We had the good fortune of connecting with LUXE the Drag Queen and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi LUXE, what inspires you?
Well, my inspirations and influences are products of my upbringing. My family would regularly watch movies together and experience pop culture when we were all home, as they were Navy. They showed me the John Hughes classics of the 80’s and the more fantastic and macabre movies of that period and the early 90’s. As I grew into a young adult, I fell in love with the retro, flair of fashion, hair, of these movies, blended with new tastes for John Carpenter films, and the kooky B-Horror movie. I’m inspired by these stories, looks, fashions, and more that blend in a tornado of camp drag, and are my first looks when I seek to create. Be it in a performance, live or recorded, a look, a script and more. Plus, I feel an importance in recognizing this past pop culture, as our current one changes, and it’s connection to today and my generation. I like to think of my drag as stepping into a Blockbuster.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art, and professional career are the manifestation of a push back against how the world expects to see me. Growing up, I had a large build, and I’ve always been heavier than the rest of the class. Because of this, for many years people expected I would be a sportsman. My parents would show me, but I never connected. I was, because I loved movies and TV and music, always pre-occupied pretending and creating. Through my struggles to adapt at school, in elementary school a counselor suggested that I explore acting to deal with my feelings. For many years I was a Broadway baby, and was in the acting and singing groups at my grade schools. Yet, people still pushed me to be a football player, but I found myself a moth in the limelight. Growing up gay, and seeing the distorted reflection of my identity in film, TV and social media, quickly became a challenge for me. I never felt skinny enough, or open enough, to be like those people. I was lost in peoples expectations of me; mentally, socially, and physically. My final musical at my High School was a performance in drag, as I was dressed as Ursula in our production of The Little Mermaid. Taking the stage in drag, I felt liberated and accepted. Beautiful, being big and geeky, and pushing back against an expectation that I would not only be a performer, but I would be in drag. As I have grown as a now drag queen, I have found that I can show people how big bodies are beautiful and deserve to be loved and appreciated like all others. Pushing back on fatphobia and beauty standards.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Here in SD, there is a vast array of fun places to visit, and I would want them to see it all, the local and one of a kind places here. If it was any morning, I would want to take them to Lestat’s Coffee House because mama loves coffee, and breakfast sandwiches. Then, being a mall rat, I would love to visit one of the local malls and people watch, and get inspired. I would want them to see at some point the Brick by Brick, a heavy music bar that I feel so at home in, though I am not one for bars mainly. To top off a night or two, I’d love to take them to a few of SD’s staple drag shows with the amazing mainstays we have in Hillcrest. Hey, it’s never too early to prep for the holidays, so this queen needs to see City Lights Collectibles Emporium! It’s so much holiday stuff, I could live there. Plus, the trip needs to be topped off with Hodad’s, and a trip to Seaport Village to watch the sun set.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh my goodness, where could I start? I can’t be thankful enough, or more grateful for some of the folks in my life. I have friends, and family that push me to be great, open and alive. I have to choose my blended family, my real and drag family. My parents, out of drag and in drag, taught me to be hardworking, loving, funny and how to try my hardest. They have always been such inspirations to me in their many adventures, and our many memories together. They are sweet, and hard loving people, and always strive to work who they were for me, strong and caring, into how I am for others. Plus I have to share the love with my drag family, Amber St. James, Lady Blanca, Amore Envy, and Electra Cher. Amber took a chance on me and has guided me like a beacon of light. Showing professionalism, and how to be the moment. My daughter, Amore Envy, is an inspiration because she is so driven to be great and ready for the world. Her encouragement, love and hunger brought me from such a dark place, and I have grown and learned and changed so much from having her, and these folks in my life and around me as I move into adulthood.

Instagram: @luxethedragqueen

Twitter: @LUXEtheGourd

Image Credits
Zach “Electra Cher” Friedli