Fashion designer by day, natural woman by night Beverly Luxe is one of West Hollywood’s most energetic Drag Queens. A ball of perpetual energy, she brings a constant mix of ferocity and culture to the stage. I had the privilege to sit with her and find out how the passion for drag got started in her.
“February 13, 2013 was the first time I actually did drag, but… in the Latin culture, specifically the Mexican culture, there is what’s called “transformistas” which is like, celebrity impersonators – so there’s a Latin version of Cher, Madonna, a Latin version of Prince. My parents would take us to this Mexican restaurant and once they took us on a Friday night and they had this show going on, and I was like “oooh so much fun, regular people looking like celebrities” and then this guy came out, dressed as Paquita [La Del Barrio] and I was looking around and saw people were intrigued by this man dressed as a woman. So that was really my first introduction to [drag.] I was maybe 8, I’m the youngest of four, so I would always go into my sister’s closet, I’d put on her heels and prance around the house… my mom never said anything. I’d wrap towels on my head and everything, so maybe that’s the first time I actually did drag.
But in high school my older sister and I would sit down and watch Drag Race, from the end of season one, that was our tradition, we would watch Drag Race together every year until I moved out. And then in college my now best friend, who hated me at the time was like ‘I do drag too, I know how to vogue’ and I thought ‘ugh, she’s probably busted.’ But that made me want to do it even more, so February 2013 I finally really did it. My mom knew, she let me borrow a pair of her heels and I wore one of my sister’s dresses… it was super cute.”
Beverly has the unique opportunity to be able to use her day job (or boy job) to improve her drag career, and vice versa. She’s had the opportunity to create for many notable drag artists, most recently designing outfits for the RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10 finale for queens Mayhem Miller (season 10) and Ongina (season one.)
My drag career and my fashion career go hand in hand, Beverly definitely influences Danny’s design and in a sense in Danny’s muse – but Danny’s aesthetic in designing influences, or has molded, Beverly Luxe into who she is now. And they’re both forever changing. I work for Marco [Marco] so you know, it’s drag queens everywhere and that’s really how I got in contact with Ongina and Mayhem and all these people that I get to work with. And a lot of my sisters too, they wanted me to make them things; at first I was reluctant to do so, because I was like ‘I’ve never made things for men’ and then slowly, because of working at Marco and doing things for so many drag queens, I started to really get the hang of doing things for men. Now it’s to the point where I’m making my sister’s bridesmaids dresses and I’m like ‘I don’t know how a woman’s body works! What am I supposed to do here?’ [laughs]
Being able to work with such notable queens is certainly thrilling, but Beverly is all heart when it comes to the art of drag. She wants to use her performances to create a conversation whenever she can.
The Triple C’s – Current Events, Campiness and Culture. I like to pull from things from my upbringing and my culture, to educate people and see their reactions to things I literally experienced growing up. Also sometimes things that… might push the envelope.
Recently Beverly was a guest star on Willam and Rhea Litre’s popular YouTube series “Cómo Se Dice” (episode 18 if you haven’t seen it yet,) while on the show, as any professional knows how to do, she made sure to plug her weekly brunch show with Rhea. In West Hollywood it is common for many queens to work together on a semi-constant basis. I wanted to know how Beverly feels about the small town feel of WeHo.
Working in WeHo and being around this side of LA is something I enjoy tremendously. The people I love being around I get to be around all the time, and anyone I might not be as fond of, I can just be cordial with for the most part. It’s not until my buttons are pushed that I tend to turn into bitchy Danny or Bev, but mostly I thoroughly enjoy working with all of my sisters. I think I’m the odd one, you know? The hyperactive baby sister, you know, mom said I have to come too! If anything it’s everyone else is like “aw fuck, Beverly’s here… but okay, it’s time to party!” I honestly love my WeHo sisters, the ones I get to work with a lot. And I think that also has to do with being a good team player – in any industry or profession it’s important to be a team player. It’s not about kissing up to people, it’s about being willing to put in the work in the effort and maybe not always receive credit for it. I feel like nowadays, and not just in WeHo just generally throughout the country, there’s an entitlement. Everyone wants to receive credit for every last detail of something, and that’s not how I was brought up, and that’s not always how it works.
Working closely with many queens forges strong bonds and friendships, and WeHo queens are lucky to be able to rely on each others talents. As we sat down for this interview, Beverly was in the process of making a (sickening) jacket for fellow queen and sister Marta BeatChu – having no concept of how to sew a hem, much less an entire outfit I was curious about the entire process, and I wanted to know about her personal favorite outfit she’s made.
