When it comes to the ladies of The Real Housewives of Miami, there's one who's head and shoulders above the rest -- literally. In season two, the larger-than-life Elaine Lancaster (AKA James Davis) frequently stole the spotlight from her drama-loving gal pals.
And though she's seen her fair share of reality-TV-fueled drama, this queen is all about being real (you know, except for those ladyparts). Ahead of Lancaster's appearance at this week's New Times Artopia shindig, we spoke with the drag icon about Karent Sierra's Botox, Lisa Hochstein's decrepit house, and The Elaine Lancaster Show Starring Elaine Lancaster.
Cultist: We're stoked that you're gracing us with your presence at Artopia. Any big plans for the evening?
Elaine: I'm going there as Elaine Lancaster to bring attention to the Arsht Center's production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which I'm really excited for. I love the soundtrack, and at one time I had fantasized about being in the play, and I took voice lessons and I've learned every song. And I love New Times, and you guys have been good to me over the years, plus Adrienne Arsht is a friend of mine and her name is on the building.
The burning question: What will you wear?
I have no idea. Hopefully, everyone will dress sort of festively. I have an extensive wardrobe, so it's not like I have one costume. I will be Elaine; I'm not gonna try to be anything other than that. My hairdresser Monte Mayo just got back from the Oscars; he was doing some big stars in Cali. I said, "You've gotta come," and he hopped on a plane. We used to be roommates in Miami for a while -- he just got so big. I said, "Please come," and he arrived on Monday at 8:05 a.m. and he's been working on new hair creations for me ever since. So I'll probably be sporting a new 'do.
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Your costar Lisa Hochstein is battling the Miami Design Preservation League over the proposed renovation of her home. Which side are you on?
I mean, listen. I have been the grand marshal for Art Deco Weekend, which is with those folks, but I think it's an opportunity for the Preservation League to garner attention for themselves. The house is not structurally sound. No one can inhabit that house. Sometimes an old house is just an old house. There is a need for a preservation board, but also, someone should have the right to demolish a house if it's not structurally sound. Lisa is my friend, and I adore her and we get along well, and I want them to have the best.
Former Housewife Larsa Pippen is branching off to do Big Pippen, which is the best name ever. What would your spinoff be called?
The Elaine Lancaster Show Starring Elaine Lancaster, of course. Or The Elaine Lancaster Show Starring James Davis as Elaine Lancaster. There has to be some kind of humor to it. That's the thing with me -- I'm all about trying to have a good time. Like I said on the show, I'm as nice as people let me be. I'm not Mother Teresa; I'm somewhere between Mother Teresa and motherfucker.
Have you ever seen Karent frown?
I live my life as openly and honestly as possible. I have nothing to hide. I moved here with an unapologetic attitude. I wasn't going to make excuses for doing drag. If you don't like it, that's fine, but I'm doing drag first and foremost to entertain other people and also myself. I am very amused by myself sometimes. I crack myself up.
But there are a lot of people who look at a character like Elaine and they want to somehow bridle or stifle it or dim its light -- and its not gonna happen. It's a waste of their time. I also come to think of it as a mosquito trying to attack a giraffe. It's not gonna do any damage or harm, it's just an insect.
You're in a unique position when it comes to understanding women. Why do you think women can be so catty?
Women can be very loving and strong-willed, but they also can be deeply insecure. They can also can be women's worst enemies. They see them as competition, like with Adriana and Joanna. For whatever reason Adriana seemed so jealous of Joanna. It became a blonde theme, battle of the blonde. I was like, bleach your hair blonde then, bitch! They're both pretty girls, Joanna just happens to be beautiful and Adriana happens to be an attractive girl.
The thing with me is I'm not a woman, I don't want to be a woman, but I love emulating women. I think women are the stronger sex, but there are a lot of insecurities with women and cattiness and gossip.
When you hear someone speak ill of someone, you have to ask, what is motivating this person to talk ill about this other person? Is it insecurities or just jealousy? What I find a lot of times with these women is that they'll go out of their way to point out a flaw in someone else, but no one's perfect. I have flaws, I make mistakes all the time. I've probably made a couple today. If it's something that is worthy of an apology, I'm not too proud to say I'm sorry. But I do have this belief that I would rather say what's on my mind in that particular moment, and if I go too far, apologize the next day or week -- then not say a word and wake up the next morning and say, "I should have told that bitch off."
What are you up to now/next?
I'm actually working with a production company out of Nashville. I'm also a music writer and I'm doing, believe it or not, a country single.
And we did some preliminary videoing on film as a man. So much on talk shows these days, the host doesn't give the guest an opportunity to finish their thoughts. They cut them off. It's like, honey, why the hell do you have them on the show if you're going to answer the questions? I truly believe there are a lot of people in this world that are a lot more interesting than I am that I want to learn from. I'd love to sit down and have a one on one with some of the brightest lights in the world. But I love Miami, I can't imagine living anywhere else in the world.
Elaine Lancaster is just one of the artists appearing at Artopia this Thursday, February 28, at the Coral Gables Museum. Read more about the event here, and get your tickets at the website. You can follow Elaine on Twitter at @ElaineLancaster.