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 Nclusion Plus, 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.
Social Media: Instagram: @lunasteelheart
Interview with Luna Steelheart:
To cite this particular interview, please use the following:
McDonald, Connor. 2021. Interview with Luna Steelheart. Sociology of Drag, SIUE. April 4. Available URL (https://ezratemko.com/drag/luna-steelheart).
Connor McDonald: Alright, is it 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 a 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 Attitudes Nightclub back in 2017 and that’s where I got my start. I’ve 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 those dreams have come true. 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 yet, whether it be that 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 in St. Louis, there is definitely a more artistic theme when it comes to– There’s like a lot more cosplayers, there’s a lot more like ghoulish like creepier style drag that might be on Dragula. 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 its purest art form but there isn’t as many drag kings out in Kansas City as there are in St. Louis.
Connor McDonald: I have seen a few drag kings in St Louis. So how are your first–
Luna Steelheart: Yeah, there are a lot more drag kings—Or sorry.
Connor McDonald: You go first.
Luna Steelheart: I was going to say there’s a lot more drag kings in St. Louis than there are in 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 actually started at a very young age, I–it used to– me and my sister used to be roughly around the same body size and shape and so I used to go around in her dresses and play dress up with her and I put on…. you know masculinity and femininity are nothing more than social constructs and so from there, I kind of explored it a little bit further, and it wasn’t until high school that a friend of mine had shown me none other than RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant from season five, Alyssa Edwards, and I kind of found a little bit more activity in that and I started to research a lot more, started learning the background and truly discovering that that’s who I was because for a while I started to contemplate the idea if I were trans or if I were genderfluid, nonbinary, or if I was just a drag queen who very much enjoys expressing, expression art 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 from Dragula that I truly resonated with and I have said it time and time again since I’ve seen it. But it’s “drag is art and art is subjective and it is nobody else’s place to judge. It is truly the artist’s form of expression that allows you to resonate with the art form itself.
Connor McDonald: I like that. How would you describe your—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, oh you know, the tale of a witch or a poltergeist story or 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, that there’s not really 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 artists 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 she’s my—I’d say more main influence, if I were to do a lady gaga number, I would do something that I feel I can play Gaga as my own artistic [inaudible] or just pick somebody else and go “Okay, they did a rough kind of [inaudible] 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 date 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 had gotten off of from Wish and I had no more makeup than you know an everyday 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 has got its own start and 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: Say that last part again?
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? Apprehension. A lot of people kind of looked at me a little different as in like “Why would you want to do this? Is this is your way of wanting 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 [inaudible] it demands all of your attention and at the time they were expressing who—and, and in its truth and in its entirety I was expressing myself 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 that does [inaudible] at first, they were like “we support you during this you’re an adult now. Just as long as if you do make up in the house, you keep it down in your room, you don’t come up in full face, you don’t—if you’re getting ready for a 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 it 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 fully.
Connor McDonald: So it seems more that your family was more worried about their image than your image.
Luna Steelheart: In some aspect, yes. And 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 kill me, and that was their biggest fear, because my mom’s already lost one child, she did not have any intentions to lose another.
Connor McDonald: Oh 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. So 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. Mine, 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 its 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 or an out-of-town performer anymore. They call me a hometown performer because of how often I had gotten to perform there and they’ve really seen 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: Well 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 urged me not to, but I was like keeping me away from performing is like taking a fish out of water and telling it to breath. 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 love that I do it, they’re thankful that they actually have an outlet to be able to be entertained and feel connected within a time where connectivity and entertainment are kind of hard to come by due to the effects of COVID-19.
Connor McDonald: That is understandable. I’m glad that you’re still able to do shows, and that you’re being precautious.
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 as a best friend and, you know just every sense of the word and Regina’s 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 and so forth, so I’m very excited. I’ve got lots of sisters, a couple brothers. 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 because drag communities are often very helpful and I’m glad to see that pertain to your family as well.
Luna Steelheart: For Sure. For sure.
Connor McDonald: So, how would you identify yourself in and out of drag, if you are–are okay with it. Maybe specific pronouns?
Luna Steelheart: Oh yeah. In drag I’m strictly she/her/hers. The way I look at it, I put a lot of work in 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 kind of, I just 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. But those are my pronouns.
Connor McDonald: That makes sense.
Luna Steelheart. Mhm.
Connor McDonald: I said that makes sense.
Luna Steelheart: No, I said “Uh-huh.”
Connor McDonald: Oh, okay.
Luna Steelheart: My bad, I’m sorry.
Connor McDonald: Oh no, you’re totally 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 like a hope into the darker parts of my life. You know I [inaudible] from depression and anxiety, and whenever I struggle I start to think of the light that drag has inspired me to be 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 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 and 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, and say the way that RuPaul says it is we’re all born naked and the rest is drag. Anything that you do to modify your persona to be something other than what you are on an everyday basis is exactly what drag is. It’s to escape– 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 are currently—what you currently know as your normal. And, you know, its art, that’s 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 feat. 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–If it was anything other than an art form, I don’t think drag would be as big as it is today at least. Or, if at all.
Connor McDonald: Understandable. So, how would you like to further your drag in the future?
Luna Steelheart: For me, this is me shooting for the stars, but you know if you shoot for the stars and miss and you land on the moon, then you know you still 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 and the world, eventually be able to connect my art form and connect my positive vibes and communication and responsibly 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 to 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 facets and focuses of drag, it’s a little difficult to keep up with social media pages because I don’t fully understand them as a whole. I do try to gain more followers. I do try to, you know, promote myself to the best of my ability. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but hey, it’s trial and error thing, and you know we just got to keep it monitored, keep it updated, you know, just keep looking forward to that 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 is one of my biggest dreams. I [inaudible] how to get, you know, to where my dreams will come to fruition, would be to be on RuPaul’s drag Race, and 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 be ableconnect with some form of audience to be able to elevate myself to the limit I exceed.
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 the whole of the show or how do I feel that I would be 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 proceed 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, and if you’re a fan of Alaska, you know, your humor is gauged a different way. If you’re, you know, more toward Violet then you like the–a lot of the dancing that she does. Or Kameron Michaels, same thing is her dancing and, so, it goes to show that there’s so many different types of drag and there’s a lot of different ways to connect with it. And you know, in seeing myself on the show, I could see how my brand would be able to be translated for the audiences of not only the United States, but around the world, have some people around the world connect with me and therefore being able to give RuPaul’s Drag Race more fruits for labor 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 unequivalated because they are so, just beautiful in their own ways and I find a lot of connection with both of them, and you know, for–there are trans drag performers and there are drag queens or drag performers who do identify as trans, and you know, but those are still separate things. Just drag is an 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, as drag is, like I said art and trans is who you are.
Connor McDonald: I fully enjoyed that and I fully love that answer.
Luna Steelheart: Well 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: Of course. And I wish you the best on your fruits of your labor as well.
Connor McDonald: Thank you so much, you have a great rest your night.
Luna Steelheart: You as well. Bye.