On the latest episode of the Behind the Drag podcast, we talk to Tiffany Fantasia, Kat Wilderness, and Jupiter Velvet about how they found a home in the fast-growing and vibrant drag scene of Miami, Florida.
Tiffany Fantasia is a drag performer who has been performing in South Florida for 15 years. For Tiffany, drag is all about self-expression, joy, and community.
These days, Tiffany is a well-known and celebrated staple of Miami’s drag scene. But it wasn’t always that way. When Tiffany first started performing in drag, she struggled to find her community and to find an audience that would embrace her work.
“When I first started doing drag it was a challenge,” she told In The Know. “It was hard to find people to help me. It took a while, but I did find a circle of people that I could trust and befriend and grow.”
Though Tiffany struggled at first, she never gave up. Through hard work and perseverance, she built a fan base and a community. “Being loved by people in this community is a great thing because it was earned,” she explained. “I worked twice as hard to get where I am and for people to love what I do.”
While Tiffany can be shy out of drag, when she performs, she is vivacious and confident. “I’m very kind, I’m very shy in general,” she explained. “When I transform into drag, I’m very sassy, funny. I want everybody to be happy and have fun.”
After 15 years in the Miami drag world, Tiffany has fully hit her stride. She is a staple of the Miami drag scene and, though she is too humble to accept the title, is considered by many to be a Miami drag legend.
“People call me legendary because I’ve been in the business for so long, but I don’t consider myself legendary,” she told In The Know. “A star, a staple, yes. Legendary? Give me a couple more years. Iconic? Give me a couple years and then I can take those titles. Right now, just let me be me.”
“Trans women are as much queens as any other queen, and we can put it on and we can take it off and we own that stage just like any other drag queen,” she told In The Know.
Finding the Miami drag community helped Kat embrace her gender identity and learn to love herself. “I didn’t always love myself, my face,” she told In The Know. “It really was through time and being in these spaces and meeting other trans women that do drag here in Miami. I was like, ‘OK, there’s more people like me.’”
Nowadays, Kat is living her “pop star fantasy,” performing in glittering outfits inspired by her favorite musicians, and belting out her favorite pop songs on stage. “Kat Wilderness is a pop star that I’ve always felt like I wanted to be, that I always wanted to see on stage,” she told In The Know. “I always say that I am the pop star that you’ve never heard of.”
Kat believes that the bravest thing anyone can do is be themself, no matter what. While embracing her true self hasn’t always been easy for Kat, it has been incredibly rewarding.
“I’m gonna live every single day from when I wake up to when I go to sleep how I want to live it,” she told In The Know. “I genuinely do believe that if you listen to your heart and your gut, you’ll live life the most authentically and the most beautifully because I feel like that’s what everybody should do, you know.”
Jupiter Velvet is a drag performer and trans woman who credits the Miami queer community with helping her fully embrace her gender identity and with helping her create her powerful, vibrant drag persona.
Growing up, Jupiter struggled with her gender identity. Though she fantasized about expressing her femininity, it wasn’t until she discovered drag and the Miami drag community that she felt safe doing so. “The Miami queer scene really allowed me to be as myself as I wanted to be and as I needed to be,” she told In The Know.
On stage, Jupiter is completely unfettered and absolutely herself. “When I’m on stage, I am giving it my all physically and spiritually,” she told In The Know. “I feel so rewarded after performing because I know the power that drag has when I am a spectator of it, and I hope to leave the audience with that same feeling.”
Jupiter is also working hard to feel empowered, and to embrace her true self, in her day-to-day life when she’s out of drag. She recently started hormone replacement therapy, and feels increasingly confident in her own body. “I feel so much more empowered and so much more femme, fitting into the body that I feel like I belong with,” she told In The Know.
Jupiter’s goal is to inspire others to embrace their true selves, and their true gender identities, whatever they may be.
She told In The Know, “My hope is to inspire future generations of trans people and of people in general to feel that there is no right or wrong way to be femme, there is no right or wrong way to be masc, there is no right or wrong way to exist, period.”
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