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Ernesto Olea

Everything You Want to Know About Being a 20-Year-Old Drag Queen

If you’re a millenial, you have probably heard of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” by now. If you haven’t, the reality show features RuPaul as he searches for “America’s next drag superstar.” Have you ever wondered though, how does a person get involved with drag? Well, Ernesto- also known as drag queen Lea Guerrero- shared how he hopes to become the next biggest drag queen in the industry. 

Ernesto’s love for drag started when he was still in high school. “I first got interested in drag when I was 16,” he says. “Seeing Kim Chi on YouTube really got me wanting to try experimenting with makeup!” In fact, Ernesto’s experience with makeup inspired him to collaborate with his co-worker, Sarina, and release a palette. However, he admits that drag makeup is a lot more dramatic than an everyday makeup look. “We don’t lightly fluff on a contour, we pack it on.”


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While makeup was Ernesto’s introduction into the drag world, he admits it’s not the first step in his process when it comes to getting ready for a show. “I choose the music first, then try to revolve my outfit around what my choreography would be and how it would look with song.” The whole process of getting ready for a show takes him about two weeks. But, beyond the makeup, dancing, and costumes, Ernesto says that his favorite part of performing is that drag allows him to express his feminine side. “I would always worry about being too much, but in drag I don’t have to worry at all!” Unfortunately, being under 21 means Ernesto has a hard time booking gigs because many are held at bars. When he does book a gig, they tend to be in Chicago. 

Although he’s still starting out in the drag world, Ernesto already has quite the fanbase. “My friends are all for it,” he shares. You can see how much support he has by just checking out his social media. However, he shares that not everyone has been as supportive as his friends. “My parents on the other hand don’t really support it, but I’m still going to keep performing, whether they like it or not.” In fact, Ernesto advises anyone who is interested in drag to try it out. “Drag is an art style, everyone should feel welcome to express themselves through it!”  


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At only 20, Ernesto sees himself growing in the drag industry. “I want to be the best drag queen in Chicago!” He also hopes to be on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” one day. “Season 14? Look out for it!”

If you’re in the Chicago area, you can check out Lea Guerrero at the Bug House Theater on March 14th at 5 PM. 

Aggie is an English major with a concentration in professional writing at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
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