Don’t Be a Drag Just be a Queen

Name: Yelena

Major: Creative Writing

Hometown: Jacksonville

Year: Senior


Her Campus (HC): How would you describe your personal style?

Yelena (Y):  My style in drag is a lot like my boy style. It has ‘80s volume, ‘90s grunge, and I’m all about the fashion today. I like everything from big shoulder pads, to high plat formed sneakers, to really ornate accessories. I don’t mean to brag but I’m the Prince of DIY fashion.

HC: When did you start doing drag?

Y: It was a bunch of little things that added up. All my close friends in Jacksonville were into the scene. I bought my first ever make up from Myron Morgan/Serena ChaCha.

HC: How did your first drag show go?

Y: I was second and quite devastated. But I looked a hot mess so by all means I was second. My look was off but I was great at working the audience and lipsyncing.

HC: Where do you usually perform?

Y: I’ve performed mainly in Tallahassee. I performed at a revue in Jacksonville with some girls from other states and it was amazing. My sister Kim Ono Roxx put it together and she remains a close sister.

HC: Where did the name Yelena come from?

Y: My sisters' names, Magdalena & Annalise. They’re my twin sisters and I love them so I just blended their names. My boy name is Jacob so obviously my parents got more creative over time via names.

HC: Who are your drag idols?

Y: I’ve always been a fan of Yara Sofia, Sharon Needles, and Raja. I think androgynous, sexy, and bold are the biggest elements of my drag.

HC: What's your favorite song to lip sync to?

Y: OMG. What a hard question. I love ‘80s rock women and ‘90s bad girls. I try to keep everyone guessing on what I’m going to do.

HC: Would you ever apply to be on "RuPaul's Drag Race"?

Y: It really is a dream for me. But I don’t want to go on the show too early. I want to be polished enough and I’ve known people that have gone on too early in their career.

HC: What's the most challenging part about doing drag?

Y: Finding a boyfriend. Haha, JK but that’s hard too. Being in a small town, people ask me about Yelena more than Jacob, but that is part of the deal. I’m an entertainer and I’m constantly in and out of an illusion, so at times I’ve wondered if this is really the life for me. It is expensive, competitive, vicious at times, and a lot of work, BUT I wouldn’t have it any other way.

HC: What is the most rewarding part of doing drag?

Y: I’ve had so many special moments. I’ll perform a song and watch people tear up or scream with me or just lose their mind that I am actually a biological man. Sometimes when men can’t clock me I feel like a CIA agent.

HC: Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Y: A fashion journalist with weekends as a drag diva extraordinaire.

HC: How long does it take you to get into drag?

 Y: Approximately 3-5 hours. I take my time. There is a lot to be done before a show. Everything from shaving, make up, padding, costuming, not to mention I had to learn to drive in heels.

HC: What's your favorite makeup product?

Y:  Lip stick, lip stick, lip stick.

HC: Do you name your wigs? If so, what are your wigs' names?

Y: I have over ten wigs. A lot of them I’m saving for special occasions. I also have hair pieces and extensions and bump-its. I have naturally long hair as a boy so whenever I get the chance I like to showcase my natural hair line. I’ve never named them but certain ones are really for certain sort of characters. Like my Princess Leia wig or this big blonde one that is completely Christina/Nicki.

HC: What advice would you give to budding drag queens?

Y: Save up your money and leave your expectations at the door. I’ve had girls steal from me, come for me, not book me on purpose, read me. You have to have the skin of a gay armadillo to make it in this industry.

HC: Do you consider yourself a diva?

Y:  I am the nicest queen you will meet in Tallahassee. Anyone can tell you that. No matter how drunk you are, chances are I will still take a photo with you.

HC: Do you get along with other drag queens?

Y:  I can get along with anyone. I think a lot of queens can’t get along with themselves.

HC: What's it like back stage at drag shows?

Y:  F-ing chaos. A reality show could be on VH1 called Backstage of a Tallahassee Drag Show. I’ve seen fights, theft, and rudeness, but I’ve also seen love, commitment, and determination. Drag is like a welcomed disease. There are so many reasons not to do it, but you still do.

HC: What was your best performance? Worst performance?

Y: I think of my best performances was “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera. I wore this Audrey Hepburn inspired green velvet pearl embroidered detailed dress. My make up was subtle and I wore just a single extension. I think the biggest thing with me about drag is how happy it has made me. I used to dress like a typical guy and go to the gym every other day take Creatine non-stop. I was getting a lot of male attention but I was so unhappy because I wasn't able to express myself. Drag made me stop all that and find peace with my sexuality, femininity, and my spirit.