In Diva Watch, we'll profile the passionate, diverse and fascinating performers who light up Denver's drag community. We're expanding on our Diva Dozen list from earlier this year by asking a series of questions to get a peek underneath the make-up.
The idea of the "femme fatale" embodies the kind of woman who, through her looks, charm and sex appeal, brings many a man to his fateful end. It's unknown how many fellas have fallen into Le'D Fatale's web, but the number is definitely high: this 31-year-old drag expert has quite a few tricks in her petite, yet powerful, frame, and all of them were on full display when she competed in 2014's Tracks Ultimate Queen challenge. Weeks of honing her skills and dazzling audiences with her perfect Tina Turner-by-way-of Angela Bassett impersonation took her far. And even though she left without the crown, Le'D rolled her passion for the stage, and her mascara-ed eye for talent, into a gig hosting her own show at Broadway's called Fatale's Dollhouse (named Westword's 2015 Best New Drag Show alongside her sister show, Bitchcraft). It's on her own stage that Fatale truly commands an audience and hand picks quite the coterie of perfectly paired performers that have enough sass and seduction to take down every man in this town.
Westword: You’re also known as?
Le’D Fatale: The name I go by outside of drag is Phoenix. It's the name I've used for several years now.
For work, I'm a makeup artist and childcare provider. I also do many other jobs here and there: photography, hair, graphic design.
Years performing in drag?
I've been dressing as a woman since I was eighteen. I did several performances in high school with wigs on...but being paid to do it, just about four-five years.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised here in Denver, although people tend to think I'm South African, Jamaican...I've even been thought to be a very dark Puerto Rican woman.
Tell us about the first time that you ever performed in drag.
If I go way back, it would be when I was cast as The Queen in our high school play, Rumpelstiltskin. That was great! They couldn't deny me the role because I was damn good, and I am a Queen...always have been! The first time I ever performed in the club was in a show that Krystal Towers, my drag mother, had at Broadway’s. It was maybe four and half to five years ago...I was a mess! But it was so exhilarating. I caught the bug and haven't stopped. I performed a duet with my best friend, Sanaa Raelynn. She had been trying to get me to perform with her for years but I wouldn't.
What is the origin of your drag name?
My drag name comes from my wanting to portray a feminine, classy, and ladylike image at all times. We all know what a "Femme Fatale" is — I'm that, and always a Le'D (lady)!
What cultural icon do you admire the most and why?
There isn't just one, but there are four that I feel are pretty much the cultivation of who Le'D Fatale is. As a child, I've always been inclined to music, arts and entertainment. I was right away a dancer and in love with Janet Jackson. I just felt like I was her! Whitney Houston of course, was the idea of beauty and elegance, etc., so, she was another. Maya Angelou. I don't know why but her words resonated with me. I love poetry and spoken word, so she always captivated me. Lastly, none other than RuPaul! He was the first person that I had ever seen and really identified with that was a man who was dressing up as a woman. I've always been feminine, always loved girly things, women’s clothes: makeup, jewelry, hair, nails... all of it! So, when I see this man who was on the TV screen and in magazines and on the radio looking and actually having a career, a lucrative one at that, as a woman....I just immediately felt like, that with me, no matter what, I knew that eventually I was going to one day be dressing as a woman. When I first seen him I didn't know exactly what I was feeling but I knew I was that!
Explain what it feels like to get into all of your drag and hit a stage.
It feels like, there she is! Now, do what you do, bitch! I've always been on a stage and am usually dressed as a woman when I am.
Who/what inspires you to keep pulling out the make-up brushes every day?
I like to inspire beauty. I'm a makeup artist and being able to uplift people with that skill is the very reason why. Then, considering the artistry, I know there's always something to learn, so I'd probably never stop.
Favorite brand/item of make-up?
I don't have a favorite brand but I do love eyelashes and lip stuff!! The way a lash can completely alter the mood of your eyes...YESSSS! It's the same thing with the lips. I have big, juicy, lips sooo I like when they convey a mood also!
Name three very important items in your purse/drag bag you can’t leave home without.
I ain't crazy so I always have a purse inside of a bag, or a bag inside of the purse inside of a bag! Hello! There's always all kinds of s*** in there ALL THE TIME. Oil blotting papers to keep the skin looking matte and flawless. I try to always have lotion because ashy ain’t cute! And my phone charger.
When you’re out in drag what one thing does everyone want to talk to you about? What do you WISH they would actually talk to you about?
I swear to you whenever I'm out in drag, the main thing people are always talking about is how pretty I am and how refreshing my positive attitude and demeanor is because usually the pretty ones are the b*****s! I don't mind people talking about that because I do love the fact that my positive vibes and energy can be felt! Now, let's talk about how many tables you need to reserve for Fatale's DollHouse, BitchCraft, or ICONZ thank yoooooou!
If your drag persona had a theme song, what would it be?
“Whatever Lola Wants” by Eartha Kitt.
They’re casting the movie about your life, what actor and actress would be perfect to play both sides of your coin?
Ummm...ME!! Final answer.
Which is harder, given your drag profession: tucking (the legendary act of hiding a man's "candy" while performing) or having a relationship?
I'd say tucking! OMG TO THE MAAAAAX! It can be very painful!
What does the word “family” mean to you?
Simply put, UNITY...LOVE...and SUPPORT. I am VERY thankful to have that in all aspects of my life!
There’s a bank error in your favor, giving you $15,000. What’s the first thing that you buy?
FIRST I'd take it all out before they realize it (lol) then I'd put $5,000 away in a safe place. Next I'd most certainly be buying a shit ton of wigs, weave, makeup, jewelry, shoes...FABRIC, I'll do about $3,000 on that! I'm definitely going on a nice vacation, by my damn self, I'd take up Latin ballroom dancing too, and hook up my car! BOOM!
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When we check back on you in three years, what do you think you will be up to in your drag career?
Hell, hopefully jet-setting!
You can catch Le’D Fatale performing regularly at Broadway’s in either Fatale's DollHouse, BitchCraft, or the Icons show and once a month at Aqua Lounge.