Luna Steelheart is a drag queen from Kansas City, Missouri who has a unique style of witch glam drag where she combines the world of magic with the real world and always looks stunning doing so. You can see her performing with NclusionPlus, an organization in Columbia, Missouri that welcomes all forms of drag but if she is not performing with them, you can see her performing at venues all over Missouri.
Audio of Transcript:
Connor McDonald: Alright, is a recording for you.
Luna Steelheart: Um, wait. Meeting is being recorded continue. Alright yes, it shows it is recording.
Connor McDonald: Alright. Well hi. How are you today?
Luna Steelheart: I’m doing great. How are you?
Connor McDonald: I’m doing fantastic. So, would you like to say your drag name, your age, and where you are a performer at?
Luna Steelheart: Um. So my name is Luna Steelheart. Is Luna as in the Spanish word for moon, steel as the metal and heart as the organ. I’m 22 years old and I don’t really have a particular place that I am tied to performing. I mostly perform in Kansas city and in Columbia Missouri.
Connor McDonald: Perfect. Why did you choose your name for drag?
Luna Steelheart: So actually that’s a funny story and I’m glad you asked, because for me i’ve always been drawn to the name Luna. Luna has always been a name of mystery, a name of the night, and I never felt so connected to the night as I have with the name Luna. It represents the moon, and all things under the stars. They were about partying and having fun and all of the fun things that are tied to the moon. As Steelheart, it was actually a name that was given to me by a friend of mine back in high school and originally, my name was going to be Luna Lovegood. So, my lack of knowledge, I didn’t know that Luna Lovegood was already a character created in Harry Potter so from there, it became like “Okay. Well now, I need to find an new last name,” and somebody goes “well, why don’t you choose Steelheart,” and I was like “steel heart like, what do you mean,” and she goes “Oh well, you know steal their hearts away or your heart can be as cold as steel and was I was like “dual meaning. I love it.” So, we just kind of took on that name and it’s been kind of an adventure with it as well along the four years that I’ve been doing that.
Connor McDonald: Oh, I love that. So, you are originally from the St Louis area. Is that correct?
Luna Steelheart: That is correct. I got my start, my very first performance, was at none other than St. Charles Community College and then my second performance, but my first performance at a bar, was actually at Attitude Nightclub back in 2017 and that’s where I got my start. I’ve had been doing drag there for about a year and a half, almost two years, until I moved to Kansas city and kind of moved around a little bit there further.
Connor McDonald: So, why did you move out to Kansas city? Was it for a job? Was it for drag?
Luna Steelheart: A little bit of everything. I honestly moved out to Kansas city for a fresh start. I knew the drag scene was a lot bigger and I knew I’d be able to make a better name for myself and all of the dreams have come through. Kansas city is a place where I have some family and some friends and decided to move out there to better my life, but ultimately it’s been better for my drag as well.
Connor McDonald: Do you think that the drag scene is different out in Kansas city than it is in St Louis?
Luna Steelheart: For sure. There’s definitely a different style of everything, especially when it comes to geolocation. I’d have to say in St. Louis there’s a lot more freedom of artistic ability. As far as in St. Louis, there’s a lot of different types of drag that I haven’t seen out in Kansas city, whether it be, but I haven’t gotten to discover that part or actually be part of that part of the drag community, is up in the air as to if I have gotten to work with these types of people, but I think in St. Louis, there is definitely more artistic theme when it comes to drag. There’s like a lot more cosplayers there’s, a lot more like ghoulish like creepier side effects that you might see on Dracula, and here in Kansas city there’s a lot more pageant, there’s a lot more club, there’s a lot more artistry in the sense of seeing drag in of its purest art form but there isn’t as many drag kings in Kansas City as there are in St. Louis.
Connor McDonald: I have seen a few drag kings in St Louis.
Luna Steelheart: There are defiantly more in St. Louis than from Kansas city for sure.
Connor McDonald: Interesting. How were you first exposed to drag?
Luna Steelheart: Honestly, the way it started, for me, might have been a lot different than a lot of other people. So for me, it started at a very young age, it used to be me and my sister used to be roughly around the same body size and shape and size to go around in her dresses and play dress up with her and I touched on, you know masculinity and femininity are nothing more than social constructs and so from there, I kind of explored that a little bit further, and it wasn’t until high school that a friend of mine had shown me none other than Rupaul Drag Race contestant from season five, Alyssa Edwards, and I kind of found a little bit more activity on that and I started to research a lot more about drag. Started learning the background and truly discovering that was because for a while I started to contemplate the idea if I were trans or if I were gender fluid, non binary, or if I was just a drag queen who very much enjoys expressing our work through gender identity.
