Awards and Honors

The 2023 Ten Freshest (and Five "Not So Fresh") Faces of Colorado Drag

A shot from the 2023 DIVAs afterparty. From left to right: Co-hosts Felony Misdemeanor and Jessica L'Whor, with guest performers Blackberri, Solo Jackson, Khloe Coulee, Nina Montaldo, Throb Zombie, and Jayla Rose.
A shot from the 2023 DIVAs afterparty. From left to right: Co-hosts Felony Misdemeanor and Jessica L'Whor, with guest performers Blackberri, Solo Jackson, Khloe Coulee, Nina Montaldo, Throb Zombie, and Jayla Rose. Cleo Mirza
Colorado celebrated the fourth annual DIVAs (Drag, Initiatives, and Variety Awards) with a packed house of over 350 people at X Bar on February 27. Hosted by DIVAs creator Jessica L'Whor, the ceremony was filled with cheers, tears and, of course, queers. The evening kicked off with a speech from Jessica Smith of Connect for Health Colorado (the awards' biggest sponsor), followed by a message from Representative Brianna Titone. This year, all of the categories were presented in person, from Best DJ (which went to an emotional DJ Blaque Girl) to the Community Partner Award (given to Black Pride Colorado). However, rather than present awards for Best Queer Bar and Best Queer Nightclub, as usual, the DIVAs gave an honorary award to the Club Q shooting victims instead. Survivors gathered on stage to accept the award and share their stories, and there was hardly a dry eye in the building.

More than 2,500 votes were cast for the 2023 Colorado DIVAs, which also introduced some new categories, including the "Not So Fresh" Faces of Colorado Drag. While the "Freshest Faces of Colorado Drag" has always been a staple category (It actually predates the DIVAs, and was first introduced by Keith Garcia in Westword), there hasn't been a default award specifically for longstanding, established members of the Colorado drag community until now. Five "Not So Fresh" Faces were honored this year and will reunite this Friday, March 10, at Triangle for a 10 p.m. show celebrating their wins, hosted by L'Whor. Then on March 26, the ten Freshest Faces will have their own show at 7 p.m. at Charlie's, hosted by L'Whor and Andrea StaxXx.

Without further ado, allow us to introduce you to the Ten Freshest Faces and Five "Not So Fresh" Faces of Colorado drag.

The Ten Freshest Faces of Colorado Drag
Banana Splits started doing drag in her bedroom at eighteen, but had never performed before moving to Denver last year.
Courtesy of Banana Splits
Banana Splits (she/her)
Age: 25
Hometown: Northwood, New Hampshire
Years doing drag: I've been doing drag for seven years. Banana is three years old, but I've only been performing since last year, when I moved here to Denver.
Drag style: My Drag is best described as a campy, crafty, clown! I love lots of color and goofy themes, with most people lovingly describing my drag as "stupid." I still love using thrifted/affordable materials whenever possible that I can then turn into something fantastic and uniquely Banana.
Favorite thing about drag: The process! There's so much that goes on behind the scenes, like thrift shopping, music mixing, sewing, making hair and everything else that helps create the Banana you see on stage. Also, the community it's given me since moving to Colorado last June: I'm grateful for all of the friends and mentors that drag has given me, and to my non-drag friends who constantly come to shows and help me with concepts, photos, etc.
Where to see Banana Splits: I'm currently performing in Denver Drag-O-Lympics at Tracks every Thursday at 9 p.m. Otherwise, Hamburger Mary's (So You Think You Can Drag is where I really broke into the scene) and Charlie's (shoutout to Andrea StaxXx and my fellow Slut Pupz) are where I'm performing most regularly.
Chode Malone is a campy king from Durango drag family Planet PettyOne.
Jarred Green

