Born and raised in Colorado, Aurora Sexton began her career in female impersonation in local coffee shops at the age of 13. Two years later, at 15 and with her mother’s permission, Aurora joined Guise & Dolls. Later she worked for Tracks 2000 and Dream Nightclub until she turned 21 and headed to the Midwest to pursue her dreams in Chicago. Since arriving in the Windy City, Aurora quickly became a staple in Chicago’s LGBT community. She has put her creative talents to work with regular performances at Hydrate, Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club, Roscoe’s, Spin Nightclub and The Office in Rockford, Illinois.
A well respected icon of nightlife in Chicago, Aurora has hosted various parties and events. She is currently hosting GLITTER at Le Passage and is now a member of the cast at the world famous Baton Show Lounge. In 2009, Aurora placed in the top 5 at the 2009 Miss Continental Pageant and she more-recently qualified for the 2010 Miss Continental Pageant happening Labor Day weekend, September 5th and 6th, in Chicago. Here Aurora takes some time away from the stage to talk with ChicagoPride.com’s Kinley Preston about the upcoming Miss Continental Pageant.
Becoming a Miss Continental has been a dream of mine since I first saw a Miss Continental video at the age of 16. I’ve had many reasons for wanting to win over the years, but now it’s about being a part of something prolific - becoming a part of history in an art form that I cherish and am proud to be a part of.
Romy Haag (born January 1, 1951) is a dancer, singer, actress and former nightclub manager. She started her career with Circus Strassburger, leading children’s matinées as a clown. At the age of 16, she joined a trapeze artist working at the Strassburger and relocated to Paris, where she began her career as an exotic dancer and female impersonator at the nightclub Alcazar. In 1972, an American show manager offered Haag a tour booking and she performed her show “Berlin Chanson” at Fire Island, in Long Island and Atlantic City. Here she met and fell in love with a street musician from Berlin and decided to move back to Europe to live in the German capital with him. In 1974, at the age of 23, Haag opened the club and cabaret Chez Romy Haag in Berlin, which became Germany’s most popular nightspot during the disco era. Many celebrities were regular guests, such as German singer Udo Lindenberg, Zizi Jeanmaire, Bryan Ferry, Freddie Mercury, Lou Reed and Mick Jagger with whom supposedly Haag also had a brief romance.
Also, David Bowie was struck by Haag’s beauty and the two had a love affair which resulted in him moving to Berlin. At the same time, Haag went on her first nationwide German tour with her cabaret. In 1977, she released her first single “Liege-Samba”, composed by Udo Lindenberg, and later she joined him on tour. The following year saw her second single “Superparadise” being released. In 1979, New York’s Profile Gallery presented a photographic exhibition in honor of her, and in 1981, she released her first album, entitled “So Bin Ich” (translated as “That’s Me”), a collaboration with German composer Klaus Hoffmann. In 1983, she sold her nightclub and set out on a year-long discovery journey of the world. She decided to undergo a complete SRS in Switzerland at the age of 33. In 1986, she toured Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the United States with her show City In The Night.
Haag has acted in 26 movies in Germany, among them Plastik Fieber, Zum Beispiel Otto Spal and Mascara with Charlotte Rampling, and has released 17 albums, such as “Flugblatt” and musical “Tell”. In the mid 80’s, she became the lead figure of Queen Zero, a performance art video installation at New York’s Museum Of Modern Art. In 1997, she received the “Jackie O. Music Award” in New York in recognition of her personal and thoughtful interpretations of Berthold Brecht’s music. The same year, she accepted the prestigious Teddy Award at Berlin’s International Film Festival, in honor of her lifetime achievements in films concerning gay, lesbian and transgender issues. In 1999, she released her autobiography “Eine Frau und mehr” (translated as “A Woman And Then Some”), that includes details of her relationship with French entertainer and also alleged transsexual Amanda Lear. Today, Romy Haag is mainly working as an actress, entertainer and chanson singer.
