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Interview with a Vampire King

Preston Steamed brings the funk with punk.

Preston Steamed (Photo by Angelo S. Ortiz Vela | Outfit by @matt_coven | Headpiece by @elizapaunmi)

Preston Steamed brings a whole new twist to gender-bending illusions. He originally started as a drag queen, but switched to performing as a king and has soaked up his moment in the moonlight. Although his name suggests he’s tidy and organized, he enjoys shaking things up with his raw, boundary-pushing performances. Find out more about the vampire king.

Pronouns?
He/Him

Inner Avatar?
A cat, because I’m very headstrong and self-sufficient but love to be pampered.

Hometown?
I’m originally from Central Texas but moved a couple times. I spent the most amount of time in Amarillo before I moved to Houston.

Drag birthday?
I originally started as a queen on February 17, 2018, but I didn’t perform as a king until June 28, 2018. 

What got you interested in drag?
There were a few different things that really led me to drag. One of my first introductions was my cousin showing me Sasha Velour when she won her season of Drag Race. Then one night, a friend of mine in college randomly took me to go see So You Think You Can Drag. I started going to the show and really fell in love with the performances. But I didn’t think that I really could do drag myself until I saw season two of Dragula. Before that, I had no idea that alternative drag was a thing, and seeing the top four from that season really changed everything for me and made me want to start performing.

Describe your persona.
Preston is a vampire, so he’s been dead for a hot minute. He’s a little bit spooky, a little bit stupid, a little bit filthy, and a whole lot of energy! I range from punk high energy to just unhinged campy chaos. But no matter what I’m performing, I’ll always be drawing you in with my stage presence.

How did you pick your name?
Preston wasn’t originally my name. I started as Earl Grey, but was unaware there was another established king using that name in L.A. So, when I had to change it, my partner at the time was the one who came up with Preston Steamed, which I really liked cause it’s a great pun and it sounds a little steampunk, which was my main aesthetic when I started. It was either gonna be that or Edgar Allan Hoe.

What’s on your bucket list?
Travel internationally, move to California, perform in Princess in San Francisco at least once, see Night Gowns in New York with Sasha Velour, work with Landon Cider, and one day when I’ve had my fun performing and being famous, I’d like to open a queer coffee shop.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Pizza. My body hates it because I’m lactose intolerant, but I can’t get enough of it!

Describe your aesthetic.
I take a lot of inspiration from the emo and punk scene in the 2000s. I like to think that Preston is the manifestation of what 13-year-old me wishes he could have dressed like. I like to blur the lines of gender a lot as well, and like to bounce back and forth from masculine to feminine looks. I also take influence from a lot of vampire aesthetics like Blade and Lost Boys, as well as some steampunk and cyberpunk influence.

What’s your must-have clothing accessory or prop?
You’ll almost never catch me without a choker of some kind.

#TeamPunk or #TeamRockNRoll?
#TeamPunkRock

Marry, Shag, Kill: RuPaul, Ross Matthews, and Michelle Visage?
Kill RuPaul ’cause she’s doing absolutely nothing for drag kings. Shag Michelle Visage because I feel like she’s into some kinky stuff, and marry Ross Matthews.

Life mantra?
To thine own self be true.

Secret talent?
I can walk on my hands.

Where can we see you perform?
I perform around Houston quite a bit, so it really depends on the month. I have a monthly cast spot every second Wednesday at Barcode. I also have been traveling for gigs in Austin, as well as out of state. I just debuted my very own show at Barcode called Preston’s Cabinet of Curiosity that alternates every few months.

Anything else?
I’m also a photographer. I have a BFA degree in photography and I work with a lot of local performers.

Follow Preston Steamed on Instagram @prestonsteamed_vav, on TikTok @prestonsteamed, and on Twitter @PSteamed.

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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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