What's the Tea? Catching Up with our Kings and Queens during COVID-19
Updated: May 5, 2022
We have been away from the dancefloor for TOO long. Do our bodies even know how to move anymore?
For the last three months (and counting), bars, nightclubs, and other gathering spaces for LGBTQ+ folx have closed their doors. While it's only temporary, these closures resulted in a lot of displaced entertainers (many of whom relied solely on their income from performing).
And now, for the first time since Stonewall, Pride Month has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Subsequently, on May 25, George Floyd, a Black man from Minneapolis, was also murdered and has spurred a worldwide outcry over racism and injustice. Needless to say, summer started early and it hasn't gone at all as planned. For many LGBTQ+ folx, no Pride events are scheduled (due to both above reasons). Pride is paused, not canceled. And this is OK.
During this time a lot of performers used their furlough as a means to learn more about their craft and costuming, some turned to social media to perform. Some went as far as to stop doing drag all together and really focus on themselves.
"The majority of my time during the lockdown has been making masks. A large majority of those have been donated to Micah Harold of Red Handed Tattoo, which he in-turn got to medical personnel who were in need during the shortage of PPE. I am currently shifting gears to work on costumes for upcoming shows, but will continue to make masks as long as people request/need them. I am doing well; I spent a lot of time watching other queens live (on social media) while sewing." — Jessica Upchurch (Jessica St. James)
"I’ve been working on my mental health and trying to be a place where people can talk about their experiences and keeping sane by doing TikToks." — Mat Latz (June Cleavage)
"Faye ran into the woods after Valentine’s Day to take a much deserved period of rejuvenation and rest. After being rudely woken up by her council elders, she’s now refining her craft, skills, and sense of self to come back with not just a bang, but a whole crash." — Tyler Cameryn (Faye Hexx)
"It's been tough being away from the stage, you start to miss the cheering and applause. Plus hanging out with my sisters in the dressing room, we always have such a blast getting ready for the shows. Then hanging out after the show with my other friends and having drinks with them also. Central Station is like a second home and its a safe place for us to express and be ourselves." — Patrick Wehrenberg (Violet Ray)
"I’ve spent most of my time working, either at my job or out on my mom and stepdad’s land. Being away from the stage has been hard because it is such a huge creative outlet for me. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on new looks and performances. Y’all may have missed the Korner Lounge Queens and King, but we have missed y’all more! Be ready for the comeback!" — Leigh Disotell (Braden Styles)
"During quarantine, I’ve been taking time to reconnect with myself. Taking a break from Mirage has forced me to find out who exactly Jacob is again. I’ve been mountain biking, doing yoga, and meditating. It’s been great for both mind and body." — Jacob Corder (Mirage)
"So when COVID-19 hit, I went through a lot of emotions. I was afraid if I might not survive, or if our hospital could handle it, but I’m still here! I’ve just been working in the ER like normal and being away from the stage has been odd. I love the break, but I wanna show everyone a newer Duck. I started last October and since then, I feel like I’ve grown so much. From makeup to hair, to song selection and so much more, I feel more confident and my drag is getting to a point that I’m starting to love it. I’m far from where I wanna be, but that’s a part of the journey." — Jayln' Hampton (Duck)
"Since the lockdown started, I celebrated my 32nd birthday on March 20 with just my close family. It will be a birthday I won’t ever forget for sure. After that, the lockdown hasn’t been sugar plums and roses, to say the least. My work hours were cut and I started working only half days to supply hospitals and other essential businesses with tents as needed. With so much time on my hands, I started making masks for family and friends. I also went grocery shopping for friends and family who were unable to get out. I was able to help friends in difficult times. I also deep cleaned my house and helped my parents with things around their house. I have been playing with my three fur babies, cleaning and organizing all my drag closets throughout the house, and finally started getting my upstairs drag room the way I wanted it. I have started designing/styling hair more during the downtime and working on new costumes. I have found myself cooking/baking new things. One of my favorite new baked items I stumbled across is lemon blueberry bread from scratch. It is AMAZING! I have missed the stage not only at my home bar, Central Station but also my home away from home, the Bourbon Pub (NOLA) and P!nk (Monroe). I have enjoyed not having to shave for the past four months, though! I’ve been able to rock a beard, chest hair, and leg hair. It was a total change for me. Now having a beard, my dad wanted to get a family photo to document this rare occasion. It made me laugh a little, but it has been nice. I do miss all my performing sisters and brothers very much. Thanks to social media, FaceTime, text, and old fashion phone calls, I’ve been able to stay connected with everyone. I will say it has been an absolute treat to see some of them do live performances from their homes. I know I had an itch to go live with a performance, but then remembered I’d have to shave. LOL. I really do miss seeing the familiar faces of patrons, friends, bartenders, security, and family at the shows. I know one day soon we shall all be back together. Until then stay safe, know you are not alone, and know I love and miss you all…" — Donnie Cox (Sarina Styles)
"When news of the mandated quarantine was announced, I was in a state of disbelief. At first, I panicked because both of my jobs immediately stopped. I’m a hairstylist by day and a showgirl by night. I’ve been a drag performer since 2009 and have been on stage every weekend since. For a while, it was my full-time job. I was traveling to Dallas twice a week, one or two nights to Longview, and two nights to Shreveport. I was heartbroken and scared. I wasn’t sure exactly what would happen. All my income had stopped. It was terrifying. I went into a very dark place of depression because I didn’t know how to handle my emotions, but after a few weeks, I snapped out of it and have been very productive. I’ve adopted the attitude that this is the best year of change for me.
