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.
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.
Interview with Lorille
To cite this particular interview, please use the following:
Temko, Ezra. 2021. Student Interview with Lorilie The Art of Drag, SIUE, March 29. Available URL (https://ezratemko.com/drag/lorilie).
INTERVIEWER: Okay, so I’ll start off with when did you first hear about drag and what was your initial reaction to it?
LORILIE: When did I first hear about it?
LORILIE: I first heard about it when I was, like, I don’t know, maybe like, we’ll say 16
I saw RuPaul’s Drag Race for the first time on my TV, and I didn’t really know like what it was at first. I just like heard of RuPaul here and there before, I just didn’t really know what it was and then I just like 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: Okay. 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 it would be three 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 like try it out and see like how I was at it. And then like a year– around a year later I got the opportunity to perform and I just wanted to like perform because I just felt like it was like the next step.
LORILIE: There’s like a lot—there’s like a lot of drag queens who like, just like online entities but there is also like, I feel like a majority of drag queens, like are performers as well.
LORLIE: So, I just wanted to make that next step and become a performer.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. 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 like really conservative and religious.
LORLIE: 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. It’d have to like– the circumstances would have to just be like perfect and I don’t know when that would happen.
LORLIE: Friends have mostly like I have always had a small circle of close friends and they’ve always been really supportive, so.
LORILIE And at least like through drag I’ve been able to like build a new support system because I’ve–it’s really helped like filtering out the people that I can like trust or can’t trust.
INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Absolutely. Um, okay so 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’m like–I’ll probably jump back and forth.
INTERVIEWER: No it’s totally perfect. Whatever you want to talk about is perfectly fine.
LORILIE: Okay. The aesthetic I wanted to go for was kind of like a little dark and like spooky but also like I wanted like an old like vintage kind of sounding name like a name that’s like not really used much anymore.
LORILIE: And plus there was like, there’s like a –I’m a Pokémon nerd and there was a Pokémon character I really liked with that name.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, I love that.
LORLIE: 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, like I just describe myself as like a drag queen. Like I pride myself on being able to do like various types of drag, like I can be campy, I can be glamorous or pretty or like, you know like spooky or whatever, like.
LORILIE: I can do like various different things. I know there’s a lot of drag queens who describe themselves as female impersonators as opposed to like drag queens, and I think people like that might take drag more seriously.
LORILIE: Even though I take my drag seriously, it’s a– I don’t really consider myself a female impersonator, I just consider myself like a drag queen. Like I’m a performer and I’ll use, I want to say, like these days there’s so many different types of people who do so many different types of drag, I honestly refer to people as like performers or drag artists as opposed to—
LORILIE: drag kings or drag kqueens because there is so much diversity these days.
INTERVIEWER: Yeah, it is so broad. The next question was does the type of drag you do affect your life as a drag artist? But you kind of said you are pretty versatile, so you can still answer that if there is an, like answer.
LORILIE: Yeah, like when I– I have definitely gone through like an evolution of drag style like when I first started like I said I wanted to be like strictly like dark and spooky but also very glamorous.
LORILIE: And I have since like 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.
LORILIE: But I do, but I do believe everyone should try to be more diverse and versatile and try to do more things and just be like [inaudible] want to do various different things.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Who or what has influenced your drag?
LORILIE: A lot of people different—a lot of people I know get inspired by like different fashion designers or like actresses or singers, I’ve really only ever been like inspired by like other drag performers because like I look at them and see what I want to see in myself.
LORILIE: Like when I first started, I was inspired by Pearl who was on season 7 of Drag Race.
LORILIE: I was also inspired by Vander Von Odd who has not been on Drag Race but they won the first season of like the Boulet Brother’s Dragula which if you don’t know is like a more alternative show—
LORILIE: –for like spookier, like alternative styles of drag.
LORILIE: I really like gravitated towards her at first because like, like I said she did like 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, like all these people like have been on Drag Race and there are people who haven’t been on Drag Race that inspire me as well, but. And like a lot of like of local drag queens like throughout like Missouri that I have seen or met.
LORILIE: They inspire me as well. So, I just take a lot of inspiration from different drag artists.
INTERVIEWER: Do you consider your drag political and why or why not?