Connor McDonald: So, drag has become a form of self expression in a way?
Luna Steelheart: For sure. I think there was a quote on Dracula that I truly resonated with what was said and I say it time and time again. It’s “drag is art and art is subjective and it is nobody’s place to judge. It is truly the artists form of expression that allows you to resonate with the art form itself.
Connor McDonald: I like that. How would you describe your drag right now.
Luna Steelheart: I would consider it to be more on the side of witchy glamour. I like to describe it that way because I find beauty in dark things, whether it be you know the tale of a win or a story of you know some type of monster, there’s always a beauty behind it, like the story of Medusa, but it’s portrayed as a monster that people mess up men, but there is a monster in everybody and that’s the beauty behind it all, we are all in some form a monster and there’s a beauty to it.
Connor MvcDonald: That’s very beautiful. So, would you define which is in monsters to be influencing your drag or are there other people or other aspects that influenced your drag?
Luna Steelheart: Um. See for myself, I find art through my music that would allow me to feel inspired, but as far as like my look and everything else I don’t really draw inspiration from another person just because my own look comes from my own interpretation of who has inspired me. So, for instance, if I were to do a lady gaga number which I would say is more my main influence, if I were to do a lady gaga number, I would do something that I feel I can play Gaga my own or just pick somebody up and go “Okay, they did a rough kind of version of where it’s evolved from.”
Connor McDonald: I like that. So, do you remember your first time in drag?
Luna Steelheart: I don’t think I could ever forget it, it was a very hot day on June 17, 2017, and the reason I remember that day is because that is Luna’s birthday. I was actually out of Pride for St. Charles and I was wearing nothing more than a dress that was covered in glitter and a slit up the leg and I was wearing a wig that I bought from Wish and I had no more makeup than you know an everyday standard cis-woman because we I didn’t know what drag was and so I didn’t really have my eyebrows all the way glued down, my wig would kind of slide around, my body didn’t quite have the shape that it would today but. Of course, I would agree that you know everywhere it’s got its own start you know it’s moments like that that we look back at where we began and just see how far we’ve come.
Connor McDonald: That’s very inspiring. So, how did your friends and family feel about drag or did you care what they think?
Luna Steelheart: About what?
Connor McDonald: Did your friends and family feel okay about you doing drag or did you even care about them or care about their opinions.
Luna Steelheart: In the beginning there was a lot of, what’s the word I’m looking for? A presumption. Okay, a lot of people kind of looked at me a little different as in like “Why would you want to do this,” “this is your way of pointing to become a woman”, “is this you telling us something”, in that, like, “is another style of speaking” like “is this a way to lighten the punch” and a lot of friends were starting to think that I was a little obsessive with my drag because at first, giving all of your attention and at the time they were expressing, who is in its truth and in its entirety or the person to express themselves in ways that they haven’t quite understood yet because that’s all they’ve known is the press version of me and, you know, I opened up and at first with my family like there’s only a few family members that know still to this day, but for my immediate family, at first, they were like “we support you during this you’re an adult now. Just as long as if you don’t do make up in the House. You keep it down in your room, you don’t come up in full face, you don’t get ready here if you’re getting ready first show.” You know “don’t get ready here, get ready at a friend’s house and then don’t come home with makeup on because they would attract the neighbors” and they didn’t want to have to answer questions for neighbors but they weren’t ready to fully answer, which I understand and respect slowly.
Connor McDonald: So it seems more that your family was more worried about their image than your image.
Luna Steelheart: In some aspect, Yes. They were also afraid that me walking the streets looking the way I did was kind of a call out to the people who might be a bully and try to mug me or beat me or ultimately killed me, and that was their biggest fear, because my moms already lost one child, she did not have any intention to lose another.
Connor McDonald: I’m so sorry.
Luna STeelheart: That’s all right, I actually embrace my sister and I actually wear her as part of my body for the rest of my life. I have a tattoo on my right wrist that allows her to be with me every single day.
Connor McDonald: That’s beautiful.
Luna Steelheart: For sure.
Connor McDonald: So, how has Covid-19 affected your drag?
