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The Mouth of the South

Lana Blake is well known for her outspoken attitude.

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Lana Blake (photo by Alex Rosa for OutSmart magazine)

Approaching 30 years of drag entertaining, including everything from competing in pageants to hosting weekly shows, Lana Blake makes her presence known via her unforgettable quick wit on the microphone as well as her unabashed political musings on social media. She’s also known for her signature red hair, which matches her fiery attitude. Learn more about how this local loudmouth earned her nickname.

Pronouns?
She/her

Hometown?
Born and raised in Pasadena, Texas.

Inner avatar?
Since we’re coming off of election season, I would say Bernie Sanders. He’s resilient and articulate, and when people realize what he was trying to do, I think they will erect monuments to him.

Tell us about singing live.
Growing up, I wanted to be a professional singer, but I thought I had a snowball’s chance in hell to “make it.” Drag became my way of modifying my dream and still being famous. I remember running for Miss Texas USofA years ago. I decided to sing live as Cher. It was also the anniversary of Elvis’ death, so I sang “Walking in Memphis” and finished in the Top 12. I knew I couldn’t put the genie back in the bottle after that, so now I host karaoke and try to incorporate live singing at almost every show.

Share more about your very opinionated social-media posts.
I tell people who thank me for my social-media presence that I’m self-employed, so my boss really doesn’t care about my mouth. I know a lot of people who are unable to speak out about things that bother them, for fear of losing their jobs. I like to think of myself as the voice of the people.

Any thoughts about Transgender Awareness Week (November 13–19)?
I have to commend two individuals in the trans community who have impressed me so much this past year. Taryn Taylor is Miss Texas USofA, and she has completely changed the game for anyone going forward. She was on social media with a historical retrospective the likes of which I’ve never seen. I would relish reading a new history lesson each morning [that she would post about] the system and its legacy. Also Tommie Ross, who is Pride Houston’s 2020 Female-Identifying Grand Marshal. She’s not only been active on social media, but I saw my beautiful sister on the 6 o’clock news recently. That’s truly historic for a trans woman of color to be spoken about in such a positive light, especially in the South.

Any Thanksgiving traditions?
Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and giving thanks for what we have. But this year we don’t have much, financially. So I’m thankful for my health, my tenacity, and my resilience, even through this is a very difficult year. As for tradition, I usually end up at friends’ houses enjoying a great meal, conversation, and libations.

What do you do outside of drag?
I have several hobbies, and I love TV. But I’m also a business owner. I have been doing hair for as long as I’ve been entertaining! My salon is Alex Burton Studios, located at 6100 Westheimer in Houston. I do cuts for all genders, color and highlights, and waxing (from the neck up). My prices are very reasonable. I’m in a private suite, so my studio is very safe. I clean and disinfect between every client, and masks are required for service. If you’re interested in an appointment, contact me through social media or my office number: 281-804-8304.

When we’re not practicing social distancing, where can people see Lana Blake perform?
Barcode on Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights. Hopefully I’ll be back at Michael’s Outpost on Friday and Saturday nights again soon.

Follow Lana Blake on Facebook and Instagram @thelanablake.

This article appears in the November 2020 edition of OutSmart magazine. 

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Sam Byrd

Sam Byrd is a freelance contributor to Outsmart who loves to take in all of Houston’s sights, sounds, food and fun. He also loves helping others to discover Houston’s rich culture. Speaking of Houston, he's never heard a Whitney Houston song he didn't like.

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