LORILIE: I do not consider my drag political. I—I was never really very into politics—
LORILIE: –until I could–I was able to vote.
LORILIE: And the first time I was able to vote was when like 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 like makeup and performance and costuming and all that, so.
INTERVIEWER: Right, okay. So 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 without a drag family and I was perfectly fine—
LORILIE:– not being a part of that, but like I will say like I was –after I was, and after I got to know them and everything, I will say like it is a lot more fun to be a part of a drag house or family.
LORILIE: Just because like you are around more like, and I don’t think all drag families are like as close as we are like we are all very close. I live with like my drag mother who is like, she’s not like a mother figure to me like she is literally just like one of my best friends.
LORILIE: And then I have two other drag family members who live together and so like we are all like super close. We all like—we hang out all the time like we have a good time together. But it is just like a great support system to be around like queer like-minded people who share the same interests as you.
INTERVIEWER: Yeah, I bet. Okay, so how often do you perform and where do you usually perform?
LORILIE: I used to perform back like before covid, I performed at Union Nightclub mostly in Columbia. It is since—it shut down about a year ago. So since then it has been harder, or more hard to be able to perform. I don’t really perform as much, I probably performed like a few times a month back before covid but now I maybe do—I maybe perform about once a month.
LORILIE: Sometimes. So, drag has definitely like been put on the backburner for me this past year. Like, we do perform like, me and my drag family we do shows a couple times a month at Eastside Tavern here in Columbia.
LORILIE: It’s just like a little—it’s 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 Friday that was my first time performing there that was a lot of fun.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, that’s really cool.
LORILIE: Yeah. I used to perform in Springfield a lot.
LORILIE: Not so much anymore just because it is so far away.
LORILIE: But just, just here and there.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. What goes into getting ready for a performance for you?
LORILIE: For me, I think everyone is different.
LORILIE: I am very anal about my performances. I love like– I’m very like—I’m a very physical performer, like I love to like dance and use various dance moves and all of that.
LORILIE: But I will like literally like—and it’s a great way to exercise so I will literally like clear out my living room and just practice like routines for stuff and just dance.
LORILIE: And it’s a great way to like, to get exercise but it also just helps me like figure out what I want to do to as a part of a song. And I also just like I’m really anal about that stuff. Like I will plan out like everything about like what I am wearing or what my makeup will look like or what kind of wig I will be wearing. Just, I plan out all of it to a detail or to a T.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. What are the biggest challenges 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 like with Drag Race and all of these drag queens who even aren’t on drag race like they become famous through Instagram, is like there is a constant feel for like, you have to be, being a drag queen is a way to get famous now. I think that’s like a big problem with it. Like when I first started doing drag, I won’t lie, like I wanted to be on Drag Race but like since then I’ve gotten to where I just love doing drag and I don’t—I mean getting on drag race eventually would be really cool but if I don’t get on like I would be okay with that. But there is always that feeling of like people might be seen as better than you because they have more followers than you or they get more likes than you do.
LORILIE: Yeah. And I think my problem is like I need to focus on myself and pushing myself as opposed to just like focusing on other people.
INTERVIEWER: Right. Yeah, 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 about drag in Columbia. I know drag in Columbia has been going on for a very long time and there is a lot of history that like I don’t know about. But I think there is one thing that is pretty cool is like we are kind of like in the middle of Missouri, so we have a lot of different styles of drag.
LORILIE: There’s not a lot of –I will say there is not a lot of good drag in Columbia, but we have like a lot of different styles. Like Kansas City is more like performance based, St. Louis was, I think with the younger generation is more about the looks. And then St. Louis—did I say St. Louis already?
INTERVIEWER: Um, I’m not sure.
LORILIE: Okay, I meant Springfield is more about looks, Kansas City is about performance. St. Louis is a lot like, a lot of like pageants and drag pageants that happen there. That they are more focused on like establishment and polish and stuff like that.
LORILIE: Whereas Columbia has like a nice like melting pot of various different styles and I think that’s kind of cool.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. What has the Covid-19 pandemic meant for your life as a drag artist?
LORILIE: It’s kind of like what I said like before. Our bar got shut down, it was really hard for us as a community.
