Most Devine Drag Queen
In Greek mythology, Persephone is queen of the underworld. And here in Houston, we have Queen Persephone, who rules the drag circuit as this year’s Most Divine Drag Queen.
Although Queen Persephone has been performing for just over four years, the 27-year-old says that she’s been interested in drag for most of her life.
“I feel like I’ve always been interested in drag. I remember many summers when I would stay at home while my parents were gone to work. I’d put on my mom’s dresses and her shoes. I’d jam out to Britney Spears, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Shania Twain. That was my way of expressing myself as a young gay boy,” she says.
That interest in performing has continued to grow ever since, but it took a shakeup in her personal life to prompt the leap into the public spotlight.
“The first time I considered doing drag was after a breakup. I texted a drag queen to see what I would look like with makeup. I went to her house, and she did my makeup. It was beautiful,” she recalls. “I felt like myself. I’ve always been an effeminate man, but being able to express myself in that mirror in that room, I felt a fire inside of me. I held onto that. I never let it go.”
Queen Persephone kept her drag alter ego hidden in the closet for a few years, even though she worked at bars like South Beach, JR’s Bar & Grill, and Boheme—all places where drag shows are often scheduled. It wasn’t until she started working at Hamburger Mary’s, a drag-queen-themed restaurant, that she first stepped out on the stage in heels.
“In August 2017, the restaurant held a turnabout show, and it was for all the employees who had never done drag before. There were 12 of us who competed. I am very competitive, and I took it very seriously,” she recalls. “I made a deal with myself that if I won, I would pursue a drag career. If I lost, I would let it go. Well, I won. It was a sold-out house. My whole family was there—my mom and stepdad, my grandmother, brother, sister, nieces, their friends. They were very supportive.”
After that emotional rush of commanding the crowd during a burlesque number she had rehearsed for weeks, there was no stopping her. “That was one of the best nights of my life. Standing on the stage, seeing everyone applaud for you. It’s a high you can’t get anywhere else,” she adds.
Since then, the blossoming queen was hired by Rice University and the University of Houston to host charity events, and she’s been booked at various pop-up events and parties. She has also worked in Austin and as a host for The Woodlands Pride during its first two years.
When she’s not busy dazzling crowds, Queen Persephone has her eyes set on earning a college degree. “Being young and pretty isn’t going to last forever,” she quips. She is currently a student at Houston Community College, and has plans to transfer to UH’s College of Technology in the spring.
Follow Queen Persephone on Instagram at PersephoneQueenXO.
ENTERTAINMENT & NIGHTLIFE PART I
Most Divine Drag Queen
Finalists: Blackberri, Chloe Crawford-Ross, Angelina DM Trailz, Nyx Laraye, Dessie Love-Blake, Alexye’us Paris, Violet S’Arbleu
Favorite Drag King
Finalists: Damien, Preston Steamed, Ian Syder-Blake
Favorite Drag-Show Host/Emcee
Finalists: Kofi, Dessie Love-Blake, Violet S’Arbleu, Ian Syder-Blake, Muffy Vanderbilt
Best New Rising-Star Drag King or Queen
Finalists: Kale A’Lily, Sir Debon Aire, Jewel, Preston Steamed
Favorite Local (Non-Drag) Female Entertainer
Finalists: Brie Kinsey, Morena Roas, Lauren Salazar, Christina Wells
Favorite Local (Non-Drag) Male Entertainer
Finalists: Michael Chiavone, Ty Frazier, Sebastian Gutierrez, Travis Webb
Favorite Local (Non-Drag) Nonbinary Entertainer
Finalists: Attxla, Stoo
Favorite Wine Bar
Max’s Wine Dive
Finalists: 13 Celsius, Bar Boheme, Postino Montrose
Best Drag-Show Bar
Hamburger Mary’s (tie), ReBar (tie)
Finalists: JR’s Bar & Grill, Michael’s Outpost, Pearl Bar, Rumors Beach Bar
Favorite Bar to Shoot Pool
Finalists: Barcode Houston, BUDDY’S, Ripcord, Tony’s Corner Pocket
Favorite Bar to Two-Step
Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon
Favorite Club For Dancing
Numbers Night Club
Finalists: Eagle Houston, Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon, Pearl Bar, ReBar
For a full list of winners, go here.
This article appears in the October 2021 edition of OutSmart magazine.