| Craig Chadwell & Michael Moffo
WITH THE NUMBER of hours drag queens spend painting face, dressing up in lavish costumes, and blinging-up with shiny jewelry, it’s natural to want to see who is behind the mask. We recently learned that when Timothy Wilcots finishes the makeup and the wardrobe, Latrice Royale emerges. We also learned to expect the unexpected from Latrice. Not only in what she had to say, but we learned that there is a very real, intelligent, compassionate person beneath the makeup, dress, and jewelry.
Even with all of her fame which blossomed as a result of her appearance on “Ru Paul’s Drag Race,” she states everything
with a refreshing ease and openness. From her broken home upbringing in Compton, CA, to her time in prison, it’s all genuine conversation from a genuine person.
The weekend of August 2-4, 2013, was a busy one for Latrice. With Friday night in New Jersey, Saturday in Columbus, then Sunday in Austin, TX, we were grateful that Latrice gave
Quorum Magazine this exclusive interview about giving, community, and life. We initially shared with Latrice that we are actually “The Taste Buds” – the food writers for Quorum. “That is flattering because, well look, I’m all about food! So you’re not really too far off course,” she quickly quipped. “This was a match made in heaven!”
Her Friday New Jersey performance was a cancer benefit.
In a rare moment of breaking her drag character, she became emotional onstage.
“I didn’t expect it to overtake me the way it did,” she said. “(Cancer) is something very and near and dear to my heart I’ve performed ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ tons of times, but it’s never been received that way it was received last night. Latrice has turned her life around since her 18-month prison sentence for drug possession. She is doing all she can to use her life lessons and fame and do positive work for any she can touch.
“That’s what it’s about for me and it always has been. Giving back to the community – a lot -- is what it’s all about for me,” she said. “It’s just natural and it’s important that people see the different side of drag ...I don’t have that ‘diva mentality.’ I know too closely how all of this can be taken away in a second.”
Latrice finds drag in Columbus to be special.
“Columbus is very different. I’ve been calling Columbus my second home. It’s like family,” she said. “When I come here, it’s not like work for me at all here... The money or whatever, that’s all secondary. It’s about coming here and being with my people here. They love me, and
I love them.”
But Latrice takes herself very seriously. She considers herself an ambassador of the gay community to
“I think every community is my community because I’m gay. I’m a drag queen!,” she laughs.” I’m all about inspiring. I get to be myself. I don’t have to put on airs.”
Gesturing to her out-of-costume moccasin-style shoes,
she added, “ Got them at a jailhouse yard sale!”
Again, she refers to her past experience in prison in such a nonchalant manner, that you realize it is a part of her, and it was part of the evolution that brought her here. “You know what, there’s nothing I can do about what I did. I don’t try to front, honey. It’s my heart,” she said.
Her heart is now in what she considers to be her first,
real relationship. “I have a boyfriend now and have
opened myself up to dating, she said, adding “I’ve never been in this good place in my 41 years. For the first time, I’m in love. “ She’s now a wedding officiant who recently was honored to help a long-time friend get married in New York, and her thoughts on relationships and marriage are evolving to the positive.
“I tell myself I deserve it, but I was so fearful. If I’m in, I’m in. If it goes south, I feel like a failure. I’ll try to hold it together as long as I can until I know it ain’t right. It takes work and you’ve got to keep it moving and keep communicating. That’s the big thing,” she explains. “I think that’s why this is going so well. I ain’t doing none of the things I used to do, number one. And I’m just in a total different emotional headspace. I’m different. My life is different. I’ve been focusing the last eight years keeping myself out of this hole I was in being in prison.”
Latrice’s mother passed away while Latrice was in prison, but she still attributes one of her greatest life lessons to her mother. “My mother told me something as a kid. And I was grown when I finally realized what she was saying to me. She says, ‘Bought sense is the best sense in the world.’ I was like, ‘BOUGHT sense?’ Meaning, what you’ve got to pay for – what you learn from – that’s gonna be the best (lesson to learn.)”