves. I love looking people dead in the eye and capturing their soul with one glance. We become superstars not by how many people know us, or how many shows we book, but by the dedication and effort to never stop learning, growing and asking questions.

Who do you look up to?

There are so many people that I look up to, but I think that one of my biggest inspirations would be Janessa Befierce. She has taught me so much about performing and the business, and still continues to give me guidance. Also, my drag mother Le'd Fatale has been another huge influence; she has really been a rock to keep me going in the industry when I wasn't booking the shows I wanted and felt like just giving up. She is always there to get me together as well as offer support, guidance and an ear. There are so many others as well, from Felony Misdemeanor to Menaje E'toi, who have seen my growth and have been support systems and shoulders to lean on, ask questions or just have a kiki with. Most important, these ladies have remained nothing but humble — which is huge for me. I always say, "Stay beat, stay humble," because a queen who is beat and on-point but down-to-earth makes an impact more than anyone could realize, and who wouldn't look up to such talented and fantastic ladies?

What is your biggest goal, in or out of drag, for 2016?

I like to build a steady foundation and really put the time and work in so it's real. My goal for 2016 would be to take my name to bigger heights and continue stepping out of my comfort zone. I would also like to start doing events such as private parties, weddings and things of that nature. One day I want to have an empire with product lines, books, clothing, makeup, etc.  I feel in my bones that achieving all this is possible. I’m reaching past the moon and one day I will have it all, while doing what I love.

The foxxy Lacey Fauxx Vanderpump.
The foxxy Lacey Fauxx Vanderpump.
Mark Stout Photography

Lacey Fauxx Vanderpump
What first strikes you about Little Lacey (aka Steven Martinez, 26) are two things: her eyes and her smile. That's when she sucker-punches you with her banging body, which knows its way around every stage in town. The in-demand ingenue took the last name of her favorite Real Housewife because there's an air to those women: demure, glamorous and hiding a dark, sexy side. Lacey seems ready to be both the belle of the ball and the one who’ll throw champagne in your face just so you can’t take your eyes off of her: This foxy lady has some claws, and she’ll use them to keep climbing her way to the top.

Westword: What was the best thing that happened to you in 2015?

Lacey Fauxx Vanderpump: I had a really good 2015. My drag career really took off. I started my year on the Drag Nation stage and became a cast member in one of Denver's longest-running drag shows, DreamGirls. I was asked to be a host of Circuit Saturday (a new monthly party night) and Tucked came back. I've been able to perform in so many places and shows. I got into a relationship and started a new career outside of drag, and my family is all healthy and happy.

What was the worst thing that happened to you in 2015?

Nothing truly bad happened to me in 2015. If I had to choose something, I would say it was my best friend/drag mother, Kylie Vanderpump, moving away. You get so used to having that person around who has the same interests as you and goes everywhere with you; when they leave, you almost feel lost. But that also helped me grow as a queen and as a person.

What defines drag and being a drag superstar to you?

For myself personally, drag has no rules. Everybody has a different look or a different style to drag. The drag style I personally go for is "fishy." It’s basically trying to look as much like a real woman as possible. But being a drag queen is more than just looking pretty; it's a character you build. You make yourself a name, a look and a certain style. Almost everything changes — even your personality, sometimes. I can say for myself when I'm in drag I have a little more courage to go and talk to people while I'm out and about; you almost just let loose a little. With all of that being said, you are also always in the public eye and people start looking up to you and watching the things you say and do. So as much fun as performing and being a socialite is, you also have to stay humble and be respectful. You want to maintain an image because you never know who's paying attention. You want to maintain your bookings and stay as professional as possible. Yes, I joke around and mess around with all my sisters on my Facebook page, but at the end of the day my drag is a business to me.

Who do you look up to?

One of the people I look up to most would be my grandmother. She's a cancer survivor and has always been such a strong person. She's dealt with so many things all of these years and she always has such a loving and happy attitude about life. My grandmother and my parents have always taught me to just be a loving and caring person, and to treat everybody with respect because you never know what somebody is dealing with or going through.