Chode Malone (he/him in drag, they/them out of drag)
Age: 27
Hometown: Bentonville, Arkansas
Years doing drag: Just over two years.
Drag style: Chode does it all — aggressive pelvic thrusting to "Pony," by Ginuwine, aggressive pelvic thrusting dressed as Colonel Sanders with giant chicken legs singing "Chicken Fried," by Zac Brown Band, aggressive pelvic thrusting as a leather-daddy Grinch. In a few words — a lovable douchebag, a camp king.
Drag Family: Chode is part of the house of Planet PettyOne (Aria PettyOne being my amazing drag mom).
Favorite thing about drag: When I started drag, I identified as a cisgender woman. At its core, drag is the performance of gender. And I quickly found that presenting as an exaggerated, campy, hyper-masculine version of myself felt less performative than trying to be feminine. Presenting as a woman felt like a performance. Performing as a drag king felt like home. Drag allowed me to experiment with my masculine energy in a safe environment, and I would not be here — a trans nonbinary person on testosterone — without it. When I get to embrace the playfulness that is drag and combine it with masculinity and humor, I feel like the fullest version of myself. Plus, who doesn't love an extra dollar?
Where to see Chode Malone: Across Durango and Four Corners area! Catch Chode at Planet Petty shows at 11th Street Station in Durango, hosted by their drag mom, Aria PettyOne.
Gucci Blaze-Greyskai just started doing drag in March of 2022.
Brittany Blaze-Shearz
Gucci Blaze-Greyskai (she/her)
Age: 22
Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Years doing drag: One year
Drag style: Denver's resident Disney Princess!
Drag Family: Gucci is a proud member of the Shearz Haus, and the first daughter of the Blaze Haus.
Favorite thing about drag: Gucci's favorite thing about drag is redefining gender and raising questions about America's gender norms.
Where to see Gucci Blaze-Greyskai: Charlie's and X Bar.
Ivy Powers co-hosts Deliciously Drag every second Wednesday of the month at Occidental.
Ashlynn Burch

Ivy Powers (any pronouns if used respectfully)
Age: 23
Hometown: Denver, Colorado
Years doing drag: Technically I started drag in 2018, but stopped for a couple years during COVID, so my revamp was August of 2021.
Drag style: I am Denver's newest dumb blonde! I'm funny and personable and I LOVE a good Doja Cat number.
Drag Family: I am not a part of a “haus,” per se, but I do have my amazing drag sister, Raquelle C Schelle, and amazing mother, Lulu Alnite.
Favorite thing about drag: What I love about drag is having a second persona that normally you don't have in your everyday life. Mikey is naturally quiet and reserved to strangers and such, but Ivy is loud and out with everyone. Also, who doesn't love to put on a nice big wig and feel glamorous!
Where to see Ivy Powers: You can find me every second Wednesday hosting Deliciously Drag at Occidental Bar in LoHi with my drag sister, Raquelle.
King Vaughnz performing at Denver PrideFest 2022.
Mike Bomberger

King Vaughnz (he/they)
Age: 22
Hometown: Irvine, California, but started drag in Boulder, Colorado
Years doing drag: Over three years.
Drag style: King Vaughnz is a bisexual, biracial, non-binary transmasc king from the House of Dazzle. He’s a Latinx heartthrob who has been performing on a national level and doesn't plan on stopping. He strives to use his platform to advocate for marginalized communities whenever he can. His influences are Prince, Bruno Mars, Johnny Depp, Michael Jackson and MAX.
Drag Family: House of Dazzle.
Favorite thing about drag: The way some songs/artists take control of his performances. King Vaughnz loves the way in which he can take on that role and connect as if he was putting on a concert for the audience, as well as how he can be as sensitive or as sexual as he wants. He also enjoys networking and helping others network. It’s always inspiring to listen and be able to share your story.
Where to see King Vaughnz: Check out his monthly show highlights on Instagram to find out where he's performing for the month. King Vaughnz has yet to have regular shows, but plans on producing some this year. His favorite venue to perform at is Hamburger Mary's, and his goal is to perform at all seventeen of their locations around the country.
Mario Wanna is the drag child of iconic drag queen (and "Not So Fresh" Face) Porsha DeMarco Douglas and burlesque legend Alex Valdez.
Broken Glass Photography

