As Karli Evans and Cassandra Keith's Indiegogo campaign to fund their film Emergence continues, New Times has been interviewing each of its six performers for a deeper look into the film and the world that inspired it. The documentary pairs interviews with drag performers, goes behind the scenes as they prepare for gigs, and shows a short-film fantasy of each queen's creation.
The first interview in New Times' series was with Jupiter Velvet, followed by one with Karla Croqueta. This week, it's Queef Latina. With the aesthetic of an Avon saleswoman that makes others feel right at home, she's a mother to many in Miami's drag scene.
New Times: Where did your name come from?
Queef Latina: My drag name is a play on "Queen Latifah," and oddly enough, people call me Queen Latifah all the time. Being Latinx, I found "Queef Latina" to not only be fitting but also easy to remember. Although some people think it came from a Tina Fey skit, it actually didn't. When I was living in NYC (way before the skit ever came out), my friend John said it in a conversation in a car, and I told him: "Oh my God, if I ever do drag, that'll be my name!" And the rest is history.
How did you start doing drag?
It was completely unintentional and developed fairly organically. In college, I was in the Brooklyn drag scene, hanging around then-unknown local girls like Untitled and Merrie Cherry. I never attempted to do drag when I lived in Brooklyn, though; I didn't have the cojones! Once I moved to Miami, the one thing I missed most was the queer and drag scene.
For my 24th birthday, [Miami artist] Sleeper wanted to put me on the flyer for a relatively small party called Counter Corner and asked me what I wanted my name to be. I said "Queef Latina." And a few months later, he asked [Miss] Toto and I to perform, and things never stopped from then on!
What are your inspirations for drag?
I pull inspiration from everywhere — fashion shows, movies, TV, social media — but most people just see the polished, housewife persona when they think of my drag. When it comes to performances, I'm less interested in doing it for entertainment and more as a form of therapy. I use personal life experiences as my fuel for a good show.
What is your fantasy segment in the film about?
I just wanted people to know that they can call me if they get lonely. JK! My humor is very campy, so I wanted to poke fun at the classic sex hotlines that I used to see on late-night television as a kid. I wanted you, as the viewer, to imagine a world where there was only one hyperfem and hypermasc human, AKA Queef, who can fulfill your every desire: "Can you handle the Queef?"
How was it working on the production?
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Karli and Cassandra are so caring, thoughtful, and open. Since the very first day when they came over to talk ideas, they would sit there and actively listen to everything I had to say. They gave me complete freedom to do what I wanted for my feature and were noninvasive. In the scenes where they followed me around fabric shopping, they just wanted to be a fly on the wall. None of it was scripted, which is the reason the film feels so authentic — because it truly is just a day in the life of Queef.
What was it like seeing yourself onscreen?
Like most people, I felt a little shy to see myself onscreen, but I could not have been happier with the way it all came out. We as humans are so in our heads all the time that we don't realize what other people see in us. Seeing myself onscreen allowed me to view myself from a new, intimate perspective, which was less critical and much more warm. I got goose bumps. I laughed. I cried.
Where can we find you regularly?
I teach monthly sewing classes at Hotel Gaythering, as well as at the public library for kids and at my Queef Enterprises sewing studio in downtown. I organize the annual Wigwood queer festival every February, and I do performances and host events here and there. Best way to find out about my next event is to follow me on Instagram: @queef.latina.
To support the documentary Emergence, visit igg.me/at/emergencemiami.