Simply put, she is one of the most amazing new talents on the scene and the first person I dared to adopt as my drag daughter. She is a big gurl with even bigger talent and if she keeps improving at the hypersonic rate she is, there will be no stopping her.
What made you start performing?
It was an unexpected series of events that led to my performing in drag. I have performed on stage on and off for years, and used to be part of a bluegrass/newgrass band that played rock and roll with bluegrass instruments, so singing and being on stage was nothing new. When I moved back to Chattanooga in June of 2011, I did a couple of talent nights at a local bar, playing guitar and singing. My performances went fine and were well received, but they weren’t stellar. Plus, I was a fat, bald dude performing in a show bar, so it really wasn’t the right place or the right time. Then a few short weeks after my last talent night, my best friend asked me to participate in a drag pageant because they needed another contestant. I reluctantly agreed. The first night I got all painted up and dressed in costume, he just looked at me with this shocked face, stared for a minute, and said: “You’re pretty!” I did a dry run of my first drag performance, “Love Songs” by Fleming and John, and that is when Cherokee Dawn was born, and my best friend officially became my Drag Mama. I won 2nd Runner Up in the 2011 Miss 50 States pageant, and immediately began to get bookings after that. I have to say I was hooked! And I couldn’t have done a single bit of it without the love, support, and encouragement from my Drag Mama, Victoria St. James.
Who was the first drag queen you ever saw, and what did you think?
When I was 16, I would go hang out in the parking lot of the gay bars in Gadsden, Alabama, since I was too young to actually get inside. That is where I met Marlena Preston for the first time. She took me under her wing and brought me back to the dressing room, and I would help her and the other queens get ready for their shows. Although I admired her talent and her art, what I admired most about her and the other queens she introduced me to was this kind of strength that all drag queens have. It was an underlying confidence that is hard to put into words, but it is a strength that is always quietly present in everything they do. I think a drag queens would outshine a bunch of butch dudes in fierceness any day!
Who are your musical influences?
There are too many to name! Although I like lots of different music, I also have huge gaps in my musical knowledge and I get exposed to something new every day. Still, I always seem to gravitate most to old-school classic rock, lesbian folk music, and very bare bones Appalachian stuff. Nanci Griffith is the reason I ever picked up a guitar, so on the guitar I play a lot of her stuff, and a lot of Emmylou Harris. Here’s a list of some favorites: Nanci Griffith, Emmylou Harris, Annie Lennox, Cyndi Lauper, Sheryl Crow, Joan Jett, Melissa Etheridge, Shawn Colvin, Tori Amos, Fleetwood Mac, Aretha Franklin, and Jessie J.
What do you like most about entertaining? Seeing the smiles on peoples’ faces when they are enjoying the music and the show.
Whom do people compare you to?
I’ve been told I do a spot-on Divine, but at the MAC counter I’m often mistaken for Angelina Jolie.
Now, some silly but funny questions
Hamburger or hot dog?
Hamburger! I don’t trust the by-products in hot dogs. I like my lips and peckers fresh, not hydrogenated.
Who would win in a fight: Cher or Madonna?
Madonna would win the fight because she’s so buff, but Cher wouldn’t die because she’s so hydrogenated. You know what they say: After a nuclear holocaust, the only two things left alive will be cockroaches and Cher.
What scares you?
The ocean, and Republicans.
Rihanna found love in a hopeless place. Where did you find it?
Honey, I’m still looking for it! Although I’m proud to say that I HAVE loved, I’m still waiting to know what it feels like to have that love returned.
Which Scooby Doo character are you and what’s your favorite Scooby snack?
I’m clearly Velma Dinkley, since I’m such a lesbian. My favorite Scooby Snack is nachos, especially with crawdads on’em.
If you were made to battle other drag queens like the Hunger Games, how would you defeat your rivals?
I would throw a larger-than-life-sized dildo in the middle of the arena. When all the queens start fighting to jump on it, I vaporize them with lasers that shoot from my Disco-Titties.
Anything else you’d like to say to your readers?
Life is SHORT, so laugh and love often, forgive more, and never forget to floss.