With drag I have many people I look up to. Manila Luzon and PhiPhi are two of my favorite Drag Race girls. They are so creative and talented. In Denver I would say my drag mother Kylie, who taught me so much. Mia StaxXx: I wish I could slay a stage like her! Jackie Summers is always so funny on the mic; Nina Montaldo is always joking around and is such a legend in our drag community. Felony Misdemeanor is so down-to-earth and is such a sweetheart; Mariah Spanic is so multi-talented.... So I guess I look up to a little bit of everybody I've worked with and met here in Denver. We have such a diverse drag community and everybody has their own specialty and things they are amazing at.

What is your biggest goal, in or out of drag, for 2016?

My biggest goal this year is to just keep moving forward with my drag and keep my bookings constant. You never stop growing in drag, and you're constantly learning. I want to just become an overall better queen and work on new costumes and performance and makeup techniques. Outside of drag, my biggest goal is to just be happy. I want to keep a healthy relationship with my family and friends and partner. I want my career to grow and start having bigger and better opportunities, and I also want to do more traveling.

The captivating Menage E'toi.
The captivating Menage E'toi.
Menaje E'toi

Menaje E’toi
Smooth as mink, Menaje (aka Reia' Cheille Lucious, 30) has been a consistently evolving performer who keeps to the beat and isn’t going to slow down just to let you catch up. She’s tightly ensconced in the family that makes up Fatale’s Dollhouse, where experimenting and heart and soul rule the school. The Dollhouse’s roots run deep through Denver’s drag royalty, with Krystal Towers to keep the girls in check by teaching them to be respectful while bringing the house down at the same down. Menaje evokes an older sister quality to her performances; she'llshow you how it’s done and leave you wanting to have a quarter of what she's working with.

Westword: What was the best thing that happened to you in 2015?

Menaj E'toil: The best thing that happened to me would be being acknowledged for my effort. I have had a lot of people tell me that they have been watching my progress and they are very proud of me. That lets me know that I am making an impact on the community and I’m proud of myself.

What was the worst thing that happened to you in 2015?

Interesting question. Honestly, I would say that when Dollhouse was at Broadway’s, they had a big show for PrideFest and I was not even considered to be one of the entertainers although I was a part of one of the shows. But in the end I continued to not be discouraged and press on and up and I’m satisfied with the turnout. (Dollhouse made a big move to Aqua Lounge.)

What defines drag and being a drag superstar to you?

Drag to me is an expression of beauty, inspiration and talent. I love how diverse drag can be. Music is probably my favorite thing in the world and since I can’t sing, for me drag gives me the opportunity to be the singer I am just not. Being a drag superstar to me is having the ability to entertain a crowd but not being so vain that people can’t relate to me. I really don't think I’m a superstar per se, but I just express my talent and love for music and hope to touch someone.

Who do you look up to?

I look up to queens like the late, great Tracy Edwards. I remember the confidence, humility and professionalism that Tracy embodied. I remember her telling me never to give up if this was something I wanted to do. I also look up to my sister Le'd Fatale; she has this way of sucking you into her performance where you can’t help but to be fascinated. I love that.

What is your biggest goal, in or out of drag, for 2016?

My biggest goal for 2016 in drag is to get my own show with my own vision. I also would like to expand my family and get a drag daughter. Out of drag, I would like to do some traveling around the country and maybe even outside of the country.

My oh my, it's Mile High Pinky Pie.
My oh my, it's Mile High Pinky Pie.

Mile High Pinky Pie
Big and brassy, Pinky Pie (aka Jared Hackamack, 34) grabs your eye the second she comes through a curtain. Head to toe in fringe or spinning around in Stevie Nicks lace, Pinky stomps a stage with a singlular determination; You’re gonna love her. Colored as bright as cotton candy she loves her job and it shows in every step, hand motion and her winning smile. Kai Lee Mykels, her fabulous cohort at Charlie’s, thinks the world of he,r too: “Pinky Pie is truly one of a kind. Her uplifting personality and spirit are unstoppable and I love that about her!”

