Lorilie

Lorilie is a versatile drag queen located in Columbia Missouri. As the self described “Femme Fatale of the Midwest”, Lorilie gives everything from classic glamour to vintage spooky.

https://www.instagram.com/callmelorilie/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNeWOFIPCXMeYSNbD6hBZ3w/featured


Micro-podcast: Featured excerpts from interview
Audio of full interview


Transcription of above micro-podcast

INTERVIEWER: Okay, what do you think are some misconceptions people have about drag and where do you think they come from?

LORILIE: Like I said you mentioned the sexualizing which I think that is one thing that is often misunderstood.  I think also at least when I first started doing drag and when I first came out as gay, my parents accused me of being trans because they just didn’t understand the idea of being gay, they assumed it meant I was also trying to transition to be a woman which I am not.  I think people assume the same thing with drag like if you do drag you want to transition to be a woman, which is not true for everyone.  There are trans women who do drag and present themselves as drag queens and then there are trans men who do the same thing as drag kings.  But I think all of it just comes from ignorance and not knowing and not trying to learn more about it like the people who try to learn more about the different kinds of drag and the various people that do drag I think that they’ll understand eventually that like there is so much more that goes into drag than just putting on clothes of the opposite gender.

INTERVIEWER: Is there anything that you think would help change those misconceptions people have?LORILIE: I don’t know, like I said RuPaul’s drag race has become a really big thing and people obviously see all the time that there is like men who get on the show and they are drag queens. There have been a couple contestants that later came out as trans women and then this current season there is a trans man who does drag as a drag queen and I think that if there was more diversity shown through these mainstream platforms I think that would help a lot to broaden people’s eyes to the various different types of drag.


INTERVIEWER: When did you first hear about drag and what was your initial reaction to it?

LORILIE: When did I first hear about it? 

INTERVIEWE: Yep

LORILIE: I first heard about it when I was I don’t know, maybe we’ll say 16.  I saw RuPaul’s Drag Race for the first time on my TV, and I didn’t really know what it was at first.  I had just heard of RuPaul here and there before, I just didn’t really know what it was and then I just watched the show and I found out what it was through that and it just seemed like a lot of fun, and was really exciting.

INTERVIEWER: When did you start performing as a drag artist and what do you think made you start performing?

LORILIE: I first started performing 2-ish years ago, actually no I think 3 by now, yeah, 3 years ago by now.  And what was the second part of the question?

INTERVIEWER: Why did you start performing?

LORILIE: Okay, I did drag like I just practiced it a year before I even started performing because I wanted to try it out and see how I was at it.  And then around a year later I got the opportunity to perform and I just wanted to perform because I just felt like it was the next step.  There’s a lot of drag queens who are just like online entities but there is also like a majority of drag are like performers as well.  So, I just wanted to make that next step and become a performer.

INTERVIEWER: How did your family, friends, and other loved ones receive you becoming a drag artist?

LORILIE: My family actually doesn’t know that I do drag.  Coming out to them was like really, really difficult because they are really conservative and religious so I haven’t really told them and I feel like I would at some point in my life but I don’t know. I feel like it would have to like, I don’t know the circumstances would have to just be like perfect and I don’t know when that would happen.  Friends have mostly like I have always had a small circle of close friends and they’ve always been really supportive, so.  And at least through drag I’ve been able to build a new support system because it’s really helped like filtering out the people that I can like trust or can’t trust.

INTERVIEWER:  Okay.  Where does your drag name come from?

LORILIE: So, when I first started drag I wanted a name, cause the aesthetic I was going for.  Sorry, I’ll probably jump back and forth.  The aesthetic I wanted to go for was kind of like a little dark and like spooky but also I wanted like an old vintage kind of sounding name like a name that’s like not really used much anymore and plus there was like, I’m a Pokémon nerd and there was a Pokémon character I really liked with that name.  But I could never spell it right or correctly, so I spelled it the way I do, and it gets pronounced as like “lor-ah-lee” a lot which is like not it but at this point I don’t care I kind of brought that on myself, so.