Sister Boom Boom, the drag nun persona of astrologer Jack Fertig (born February 21, 1955 in Chicago, Illinois), was one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence who has since retired from the group. Sister Boom Boom joined the Sisters in 1980, several months after its founding. She left the order in the Spring of 1986. Her full name was Sister Rose of the Bloody Stains of the Sacred Robes of Jesus, which would trail into a sing-song cadence and a long fermata. This called for a short nickname. In 1982, Jack ran for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors as Sister Boom Boom with agitprop campaigning tactics bringing humor and raising issues he felt were being ignored in the race. He won 23,124 votes with his occupation listed as “Nun of the Above”. Five supervisors were elected; he placed eighth. After he started campaigning for mayor in 1983 against incumbent Dianne Feinstein, San Francisco passed a law requiring candidates to use only their legal names on the ballot.
This was commonly called the “Sister Boom Boom law”. Jack wrote a theatrical-ritual exorcism of Jerry Falwell and Phyllis Schlafly performed in Union Square the Friday before the 1984 Democratic National Convention. Boom Boom is one of the characters in Emily Mann’s play Execution of Justice about the trial of Dan White for the 1978 Moscone–Milk assassinations. George Moscone was mayor of San Francisco and Harvey Milk was the city’s first openly gay supervisor. In the Broadway production she was played by Wesley Snipes. Jack Fertig retired Sister Boom Boom in 1986, and joined a sobriety program. He converted to Islam in 2001, and continues to live in San Francisco where he works as an astrologer.
The Lady Chablis is an American drag queen entertainer and transsexual woman. In her book Hiding my Candy, Chablis said she has not undergone sex reassignment surgery. Chablis was interviewed about the making of the film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil in the documentary Damn Good Dog. In her early career as an entertainer, under the names Brenda Dale Knox and The Lady Jonel, she won multiple titles in drag pageantry including: Miss Dixieland 1976, Miss Gay World 1976, The Grand Empress of Savannah 1977, Miss Sweetheart International 1989, Empress of Atlanta 1996, Miss Cosmo U.S. 1997, Miss Garden City 1997, Miss Atlanta Universe 1998, Miss Georgia National 1998 and Miss Southern States USA 1998.
Chablis became notable in the early 1990s when she was featured as one of Savannah’s colorful characters in John Berendt’s book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, based on a true crime story. In the book, Chablis and her larger-than-life adventures provided a counterbalance to the darker narrative of murder that was central to the book. Chablis played herself in the 1997 movie of the same title, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Kevin Spacey and John Cusack. Chablis made several appearances on talk shows when the book and the movie were released. Chablis frequently performs at her “home” nightclub of Club One in Savannah. Chablis also continues to travel the US performing at various venues and special events, such as gay pride gatherings. She has also appeared on radio shows.
Jackie Curtis (February 19, 1947 – May 15, 1985) was a singer, writer, actor, and “Andy Warhol Superstar.” Jackie was born in New York. Throughout his career he performed both as a man and a woman. It has been believed that Jackie inspired the ‘glam rock’ look that was famous in the 1970s, as in the 1960s when performing in drag he would usually wear lipstick, glitter, bright red hair, and ripped and torn dresses and stockings; a mixture of trashy and glamorous.
Primarily a stage actor, Curtis debuted at the age of 17 in Tom Eyen’s play Miss Neferititi Regrets. Curtis began to write his own plays immediately after this experience, often featuring famous transsexuals, such as Candy Darling and, later, Holly Woodlawn, both of whom appeared in his productions, which enjoyed successful runs at La Mama and were well-reviewed. Curtis’ work was inspired, in part, by the Playhouse of the Ridiculous. As writer and lead actor his plays include Glamour, Glory and Gold, which also starred Candy Darling, Melba LaRose, Jr. and Robert De Niro in his first appearance on stage, playing several roles; Vain Victory, Amerika Cleopatra featuring Harvey Fierstein; Femme Fatale, with Patti Smith, Jayne County and Penny Arcade; and Heaven Grand In Amber Orbit with Holly Woodlawn.