Mario Wanna (he/they)
Age: 32
Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Years doing drag: Almost two.
Drag style: Mario Wanna is a biracial androgynous drag king based in Colorado Springs. Mario started drag in 2021 at age thirty, proving that it is never too late to pursue something that brings you joy. You can spot Mario sporting his green beard and hair as a nod to his name, although on occasion other colors make an appearance. Drag has given Mario a therapeutic space for artistic expression, and helped heal the way he sees his body as well as process childhood, relationship and religious trauma. This king enjoys portraying anything from the stereotypical "fuckboi" to conceptual interpretations, as well as shining light on social and emotional issues. Growing up very involved in theater and music, he is happy to have found something that incorporates costuming, performance, dancing and occasionally live vocals. Mario is inspired by many kings he has seen on social media, as well as artists and singers who also enjoy blurring the lines between feminine and masculine, including River Glass, Axel Andrews, Harry Styles, Sam Smith and Janelle Monáe. Mario hopes to inspire those around him to feel free to be their most authentic and unapologetically unique selves!
Drag Family: My mother is the one and only Porsha DeMarco-Douglas, and my father is the burlesque legend Alex Valdez.
Favorite thing about drag: My favorite thing about drag is how much it has helped me grow as a person. It has given me the confidence to live out loud and proud outside of my Mario persona. Also being able to be so heavily involved in the queer community and having a platform to speak on things like queer rights and equity for people of color.
Where to see Mario Wanna: Mario performs mostly in Colorado Springs and Denver. You can catch him often at Fritzy's, La Burla Bee or Luxe Daiquiri Lounge, where he hosts his monthly king-centered show every fourth Friday!
Raquelle C. Schelle's drag is heavily inspired by vintage fashions from the ’60s and ’70s.
Ivy Powers

Raquelle C. Schelle (she/her)
Age: 22
Hometown: Denver, Colorado
Years doing drag: One year.
Drag style: My drag can be best described as conceptual with a fashionable twist. I love to come up with ideas and themes that aren’t always thought of and mix them with fashion references. I love to mix in references from decades such as the ’60s, ’70s and early 2000s; I also explore artistic concepts and elements when it comes to presenting my drag (color, shape, texture, movements in art). My performance style is authentic and high energy! I can flip, twist and buck while truly embodying the song and or moment.
Drag Family: I am not associated with any haus, but I’m so beyond grateful and proud to say my drag mother is Lulu Alnite and drag sister is Ivy Powers.
Favorite thing about drag: My favorite thing about drag is the confidence and freedom it makes me feel. I always feel so beautiful and radiant while I’m in drag, and when I’m performing, I feel like a pop star! All eyes are on me, and they don’t leave till I’m off the stage, and I am so grateful for the queer community and cannot wait to move my way up in the Denver drag scene, as well as make more memories.
Where to see Raquelle C. Shelle: You can usually catch me over at Occidental, Triangle, Hamburger Mary’s, and honestly, all over Denver!
Sapphire StaxXx Bloomee is a member of the StaxXx Navy, one of Denver's biggest drag families.
Courtesy of Sapphire StaxXx Bloomee