Westword: What was the best thing that happened to you in 2015?

Mile High Pinky Pie: So many things have happened I can't pick just one. But the most amazing thing for me is that I chose drag as a career. I was tired of working in a medical office for people who didn't care about my well-being while I cared for others. I started doing drag about three years ago to fulfill my need for an artistic outlet after I moved from northern California. I've been a music nerd my whole life. After getting my feet wet I plunged into drag, was given opportunities to perform in front of larger audiences and held several shows under my belt producing and hosting three, and starred in Drag Machine at the DCPA. One of the hosts I worked under brought an opportunity to the table and I couldn't resist. After working with more than one venue that had taken advantage of me, and being told by other well-known Denver queens that drag wasn't a career, I auditioned as a DJ for Charlie's after working in the weekly show for almost two years — and began working as a drag queen on payroll! Now I'm one of the highest-paid regular working drag queens in Denver, making more than I did as a medical tech, and I didn't have to go to school. I've been practicing for this my whole life — and didn't know it till I picked up a makeup brush.

What was the worst thing that happened to you in 2015?

I was diagnosed with clinical depression. It's a daily struggle that takes a toll on my daily life, in and out of drag. Sometimes doing drag helps, like going to therapy — I'll get on the stage and perform songs that reflect how I'm feeling — or just helps me feel something other than what I feel inside. It also affects my art. Some days I wanna let things slide and I don't use Pinky to her full potential; other days I'm bursting with ideas and can't get them all out. But I'm constantly encouraged by the people around me, especially my husband, Michael. He reminds me that Jared is loved, and that people love Pinky, and it never fails that when I'm feeling low I always meet someone new that night who is either seeing me for the first time or has been watching. They find me and give me the words I need to hear: "Thank you for doing what you do, for being you and staying true to yourself and your art."

What defines drag and being a drag superstar to you?

To me, drag is the overcharacterization of a gender or the illusion of portraying a gender. Being a drag superstar is more than spotlights and fans on Facebook. It's the responsibility to your community to continue to uphold certain standards of the art and to support your community in anyway you can.

Who do you look up to?

My husband, Michael. He is my rock. Like me, he has changed careers while continuing to be a writer, all at the same time supporting me any way he can in my drag and in my life. He is the most put-together person I know and I don't know what I'd do without him. I've grown up with him, and he did help Pinky find her name. He's always involved in the moves Pinky makes, helping guide me in making smart business decisions, and occasionally picks out my music and outfits. He's a relentless source of support and I'm the luckiest "woman" in the world.

What is your biggest goal, in or out of drag, for 2016?

I'd like to continue to define my craft while finding balance between partying for a living and keeping up with my home life as Jared. Someone once told me that "she is nothing without the man behind the face." 

Mona Liza will leave you smiling, that's for sure.
Mona Liza will leave you smiling, that's for sure.
Mona Liza England

Mona Liza England
Like the song lyrics, dear Mona Liza (aka E. Posey II, forever 21) is so like the lady with the mystic smile. England has a fun attitude that glides her across a dance floor with a mischievous wink and a love of style and creativity that seems to be dripping off every outfit she wears. Though steady in ability and talent, she never seems to be the same person twice: Like the famous painted Mona, she’s up for interpretation, but she knows exactly what she’s doing.

Westword: What was the best thing that happened to you in 2015?

Mona Liza England: I would have to say being able to attend the Bonner Bros Hair Show In Atlanta n February. All the fresh talent, hair and makeup, the works! If you can imagine it, when it comes to hair it was there. It was such a refreshing experience and the energy was phenomenal. I love attending functions that have good vibes and good energy.

What was the worst thing that happened to you in 2015?