INTERVIEWER: Okay, this one is sort of a long one.  There are lots of terms for types and styles of drag from drag queen to glamour queen to comedy queen to queer artist and camp queen among others.  Are there any particular labels you would use to categorize your drag and what kind of drag do you do/what’s your style?

LORILIE:  Not really, I just describe myself as a drag queen.  I pride myself on being able to do various types of drag, like I can be campy, I can be pretty or glamorous or spooky.  I can do various different things.  I know there’s a lot of drag queens who describe themselves as female impersonators as opposed to drag queens, and I think people like that might take drag more seriously.  Even though I take my drag seriously I don’t consider myself a female impersonator, I consider myself a drag queen.  Like I’m a performer and these days there’s so many different types of people who do so many different types of drag, so I refer to people as performers or drag artists as opposed to drag queens or drag kings because there is so much diversity these days.

INTERVIEWER:  Yeah, it is so broad.  The next question is does the type of drag you do affect your life as a drag artist? You kind of said you are pretty versatile, but you can still answer that if there is an answer.

LORILIE: Yeah, I have definitely gone through an evolution of drag style like when I first started like I said I wanted to be strictly dark and spooky but also very glamorous.  And I have since evolved past that like I don’t like putting myself in a box.  I think it is important as a drag artist at least if you want to become like a well renowned drag artist, which I am still working on obviously.  I think it is important that you have a certain brand for yourself and have a certain style core to you but I do think that everyone should try to be more diverse and versatile and try to do more things and want to do various different things.

INTERVIEWER:  Who or what has influenced your drag?

LORILIE: A lot of people I know get inspired by different fashion designers or actresses or singers, I’ve only ever been inspired by other drag performers because like I look at them and see what I want to see in myself.  Like when I first started, I was inspired by Pearl who was on season 7 of Drag Race.  I was also inspired by Vander Von Odd who has not been on Drag Race but they won the first season of the Boulet Brother’s Dragula which if you don’t know is like a more alternative show for like spookier and alternative styles of drag.  I really like gravitated towards her at first because like I said she did a lot of spookier stuff but she was also very glamorous.  But I am inspired by so many different people, like Naomi Smalls inspires me a lot, Laila McQueen, all these people have been on Drag Race and there are people who haven’t been on Drag Race who inspire me as well.  There are a lot of local queens throughout Missouri that I have seen or met, they inspire me as well.  So, I take a lot of inspiration from different drag artists.

INTERVIEWER:  Okay, do you consider your drag political and why or why not?

LORILIE: I do not consider my drag political.  I was never very into politics until I was able to vote, and the first time I was able to vote was when Trump and Hilary were both going for president.  After Trump won, I became a lot more political because I wasn’t a fan of the political climate that he created.  My drag does not translate over to that, I purely keep my drag for my purposes only which is just to like express my art and express myself through makeup and performance and costuming and all that.

INTERVIEWER: Okay, are you a part of a drag family/house/collective?

LORILIE: I am.  When I first started, I was probably by myself for like a year before a drag family and I was perfectly fine not being a part of that, but I will say after I was and after I got to know them and everything, I will say it is a lot more fun to be a part of a drag house or family.  Just because you are around more, and I don’t think all drag families are as close as we are like we are all very close.  I live with my drag mother who is not like a mother to me she is just like one of my best friends, and then I have two other drag family members who live together and we are all just super close.  We hang out all the time and have a good time together.  But it is just a great support system to be around queer like-minded people who share the same interests as you.

INTERVIEWER: I bet.  How often do you perform and where do you usually perform?

