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Houston’s Nerdiest Queen

Carmina Vavra’s drag is inspired by cosplaying niche characters.  

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Carmina Vavra (photo by Alex Rosa for OutSmart magazine)

Carmina Vavra has got character—literally. From her iconic transformation into HIM (from The Powerpuff Girls) to becoming Mario’s Toadette, the imaginative performer has perfected the art of blending drag and cosplay. Fortunately for the enthusiasts of all things nerdy, Vavra also has a knack for performing show tunes, streaming video gameplays, and posting humorous content online. Read on for more about the inner workings of this quirky queen.

Pronouns? 
Pretty much anything respectful—in drag, she/her. Out of drag, he/him. 

Hometown?
I’m from Spring, Texas, and I now live in Houston. 

Drag Birthday?
Technically, September of 2013, but it took a while to get onto the scene. I worked with the Houston Gaymers every six months for a few years, and I really started working in 2017. 

What are you most known for? 
I am most known for creative, campy mixes—and I voice act in all of them. I’ve also made a splash in the digital drag scene since I’ve been doing a lot of digital drag work. And cosplay—I’m Houston’s nerdiest queen.  

Describe your style of drag.
My drag is very character-based. I like to do cosplay and I love to commit to a character. I might be an alien queen, a superhero, or a very tired businesswoman holding it all together. Either way, I’m always going to give you an energetic performance with a bunch of dramatic faces. 

What’s the inspiration behind the look you’re currently wearing? 
I [sketched it out] a while ago and thought, What if the Xenomorph queen was sexy? And I did it! The headpiece is by Rudy Zanzibar Campos, and the dress is by House of Fraud. 

What is it like living with another drag performer?
Living with my drag mom has been great, even if there’s drag everywhere. It’s great to talk about drag issues and goals with someone
who gets it. Plus, she has so much experience to share.

Share your experience with digital drag.
When COVID took away our income, drag performers quickly pivoted to digital performances. We started doing Instagram and Facebook Live shows and became entire production studios out of our living rooms. Digital drag allowed performers to showcase art you wouldn’t ever get an opportunity to see in person. I want to keep digital drag around, in conjunction with live performances, as long as possible.

Where can fans see you perform?
Michael’s Outpost on Mondays for The Broad’s Way, Pearl Bar on Wednesdays for the H-Town Kings show, and bi-monthly at Ripcord for Punk Goes Drag. Follow me on twitch.tv/carminavavra for Laugh Track on Wednesdays, and on Fridays for Metagame, a socially distanced game night. 

Any final thoughts you’d like to share with our readers?
Appreciate your city’s drag performers. We’ve been working hard with no booking fees [from in-person shows] for about a year now. So, send your local drag queens and kings some love, because they deserve it. Finally, stay laughing, because it’s been a long pandemic, and I don’t know how much longer I can go without some comedy.  

Follow Carmina Vavra on Facebook @CarminaVavra and on Instagram @carminavavra.

This article appears in the April 2021 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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