Sapphire StaxXx Bloomee (she/her)
Age: 21
Hometown: Denver, Colorado
Years doing drag: Almost one year.
Drag style: My drag is all about being my inner self, a freedom that I don't get when I’m a male on a day-to-day basis. I’m known as a stunt queen because I do tricks and flips and splits. I get my drag from my drag mother, who is also my older brother, Faraiyah StaxXx Bloomee. She has given me the fantasy of drag, and I wouldn’t be anywhere without her and the StaxXx Navy. They have all supported me and my little time in drag.
Drag Family: StaxXx Navy
Favorite thing about drag: My favorite thing about drag is dancing.
Where to see Sapphire StaxXx Bloomee: My usual bookings are at my two favorite places, X Bar and Charlie's, and now every other Thursday at El Potrero.
Soña Rita and her drag sister Zimmorah founded the Haus of De Amantes for Northern Colorado drag performers.
Soña Rita
Soña Rita (she/they)
Age: 25
Hometown: Hudson, Colorado
Years doing drag: I have been getting into drag since I was a teenager, performing since 2017, and professionally since 2019.
Drag style: As a Latinx nonbinary drag queen, my drag explores my cultural and queer identities through the breaking of colonized gender norms and racialized expectations. In other words, I'm a party girl who loves to have fun and party! I love performing popular music covered and transformed into traditional Latin American genres, all while serving Latina goddess with a mustache! As a marginalized individual, I am expected in my day-to-day life to kneel to my oppression; in my drag, I strive to subvert that and live life my way, and give the world a glimpse into my version of happiness.
Drag Family:  I co-mother (with my drag sister Zimmorah) the Haus of De Amantes, a drag family composed of Northern Colorado performers!
Favorite thing about drag: My favorite thing about drag is getting to feel beautiful in my own way!
Where to see Soña Rita: You can catch me in Greeley at High Brau Tap House for my drag bingo, and anywhere else in Colorado that will throw me at you!
Stella Diver and her partner, Allspyce, started doing drag together last year.
Courtesy of Stella Diver
Stella Diver (she/her)
Age: Old enough to fuck your dad.
Hometown: Long Beach, California
Years doing drag: Less than one year.
Drag style: My name is Stella Diver, and I was born for the stage! My slogan is “Dive Into Passion” — it took me thirty years to realize that time waits for no one, so dive into what you are most passionate about! There is nothing I love more than performing and entertaining an adoring crowd, from comedy to fire breathing and everything in between. I live for interacting with my audience and making sure they have an amazing time. My favorite pastime is slamming chicken sammies after a long night of tequila, despite being vegetarian.
Favorite thing about drag: Having my partner, Allspyce, by my side as we navigate this journey in drag. She is my rock and has been a supportive force in all of this. There is nothing I love more than getting ready with her. Oh, and wigs! I love wigs!
Where to see Stella Diver: Hosting shows at Adrift. Some of my favorite places to perform are Charlie’s, Hamburger Mary’s, Tracks (once they ask me to headline) and Lucid when it was open. You can also find me officiating a mass wedding at Adams County's second annual pride on June 10.

The Five "Not So Fresh" Faces of Colorado Drag
Andrea StaxXx is the resident queen and entertainment director at Charlie's.
Courtesy of Andrea StaxXx
Andrea StaxXx (she/her)
Age: 34
Hometown: Oxnard, California
Years doing drag: Ten years.
Drag style: Andrea StaxXx is an entertainer and certified party girl. She always puts on a show no matter what. She doesn’t have a specific style; as long as she looks good in it, that’s all that matters. She’s a perfectionist when it comes to her drag, especially her makeup. She is the self-proclaimed Queen of the Rumple Minze!
Drag Family: StaxXx Navy
Favorite thing about drag: Being able to entertain and the adrenaline you get when you step on stage, plus meeting so many individuals who also enjoy doing the same.
Where to see Andrea StaxXx: Charlie's
Planet Petty, Aria PettyOne's monthly show at 11th Street Station, took home Best Drag Show at the 2023 DIVAs.
Ryan Garcia
Aria PettyOne (she/they)
Age: 31
Hometown: Durango, Colorado (by way of Mars)
Years doing drag: Four years.
Drag style: Aria PettyOne is the big, green, bitch of Durango. She is the Alien Queen bringing drag to rural communities throughout Colorado. She is a performer, producer, and party starter! Her goal is simple: to make other queer people in small towns feel comfortable to be themselves.
Drag Family: Aria is the leader of Planet Petty, a growing drag family based in Durango, Colorado.
Favorite thing about drag: My favorite thing about drag has been creating and nurturing a growing drag scene. I’m honored to be able to give other performers in my area multiple stages to express their creativity and art. Each year we have more and more people wanting to give drag a try, and it shows me that what we do as drag performers is much deeper than how we look or perform.
Where to see Aria PettyOne: Aria can be found weekly in Durango, Colorado. She also travels monthly throughout the Southwest.
Coco Bardot also won Best Burlesque Entertainer this year.
Jay Cupcake Photography