LORILIE:  I used to perform back before covid at Union Nightclub mostly in Columbia.  It shut down about a year ago.  Since then it has been harder to be able to perform.  I don’t really perform as much, I probably performed a few times a month before covid but now I perform about once a month.  So, drag has definitely been put on the backburner for me this past year.  We do perform like me and my drag family we do shows a couple times a month at Eastside Tavern here in Columbia, it’s just like a popup show that we do just to be able to still get out and perform.  I try to get bookings wherever, like I have performed at St. Louis a couple of times but in the past few months I have performed in Kansas City.  Just this past Friday was my first time performing there that was a lot of fun.  I used to perform in Springfield a lot, not so much anymore just because it is so far away but just here and there.

INTERVIEWER:  What goes into getting ready for a performance for you?

LORILIE: For me, I think everyone is different.  I am very anal about my performances.  I’m a very physical performer, I love to dance and use various dance moves and all of that and it’s a great way to exercise so I will literally like clear out my living room and just practice routines for stuff and just dance and it’s a great way to like get exercise but it’s a great way to just figure out what I want to do to a part of a song.  And I also just like I’m really anal about that stuff I will plan out everything like what I am wearing and what my makeup will look like and what makeup I will be wearing.  I plan out all of it to a detail or to a T.

INTERVIEWER: What are the biggest challenged to doing drag and being a drag artist?

LORILIE:  The biggest challenges, I think one of the biggest things I’ve struggled with is like drag today with Drag Race and all of these drag queens who aren’t on drag race like they become famous through Instagram, is there is a constant feel like you have to be, being a drag queen is a way to get famous now and I think that is a big problem.  When I first started doing drag I won’t lie I wanted to be on Drag Race but since then I’ve gotten to where I just love doing drag and getting on rag drag eventually would be really cool but if I don’t get on I would be okay with that.  But there is always that feeling of like people might be seen as better than you because they get more followers than you or likes than you and I think my problem is that I need to focus on myself and pushing myself as opposed to just like focusing on other people.

INTERVIEWER: Right, that is tough.  Is there anything unique to the drag scene where you live compared to other places in the country or world?

LORILIE: I don’t think there’s anything relatively unique in Columbia.  I know drag in Columbia has been going on for a very long time and there is a lot of history I don’t know about.  But one thing that is pretty cool is that we are kind of like in the middle of Missouri, so we have a lot of different styles of drag.  I will say there is not a lot of good drag in Columbia, but we have a lot of styles.  Kansas City is more like performance based, Springfield at least with the younger generation is more about looks, St. Louis is a lot of pageants and drag pageants that happen there.  They are more focused on establishment and polish and stuff like that whereas Columbia has a nice melting pot of various different styles and I think that’s kind of cool.

INTERVIEWER: What has the Covid-19 pandemic meant for your life as a drag artist

LORILIE: Kind of like what I said before our bar got shut down and it was kind of hard for us as a community and it has made it pretty hard for us to perform.  Like drag was the main thing I did it was my hobby and my therapy almost, so I’ve gotten to where it’s really difficult.  It was my hobby and not my main source of income like I have a job that I do full time but it was an extra way to get money.  Honestly that’s pretty much it like the bar was shut down so it became difficult to perform.  

INTERVIEWER:  Okay, so next is the sex and gender identity and expression category.  So, how do you identify in terms of your sex, gender identity, and gender expression out of drag?

LORILIE: I identify myself as a cisgender male, a gay man.  I will say that I do think that gender is becoming, at least when you do drag and the gender lines are blurred I think that gender is becoming more of like a construct thing.  Every now and then I do identify myself along the gender fluid spectrum.  But I mean that’s really it I am honestly I don’t care what pronouns I’m used with I don’t care about what gender I’m used with I don’t care I am honestly really loosey goosey with it honestly.

INTERVIEWER:  The next question is actually what pronouns do you use in drag and out of drag?

LORILIE: In drag I prefer the she/her pronouns because like I am female presenting then, I’m not presenting as a woman or qualify myself as a woman but I am presenting femininely so I would prefer those pronouns.  Out of drag I honestly don’t care I present myself as a male so I get he/him.  I will get they/them.  And then my drag family we all refer to each other as she/her and then we all honestly use our drag names out of drag a lot, so I get called all different kinds of pronouns and I honestly don’t mind.

