It’s a man’s world, at least for Willie Haught Dandy, and he intends on living it to the max. The entertainer is relatively new to the art form, but he picked it up quickly and proved he knows how to stand and deliver. The budding performer can sock it to ’em with the swagger of a stud and a gentleman’s charm that leaves crowds clamoring for more.
He/him in drag, she/her out of drag.
Drag birth date?
I draw from my everyday life. I am always watching for little things to spark my creativity. I ask how I can take this thing that makes me happy and share it with everyone else.
How does drag play into your gender identity?
I’ve always been a tomboy with a flair for dressing up. Drag gave me a platform to express all the parts of my personality. I can go from girly-girl to Mr. Steal-Yo-Girl in a snap.
Challenges as a drag king?
I had to learn to stop focusing on avoiding being too feminine or too pretty, and realize that I can express my drag in whatever way makes me happy.
What is the drag-king community like?
A family, a community, a brotherhood. We are a group of humans who always have each other’s backs, no matter what. We understand and support each other, in and out of drag. It’s a great feeling knowing you have an army of brothers on your team.
How would you describe your drag persona?
A ‘Haught’ mess, but always a good time.
What’s the inspiration behind your name?
I grew up on good country music, and my hair happened to look super-cool in braided pigtails and a bandana, so Willie Nelson was my original inspiration. Then Nicole Haught (from the Wynonna Earp TV series, one of my favorite shows) gave me the perfect finish to my name—until I was adopted by Hugh Dandy, where my current last name comes from.
Any contest titles?
I am the winner of Houston’s first drag-king race, Game of Kings.
Who are you best known for imitating?
Boy-band Justin Timberlake, in the denim suit with bleached-blonde hair. I hand-made a wig out of ramen noodles. Yes, ramen noodles. I learned the choreo from It’s Gonna Be Me and performed it during Game of Kings. I was living my best life.
Where does Willie shop for clothes?
Thrift stores, and my boyfriend’s closet. I am always shopping. I add my own flair to things I find, usually in the form of rhinestones.
Where can we catch Willie hanging out when he’s not performing?
Two-stepping at a dive bar, or movie night at home with the love of my life and our fur babies.
Thoughts about the H-Town Kings winning a “Houston’s Best Drag Show” title?
It’s well-deserved. The cast and show director work tirelessly to bring Houston a show like no other. Ian Syder created a safe space for all performers and audience members. Pearl Bar feels like home when you walk in the door.
Any thoughts on Women’s History Month?
The first drag king, Annie Hindle, started in 1867, before women had the right to vote. As of 2019, an AFAB [assigned female at birth] performer won a televised drag competition, and 217 women hold elected executive government positions. These leaders are paving the way, one generation at a time. The world is starting to listen, but women still aren’t getting paid the same as men.
What actions do you appreciate from your fans?
The best compliment is when someone asks you to step on them.
Favorite contestant from The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula reality show?
What do we not yet know about Willie?
My favorite packer is a pair of Deadpool socks.
Houston’s best-kept drag secret?
Drag husbands or wives. God bless them. I’m referring to that partner who may or may not do drag, but is always there to carry your bags, stone your suits at 2 a.m., and wipe the makeup off your face when you pass out. We couldn’t do it without you.
Keep up with Willie on Instagram @willie_hot_d
This article appears in the March 2020 edition of OutSmart magazine.