When the needle drops and the beat hits, crowds know La’darius Mirage Jackson is about to put on a show. Those legs? They stretch sky-high. Those splits? He goes all the way down. And nobody knows how to wow the crowd like he does, with a sly twinkle in his eye and a devilish smile. His dance performances are like a simmering pot slowly heating to a boil. And just when he has you in the palm of his hand, his number ends and he walks off the stage. As they say, the trick is to always leave ’em wanting more.
What inspired you to start performing?
I’ve been a dancer for 21 years, and it has always been my escape when I am in my feelings. I love to show others it’s OK to use dance as a language. My first gay mother, Lawanda, inspired me to start performing. She saw that I had the “it” factor to be on stage and be in the front, and she told me to go for it.
Talk about the costume you’re in.
This costume I hold close my heart. It was my best friend/brother Kristian Dior St. James’ final costume [he wore] before he passed away from COVID-19. He always saw me as his little brother, and no one comes close to the bond we shared. He was one of my biggest role models, so I wanted to pay tribute to him for the love and confidence he gave me.
Talk about your dance background.
I started dancing when I was 13 years old. I was self-taught before starting formal training at 16. I am trained in ballet, jazz, modern, lyrical, hip hop, and (my favorite) contemporary dance.
What got you interested in pageants?
When I got to dance for my gay mother in 2007, it was the first pageant I had ever been to. I saw how much went into it and the people you got to meet and the love you received. I wanted to be a part of it.
Do you hold any titles?
I currently hold two titles. I am your reigning Mr. Bolt and your reigning Mr. Gay USofA at Large. My give-up for Mr. Gay USofA at Large is October 11–12, and I am so excited because I am the longest-reigning titleholder for that division. It meant the world to me after trying five times and finally winning on the sixth try.
Story behind the name?
My gay mother told me that I needed a name, and I told her I always wanted to be named Darius. She told me to add some spice to it. Since she is Lawanda Jackson, why not be La’darius Jackson? That way, we’d have the same initials. Also, my gay father (Louis Jack) and my first gay child (Leilani Jackson) have the same initials.
Describe what you do. Is it drag, entertainment, male performance, etc.?
I am all of the above, because I try to infuse everything I know into my drag. Sometimes my makeup and costumes can be a little big on the drag side when
I want it to be, or they can be more masculine. I love just being me, and I feel I am a little bit of it all.
#TeamWhitney or #TeamMariah?
I love both, but definitely #TeamWhitney.
Finish this statement: “When in doubt…”
“…make it work.”
What’s on your bucket list?
To travel overseas one day, and to buy my mom a house.
Where can people see you perform?
I am on three rotating casts. Catch me every fourth Wednesday at Tony’s Corner Pocket for Wepa Wednesdays, every third Saturday at Barcode for Barcode Nights, and at least twice a month at Pearl Bar for the H-Town Kings show.