Coco Bardot (she/her)
Age: 32
Hometown: Dayton, Ohio
Years doing drag: Ten years.
Drag style: I am living the showgirl dream. I am a little bit Lizzo meets Rachel Berry, with the sex appeal of Dorothy Dandridge. I make my drag and burlesque speak out loud what's inside of my heart and mind. I hope to be a beacon of knowledge for other Black female entertainers of all types.
Favorite thing about drag: I love the switch from the mundane blah of real life into the Glamazon of my own imagination. I think drag lets me be as pro-woman, pro-Black and as loud as I want to be, while making my passion a career.
Where to see Coco Bardot: You can see me gracing the stage of the Clocktower Cabaret, various private events, and brunching it up at multiple venues in the city.
Felony Misdemeanor's name is a nod to rap icon Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott.
Jeremiah Corder
Felony Misdemeanor (she/her)
Age: Old enough to know better.
Hometown: El Paso, Texas
Years doing drag: 22 years.
Drag style: Felony is just fucking cool. She's down with you if you're down with her. Even if not, she wishes no ill will of anyone. She's loving, caring, loyal, funny as fuck, silly, sexy, outspoken, shy, knows her worth, a rebel, a leader, crazy, loud and horny.
Drag Family: I am the mother of the House of Misdemeanor.
Favorite thing about drag: My favorite part of drag is the spotlight. If a drag queen doesn't say she likes the spotlight, she's a lying-ass bitch.
Where to see Felony Misdemeanor: You can usually catch me at Hamburger Mary's, X Bar or your grandpa's house waiting for him to pass. I also do tons of weddings/birthdays/private parties/any celebration.
Porsha DeMarco-Douglas was a producer and show host at Colorado Springs's Club Q for over fifteen years.
Gemini Skye
Porsha DeMarco-Douglas (she/they)
Age: 35
Hometown: Fayetteville, North Carolina
Years doing drag: Almost eighteen years.
Drag style: I would describe my drag as very high-energy and in your face. I love to show the world that even though I'm larger than life (plus-size queen), I can kick, flip, split and buck with the best of them. I can deliver everything from comedy to inspirational ballads. You name it, I can do it! I live by the motto of: "I may not always have the best costumes or the best hair, but the one thing you will remember about me is that I will always give you a show."
Drag Family: Drag-wise, I'm a part of the House of Douglas. I'm also a part of the ballroom scene representing the International Iconic House of NINJA.
Favorite thing about drag: My favorite thing about drag would have to be connecting with the crowd and being able to perform numbers that resonate with people. Sometimes people go through things and they use drag shows to get away from the issues. They show up, and the song you're doing helps them release some of those feelings and makes them feel seen.
Where to see Porsha DeMarco-Douglas: You can catch me usually at Hamburger Mary's, Tracks and X Bar.

For a full list of the 2023 DIVAs winners, visit the DIVAs website.
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Cleo Mirza is a real-life Daria Morgendorfer who worships at the altar of Missy Elliot. She left the East Coast to live vicariously through Colorado's drag performers, and only returns for the pizza. Cleo has been a contributing writer for Westword since 2019, covering music, arts, and cannabis. She loves white wine, medical marijuana, and her possessed chihuahua, Rudy.
Contact: Cleo Mirza

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