Interview with a Drag Queen | Twila Belle
Iowa City Pride is here again! This week we're coming out to support our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, because closets are for clothes. We got dolled up with local drag queen, Twila Belle who answered a few questions about drag culture.
How long have you been doing drag? And what got you into it?
I have been doing drag for four years even though I said I would only do drag once! Joke's on me! Having done shows for the University of Iowa, I was drawn to the idea that I could play a character long term. I could make her my own and evolve her; thus, Twila was born. So, I decided to continue doing drag, with a little push from my drag mom, and I became obsessed with learning how to perfect myself and continue to develop my characters and skills. Now they’ve almost become a part of me.
For those unfamiliar with drag, can you give a brief description of what drag is?
Drag can be many things to many people. There are butch queens, bearded queens, fishy queens, and etc. To me, drag is taking femininity to an extreme and making it your own. There’s men who keep their beards but “paint” (do their make-up) like a woman’s, and then there’s people like me who try and be fishy queens (to look more like a real woman). I think what’s important is breaking those gender roles and creating a character outside of your norm.
What is your persona?
I happen to have two personas. Twila is my first one who started out as a joke when I first did drag. I told myself I was only going to do drag once and I wanted to be an old lady. I chose Twila because it sounded like a great older lady name. However, I enjoyed performing so much I decided to keep doing it and the name stuck. Twila developed into more beauty queen with some attitude, but later on I developed another character named Butterfolds. She’s my comedy character that gets away with anything and loves to have a good time.
Where can a person see a drag show? What’s it like?
People can and should support their fellow drag queens at their local bars, There’s usually shows at every gay bar. Studio 13 happens to be the gay bar in Iowa City and it’s home to many LGBTQ people here. We have shows every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 10:30.
We try and make every show as entertaining as possible. We usually perform to three songs along with some stand up and getting the audience involved. If you’re curious just stop by and see for yourself! Everyone’s always welcome.
What is the biggest misconception about drag culture?
I believe the biggest misconception about drag, especially in mainstream culture, is that drag queens want to be women. Although this is true for some, and some do go on to transition, this is not the case for many. We are men but we have a female characters that we use to perform and entertain and to really become through our make up skills. And hopefully people don't think we’re all bitchy and filled with drama like a lot of TV portrays us. We all want to be inclusive and have fun!
Come see Twila and the other queens this Saturday for the Pride Parade at 11am
or at Studio 13 every weekend!