Things have been moving up for me, too. I started working at a new salon, I've perfected my drag costumes and performances by being part of virtual drag shows with Local Queen Merch, and I’ve shared that “stage” with entertainers from across the globe! It pushed me to do things I wouldn’t have done otherwise. New makeup looks, costuming — I really found a part of myself I forgot was there, and it also reminded me of why I started drag in the first place.
While talking to my sister and Saturday night cohost, Sarina Styles we laughed because this is the longest period of time in 11 years that we haven’t seen each other. With that said, we are definitely ready to be back on stage with our Central Station family! Always remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel!" — Jade Preziosi (Jade Summers)
"Since the quarantine started, I’ve taken some much needed me time. I’ve been able to clean and declutter my living space and get all of my drag cleaned and in order. I have also donated a lot of things that I no longer needed. I work at Joann Fabric and we were deemed 'essential' because we sell fabric for masks, so I have luckily been able to keep working. I have also done a few live performances and makeup videos throughout this time. It has helped me to practice makeup and explore more.
One of the things that excited me the most is that this break from the stage has given me time to grow back my eyebrows. They haven’t been there for eight years now and I finally have them again! I can’t wait to be back on the stage with my sisters and to put on a great show! Be sure to look out for the 1025 Beauties of Central Station to see all of our new improvements and don’t forget to come play some bingo with me every other Sunday! Much love to everyone, and please stay safe and healthy!"
—Mattie Barrilleaux (Mya Andrews)
WATCH NOW ———
Missing your favorite drag artists? We've curated a few videos of past performances for your viewing pleasure. Feel free to watch and tip the performers! They've been unable to work during this time and could use the extra coin.
TIP BRADEN STYLES:
Venmo — @BreLeiDis
TIP CHI CHI DEVAYNE:
Cashapp — $ZavionDavenport
Paypal — firstname.lastname@example.org Venmo — @Zavion-Davenport
TIP COLTON STYLES:
Venmo — @Austin-Pike-9
TIP DANITY STYLES:
CashApp — $thehalfwhitekid
PayPal — email@example.com
Venmo — @Dorien-Hall
Zelle — firstname.lastname@example.org
PayPal — paypal.me/jayln91109
Venmo — @awesome91109
TIP ESTARA KNOWLES:
CashApp — $Hypnotickidd
Venmo — @William-Montgomery-69
TIP FAYE HEXX:
TIP JADE SUMMERS:
CashApp — $JadePreziosi
PayPal — email@example.com
Venmo — @Jade-Preziosi
TIP JESSICA ST. JAMES:
Paypal — firstname.lastname@example.org
TIP JUNE CLEAVAGE:
PayPal — email@example.com
TIP LADI PHAT KAT
CashApp — $klassikcontroller19
Venmo — @Theladiphatkat
TIP LEMON POP:
CashApp — $lemondrag
Venmo — @lemondrag
PayPal — paypal.me/jacobcorder
CashApp — $JacobCorder
Venmo — @JacobTCorder
TIP MYA ANDREWS:
Venmo — @Mattie-Barrilleaux
TIP SABLE MONET:
PayPal — firstname.lastname@example.org
Venmo — @Sable-MoNet
TIP SARINA STYLES:
CashApp — $SarinaStyles247
PayPal — email@example.com
Venmo — @Donnie-Cox-1
CashApp — $kingvanitybomb
TIP VIOLET RAY:
CashApp — $PatrickWehrenberg
PayPal — paypal.me/PatrickWehrenberg
Venmo — @Patrick-Wehrenberg
TIP ZAZA GIGANTE:
Venmo — @Zaza_gigante