Luna Steelheart: For some, it hindered their ability to perform. For me, it gave me the ultimate green light to flourish and grow and prosper within it because if you’re not keeping up with it you’re saying behind the scenes. So, that’s the way I’ve always looked at it as, I had towards the beginning of drag, right before it hit I had one performance in Kansas city on my 21st birthday and then all the nightclubs went down and I wasn’t able to perform for a couple weeks and then an old friend of mine Anthony Flogger actually hit me up and messaged me and was like “Hey. How would you feel about doing online shows? You know, you have a place to stay and if there’s any information, we can give you with yours,” and I was like “Of course. I’m in,” and so I’ve been performing there ever since and they’ve accepted me as part of the family, and you know they don’t even call me an out-of-towner anymore. They call me a hometown performer because of how often I get to perform there and really see my drag grow and change and evolve into what it is today, and I couldn’t be more grateful than how I currently feel.
Connor McDonald: That’s good. Do you get any reactions from people who see you do drag or see you doing drag during Covid?
Luna Steelheart: Do you mean as far as fans or?
Connor McDonald: As far as fans or people saying that it might be a bad idea, because of the pandemic.
Luna Steelheart: I’ve had a lot of people that are not super familiar with the art form tell me “Oh, you should be careful, you know at least always wear your mask,” you know just give me all the precautions that I already knew. They had given me a lot of precautions to live by that some people around me do not, but I was like keeping me away from performing is like taking a fish out of water and calling it free. So, I mean, and a lot of my fans that were coming to the shows, I created a larger fanbase. You know a lot of people say that they’re thankful that they actually have an outlet to be able to be entertained and feel connected with in a time where connectivity and entertainment are kind of hard to come by, to the effect of that.
Connor McDonald: That is understandable. I’m glad that you’re still able to do shows, and that you’re being precocious.
Luna Steelheart: Always.
Connor McDonald: So do you have a drag family? Because I know that in many aspects of the world, a great drag queen usually partakes in having a family’s drag mother.
Luna Steelheart: Yeah, of course. Um towards my start, I did have a drag mother. I no longer have a drag mother and I would like to keep that a little private just because we did have a falling out but, you know, the future is always bright. But no, I’ve actually taken on my own drag daughter. Her name is Regina Steelheart. She’s my pride and joy, she makes me happy, she makes me smile, and she always keeps me a motivated very much as a mother and the best friend and, you know just every sense of the word and reaching us actually got a new bouncing baby or baby sister on the way. Her name is Zelena Steeheart and we were growing it from there and I’m going to see how it works, and you know what works for us, and so on, so forth, so I’m very excited. I’ve got lots of sisters and a couple brother. You know, they all just keep me active and motivated.
Connor McDonald: So you have a big family then?
Luna Steelheart: Oh, for sure.
Connor McDonald: I’m glad to hear that because I know drag communities are often very helpful and I’m glad to see that pertains to your family as well.
Luna Steelheart: For Sure.
Connor McDonald: So, how would you identify yourself in and out of drag, if you are are okay with it. Maybe specific pronounce.
Luna Steelheart: Oh yeah. In drag i’m strictly she/her/hers. The way I look at it, I put a lot of work and to look like to represent the females of the group so I would like to be referred to as such. But out of drag, I am open to any term. Whether it be she/her/hers, they/them/theirs, He/him/his, as long as it’s not hyper masculine such as dude, sir, bro, man, and buddy. Like those are just ones that I kind of don’t feel like I relate to those terms. I don’t feel like they represent me very well. However, it wants to be worded, but I just don’t relate to those words and those are my pronouns.
Connor McDonald: That makes sense. I know, usually fine and obviously not to have any terms, that would be disrespectful to you as well.
Luna Steelheart: Oh, of course, yeah.
Connor McDonald: So how has drag impacted your life?
Luna Steelheart: Honestly, it has been my hope to the darker parts of my life from different things it and whenever I shovel away my anxiety, I started to think the light that drag has inspired me to be in. And, been able to show my life, a lot more meaning and been able to allow me to connect with other people in ways that I could never dream of. It allows me to just see that everything does have an art form and that all art is beautiful. I do find a lot of connectivity between myself and my drag persona and whenever I’m feeling down or scared, Luna is typically my torch, my strength, and my Armor to continue to be strong and, you know, hold my ground and be who I am.
Connor McDonald: So you would say that drag has changed you personally as well as behaviorally?
Luna Steelheart: Absolutely.
Connor McDonald: So, how would you describe drag in general?
Luna Steelheart: Um. Well, I’d like to kind of answer through somebody else, the way that Rupaul says it that is we’re all born naked and the rest is drag. Anything to modify your persona to be something other than what you are on an everyday basis is exactly what drag is. It is a form of escapism. It’s a form of personality that you can get to only discover whenever you do change from what you currently know as your normal and you know as artists, that truly is what it is. I mean if you dress up for Halloween, I suppose that is a form of drag and you know all forms of drag are to be admired and loved and seen as an artistic. And you know, just keep on the bright side of everything, and you know, it’s exactly and anything and everything you could ever hope to or hope or dream, it is.
