Whether Miami's best drag performers are stomping on the sidewalk outside Palace or getting weird in the city's grittier bars and clubs, each scene is crawling with a range of unadulterated talent. Queens, kings, and showstoppers of all genders cartwheel across stages, swing from the rafters, sing their hearts out, and often cross over into performance art. Each of these entertainers has something truly special and different to offer. Miami's drag scenes are experiencing a renaissance, and if you aren't paying attention, you'll miss something truly incredible.
(Editor's note: This list is based on recommendations from party promoters and industry insiders, previous New Times writeups, and the writer's personal experience. Though the list is meant to call attention to local drag performers in various scenes, it's by no means an exhaustive representation of the city's many talented artists.)
Daisy Deadpetals. If there's a name synonymous with Miami drag, it'sDaisy Deadpetals. A veteran of the scene for more than 25 years, the quirky queen is a true luminary. Her drag is influenced by Madonna, Carol Burnett, Divine, and early John Waters films. And if you're wondering where the name Daisy Deadpetals came from, it's a nod to one of her favorite musicians, Tori Amos. Back in the day, Daisy Deadpetals even had her own segment on Deco Drive as "Queen on the Scene." Before Latrice Royale catapulted to stardom on the hit TV show Drag Race, Royale found her identity as a performer at the now-defunct Coliseum nightclub performing alongside Daisy Deadpetals, TP Lords, Erika Norell, and Glitz Glamour. Bow down, Miami. Shelley Novak. Rumor has it this hilarious, foulmouthed drag queen once entertained Gianni Versace and Madonna, and even hurled on Ricky Martin's shoes. Now that's what you call a true drag legend. Shelley Novak is one of the greats, a South Beach icon who has been in the business for almost 30 years. The comedy queen is the creator and host of the Shelley Novak Awards, honoring Miami's drag performers. Catch the energetic queen hosting Tuesday nights at Rácket, Thursdays at Kill Your Idol, every first Sunday of the month at Minnow Bar, and every last Sunday of the month at the Standard. Tiffany Fantasia. Being in the presence of Miss Tiffany Fantasia is being in the presence of a bona fide legend. Her snappy MC persona and unforgettable high-energy performances have garnered the self-proclaimed "mouth of the South" a reputation as one of the most respected drag queens in Miami. The humble performer got her start 15 years ago at Twist in South Beach and hasn't looked back. When Bravo's Andy Cohen declares you his favorite drag queen, you know you're doing something right.
Queef Latina. If there is one drag performer known by nearly everyone in Miami, it's Queef Latina. A drag mother to many, with an incredible wardrobe andan impeccable beard to boot, Queef got her start in drag at the Corner alongside Miss Toto just a few years ago. Now the Miami native is one of the most recognizable faces in the scene, and one of the most influential. In 2017, Queef Latina and Gramps' Adam Gersten created Wigwood, a celebration of queer culture that has rapidly evolved into a three-day extravaganza and was named Miami's best festival by New Times. To find out when Queef Latina will perform next, follow her on Instagram. But if you want her to teach you one of life's most valuable skills, join Queef's Sewing Factory every last Tuesday of the month at Hotel Gaythering.
TP Lords. From extraterrestrial realness to club-kid-inspired couture, TP can serve it all and everything in between. When Miami's fiercest glamazon walks into a room in her sky-high platforms, you will break your neck to catch a glimpse. TP, short for "Total Package," is the mother of the House of Lords. A seasoned queen, Lords has been doing drag since the '90s, when Miami's new wave of drag performers was probably still in diapers.
Photo by Ivan Belaustegui
Athena Dion. This goddess has been dominating South Florida's drag scene for a hot minute — that's not any news. But what you probably didn't know is that Athena Dion is an online sensation. In September 2018, Lindsay Lohan was filmed dancing onstage in Mykonos at the Lohan Beach House that took the internet by storm. In the video, the now-famous tag line “Honey, this is how you throw a party in Mykonos, bitch” is heard over the speakers — and it's spoken by Dion herself. She was hosting that event and was onstage during the infamous moment, according to an interview with Instinct Magazine, but doesn't appear in the viral clip. Dion is the host and director of one of Miami's best drag shows, Wynwood's R House Drag Brunch, a weekend extravaganza that has quickly become a weekend favorite.
