Sissy That Strut: Diana Rae Ellis

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Q: Where were you born and where do you consider home these days?
A: I was born in Louisville and it’s still home. I used to live in the west end with my aunt and uncle who raised me then I moved to St. Matthew’s in high school with my sister and her husband. I now reside in the J Town area. 

Q: When and where did you first discover drag and how long have you been performing?
A: My whole family and I were watching “Too Wong Foo”. I was 5 or 6 years old and I wasn’t a child that asked questions. I was just watching and all of a sudden, out loud, I was like, “I wanna do that.” My sister then taught me how to walk in her heels and I used to practice lip synching to Tina Turner on this wooden table while my mom and dad cheered me on. When I’m not in makeup, you can still see a scar on my right eye from when I fell of that table while performing! 

Q: It sounds like you had quite the support system growing up. Is everyone in the family still close?
A: Yesss! When my sisters come to my shows…you definitely know they are there. They are my hype girls, even during the ballads. (Laughter) When I was 18, my sister brought me to The Connection to watch the drag show. That is what actually inspired me the most. Watching Cezanne, Hurricane and Mokha command the crowd was just so affirming for me. I knew then that this is what I want to do!

Q: What is the one trait your close friends would say describes you to a T?
A: If we’re acquaintances, probably “Entertaining”, but those that know me well would say “motherly”. On Saturdays, I cook for the staff at Play.

Q: Best musical show you have ever been to?
A: I have to give a shout out to the Louisville “Hamilton” show. Wow! It was breathtaking! 

Q: Who is your Favorite past, present, all time  international drag performer?
A: It’s a tie actually: Mokha Montrese because she’s just Mokha and so down to earth as well. Also, Chevelle Brooks. When I first began performing, everyone called me “Baby Chevelle”. Then I saw her perform for the first time when she won US of A. I couldn’t believe this plus size queen beat all these skinny bitches in their own division. And she just does not stop moving. I draw energy and inspiration from her when I’m on stage! 

Q: What is your favorite curse word?
A: I think it’s a tie between shit and bitch. “Biiitch…” is a conversation starter. My mom actually does it too. I have been known to use “shit” in many different ways. “This is bullshit”, “shit turd”, “it’s shitty”, “fuck all this shit.” (Laughter) 

Q: What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
A: An old woman in church told me once: “Those who keep their heads down never succeed but have the most complaints.” I cannot remember her name, Sister somethin’. I used to always walk with my head down. She would tell me “You keep walking with your head down, you’re just gonna keep looking at your feet. All they can tell you is where you’ve been and where you’re going. Quite frankly, if your head is down, you’ll never get anywhere because you can’t see where you’re going.” 

Q: What’s next for Diana Rae Ellis?
A: I’m with Play for the next 2 years then I’d love to book myself out more and keep pushing myself a little bit harder each day. 

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