By Donalevan Maines
Photo by Michael Andrew Voight
Houston’s most divine drag queen wishes she could change her name. “No one in a loud bar ever gets it right,” laughs Dessie Love-Blake.
“I never thought this would turn into a career,” explains her alter ego, Ron Kerr. “I wanted something unique and different, and somehow it just came to me and stuck. Looking back, I would give anything to change it.”
Too late now—or since 2012 when Love-Blake won Miss EJ’s, or 2014 when she was crowned Miss Gay Texas, then placed in the Top 10 twice at Miss Gay America.
Amazingly enough, Kerr was a mild-mannered radiographer just five years ago when he donned drag for the “Bowler Beehive,” his bowling league’s charity fundraiser at JR’s.
“I got a lot of ‘false’ compliments, meaning my friends thought I was great, but looking back now I can see they were just being polite,” says Kerr.
Likewise, entering Miss EJ’s six months later, he says, “I was a hot mess with CoverGirl blue eye shadow and pink blush. The show director, Roxanne Collins, came to me and said that Lana Blake wanted to see me in the restroom. I didn’t know her at the time. When I went in the restroom, she said, ‘Don’t be mad,’ and she took a makeup wipe and cleaned my whole face and started over.”
Then, “in full geish,” Kerr says, “I won the pageant, and the rest is history.”
Love-Blake pays it forward by hosting Dessie’s Drag Race, which her husband, Clay Gore, produces on Monday nights at Michael’s Outpost, as an avenue for Houston’s most divine drag queen to share the spotlight with aspiring female impersonators.
“The adrenaline from the audience can’t be compared to anything else in the world,” says Love-Blake. “I still get nervous every time I take the stage, and I still enjoy doing this art form, although it’s sometimes exhausting and a lot of work.”
In the past month or so, fans have cheered Love-Blake on Sunday nights at JR’s, Mondays in Dessie’s Drag Race, Tuesdays at F Bar, Fridays at Rumors in Galveston, then back to Michael’s Outpost on Saturday evenings for the weekly Icons of Illusion shows. In August, Love-Blake also wowed audiences at such talent showcases as The Rose Room at Station 4 in Dallas.
Meanwhile, Kerr also works part-time as a Realtor at Platinum One Properties, which is located in the Montrose/River Oaks area and serves many LGBT residents.
Kerr and Gore live in Pasadena, where the younger of Gore’s two sons is a high-school senior.
Both sons, says Kerr, “are pretty open-minded individuals. They are outspoken in what they believe, and don’t allow others to bully or be bullied. They tend to stick up for what is right and do the right thing.”
Love-Blake is “sitting out” this year’s Miss Gay America pageant, in which Asia T. O’Hara of Dallas will crown the 2017 winner on October 9 in Memphis, Tennessee.
“The biggest boost to my career was winning Miss Gay Texas,” says Love-Blake. “I will possibly go back next year. It’s up in the air. I am also trying to decide whether to try Miss Gay Texas USofA. It’s more performance-driven, and more about glamour.”
Donalevan Maines is a regular contributor to OutSmart magzine.