Connor McDonald: That’s great. So you would believe that the purpose of drag is for an art form?
Luna Steelheart: Absolutely. I don’t know. If there was anything other than an art form, I don’t think drag would be as big as it is today. Or, if at all.
Connor McDonald: Understandable. So, how would you like to further your drag in the future?
Luna Steelheart: For me, me shooting for the stars, but you know if we shoot for the stars and you land on the moon, then you know you know accomplished something phenomenal. But, for me, I would love to take this as far as going for a singing career, to be able to travel the country in the world, eventually the world, and be able to connect my art form and connect my positive vibes and communication and find responsibility help those who are also struggling with their self identification and their, their inner selves and I want people to know that to love yourself is the most important thing. To continue to be a light for others is how we make this world a better place and that’s really what I want to do. I want to make the world a better place, and the best way I know how is to connect to as many people as possible, and the best way, I know how to do, that is by elevating my fan base to be 1000 times larger than what it is now because through that, I can communicate with a lot more people with a lot less effort. Not that I would give it any less effort, but more so that I can connect to a lot of people in a shorter amount of time.
Connor McDonald: Makes sense. So, are you very focused right now on trying to raise your following on social media?
Luna Steelheart: As of right now, given the many types and focuses of drag, it’s a little difficult to keep up with social media pages. I don’t fully understand them as as a whole. I do try to gain more followers. I do try to, you know, come out myself to the best of my ability. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but the trial and error thing, and you know we’re just going to keep it monitored. Keep it updated. You know, keep looking forward to the next show.
Connor McDonald: Totally makes sense. Now with the future of your drag, does that also include being on a future season of drag race?
Luna Steelheart: Oh, absolutely. That’s one of my biggest dreams. I want to get, you know, to where my dreams will come to fruition, would be to be on Rupaul’s drag Race, then you know, even if I don’t make it onto Rupaul’s Drag race, I definitely would like to go on to Dragula or, you know, maybe American Idol just to be able to connect with some form of audience. To be able to elevate myself to the one that I know I can succeed.
Connor McDonald: I think that is a great goal to have.
Luna Steelheart: For sure.
Connor McDonald: So with drag race, how do you feel about drag race?
Luna Steelheart: As a whole the show or how I would feel on Drag Race as a contestant myself?
Connor McDonald: Either or.
Luna Steelheart: I feel like Drag Race as a whole is a very great T.V. show to be able to give fellow performers around the country a bigger name for themselves and be able to have it go mainstream and to have a lot of audiences that proceeds to multiple different people in multiple different ways. Like, if you’re a Katya fan you’re typically, you know, your humor is gauged towards that stuff, that if you’re a fan of Alaska, you know, your humor gauge goes the different way. If you’r,e you know, more for Violet than you like the lot of the dancing that she does or Kameron Michaels, same thing is her dancing and it goes to show that there’s so many different types of drag. There’s a lot of different ways to connect with it, and you know, seeing myself on the show, I could see how my brands would be able to be translated for the audiences not only the United States, but around the world, how some people around the world connects with me and therefore being able to give Rupaul’s Drag Race more fruits for flavor as well.
Connor McDonald: I like that. Do you think that there are any misconceptions that people have about drag?
Luna Steelheart: Um, I think the biggest misconception that a lot of people have about drag performers is that a lot of people think that drag and trans are the same thing or that if somebody is doing drag that they are basically saying that they are trans without them actually saying so and I would like throw those assumptions aside and just say that drag is drag. Trans is trans. They are separate but they are both beautiful in their own ways and my love of the trans community and my love for the drag community is unequivocal because they are so, just beautiful in their own way and I find a lot of connection with both of them, and you know, for their art trans drag performers and there are drag performers that do identify as trans, and you know, but those are two separate things just drag is a form of expression where trans is you living to be your true self, and you know, it truly does boil down to something as simple as that, like I said drag is art and trans is who you are.
Connor McDonald: I fully enjoyed that and I fully love that answer.
Luna Steelheart: Thank you.
Connor McDonald: Alright, well, that is all I have for you today. Thank you so much for doing this with me and thank you for joining me for this project.
Luna Steelheart: And I wish you the best on your fruits of your Labor as well.
Connor McDonald: Thank you so much, have a great rest your day.
Luna Steelheart: You as well.