Karla Croqueta. The 305's favorite chonga describes herself as"the queen of croquetas with a PhD in putería" in her Instagram bio. Karla Croqueta is hands-down one of the city's funniest drag performers. Plus, she's the most Miami queen in all the land, bro. The newly appointed Ultimate Miami Drag Queen 2019 began drag out of necessity, when she and Gio Profera (AKA Juleisy, of Juleisy y Karla) were trying to score free drinks at a local ladies' night. New Times dubbed Karla "one of the people instrumental in jump-starting Miami's new wave of drag," and the sentiment still stands. In 2014, Karla and local artist Sleeper set out to "fill a void in Miami's queer scene" and created Counter Corner, which continues to be one of the city's most influential parties. And if you've been lucky enough to see Karla sing live during her show, you've been #blessed by the patron saint of Hialeah.
Miss Toto. Miami's queer community recently lost one of itspillars. That's because Miss Toto packed up her bags and moved to Chicago. A fierce drag queen, nationally qualified bodybuilder, personal trainer, and postgraduate marine-science researcher, the over-six-foot-tall drag superstar did it all while ruling the Magic City scene. The creative drag artist channels her love of pop culture to create unique, out-of-this-world performances, from her iconic Hormone Monstress “bubble bath” stint to performing as SpongeBob SquarePants’ Mr. Krabs. Miami will long feel the void left by Miss Toto. Long live the queen.
Missy Meyakie LePaige. Once you set your sights on Missy Meyakie LePaige, you just can't turn away. If you're looking for an enthralling performance, the reigning Miss National Showgirl will give it to you. A cartwheeling diva and lip-sync extraordinaire, Missy has infectious energy. She will put on a badass performance that will forever be ingrained in your brain. Put away the dollar bills and take out the fives for this Palace mainstay. Sasha Lords. Miami nightlife can be fickle. But if there's one constant, it's the impressive performers who can turn it out at the drop of a hat. Sasha Lords is among the best. A member of the long-running House of Lords, the talented entertainer can be seen slaying stages across South Florida, from Wilton Manors to Wynwood. Don't sleep on Sasha Lords, or you'll be sorry.
Kat Wilderness. When Kat Wilderness is whipping her Ariana Grande-esque ponytail onstage, you better back up and take notice. Her presence demands attention, and if you blink even for a second, you've already missed something amazing. The young entertainer, who has amassed an Instagram following of more than 47,000, has performed alongside notables such as Drag Race's Laganja Estranja and singer-songwriter Charli XCX. When she brings it, she brings it hard. Hold on to your wigs and your hearts, because Kat Wilderness is coming to snatch both.
Who is your favorite South Florida drag performer?
Photo by Karli Evans
Jupiter Velvet. If you don't know Jupiter Velvet's name by now, stop what you're doing and head to her Instagram page to find out when she'll perform next. This queen continues to raise the bar. From gracing the cover of New Times, to performing alongside Charli XCX and Eric Andre, to being featured in Bad Bunny's music video for "Caro," Velvet is making waves in a sea full of talent. New Times says, "Grabbing inspiration from icons such as Octavia St. Laurent of the New York ballroom scene in the '80s and '90s, Jupiter uses her body to show there's no right way to be a transgender person. Untethered from the belief that she has to "pass" for a cisgender woman, she proudly shows off body hair." Jupiter says, "You can set your own beauty standards and own rules to live by," She adds, "And you can break them if you want."
Petty Boop. "[Female drag queens] have been around forever, but gender has become such a big topic that it's suddenly become an issue," Petty Boop recently told New Times. "But if you tell me I can't do drag, guess what? I'm going to do it anyway." The Miami drag queen, who's been performing in the scene for close to a year, identifies as a cisgender woman. A star on the rise with a face fit for the gods, Petty Boop is a talented multifaceted performer. You can sometimes catch her singing and playing guitar during her performances, and you don't want to miss it.
King Femme. Last year, King Femme took home the crown during the first Miss(ter) Wynwood Drag Pageant, and deservedly so. This royal entertainer's stand-out performances are hypnotizing. It's apparent that Femme is passionate about performing and using art to convey powerful messages throughout the city. We're excited to watch this drag artist extraordinaire continue to evolve and captivate audiences. If this Miami star is not on your radar, you're already ten steps behind. King Femme will make you proud to be a Miamian.
Kunst. In recent years, Miami has fostered a beautiful and thriving alternative queer community grounded in performance art. And though a number of performers on this list are a part of that ever-growing scene, no roundup is complete without the fearless experimental performer Kunst. Dubbed by New Times as "Miami's most cerebral and emotive extraterrestrial performer," Kunst is a force to be reckoned with. "I think drag has always been at the forefront of a genuine political conversation," Kunst recently told New Times. "This is one criticism that people know that I'm always leveling against the drag scene down here: I think we need to be more political. I think there's a tendency right now, here in the city, to make queerness apolitical... [But] everything we do as queer people is always political."
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the bar where Tiffany Fantasia got her start.
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