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The Bearded Beauty of Texas

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Blackberri (photo by Angelo S. Ortiz Vela)

Blackberri is the gender-bending barrel of laughs who sports the whiskers of ZZ Top and the demeanor of Lucille Ball. When she first started drag, she wanted to have something that set her apart from everyone else, but also felt unique to herself. Hence, the facial hair. “My beard has pushed me to go above and beyond—to be seen as an equal in a state known for praising more traditional drag.”

Preferred pronouns?
In drag: She/Her. Out of drag: He/Him.

Hometown?
Born in Houston, but raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Drag birthday?
August 31, 2016

Story behind the name?
The name “Blackberri” is a combination of a few things. I am both an African-American and a part of the Bear community. And in the Black community, a lot of people call gay guys “fruity” or “a fruit.” I took all these things and combined them together to make something delicious.

Tell us about your comedic side.
Before drag, I worked as a bartender in a comedy club, and I think it made my love for comedy grow. It pushed me to start writing my own material, and once I started drag, I tried to make it an important part of who I am as an entertainer.

What first attracted you to do drag?
When I was in fashion design school, I had a friend that was a well-known drag queen. I helped fix her costumes and practiced my sewing skills with her. Over the years, I learned so much and [decided that] drag was something where I could use my acquired skills to express myself. Also, it was a way that I could make people smile, which has always been my goal.

What do you do when not performing in drag?
I sleep a lot! I am a pretty amazing cook, so on my free days I enjoy playing in the kitchen or spending time with my seven-year-old dachshund, Bettie Page, or my two-year-old ferret, Paris Hilton.

Thoughts on what is happening in our nation right now?
These past few months have been very hard for entertainers like myself, whose full-time jobs are working in nightlife. It has pushed me to become more creative with putting together all forms of content like videos and livestreams so I can connect to people who love my art, and also keep my creative juices flowing. It’s a small glimmer of light out of much darkness.

Who would you want to be reincarnated as?
Hopefully, one of Jeff Bezos’ grandkids. Or a Kardashian.

How have you grown through the years?
When I first started, I wanted to be this over-the-top club kid with crazy makeup and super-wild looks. After years of working on my craft, I have embraced more of a feminine look that reads more “pinup” or “old Hollywood.”

Biggest personal inspirations?
I am a huge comic book and anime fan, so I get a big amount of my inspiration from comics, movies, cosplay, or even Disney.

Any horror stories from the stage?
I’ve had my share of wigs fall off during a cartwheel, but that happens when you wear wigs as big as mine.

Overall thoughts on Houston’s drag scene?
Houston drag is one of the most diverse scenes in the country. There’s so much talent in the city, and such a variety of artists. It makes me proud to be a part of a drag scene that I see evolving into a shining future.

Where can people see you perform when we no longer need to be socially distant?
You’ll catch me all around Houston! Wednesdays at The Room Bar and Lounge in Spring for “Drinks & Drag,” Thursdays at ReBar for “Drag It On,” Fridays at Hamburger Mary’s Houston for “F-Rated Fridays,” and Saturdays at Michael’s Outpost for “Eye Cons.”

Follow Blackberri on Instagram and TikTok @Theblackberri or Facebook @Blackberri.

This article appears in the July 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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