The most favorite outfit I’ve ever made was for my personal collection when I was graduating FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) and did their debut program. It was this cage skirt, which I have actually worn in drag, and it took me about 2 weeks to make, just hours of sewing, patterning, trial and error and then on top of that, crystal-ing it – it was extremely draining, but it made me very emotionally attached. So that’s the all-time piece. My most recent favorite piece of work has definitely been Ongina’s finale piece, which she wore on stage for Season 10. Literally hours and hours went into that, no sleep for 3 or 4 days, it was insane. It was very tedious, but it taught me so much. Not only construction of the garment because you’re constantly trying to develop new techniques, but it also taught me a level of patience that I thought I didn’t have. My usual schedule is I work 9-5, come home, eat, relax for 30 minutes and then get back to grinding at home, but relaxation was off the table. I would come home, eat, stitch and bitch until 3 am, go to bed for like an hour or two, wake up, stitch some more, go to work and repeat. For the whole week, and on top of that garment I was doing Mayhem’s look and my own look for brunch that Saturday. It was a lot, but definitely one of my favorites that I’ve gotten to do.
With all this stitching a bitching, one might think that Beverly is a fashion queen, but while she turns some amazing looks, she doesn’t do so standing still – she dances the hell out of her performances, and as noted above, many of her performances are based on her Latin heritage.
I love my Cucaracha number, have been doing that for about 3 years now, and of course all of my Mexican Folklóico numbers. Again, being able to teach about my heritage – I grew up dancing that, I would always look at the girls and be like ‘I wanna do that with a skirt too’ – so I think showing a part of my childhood and how I was brought up in the arts, being able to share that with my audience, it’s little things like that that keeps it close to my heart.
Though she is well-noted and certainly no stranger to the game, Beverly has only been doing drag professionally for 5 years now, which means the days of baby drag-hood are still relatively fresh in her mind. With new queens coming out of the woodwork everyday, I wondered if she had some advice for anyone just getting started.
You can’t please everyone, and that’s okay. As long as you get through to one person, it makes a difference. Also, drag is not cheap! Don’t try to rush in and expect to be paid and offered gigs on gigs. You have to start from the bottom and be willing to invest a lot, not only money, but your time. You can’t run a marathon without training behind it, a lot of baby queens try to do that, but that’s not how it works. I spent the first three years of my drag career competing for tip spots. My first paid gig was at Marta’s show downtown at Redline, and Marta saw something in me and booked me for the next two weeks. That was my first paid gig, and then after that I ended up in The Abbey’s competition, I won my night and then semi-finals, and I think I placed 3rd over all. From then queens like Misty [Violet] and Allusia [Alusia] started seeing me, Marta kept seeing me, and they learned I did my own looks and made the connection that I worked for Marco and it really started unfolding from there. So, it’s about paying your dues and really letting it happen organically. You’ll know when it’s your time, don’t try to rush it, don’t do it just to be on Drag Race, do it because you love doing it, because you truly love the art of doing it.
Ah, yes, Drag Race. One of the many reasons new queens are sprouting up every day. Drag has become more and more mainstream as the show has gained popularity and some queens begrudge that fact – but not Beverly.
I absolutely love the mainstream-ness of drag today, I feel like it’s helped some of my family understand drag better, and to understand that maybe there is a future for me in it, on an upper scale. My career in general is affected by it, I’m making all these looks for people because they want to feel the fantasy of what a Ru Girl is living, it’s affected both of my careers, I get to work with so many Ru Girls now and it’s really gratifying to do so. So, I absolutely love that drag has gotten so mainstream. Ru Girls bring new fans in, bring that audience in, and that grants us the opportunity to show them there’s so much more to drag, and there are so many more queens than just the 150 that have been on a show. I’m grateful for that.
Certainly no queen will turn down new fans, and I felt it was important to ask Beverly what she wants new fans to know coming in to the scene.
Don’t treat us like a petting zoo, because we’re not. We’re there to entertain, but we’re also a display. You wouldn’t go to the Met in New York and touch all of the artifacts or the art, so don’t touch us like that either. And of course, tip, tip, tip! There’s baby queens in nearly every show and they’re only working for tips, and always make sure you cheer… clap, go crazy.
So, now that you’re ready to cheer, clap and go crazy for WeHo sensation Beverly Luxe, where can you find her?
Catch me performing almost every Saturday at the Voss Drag Brunch LA at the Rockwell in Silver Lake. I’m at Mickey’s a lot… follow my social media and watch my stories, that’s where I post my schedule.
Follow Beverly at:
Facebook: Beverly Luxe