Gay pride is a pretty big deal. Think 80,000 rainbow hued-revelers, Miami Beach beefcakes galore, and Gloria Estefan to boot. It's the party of the year, and only an asshole would miss it. As if it wasn't fun enough, legendary drag queen, Real Housewives of Miami alum, and Miami Beach resident Elaine Lancaster is making her mark on this year's bash as the festival emcee, and why not? Back in 2010, Mayor Matti Bauer and Commissioner Michael Gongora declared Lancaster her own day and named her the official mascot of Miami Beach.
When we spoke, the fabulous femme was headed to ship out orders of her lip gloss (which, by the way, comes in 12 shades). We chatted with the effervescent icon about the upcoming Miami Beach Gay Pride parade and festival, her role as the city mascot, and why it's more important than ever to show solidarity and support.
Cultist: What's your involvement in this year's Miami Beach Gay Pride?
Elaine Lancaster: I'll be hosting the VIP reception on the 10th and emceeing the pride festival on Sunday, the 13th. In past years, I had performed with Lea Black. We did "Two Little Girls from Little Rock." We were quite the sensation. I even allowed her to be Marilyn Monroe! I also emceed the community stage, which was the smaller stage, and I've appeared in the parade for various local businesses or clubs or politicians. I was given a proclamation by the commissioners in , declaring Elaine Lancaster the official mascot of the city of Miami Beach -- equally as important as the sun, the sand, the surf, the sea and Mickey Mouse [laughs]. I'm so excited about this year's event. It's going to be huge! I run my mouth so well, they thought it would be best for me to be emcee.
What's on the agenda for pride this year?
We have legendary New York DJ Lady Bunny on the main stage; Courtney Act from RuPaul's Drag Race who will be performing. Gloria Estefan is our grand marshal, who is a legend; not just locally, but globally in the entertainment industry. And we have Kenny Ortega who is also going to be a co-grand marshal, along with Gloria. He is director of a film called A Change of Heart in which I had a small yet important role. I think it's going to be the best year ever!
Why is this event so significant?
This is something that I think is very important. Sometimes people say, "Oh Elaine, why do all the gays need to have a pride parade and march in the streets?" I say, it's because we've had years and years of systematic organized heterosexuality on TV -- Leave it to Beaver, the family with a mother and a father and 2.3 children. You never see gay people. It's like they don't really exist. One year, when I was in college at the University of Kansas, an athlete friend of mine said to me, "When I was little, we used to think gay people were like martians -- you hear they exist but you never actually see them." That's why getting into the streets and being seen is so important for acceptance. It's so important, especially right now with places like Russia where they're trying to imprison gays; in Iran where they think gay people don't exist; in Uganda where they're trying to kill gays. It just blows my mind. It's human rights, it's civil rights, we're all human beings, and we're all entitled to equality no matter how you express your love.
Miami Beach is a microcosm; an enclave of the gay community like New York or San Francisco. I think it's very important that we have a strong presence, and I can't think of anyone better to be the leader of the band than Elaine Lancaster. I love this town. It's helped to promote and facilitate the characters I've created and given birth to since the day I moved here. I'm so proud to be the emcee. I think I will probably get there around 4 or 4:30, and I'll be there until the fireworks take off. I will be one worn out woman!
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What are you most stoked about?
I think it's just seeing all the people all come together. It's not about being Latin or Cuban or American -- it's about being human beings. That day, we all have a common thread and that's our humanness. Celebrate life, it's so short and the older we get it goes by so fast. I've always said life is like a roll of toilet paper -- the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes. I hope everyone comes out and has a good time. We all know the gay community knows how to live life and have fun, so hopefully on the 13th, they will be in rare form! Let's have a good time and kick up our heels. What's the purpose of being a queen if you can't kick up your heels and have fun?
Miami Beach Gay Pride. Friday, April 11 - Sunday, April 13. For more information visit miamibeachgaypride.com.