Gio Profera catches the left boob on its second bounce and pops it back into his spandex tube top without missing a step. It's orange and semi-opaque and at least an inch thick. Thankfully, for him, it's nearly impossible to pop. Apart from being a commensurate pro, Gio is sometimes a bro — he's able to dribble the orange sphere and deftly scoop it up like a basketball. On a recent Thursday night, he worked the bar at Gramps in Wynwood with his performance partner, Josue Garcia. The two are surrounded by girls wearing spiky jewelry and stilettos that would prove perilous to lesser-prepared drag queens.
But it's not Juleisy y Karla's first rodeo — they've been dressing up as their Hialeah-inspired creations for two years.
Juleisy y Karla
The pair of friends grew up on the same street and have perfect control of the lingo and attitude of their hometown. It's a kind of vibe and humor that's immediately comprehensible to someone who's familiar with the Magic City. For others, the pair is Shit Miami Girls Say meets early-'60s Happening. Although South Beach is famous for its queens, these two are trying to be something other than celebrity-impersonating, perfectly coiffed female impersonators.
"We've been around for 2,013 years, so everything's been done already," Josue admits. "I mean, who knows? Jesus had long hair and all that, so maybe he was the first bearded drag queen."
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Because of the success and hilarity of their YouTube videos, Juleisy y Karla have appeared on both Spanish- and English-language TV news. They host a monthly party at the SoBe bar Kill Your Idol and performed last month at Latin Gay Pride on Washington Avenue.
At Gramps, they clowned around as they performed an awkward karaoke rendition of the Steve Miller Band's "Abracadabra." Although Gio deftly rolled with the wardrobe malfunction, not every guest was impressed. "Hiya, your tits are crooked," one onlooker commented between sips of her tequila drink.
This woman clearly missed the point: Juleisy y Karla are not supposed to look real. Sure, they have the trappings of typical queens, such as fake eyelashes and six-inch heels, but they're also hirsute and borderline chubby.
"We could never leave Miami," Gio says. "We're Hialeah's finest. Where else could we live?"