Sissy that Strut: Q&A with Leah Halston

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Where were you born and where do you consider home these days? 

I was born in a small little town in Louisiana called Lafayette and I’ve been in Louisville for nine years now, so this is home.

When and where did you first discover drag and how long have you been performing? 

When I was a senior in high school, my lesbian friend and I entered a talent show and lip synced to a male/female duet song called “Born Again”. We played opposite roles. She dressed up as the male and I was the female. When I turned around and revealed my identity to the student body, the crowd went wild! It was technically comedy drag, but they loved it and I have been doing drag for over 30 years ever since.

Who is your biggest inspiration in life?

My drag mother, Lawanda Jackson. She inspired me and taught me everything that I know in this business. She had a stroke a few years back and although her recovery is not 100%, she continues to perform, create wigs, and do her own fabulous make up with one fully functioning side of her body. She truly is my mentor in life. I admire her!

What is the one trait your close friends would say describes you to a T? 

That I am a giving person. I grew up basically an only child until my sibling came along, but I never had much. I always wanted others to have what I wasn’t able to have. In fact, my good friend Syimone calls me “Helping Hand Halston”!

Best concert you have ever been to?

You’ll be shocked to hear this, but I haven’t been to that many music concerts. But, I will say, Janet Jackson was hands down the best one I’ve ever been to. In fact, my drag son who used to be one of my dancers, also danced with Janet on her Velvet Rope tour.

Favorite international drag performer?

Right now, the winner of Canada’s Drag Race Priyanka.

If you had one superstar in the entertainment industry you would love to meet, who would it be? Why?

I wish I could have met Whitney Houston. What a performer and what a life she lived. I watch videos of her and I’m always just in awe of her.

Favorite number you have performed on stage? 

That’s such a tough question after 30 years of performing. But, “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor is probably it.

Favorite city you have visited?

I used to be a flight attendant from 2004-2012, so I’ve been so many places. But, Lake Tahoe is gorgeous and the nude beaches are fun!

What adventure is on your bucket list?

Years of being in the air, I never made it to Paris!

Favorite film of all time?

 I’m a movie geek, so there are a lot of films I love, but “Jurassic Park” is up there and “Norbit” with Eddie Murphy.

What’s a perfect day in your world?

 I work a lot, so a perfect day is resting: laying around watching a movie with some popcorn. Relaxing.

What is your favorite curse word to say?

Bitch! (Laughter) My friends have made it a drinking game when they come to my shows: how many times is Leah gonna say “Bitch”?

What’s the best advice you have ever been given? 

Stay humble and be authentic.

If you could go back in time and give little kid Leah some words of wisdom, what would they be?

It’s going to be a rough and hard journey in this business. But, stick to it. The more you do it, the better you’ll get. You have a bright future ahead of you!

What’s next for Leah Halston?

I’ve done everything I’ve aspired to do in this business. I’m happy at Play and hosting fundraisers and being myself on stage. I would love to possibly seek options with fostering a child. I have helped the house less in the community in the past. I never had much and I want to give what I can to a youth in need.

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