Queen for a (Sun)Day

Vibrant high heels, feathered costumes and sequined dresses clutter the floor of the dressing room. Above, flashy costume jewelry, rows of hairspray, loads of makeup, and an array of wigs in every color from brazen blonde to radiant hot pink crams tables. Women take turns crowding in front of the mirror one by one for a final glimpse before they make their entrance. One sashays around the room in a sleek, pale, yellow evening gown with glittery pumps to match. Another squeezes into a black corset.

In the midst of this chaotic circus, the ringleader of the show calmly puts the finishing touches on her makeup as her boyfriend styles her voluminous hair using a hot pink blow-dryer. She keeps a watchful eye on the television screen above her, occasionally grabbing a sequined microphone from among a pile of crumpled dollar bills.“Ladies and gentlemen, let’s keep this show running along swiftly and professionally. Make some noise! And don’t forget those dollar bills because our performers work for tips and tips alone.”

Her stage name is Victoria L. Foster. (The L stands for Luscious.) Each Sunday she hosts the well-known show Drag Yourself to Brunch at Croc’s 19th Street Bistro in Virginia Beach. Foster, along with a handful of drag queens, which vary from week to week, perform song and dance acts to an audience of giddy (and sometimes shocked) brunch-goers. Often the queens exit with less clothing than when they entered, and they always depart with a fistful of bills.

Foster says that she enjoys opening the eyes of people who have never seen this kind of performance. “I’m not trying to change anybody,” she explains. “I’m just trying to change some minds.”

She suspects the show’s popularity stems from the carefree atmosphere and anything-goes attitude that attendees experience here. “I invite you to leave your drama and your baggage at the door. It will be there when you leave,” she says. “Let your hair down; say what you want to say. We’re not judging you; don’t judge us.”

Because most of the performers have been subject to judgment at some point in their lives, Foster explains that they have come to be their own family in a way. “We argue. We bitch. We’re catty,” she laughs. “But at the end of the day, we’re all dudes in a dress.”

Categories: Current Close-Up