In Diva Watch, we'll profile the passionate, diverse and fascinating performers who light up Denver's drag community, expanding on our Diva Dozen list from 2015 and our new Fresh Faces list for 2016 by asking different queens — from established to ingénue — questions that take a peek beneath the wigs, heels and makeup.
If you're at your favorite gay watering hole and catch a whiff of sweet perfume and a glimpse of blonde curls racing past you — followed by the rat-a-tat-tat of high heels hitting the floor — chances are good that was Miss Khloe Katz (aka 31-year-old MIke Katz) on her way to get the party started. In 2015 Khloe was given her own recurring show at Charlie’s Denver - Yass Queen — that put the spotlight on this effervescent and bubbly star, part of a bevy of up-and-coming drag performers. Khloe leads by example, though, with a face for the gods and an array of fierce outfits that are less showgirl than Mary J. Blige trying to get it percolatin’ in this dancery. There’s no doubt that Khloe's perfectly manicured fingertips are going to grab hold of 2016 and make it hers.
Westword: Khloe, tell us about the first time that you ever performed in drag.
Khloe Katz: The very first time I performed in drag was at a bar in Lincoln, Nebraska, of all places, and I did a Beauty and the Beast pageant, where wannabe performers show up as a boy with a pair of heels and then get paired with a queen and get made up in drag, and we would perform once as a "beast"/boy, then as a "beauty"/woman. I thought I had done terrible but ending up placing second!
How long have been honing your craft in the world of drag?
Seven years total. I did drag in Nebraska for about four years, then took a break and moved to Denver. I wasn't sure if I would ever do it again but a conversation with (drag king) performer Sean Nyte here in Denver made me get back into the scene about three years ago.
When you’re not working it out on stage every week, what’s your occupation?
I am a travel agent for the Wanderlust Travel Company.
What is the origin of your drag name?
My current drag name came from a suggestion of a friend, actually (thanks Stefan!). I have had three drag names over the years and wanted a fresh start in Denver so I changed from Teesha Titmore to Khloe Katz.
What cultural icon do you admire the most, and why?
Hands down, Joan Rivers!! She inspired me to say what I needed to say no matter the consequences or who would judge me! I cried a lot when she passed.
Explain what it feels like to get into all of your drag and hit a stage.
Well, it starts about two hours before a call time. I shave all my tender bits and then start painting my face. I usually like to get ready with another queen and spill the "t" about everything and anything! After I get my mug right, it takes me about twenty minutes to put on my "body" — all the pads, spandex and pantyhose. Then it’s time to pick out an outfit that will make the kiddies drool, and I usually spend about ten minutes fixing and setting my hair. After all that, I am feeling fishy and bitchy and Khloe is ready to slay the stage! When I hit that stage, there is no other feeling like it in the world! I feel at home when I am able to entertain an audience. I always remember that people dragged their asses out to see us, so we better put on a good show. The satisfaction at the end of a number and the applause is one of the best drugs I have ever done.
Who/what inspires you to keep pulling out the makeup brushes everyday?
As corny as it sounds, I do it for all the people who can't. For everyone still fighting for equality and for all the people who have no idea what the LGBT community is all about. I love drag because it takes everything about our community and throws it in your face and makes you deal with it! I remember having a show right after marriage equality became the law of the land and I was so emotional I even cried, because everything I have been fighting for over the years actually came to fruition. It was one of my best moments and memories in my career. Moments like that keep me going!
Favorite brand/item of makeup?
Jeffree Star lipsticks!!! I am OBSESSED!! They are affordable and, more important, they last the entire night! The colors are sickening and they are vegan as well!
Name three very important items in your purse/drag bag you can’t leave home without.
First, I need some mints or gum; with the amount of time I spend on the mic or talking to people my breath has to be on point! Second, I love Motions at Home oil sheen and conditioning spray — this is a miracle worker for wigs! Third, I like to have some type of perfume or body spray; it leaves the men wanting more!
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 have a lot of people who want to be in a show and ask about that or how they can further their own career in drag. I love to help out with that, but sometimes I just want to talk about whatever my friends are doing at the time. I spend a lot of time as Khloe, so I like to take time and invest in my friends and what is going on with their lives.
If your drag persona had a theme song, what would it be?
“Ain’t Been Done” by Jessie J. I want people to know I am gonna work my ass off to entertain them and give them something hopefully they haven't seen before!
They’re casting the movie about your life; what actor and actress would be perfect to play both sides of your coin?
Zac Efron for me as a boy, just cuz he is beyond yummy and hopefully I could meet him or more (laughs). Then, Khloe Kardashian for me as a woman: I don't know if she can act, but we share the same name and she is gorgeous!
Which is harder, given your drag profession: tucking or having a relationship?
Tucking for sure! It is an in-depth and complicated process. And I already met my man and luckily he supports everything I do. In fact, I just bought a ring to put on it!
What does the word “family” mean to you?
Family to me is way more than DNA. I consider my drag sisters, my drag brothers and my community all to be my family. My family wasn't always that close, so I turned to the community in times of need and am FOREVER grateful for the love and support I have been shown! Also my family is coming around now and my mom is at most of my shows, which is incredible. Keep your eyes out for this adorable "older" lady in the audience!!!
Drag allows you to change or alter physical parts of yourself. Do you use that power to always change any one thing in particular about yourself?
I make sure to give myself a big Kardashian booty (laughs): I love the looks I get when people are checking out these cakes!
There’s a bank error in your favor, giving you $15,000. What’s the first thing that you buy?
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I don't think I could buy Zac Efron for that amount, so I think I would throw a party for all of my cast members who have ever been in one of my shows to express how much I love and appreciate my sisters and brothers!
When we check back on you in three years (2019), what do you think you will be up to in your drag career?
One of my secret goals is that I would love to be a panelist on a show like The View or The Talk or The Real. America is ready for a drag persona constantly in the mainstream public eye!
You can catch up with Khloe when she hosts Yass Queen every first and third Saturday at Charlie’s Denver, and look for her slaying guest spots at Kai Lee’s Kiki at Charlie’s, Aqua Lounge and R Bar in Fort Collins.