Dallas Drag - Inside The Life of a Dallas Drag Queen

Happy PRIDE month!

To celebrate and learn more about the LGBTQ+ community, specifically the drag community, the Silk or Lace team sat down with two Dallas drag queens to discuss their performance art, their life story and their journey with wigs.

NAYDA MONTANA

DOLCE STRUTTS

Interview conducted in person on June 9, 2021

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Finding out that the world of drag exists can be a huge turning point in a young gay man’s life.

For Nayda Montana that moment changed their entire life path.

“I was a baby gay before I ever know what drag was. I dated this guy and he took me to the Rose Room here in Dallas, and I didn’t even know, that existed. I didn’t know that men were drag queens and like performed.
Little did I know, I had been doing that my entire life. I would put a towel on my head and dance around in my room, and perform to musicals or Hannah Montana…
When I saw that moment…of those queens on stage performing, I was like I want to do that. I don’t care what I have to do, from here on out I want to do it.”

After deciding to pursue a career in drag, it can be an intimidating experience putting yourself out there.

Many drag queens will confide in and be adopted by a drag mother. A queens drag mother serves as their mentor and helps them find their way in the drag community.

For Dolce Strutts, finding her drag mother was the reason she started drag, helped inspire her look and is the predecessor of her last name. 

“She was one of the first queens I ever saw at a show…immediately when I saw her I was like, okay this is what I want to do.
We’re both very campy and colorful queens…very theatrical. I really think I’ve followed in those footsteps”

Once a queen begins their performance journey, perfecting the getting ready process is key.

It can take a queen anywhere from one hour to six hours, or even more to get ready.

When transforming from their everyday boy self to their drag persona, there’s a moment in the process that they look in the mirror and know they’ve transformed. 

For both queens, Nayda and Dolce, that transformative moment is the second they pop on their lashes. Dolce said,

“Honestly it’s the lashes…I feel like as soon as I put them on I’m like, now I feel like myself”

Though the lashes elicit the transformation, there is something special about putting your wig on for the first time in drag.

For Nayda that was the moment that she felt like everything changed.

“I definitely felt like, whoa, the wig changes everything. That’s really the moment you know. You do lashes and you’re like okay wow, then wig is when you’re like, okay here we are”

For Dolce, the first time she put on a high quality and real wig, it was like something she had never felt before.

“I had little costume wigs that weren’t that great. I remember my first nice wig I bought was a neon pink lace front. I remember it was a very different experience…
That moment I put it on I was like okay, I want to take this to the next level”

 

Perfecting the getting ready process and finding the wig that makes you feel like yourself doesn’t always happen right away.

The first performance a drag queen does can be a scary and chaotic time.

Sometimes a queen has to learn the ropes first and build up to that first performance. However, you can only wait so long for the right time, as Dolce learned. 

“I went out in drag for the first time, and that was my first night out. I didn’t perform for months after that. I wanted to wait for the right time and the right song. 
Honestly, the right time and the right song never comes, so I ended up just doing it and getting it out of the way and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made”

Taking that leap to finally perform is exhilarating, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be a challenge.

The first time Dolce performed, her wig came off.

“Actually my first time performing my wig came off. It was literally a hot mess. I made the best out of the situation. I remember when the wig came off, I put it in my mouth and started shaking it around.
I think at that moment, when that happened, I thought okay, this is as bad as it’s going to get, I can only go up from here”

Though a wig malfunction stole the show for Dolce’s first performance, there’s something about being in drag that elevates a persons confidence.

Nayda describes the experience of changing from her everyday self to her drag persona as a complete 180.

“I’m typically pretty confident in my everyday life as a boy, but drag is like something different…you’re such an extravagant character that people are naturally drawn to you.
Like I can do anything, and I’m not afraid”

That confidence that exudes from both Nayda and Dolce has been nurtured from the Dallas drag community.

Dallas may be a big metroplex, but the drag community is one where everyone knows each other and helps build each other up. To Nayda, it means everything.

“It means the world to me. One thing about it is that, it is very competitive, and I think that’s good. That makes you want to work harder and work towards your art and better it always. You never want to stop trying to be better” 

Having moved from Houston to Dallas, Dolce was able to find a new home in the Dallas drag community. 

“Whenever I came to Dallas I found my tribe. I think that my kind of style of drag was embraced here in a way that I hadn’t experience before.
It gave me more opportunities to grow and progress in my persona, my looks and my performances”

Drag is a performance art that gives people the avenue to express their creative freedom and celebrate their authentic self. 

Pride month is a time to remember and celebrate the courageous efforts that the trans women of color and the entire LGBTQ+ community that came before battled to allow the queer generation today to express themselves freely – in or out of drag!

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Watch the full interview here: Inside the Life of a Dallas Drag Queen

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Follow our Instagrams:

@naydamontana

@dolcestrutts

@silkorlace

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