Andy Warhol and his director Paul Morrissey cast Curtis and Candy Darling in Flesh (1968) and, with the addition of Holly Woodlawn, in Women in Revolt (1971); a comedic spoof of the women’s liberation movement. Curtis was also a singer and poet. In 1974 Curtis and Woodlawn appeared in the critically acclaimed Cabaret in the Sky at the New York Cultural Center. A CD of songs by Paul Serrato from the Curtis musicals Lucky Wonderful and Vain Victory, including the love ballad “Who Are You”, which Curtis sang (as a man) to Candy Darling, was released in 2004. Curtis’ poem, B-Girls, much of which is based on his observations of people who visited his grandmother’s bar, Slugger Anns, led to Curtis’ inclusion in the 1979 book, The Poets’ Encyclopedia. It was the longest poem in the book, spanning a total of eight pages.
“Jackie Curtis is not a drag queen. Jackie is an artist. A pioneer without a frontier,” stated Andy Warhol about his protegé. Jackie is named in Lou Reed’s song “Walk on the Wild Side” which was about the ‘superstars’ Reed knew from Andy Warhol’s studio The Factory. The verse speaks of his drug addiction and fascination with James Dean: “…Jackie is just speeding away - Thought she was James Dean for a day… then I guess she had to crash, Valium would have helped that bash”
Manila Luzon is the stage name of Karl Westerberg, a Filipino American drag queen and reality television personality from New York City. He is best known as the runner-up of the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. His drag name is a play on words of the capital city (Manila) and the largest island (Luzon) of the Philippines, where his mother was born. His father is American of German/Swedish ancestry. With many memorable outfits and a camp sense of humor, Manila won three main challenges and received high marks from the judges. Highlights of the season included Manila’s win for a controversial impersonation of a Japanese reporter, forming the “Heathers” clique with fellow contestants Raja, Carmen Carrera, and Delta Work.
He also won an emotionally charged lip sync against Delta Work and won two challenges in a row for making over a heterosexual jock into his drag sister, and making a couture dress out of paper money. The publicity generated by his participation on the show brought many new opportunities to perform at various national and international LGBT events including New York Pride and Vancouver Pride. In 2011, Manila, along with third season Drag Race contestants Carmen Carrera and Shangela Laquifa Wadley, appeared in a television commercial for travel-related website Orbitz. In addition to the commercial, he and Shangela also did an entertainment news segment for US Weekly where they discuss current male celebrities and reimagine them as drag queens.
Manila Luzon served as drag professor on RuPaul’s Drag U. Appearing in three episodes, he helped makeover a housewife looking for a makeover in the first episode. In his second appearance, he made over a lesbian contestant, while in his third stint as a drag professor, he helped makeover his sister Rachel. On 8 November 2011, Luzon released his first single, “Hot Couture”. He resides in New York with his boyfriend Antoine Ashley (drag queen Sahara Davenport), who was a contestant on the second season of Drag Race.
Sahara Davenport is the stage name of Antoine Ashley, an American drag queen and reality television personality and classically-trained dancer. He is best known as a contestant on the second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. A native of Dallas, Antoine began his drag career while attending Southern Methodist University. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance, he relocated to New York City, where he began performing regularly at many gay bars and nightclubs throughout the city.
Davenport has been seen on television on A&E Network’s 15 Films about Madonna, Voom HD’s Magnificent Obsessions, and on ABC’s daytime soap opera One Life to Live. He was featured in the pilot of Judge Karen as an angry Beyonce impersonator who sues the paparazzi. Davenport made his art film debut in Kalup Linzy’s video-performance piece “Melody Set Me Free,” which was shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art. His talents have also been highlighted in music videos “Girl Problems” by the group Girl Problems and “Gettin Over” by David Guetta and Chris Willis. Antoine joined the cast of the second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2010. He was pegged as “The Dancer” when in the first episode he had to “lipsynch for your life” against his former college classmate, Shangela Laquifa Wadley.
