With a perfect balance of beauty, camp, and offensive humor, Mia E Z'Lay is literally the life of the party. She spends hours preparing for performances and sewing together her own outfits and has spent a few years working on perfecting her craft. Her brightly colored hair, a one of a kind paint, curves for the gawds, and quick wit is sure to win the hearts of several audience members who witness her performances onstage.
1. Who is Mia E Z'Lay?
Mia is a character that is just an extension of who I am. She is funny, weird, punk, political, and a bit crazy. I want Mia to be funny and colorful, while at the same time showing a punk and political statement. I love the play on gender and creating a character who I can push social boundaries with.
2. When and why did you begin doing drag?
I started preparing to do drag in Fall of 2012. Making hip pads, practicing makeup, etc. I came out as Mia and started drag officially in January 2013.
I’m actually pretty reserved and get nervous very easily beforehand. I wanted to try out drag and I’m also that idiot who believes in superstitions and such. So I told myself if the Mayans were wrong and the world didn’t end 12/21/12 I would become a drag queen.
3. How did you come up with your drag name?
The first name Mia is based off a character from a Game Boy Advance game called "Golden Sun". I wanted a pun and finally somehow decided on being called Mia Elizabeth Z’Lay, but if you have $20 you can call me Mia E Z’Lay for short. Haha jokes!
4. What is something not many people know about you?
-I’m a power top.
-I have around 40-50 piercings
-I’ve had unnaturally colored hair for about 10 years
One of those is a lie ;)
5. What is the most misunderstood thing about being a drag performer in your opinion?
My humor sometimes. I have very demotivational and offensive humor and sometimes it can be taken wrong. It’s hard for me to fathom the idea. I’m a gay man dressed in female garbs with crazy makeup and hair and I am a loving person. Mia makes offensive jokes towards everyone, similar to Lisa Lampanelli. The jokes are meant to make people laugh, but also think. If we do not look back on our history, we are doomed to repeat it. I think it’s important to talk about social injustices and keep them in our thoughts, even if it’s through a pun.
6. What sort of struggles have you faced being a drag performer?
Issues with my TBI and depression. Drag is a lot of work if you want to do it constantly. I get overworked and overstressed easily, so I try to prioritize and organize as much as I can in order to do shows. Overall, with all the struggles and issues, drag has been wonderful and I have had a lot of positivity come out of it. My grandmother, sister, and my father all come to my shows and it has brought me closer to them.
7. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Divine is a big inspiration. Please refer to my eyebrows! Jessicka Fodera from Jack Off Jill has been a huge inspiration for me.
8. How long does it usually take you to make your own outfits?
O jeez. It depends. I can make a pin up dress or bodysuit in an hour or two. If it’s something I haven’t done or am experimenting with, it can get crazy. I really love sewing so I just kind of dive in and go until I’m done or exhausted.
9. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope to continue to be doing Drag. I also want to expand my abilities in fashion and costuming. So hopefully somewhere filled with makeup and fabric!
10. What is something you wish to change about the drag community and why?
I think that people should do what they can to explore different styles and also know as much as they can. Always growing and improving. Know where drag started, what it means to be a drag family, and constantly evolve. I think it’s important to know how and why you are able to dress up, when some are unable to express themselves.
11. What is your favorite thing about being a drag performer?
The people I meet who understand my weird ways or have taken something I have said or done to help themselves. I have had issues in the past with depression and came out about my suicidal thoughts recently. I got a lot of messages of thanks or people who wanted to talk and share their own experiences. It means so much to me that I was able to help in some way. It’s hard with depression because even in a room full of people who love you, sometimes you feel alone. In the end I want people who feel the same to know that it can and will get better.
12. How long does it take you to get ready for a typical performance?
I can do my makeup in about 45 minutes to an hour or so, normally before a show. I usually pack for the show the day before, as to not forget things. If I pack before doing makeup I usually forget corsets and important things.
13. What is your favorite number you've ever done? Any specific reason?
My favorite numbers are either my Workout Mix or doing Don’t Cha. Workout is a number where I tell a story of being overweight and just wanting to fit in, but dealing with struggles of constant exercise and diet to no avail and in the end I take my shirt off to reveal my fat gut and finish the song going nuts and accepting my weight and body for who I am. Don’t Cha is also really fun because I act a hot mess while in very revealing clothing. It’s a funny idea to think that don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me when I’m a trainwreck, but at the same time the cheers and applause are for me for me and not for being the ideal body or weight.
14. You're stranded on a completely deserted island, what 3 things would you need to have with you if you could choose?
The Sims 3 with all the trimmings, Dark Chocolate, and my Jew gold.
15. What is the best advice you could give someone just starting as a drag performer?
Don’t stick to one style. Don’t follow the crowd. Don’t settle for good or pretty. Always believe in yourself and strive to improve and move forward constantly. Also, buy one of my shirts at www.teepublic.com/user/miaezlay
It won’t help with drag, but I love shameless promotion!