In life I don't think of things as the "worst"; I always look at life as chapters/lessons. There is always something positive to come out of what we consider the "bad" and the "ugly," but through living, loving and laughing you can conquer all.

What defines drag and being a drag superstar to you?

Well I have an acronym that I use for D.R.A.G.: 

Deliver: To deliver, that's to make sure you are presenting yourself always at your best. You have to make people believe that you take your craft seriously. If it's hello from the other side for song choice I want to believe it's hello from the other side. (Giggles.)

Receive: Be able to receive knowledge from other people always. Remember there was a long road paved before you so always be humble, courteous, and respectful but also stay true to who you are always.

Accept: Always accept everyone. No one is better than anyone, we are all human and need to learn that people are unique because of differences. I'm a huge believer in karma and what you throw into the universe will return.

Growing: Always stay rooted and grounded. Just when you think that you have mastered the art: stop doing it. Yeah, I said it and will gladly say it again, because when I personally look at drag - from an entertainer perspective - you can never stop growing. You have to keep it fresh and interesting .To still posses the ability to keep the crowds interested is always a plus and you should always be looking for new ways to wow and have people go “Oooolalalalala!” That's how you bring more joyous treasures to the art of entertainment.
I feel if you live by these four letters as an entertainer you are already a superstar in my book.

Who do you look up to?

Honestly I don't really look up to anyone, I look up to the sky where I dream freely, I hope freely, and no one can hear my thoughts but me and the clouds. I don't really have time to look up to anyone when I’m focused and always striving to be a better me, but I admire many.

What is your biggest goal, in or out of drag, for 2016?

My biggest goal in 2016, both in and out of drag, is to be able to touch the lives of billions of people through love, compassion and the art of entertaining and inviting them into the world of Mona Liza England.

The one, the only Yvie Oddly.
The one, the only Yvie Oddly.

Yvie Oddly
The Ultimate Queen of the pack, Yvie (aka Jovan Bridges, 22) took the amateur drag competition by storm last year, firing up the crowds and judges with her wily Olive Oyl limbs, punk-rock glamor and magical ability to shock and awe every single week. Whether eating crickets on stage during a Heavy Metal challenge, mastering a high-flying aerial routine, mastering standup for a comedy challenge or just free-style dancing and tumbling across a stage, Yvie snatched the crown and a place on Drag Nation’s stage like it was nothing. And the oddball continues to keep eyes popping with costumes that seem to be designed by Dali and makeup that would make Grace Jones and RuPaul stand up and applaud. Get into it, y’all. Yvie is taking the stage and she just might not give it back.

Westword: What was the best thing that happened to you in 2015?

Yvie Oddly: Well, I got a cat! (Laughs.) But I guess winning Ultimate Queen, because it made all of my dreams come true for this year. That’ll be my Disneyland answer.

What was the worst thing that happened to you in 2015?

There are actually a lot of choices: My house got infested by bees, I’m pretty sure some of my cats died, some family members definitely died. I dunno, I don’t focus a lot on the bad unless it’s in the moment. You have to dwell in the moment to get over it and when you get over it, it’s done.

What defines drag and being a drag superstar to you?

A drag superstar is somebody who is talented and has vision and has the ability to carry that vision out and mean something to people who aren’t just themselves.

Who do you look up to?

It sounds narcissistic, but I look up to myself. I like to look at things that I’ve already done and instead of trying to copy them or make them better, I try to do the exact opposite of what that is, what nobody would expect me to do next.

What is your biggest goal, in or out of drag, for 2016?

My goal for 2016 is to take Yvie outside of Colorado, whether that be on television or just traveling. I just want to explore a little bit more of the world.

Use Current Location

Related Locations

miles
Charlie's Denver

900 E. Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80218

303-839-8890

www.charliesdenver.com

miles
Tracks

3500 Walnut St.
Denver, CO 80205

303-863-7326

www.tracksdenver.com

miles
M Uptown

700 E. 17th Ave.
Denver, CO 80203

303-832-1333

m-uptown.com

miles
The Compound

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