In the second episode, Davenport became a team leader when he and Pandora Boxx won the mini challenge. Sahara won the second episode elimination challenge by leading his team to earn the most money by pole dancing and selling cherry pie gift certificates on the streets of Los Angeles. In the fourth episode, Davenport gave a humorous impersonation of Whitney Houston in the Snatch Game challenge. In the Wedding Dress episode, he was in the bottom two again, but remained safe because of his lipsynch performance to Martha Wash’s “Carry On”. Sahara was eliminated in the sixth episode for not conveying enough of a “rock ‘n roll” attitude and being too much of a lady. Antoine currently resides in New York with his boyfriend Karl Westerberg (drag queen: Manila Luzon) was a contestant on the third season of Rupaul’s Drag Race, where he was runner-up in that season’s competition.
Morgan McMichaels is the female persona of drag performer Thomas White. Born in Scotland, to a Scottish father and an American mother, he moved to the United States at 18 years of age. A local fixture in Southern California’s drag circuit, White became a reality television personality, when he joined the cast of the second season of the popular cable television reality competition, RuPaul’s Drag Race. Thomas joined the cast of the second season of RuPaul’s in 2010. During his time on the show, he became close friends with fellow contestant Sonique and continued his friendship with Raven. Highlights included losing his wig during a Gone with the Wind-inspired photo shoot, winning the first challenge with a Barbarella-inspired costume, getting into a heated argument with fellow contestant Mystique Summers Madison (which was featured in an “Untucked” episode), and winning a lip synch battle to the song “Two of Hearts” by Stacey Q — against contestant Sonique.
McMichaels’ final challenge was to pose for a wedding photo as both the bride and the groom, and design and model a wedding gown. His gown was criticized for the shape and looking too much like a costume, and he ended up in the bottom two. He was eliminated after losing a lip synch performance battle to contestant Sahara Davenport. Thomas, along with fellow contestants Raven, Jujubee, and Pandora Boxx appeared in RuPaul’s Drag U, a spinoff Logo series in summer 2010. In 2011, he is also featured in the music video “S&M” by Barbadian singer Rihanna. He joined the cast of the second season of RuPaul’s Drag U, which made its season premiere on June 20, 2011. Thomas resides in Los Angeles, California. and says he will use his new celebrity status as a platform to express support for LGBT rights.
José David Sierra, better known as Jessica Wild, is a Puerto Rican drag queen, professional make-up artist, and reality television personality. He was born in San Juan but raised in Caguas, Puerto Rico. José started his drag career at local San Juan gay venues such as Krash (also known as Eros) and Starz. Wild won an on-line vote to become a cast member of the second season of Logo’s popular reality series, RuPaul’s Drag Race, which premiered on the network in February 2010. He was eliminated in the seventh episode of the season. Besides his participation on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Wild has performed on the popular Puerto Rican television program Objetivo Fama, which airs throughout the United States and Latin America.
He also has made appearances on No te Duermas and other local television programs and specials. Since appearing on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Wild appeared in a music video for the popular reggaeton band Calle 13, and has fielded offers to record a dance/techno music album in Los Angeles. He plans to perform live with Puerto Rican rock band Rebeldía. In January 2011, Wild (in collaboration with DJ Ranny) released his first dance single “You Like it Wild”. José resides in Boston, where he performs at gay venues and events both locally and throughout the United States. When not in drag, Wild works as a professional make-up artist.
James Ross IV is an American drag queen and reality television personality who is better known by the name Tyra-Symone Sanchez. When asked about his stage name, James says that “Tyra means God of Battle. And when it comes to competition, arguments, or debates I will battle until the fight is won! Symoné comes from Raven Symoné. Sanchez is the family name passed from Fabian Sanchez to Stasha Sanchez to Angelica Sanchez & finally to me!” He is best known as a contestant and winner of second season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
A native of Gainesville, Florida, James moved to Orlando, where he resided for most of his early life. Presently residing in Atlanta, Ross performs locally at local bars and throughout the United States and Canada. After winning Drag Race, he served as a drag professor on the second season of RuPaul’s Drag U. In April 2011, Sanchez released his first dance single “Look At Me”. James has won several pageants, including: Miss Dumarr International 2010, Miss Ebony South Carolina 2009, Miss Orlando Pride 2009, Miss Sweetheart Newcomer 2009, and Miss Elite Newcomer 2008.