INTERVIEWER: Has drag influenced your sex and gender identities and how?

LORILIE: That’s just kind of like along the lines of what I said like gender fluid thing.  Me and a couple of my drag friends and folks we are kind of along the same page of when the gender lines become blurred from drag, we might consider ourselves like more gender fluid.  I still consider myself a man, but I also consider myself like gender fluid to an extent.

INTERVIEWER:  Okay.  How has drag impacted or changed you?

LORILIE: Drag has honestly been really beneficial for my self-esteem.  I grew up like heavier and I was from a really small town, so I got bullied a lot and only had a couple friends.  So, I was honestly really shy throughout most of my life and drag has really helped me come out of my shell and has helped me become more confident and keep me in this mindset that I need to like not only focus on Lorilie but also on Logan, that’s like my biological name.  I always make sure I take time out of my day to schedule self-care whether it’s like going on a jog or ordering a pizza for instance, I always want to make sure that both Lorilie and Logan are taken care of.

INTERVIEWER: Okay, has drag impacted your confidence as Logan?

LORILIE: Lorilie has really helped me to become more confident as Logan.  I honestly it’s hard to think of myself like how I used to act, being so shy and being so soft spoken and kind of getting walked over, it has honestly really helped me stand up for myself a lot more which is very nice.

INTERVIEWER: If you could go back in time as Lorilie, what advice would she give to younger Logan?

LORILIE: I would probably just tell myself to like you’re gonna face a lot of hardships but in the end just stay strong.  You’re gonna get through it and I would also tell him to like take the time to take care of yourself and focus on yourself and not focus on other people because it’s going to be more beneficial to you in the end.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Okay, I’m curious if and how your social identities have impacted your experience of drag or vice versa how drag has impacted your identities.  Can you share about how one or more of your social identities such as gender, race, age, class, geography, religion, size, sexuality, disability, etc, and or the interaction of the social identities have impacted your experience of drag and or how drag has impacted your experience of this identity?  Sorry, a long question.  Basically, any of your other social identities such as religion or class or age or size or sexuality, has that interacted with your drag and has either impacted each other?

LORILIE: Not really, like I will say drag is a really expensive hobby.  So like if you are not well off or you don’t have a nice job or whatever the situation might be, it’s probably not the hobby for you. I am fortunate enough to have a decent paying job I work for a bank, so I have it pretty nice financially.  I try to be responsible with my money though and budget out money here and there for drag but that’s really it.  I’m not religious, and like it really doesn’t affect me much else outside in those correlating things.

INTERVIEWER:  Okay.  So, these last questions all center around your ideas about drag.  The first one is how do you define drag?

LORILIE: Ooh that’s a tough one.  For me, I can’t define it as a general definition I can only define it for like how I see drag for me, it is my hobby it is my passion it is a way for me to produce art and stay busy but also I do that to find happiness.  I feel like there’s a better way for me to describe that but that’s a rough definition.

INTERVIEWER:  Okay, what do you think is the purpose of drag? You can answer this for yourself that’s fine too.

LORILIE: Yeah, for me my purpose of doing drag is kind of like what I said before.  I love to perform, when I was in college I did acting and stuff and I’ve always loved performing and being on a stage.  Even though I am fairly shy still I do like getting into drag and performing.  It is such a good way for me to like express that part of me, and it’s also just a way that helps my self-esteem and helps me stay busy and helps me express my art.  There’s so many different reasons that I do drag and different purposes for me to do drag.  All of those things.

INTERVIEWER:  Okay, do you think drag is sexual and why or why not?  If so, how and in what way?

