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Photo Courtesy of The Drag Photographer

Nicolette is Lips’ Hostess with the Most

By Denny Patterson

A sassy southern gal who loves to have fun, make jokes, and make people laugh, Nicolette is a 26-year drag veteran who can be seen regularly at Lips – Fort Lauderdale. Growing up in Mississippi and Louisiana, and now residing in Wilton Manors, Nicolette initially came to South Florida in December 2001. She performs and makes appearances at other bars throughout the area, but she is well-known for emceeing Lips’ Sunday Dragalicious Brunch Show. 

Nicolette took some time to answer some questions for OutClique

Denny Patterson: What brought you to South Florida?

Nicolette: I moved here from Nashville, Tennessee, and I came because my roommate at the time wanted to move down here. So, I came along. Twenty years later, I’m still here!

DP: What other kinds of shows do you do?

N: I have worked at all the bars around here at one time or another, but right now, I am the emcee for the Sunday brunch show. In the past, I have been the emcee for The Divas! show and our Glitz & Glam show.. 

DP: What do you enjoy the most about hosting the brunch show?
N: Being at work early [laughs]. I am too old to be doing these 1AM shows. By 4PM, I am done. When I first started, I am the original brunch emcee and we opened 14 years ago, I was like, oh my God. To get up early on a Sunday morning to do drag, that’s going to be rough. Now, I am used to it. There is nothing to it. 

DP: For those who have never been, what makes Lips a unique place and worth checking out?
N: It used to be a unique place because it used to be the only place you could go have dinner and see a show. Now, that has become commonplace all around, but we have built ourselves as the ultimate in drag dining. You can see some of the best in Fort Lauderdale and South Florida at Lips. 

DP: Have you always had a passion for entertaining and performing?
N: I have. My major in college was theater, so I have always had a passion for performing. I never thought I would grow up and be doing drag for a living, but when I saw my very first drag show while I was in college, I was like, that is something I can explore. I did, and 26 years later, here I am still doing it. 

DP: What can one always expect from a Nicolette performance?
N: That she gives it 100 percent. No matter what song I am performing, I am going to find a passion in that song and try to convey that passion and emotion. Anytime I have a microphone on my hand, you can expect to laugh and just have a great time. 

DP: There are hundreds of South Florida drag queens and female impersonators. What makes Nicolette stand out from the crowd?

N: Hm, that’s a good question because I never really think of myself as being anything special or unique. I’m just me, and I go out there and give it my all. Here’s the thing, I take my craft seriously, but I don’t take myself too seriously. When it’s all said and done, I am a man wearing makeup, wigs, and dresses lip syncing to someone else’s song. I am not curing cancer or saving the world, but if I am going to do this as my living and as my craft, then I am going to give it 100 percent.

Nicolette_Photo
Photo Courtesy of The Drag Photographer

DP: What do you love the most about the South Florida drag scene, and how has it evolved since you began?

N: What I love about the South Florida scene is that we really are a family and a community. I always say that the people that I work with are my sisters and not my co-workers. I make a joke about that in my show, but I truly do mean that. The girls that I have met through this business are some of the closest friends I have ever had. As for the biggest evolution that I have seen, it’s the style of drag. RuPaul’s Drag Race has really changed what drag has become, and the art of female impersonation. Also, in the 26 years that I have been here, I went from being the new girl on the block to one of the girls that new girls look up to. That has been a very big dynamic here for me. Going from a new girl to an old girl, but I am happy to advise the new girls in any way I can because the only way I got to where I was, people were willing to give me advice and help me along the way. 

DP: Do you have any drag daughters?
N: I don’t. I had my tubes tied when I was young [laughs]. You know, I am good at giving advice, but I’m not good at things like helping with someone else’s makeup. I don’t have that natural talent. I had to really learn it the hard way myself. Twenty six years later and I still can’t do hair that great. I can do my face well enough, but I can’t do anybody else’s face. So, if anyone needs or wants advice, I’m here. 

DP: You’re more like the beloved drag auntie.

N: Yes! That’s a good way to put it. I’ve got plenty of nieces. 

DP: Like you said, RuPaul’s Drag Race has elevated the art of drag and female impersonation, but others believe the show has become too mainstream and it is ruining drag. What are your thoughts on this?

N: Yes, I believe there is truth in both of those. It has put drag out there and it has become more acceptable, but also, it’s really not what the art of the business of female impersonation is anymore. It’s no secret that I am not the biggest fan of the show, but I’ve just got to realize what it is. It’s a TV show. I am not going to bash it because I have had several friends who have been on the show, and even before Drag Race, RuPaul was big and putting drag out to the forefront. I don’t hate it, it’s just not my cup of tea and not my kind of drag. If that’s what someone else likes, that’s fine, but they’ve got to realize that, again, this is a TV show. Also, people need to realize that there is a difference between female impersonation and drag. I think all female impersonators are drag queens, but not all drag queens are female impersonators. So, that’s where I will leave it. 

DP: What are some of your interests outside of drag and performing?

N: I love being home with my husband. I have been married for almost a year now, and we have been together for eight and a half years. His name is Greg, and he is a big supporter of mine, which is hard to find as someone who lives their life happily as a man but does drag for a living. It was hard to find that, but I finally found someone that is okay with it and realizes that this is a job. It’s an art form, and I am an actor creating a character. When the end of the day comes, it all comes off, and I live my life as Adam. So, I like being at home with Gregg and our two dogs, and I love spending time with friends. 

DP: What more do you hope to accomplish with your platform?

N: I don’t know if there is anything that I want to accomplish. I just want to be able to have a place in the community where I can still do what I love doing, and that’s entertaining. Hopefully, the older I get, there will still be a place at the table for me. If there’s not, hopefully, I will realize that and gracefully bow out. I’m not looking to become famous, but if it happens, great. Whatever happens with my career, it’s going to happen organically. I am not out pursuing any kind of special thing with that. I am just looking to be happy and entertain my community. I make myself happy by doing that.

Nicolette is not on social media much, so the best way to know where she’s performing at is by looking at ads around town. For more information on Lips, visit FlaDragShow.com and follow their Facebook and Instagram pages.