Photo by: Angelo S. Ortiz Vela
Houston, TX is very well known for an out of this world drag scene with well rounded performers of different genres of drag. Regina Blake-Dubois is a queen that gives a little bit of everything and shes taken the Houston drag scene by storm. She hosts her own show, "The Broad's Way", at Michael's Outpost every week. She recently brought the Houston community together and raised thousands of dollars during the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey for hurricane relief over Facebook live. She spends her time uplifting her community and she has a blast while doing it. Regina deserves more recognition than shes given and she was ecstatic to do this interview. Enjoy!
1. Who is Regina Blake-Dubois?
Regina is that sarcastic aunt that helps you with your homework while also teaching you how to smoke out of an apple, all while endless showtunes play in the background. She's also this badass suit of armor that protects my sweet squishy interior when I'm out.
2. When and why did you begin doing drag?
I started 3 and a half years ago, at the end of my freshman year of college. My roommate and I had been watching season six of RPDR, and we would turn to each other and say "hey we can do that!" He quit a few months later, and I'm still stuck swirling in this hell-hole and loving it!
3. How did you come up with your drag name?
So the show "Once Upon a Time." This show fucked me UP. The evil queen in it was EVERYTHING. A sassy, powerful bitch that commanded attention when she walked in a room, took no shit from anyone, and had the most amazing wardrobe. She was all I wanted to be as a drag queen, and her name was Regina. Thorne comes from "Revenge," another ABC show that I eventually stopped watching. The main character was on a crazed path to avenge her father's death, but was also a sophistacted socialite in the Hamptons, and her name was Emily Thorne. DuBois (du-bwah, not du-boys) is a family name, given to me by our family mother Irene DuBois about a year and a half ago.
4. What would you say is your most unique quality?
Im a Broadway queen, through and through. For almost 10 months, 95% of my performances have been from a Broadway show. I'm a very dramatic person, and that translates well in my drag. Not only do I DO Broadway, I can SELL Broadway. In Houston (in most of the South tbh) most popular drag requires a pageant title or a sickening dance number filled with death drops. I don't do that. I take a Broadway number, dissect it, figure out the emotion behind it, and spill all of into my performamces. Oh, and I'm always 100% on my lip sync.
5. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about drag?
My favorite thing is how drag is the best example of all the artforms coming together. Fashion, makeup, and hair are all given, but drag also includes sound design, painting, sculpting, dancing, singing sometimes, playing instruments sometimes, it can literally be ANYTHING!
My absolute least favorite thing is the drama. There's a reason they're called Drama QUEENS, y'all! I do a good job of avoiding drama at shows, or drama on Facebook, but you see it everywhere. I don't understand why this small section of an already targeted community spends so much time arguing about petty shit backstage or in facebook comments.
6. What should people expect when coming to your show "The Broad's Way"?
Lots of puns, dad jokes, and horrible segways. Also, lots of awkward tales about things that have happened to me. 75% of my comedy is self-deprecating. But also, TBW is unique because we have both drag entertainers AND live singers at every show
7. How would you say drag changed your life?
2 ways. I'm finally confident, and I'm finally happy. I think that says everything.
8. What is something you haven't told anyone but you think people need to know about you?
I hate going out. Between my day job as a stage manager and working multiple bookings each week, I don't have the time or energy to do it. And when I do go out, I normally latch on to the friend who invited me, and if we get separated at some point I'm basically useless. So if you see me out when I'm not in face, take a picture. It's a rare sight.
9. Do you have any hidden talents...if so, what are they?
Actually I'm pretty solid at video games. Everyone's got a vice!
10. If you could pick 3 other artists to show appreciation for in the Houston drag scene, who are they and why should we show appreciation towards them?
#1 is always Dessie Love Blake. I don't know a more polished, professional queen. She's helped launch the careers of so many queens in Houston through the 12 different drag races that she has hosted. I can also say that she works more and harder than any other queen I know, she's got a wonderful business head towards drag, and I look up to her more than anyone.
#2 would have to be Tatiana Mala-Niña. This is a queen that I have watched perform since I was just a little gay boy watching amateur drag shows in awe. She's worked her padded ass off to get to where she is now. I remember her being one of the first queens I saw go from amateur to supporting themselves completely on their drag. Plus she's fucking hilarious, the master of spoken word, and one of the strongest women I know.
#3 would be my younger drag sister, Roofie DuBois. I give her lots of shit, all the time, but I'm incredibly impressed by her. I was there for her first performance, she did Miranda Sings and looked HORRIBLE. Over the next year and a half though, she refined her brand and has become one of the youngest queens to build a large following in the city. She's more accomplished than I give her credit for.
11. Recently Houston dealt with Hurricane Harvey and you decided to spend days at a time in full drag on Facebook live to raise money for hurricane relief. How did you come up with the idea and how much money did you raise altogether?
Thankfully my apartment didn't get flooded or damaged by Harvey, but we were still trapped inside for almost a week. And after 3 days of not doing anything except watching the news and seeing the damage elsewhere, I decided to get off my ass and help. With assistance from my neighbor Jessica and our friend Allison, we put together a mini-studio in her apartment and 4 hours later we were live. I decided to ask people to tip performamces that happened during the stream, and all proceeds went to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Between those tips, and contributions from Dessie Love Blake and Rumors Beach Bar in Galveston, we raised $3000 in 9 hours. Our second broadcast, we were live for another 12 hours and raised an additional $1800.
12. Do you have a most embarrassing moment from when you were onstage? If so, what is it?
I once performed Tove Lo's song "Like Em Young." However, my concept was a slutty teacher going after her students, and it wasn't picked up by the audience. Plus I kept tripping on my heels and the stage, my outfit kept malfunctioning, and Willam (my #1 fave) was in the audience. I walked off stage, started crying, grabbed my bag and ran out of the club.
13. What would you say is the most rewarding thing about being a drag performer?
Being the host of a show made me realize that hosting a show is a skill that's very specific, and not everyone is good at it. I, however, am bomb as hell at it. Becauee of that, I get to first-hand watch audience members show up and experience the performances. As the show continues, you can literally see people's moods improve (and not just becauee they're drinking). Drag brings people joy, plain and simple.
14. If you could pick one place to travel to for a booking, where would you go and why?
NEW YORK CITY! Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, I want to work anywhere in the place that will inevitably be my home. If you're from NYC, you should book Houston's PREMIER Broadway Queen to come perform!!
15. What is your best advice for performers who are just starting drag?
I've got lots here so let me just advice-vomit.
1) Keep your drama off Facebook. I've put people on a ""Never Book Him/Her/Them" list because they start shit online.
2) You never know who's watching. Be polite, be professional, be personable.
3) Always be looking for the next step. Don't keep performing at amateur nights for 2 years if you're serious about drag. Go to other shows, meet show directors, express interest in working on their show. If you don't speak up, they probably won't hire you.
4) Asking to borrow bobby pins/hairspray/nail glue/etc once is ok. But asking a second time, at a different booking, is unprofessional and means you're unprepared.
Photo by: Angelo S. Ortiz Vela
The Drag Enthusiast