As a youngster watching RuPaul’s Drag Race’s third season, Chlöé Crawford Ross was enthralled with contestants Raja Gemini and Manila Luzon. She loved their fashion sense and glamour, and that got her to thinking that this art form might be a future career for her. After all, it would be a natural extension of the interests she was already dabbling in.
“When I was a kid, I would draw silhouette sketches,” Ross comments about her budding skills as a fashionista. She would later go on to attend The Art Institute of Houston to earn a bachelor’s degree in business with a focus in fashion. “Fashion has always been a part of who I am.”
Upon learning the elements of style, stage performance, and makeup, her drag career was born. Now a 10-year veteran of the stage, her commitment to the art of entertainment has earned Ross the 2020 Best Digital Drag Show award.
Before the pandemic, fans could find the performer at Bar Boheme on Sundays, JR’s Bar & Grill on Sundays and Tuesdays, and Michael’s Outpost on Fridays and Saturdays. Now that local drag performances have moved online, Ross relies on her ingenuity to keep entertaining the masses. She has created The Chlöé Crawford Ross Show as her digital showcase that features lip syncing, banter, and all the other trappings of her live appearances. It was something that took a little bit of getting used to, but she eventually found her footing.
“It’s definitely a different experience. Normally when you perform live shows, you get energy from the crowd. When you’re performing at home, you don’t necessarily feel that same energy,” she says.
With so many social-media platforms available, Ross tries to cross-promote her show on several outlets in order to reach her fan base. “Some people are on Facebook. Some are on Instagram. If you’re not doing self-promotion on all social media to let [your followers] know, sometimes you miss out on that opportunity [to invite] them to see the show,” she adds. But she spreads the word, her followers watch, and they ultimately threw their support behind her in this G&G category.
To create the show, Ross utilizes Jay Clark of Your Videographer for the filming, and the videos are still available on her social-media channels. The response has been positive, and the overall experience of releasing a video series during COVID-19 hearkens to the era of music videos that she recalls from her youth.
“I grew up in the age of the music video. I remember when you’d be excited to see a world-premiere music video on MTV,” the performer says. “It was unfortunate that the virus forced us to go in this direction, but once we were put to the test, it was exciting to create.”
Now that Ross has seen how people have enjoyed her videos, she wants to continue creating them well after in-person drag shows resume. Stay tuned, because she’s already in the planning process for another installment of her show.
Favorite Wine Bar
Finalists: Boheme, Max’s Wine Dive
Best Drag-Show Bar
Finalists: JR’s Bar & Grill, Michael’s Outpost, Pearl Bar, Rumors Beach Bar, Tony’s Corner Pocket
Favorite Bar to Shoot Pool
JR’s Bar & Grill
Finalists: BUDDY’S, George Your Country Sports Bar, Pearl Bar, Tony’s Corner Pocket
Favorite Bar to Two-Step
Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon
Finalists: La Granja Disco Y Cantina, Ranch Hill Saloon
Favorite Club After 2 a.m.
La Granja Disco Y Cantina
Finalists: Hamburger Mary’s, Neon Boots, Ripcord, Viviana’s
Favorite Club For Dancing
Finalists: [email protected], Neon Boots, Numbers Night Club, ReBar
Favorite Club if You’re Under 21
Finalists: Blur Bar, Numbers Night Club
Favorite Community Bar
Finalists: George Your Country Sports Bar, Houston Eagle, JR’s Bar & Grill, Pearl Bar, Tony’s Corner Pocket
Favorite Men’s Bar
Finalists: BUDDY’S, George Your Country Sports Bar, JR’s Bar & Grill, Pearl Bar, Tony’s Corner Pocket
Favorite Women’s Bar
Pearl Bar Houston
Finalists: Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon, Ranch Hill Saloon
Favorite Straight Bar
Finalists: Darwin’s Pub, Live Oak, Warren’s Inn
Favorite Place to Show Off Your Leather
Finalists: BUDDY’S, La Granja Disco Y Cantina, Ripcord
Favorite Place to Watch Male Dancers
Tony’s Corner Pocket
Finalists: Barcode, Houston Eagle, JR’s Bar & Grill
Favorite Live Music Venue
House of Blues
Finalists: Numbers, Revention Music Center, White Oak Music Hall
Most Divine Drag Queen
Finalists: Blackberry, Chloe Crawford-Ross, Chloe Knox, Dessie Love-Blake, Tommie Ross
This article appears in the October 2020 edition of OutSmart magazine.