LORILIE: And it has made it really hard to perform. Like I used to like—I used to be like– drag was always like the main thing I did. Like it was my hobby. It was my like therapy almost, so I’ve gotten to where like it’s really difficult to– It was my hobby. It was like my main—it’s not my main source of income like I have a job that I do full time but it was just like an extra way to get money.
LORILIE: Honestly that’s pretty much it. Just like the bar was shut down; it became really difficult to like perform.
LORLIE: Yeah, that’s pretty much it, honestly. I’m sorry that was such like a scattered answer.
INTERVIEWER: No, that’s okay. 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 like pretty much as a cisgender male, as gay man. I will say that I do think that like gender is like becoming, at least like when you do drag and like the gender lines aremore bblurred I think that gender becomes more of like a construct kind of thing. So every now and then I’ll- I do identify kind of myself along the gender fluid spectrum. But I mean that’s really it. I mean I am honestl– I don’t care like what pronouns I’m used with like I don’t care about like what gender I’m used with. I really don’t care I am honestly really like loosey goosey with it honestly.
INTERVIEWER: Okau. The next question was 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 like female presenting and like, I’m not like presenting as a woman or qualify myself as a woman but I am presenting effeminately so I 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 like drag family we all refer to each other as like she/he, or like she her and we all like honestly use like our drag names out of drag a lot, so I get called all different kinds of pronouns and I honestly don’t mind.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Has drag influenced your sex and gender identities and how?
LORILIE: My—How it’s influenced what?
INTERVIEWER: Oh, your gender identity.
LORILIE: Oh yeah that’s just kind of like along the lines of what I said about like the gender fluid thing. Me and a couple—a couple of like my drag friends and folks we are kind of along the same page of like when the gender lines become blurred from drag, our, um– we might consider ourselves like more gender fluid. I still consider myself like a man, but I also like consider myself like gender fluid to an extent. So, I mean yeah.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Has–How has drag impacted or changed you?
LORILIE: Drag has honestly been like really beneficial for my self-esteem. I grew up like heavier like and got–I was from a really small town, so I got bullied a lot, only had a couple friends. So, I was honestly like really really shy like throughout most of my life. So drag honestly has really helped me like coming out of my shell like it’s helped me become like a lot more confident. Like it keeps me in like this mindset of like I need to focus on, now I focus on like Lorilie but I need to take time to focus on Logan, that’s like my biological name. So like I always make sure I take time out of my day to like schedule like self-care like whether it’s like going on a jog or like ordering a pizza for instance, I just always want to make sure that like both Lorilie and Logan are taken care of.
INTERVIEWER: Right. So like has drag impacted your confidence like as Logan?
LORILIE: Yeah, it’s made me um…Lorilie has really helped me to like become more confident as Logan. Like I honestly like– it’s hard to think of myself like how I used to act, like being so shy and being so like soft spoken and kind of getting like walked over, it has honestly like really helped me like stand up for myself a lot more which is very nice.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. If you could go back in time as Lorilie, what advice would Lorilie give to younger Logan?
LORILIE: I would probably just tell myself to like–you’re gonna like—you’re gonna face like a lot of hardships but like in the end like 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. Okay this says 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, that was a long question.
LORILIE: Um, okay so…
INTERVIEWER: So basically, any of your other—any of like other social identities such as like 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 like drag is like a really expensive hobby. So like if you are not like well off or you like don’t have like a nice job or whatever, like whatever the situation might be, it’s probably not the hobby for you. I am fortunate enough that I have a decent paying job–I work for a bank. I have, I have it pretty nice financially. I don’t—I try to be responsible with my money though and like budget out like money here and there for drag but that’s really it. Like I mean I’m honestly I’m not really—I’m not religious, and like it really doesn’t affect me like much else outside, you know what I mean? In those correlating things.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. So, these last questions, there’s about like six of them and they all center around your ideas about drag. So the first one is how do you define drag?
LORILIE: Ooh that’s a tough one. For me, I can’t define it as like a general definition I can only define it for like how I see it. 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 like I do that to find happiness. Like I feel like there’s a better way for me to describe that but that’s just a rough definition. But yeah.
INTERVIEWER: Okay, what do you think is the purpose of drag? You can answer this like you said if you want to just answer this for yourself that’s fine too.