LORILIE: I do not think drag is sexual.  I think there are people who might sexualize their drag and that is their own thing.  I do not think that those people do that in order to promote having sex in drag.  I think that there are various different drag artists who like having a sexual drag persona.  Let’s say men or women for instance they might dress more provocatively but that does not mean that they are asking for someone to have sex with them.  I think drag is the same way, I do think that there are people who will have sex in drag, but I don’t consider that to be drag I consider that to be more along the cross-dressing aspect which is a different kind of fetish thing.  But I do not believe drag to be sexual.

INTERVIEWER: Okay, how do you feel about RuPaul’s Drag Race?

LORILIE: It’s my favorite show, I watch it all the time.  I mean I don’t watch it all the time, but I watch new episodes whenever I can.  I think it’s really helped make drag a more modern mainstream kind of thing which I think is great.  I do think it has kind of pushed drag to be more about followers and social media and likes and all that as opposed to like the art form drag itself, but I also think it has made it to where drag is like you should really push your drag and push the limits of it and make it more exceptional.  There is good and bad things about it.

INTERVIEWER: If you could change one thing about drag, the drag scene, or the community what would it be and why?

LORILIE: Kind of like what I just said I wish drag would be less about followers and likes and all that and more about pushing yourself.  I think that a lot of people at least where I live kind of get uplifted for kind of doing the bare minimum when I feel like they are not doing as much as they could be doing.  I’m always trying to push myself and make myself better than I was before through drag so I wish there was more of that within my drag community.

INTERVIEWER: Okay, what do you think are some misconceptions people have about drag and where do you think they come from?

LORILIE: Like I said you mentioned the sexualizing which I think that is one thing that is often misunderstood.  I think also at least when I first started doing drag and when I first came out as gay, my parents accused me of being trans because they just didn’t understand the idea of being gay, they assumed it meant I was also trying to transition to be a woman which I am not.  I think people assume the same thing with drag like if you do drag you want to transition to be a woman, which is not true for everyone.  There are trans women who do drag and present themselves as drag queens and then there are trans men who do the same thing as drag kings.  But I think all of it just comes from ignorance and not knowing and not trying to learn more about it like the people who try to learn more about the different kinds of drag and the various people that do drag I think that they’ll understand eventually that like there is so much more that goes into drag than just putting on clothes of the opposite gender.

INTERVIEWER: Is there anything that you think would help change those misconceptions people have?

LORILIE: I don’t know, like I said RuPaul’s drag race has become a really big thing and people obviously see all the time that there is like men who get on the show and they are drag queens. There have been a couple contestants that later came out as trans women and then this current season there is a trans man who does drag as a drag queen and I think that if there was more diversity shown through these mainstream platforms I think that would help a lot to broaden people’s eyes to the various different types of drag.

INTERVIEWER: Okay, lastly, if you could choose one thing you want people to know or learn about drag what would it be? Or even if you want to answer it as one thing you would want people to know or learn about your drag that would be fine too.

LORILIE: I’m not quite for sure, I know everyone perceives drag differently.  I’ll just answer like this.  When I first started drag, I wanted to be spooky I still get called a spooky drag queen here and there.  I don’t really consider myself a spooky drag queen now, and I don’t mind being called that, I really don’t.  But, I want people to know that and I think people do see that and realize that too, but I do so much more different types of things than what I originally did.  Cause I’ll still I love to wear black and I love to do like darker makeup but I’ll still do other things here and there because I’m willing and ready to grow with any opportunities that I can and I think I really hope more drag performers can learn that or realize that.  I guess my thing is more like to other drag performers than it is to the regular people, because I don’t really relate to them as much as I used to anymore but I think that it’s a part of a thing like a job once you’re in a certain thing you might relate to people who are in that job than you are.  I hope that people who do drag are willing to become more diverse and willing to grow and improve and change and I guess people in the same way could do that too as well.  Because the world is ever changing there is so many different things changing and going on and some people just can’t keep up so I do hope that the people that can keep up will work hard to help others keep up.  Does that make sense?  I kind of gave multiple different answers for that.  And I’m gonna just end it with that because I talked about a few things for that question.  

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