LORILIE: Yeah, for me my purpose of doing drag is to like, kind of like what I said before. For me like I love to perform. I’ve always like, I did like– when I was in college like I did like acting and stuff. I’ve always loved to perform and be on a stage. Even though like I am fairly shy still, like 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 for—like it really helps my self-esteem, it like helps me stay busy, helps me express my art. Like there’s so many different reasons that I do drag and like different like purposes for me to do drag. So just like all of those, 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 the idea of having a sexual drag persona. Just like– 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, you know what I mean? Like I think it’s—I think drag is like the same way. I do think that there are people—I know there are people who will have sex in drag, but I don’t consider really that to be drag I consider that to be more along the like cross-dressing aspect which is a different kind of fetish kind of thing. But I do not believe drag to be sexual.
INTERVIEWER: Okay, how do you feel about RuPaul’s Drag Race?
LORILIE: I guess it’s my favorite show, I watch it all the time. I mean I don’t watch it all the time, but like I keep—I’ll watch new episodes whenever I can. I think it’s really helped make drag a more modern like mainstream kind of thing which I think is great. I do think it has like kind of pushed drag to be more about like followers and social media and likes and all that as opposed to like the art form of 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 like make it more exceptional. So I think that’s a—it’s like there’s a good and a bad thing to that.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. If you could change one thing about drag, the drag scene, or the community what would it be and why?
LORILIE: I think like kind of like what I just said. I wish drag would be less about like followers and likes and all that and just more about like pushing yourself and talent. Like I think that a lot of people at least where I live who like kind of get like, oh what is it? They get like uplifted for kind of doing like the bare minimum when I feel like they are not doing as much as they could be doing. I’m always trying to like push myself and like make myself better than I was before through drag so do 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: Well like I said like, well you mentioned like the sexualizing, which I think that is one thing that is often misunderstood. I think also there’s like at least when I first started doing drag, or at least when I came out—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 also meant I was 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 be—you want to transition to be a woman, which is not true for like 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 like ignorance and like 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 what– 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: Yeah. Is there anything that you think would help change like those misconceptions people have?
LORILIE: I don’t know, I think–like I said RuPaul’s drag race has become like a really big thing and I– 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 who later came out as trans women and then this current season there is like a trans man who does drag as a drag queen on the show. I think that if there was more diversity shown through like these mainstream um, through like these mainstream platforms I think that would help a lot to broaden people’s eyes to the various different types of drag.
INTERVIEWER: Mhm. Okay and then lastly, if you could choose one thing you want people to know or learn about drag what would it be?
LORILIE: Um, I’m not quite for sure. I know—let me think.
INTERVIEWER: Well like or even if you want to answer it as like choose one thing you would want people to know or learn about your drag that would be fine too.
LORILIE: Um, hmm. I’m not quite for sure. I know like everyone perceives drag differently. I don’t…With my drag, I mean like. I’ll just, I’ll just answer like this. I know like when I first started drag, like I said, I wanted to be spooky. I still get called a spooky drag queen here and there. I don’t really consider myself to be like a spooky drag queen now, and I don’t mind being called that either, I really don’t. But, I want people to know that like I can do–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, or what I like… Cause I’ll still– I love to wear black and I love to do like darker makeup but like I’ll still do other things here and there because I’m willing and ready to grow with any opportunty 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 just a part of like a thing with the job. Like once you’re in a certain thing you might relate to more people who are in that job than you are. I hope that people who do drag are willing to become more diverse and just willing to grow and improve and change and I guess people like in the same way too could do that as well. Because the world is ever changing, like there is so many different things changing and going on and some people just can’t keep up so I do hope that like there– the people that can keep up will work hard to help others keep up. Does that make sense?
INTERVIEWER: No, yeah. Yeah.
LORILIE: Okay. I kind of gave like multiple different answers for that.
INTERVIEWER: No, that’s perfectly fine. Is there anything else you wanted to add to it?
LORILIE: No, I’m gonna– I’m gonna just end it with that because I talked about quite a few things for that question.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Okay well that’s it unless there’s anything else you’d like to share.
LORILIE: Not really, no.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Thank you so much.