Sunday, November 13, 2016

Kalista Stage: A Full Production

Los Angeles is filled with an enormous variety of talented and well rounded drag performers. One of the many is Kalista Stage who believes in making a true connection to her audience through the production of her performances. She draws her inspiration from many different people and is very eager to learn new things. Her fascination of performance started when she was a child ruining her mother's towels and continued into high school where she cross dressed in jewelry, makeup, heels, etc. Kalista is a true force to be reckoned with and is gaining popularity and notoriety very quickly.

1. Who is Kalista Stage as a performer?

Kalista Stage is an explosion of stage presence and beauty, or so I like to think. All of my years of being a performer really brings out the theatrics and love for the connection with the crowd. I think thats why showmanship, creating a production comes naturally for me. The crowd loves to feel the up and down, the journey from the beginning, middle, and all the way to the end. That’s my style of performing. I like to bring a concept to life. Whether it be an idea, a color, a person, I’m all about the production. The connection with the audience comes naturally. 

2. When and why did you begin doing drag?

I’ve always been a drag queen. Even as a kid I loved putting on shows with towels wrapped around my head as hair. I even sprinkled a bit of glitter with old school liquid Elmer’s Glue on them. Momma stage wasn’t so happy about that, the ruins of her towels I mean. Other than that, I cross-dressed all throughout high school! She wore heels, skirts, jewelry, makeup, and the works. The idea of drag never came to mind because for the most of my childhood, what drag is, was what i was already expressing in my everyday life. I remember on many occasions I would imagine myself on stage as some of my favorite divas, putting on an entire show, lip-syncing the words while I listened to every song. I guess what I’m trying to say is it wasn’t a choice to do drag. It developed slowly as a natural progression of who I am. Sure, nowadays I have the wig, the padding, and the song to lip sync to, but I’ve always been a drag queen. It really is a huge part of my life.

3. Where did you get your drag name from?

Kalista came to me in a reoccurring dream. I couldn’t shake the idea of this absolutely breathtaking woman I saw, and as self-indulgent as this sounds, I became her after trial and error in the makeup chair.
As for the last name “Stage”, I wanted something that was representative of me, my background, where I’m most comfortable. The stage is my happy place. It’s where I can go, and not one person can take that away from me. Unless, their name is Kanye West. 

4.  What is your favorite and least favorite thing about doing drag?

My favorite thing about doing drag is never feeling like I am content or at ease with who Kalista is. I am always growing, always changing and learning. Therefore, Kalista continues to evolve and that is the most exciting part. I will never run out of things to create and share with the world. My least favorite thing about drag? I don’t really have one? I enjoy every part of the process, but if I had to pick one, it definitely would be the sweating in full makeup; possibly even the tucking and padding process. 

5.  What would you say is your biggest accomplishment so far?

Making it on Reddit? Just kidding. I want to answer this in two parts. 
A. Gaining residency at two venues in West Hollywood. That was a pivotal point in the rapid progression of my drag character. I’ve learned so much from the girls I work with, and the boys I work with too. 
B. Aside from the residency, I think just branching out to different places and letting my introvert take the backseat has been great for everything I’ve accomplished thus far.  

6. What has been your favorite performance that you've ever done so far?

Oh my goodness. There are so many! I don’t like to repeat numbers, but I really want to do my Cruella De Vil number again. That one keeps coming up in my mind, so that one is my favorite. 

7. Who is your biggest drag inspiration?
I don't really draw my inspiration from other queens. Sure, I've studied the greats and I learn from them, but the word inspiration is a broad term. The drag world has had a long journey, and so many ideas, outfits, songs have been done over and over, but at the end of the day anyone can create or recreate a look and still be stunning, regardless of anyone else doing it before. I draw a lot of my inspiration from theatre. To personify an entire world of creativity, she was my first inspiration.

8.  If you had the opportunity to travel and perform  anywhere, where would you pick and why? Also, what would you bring to the drag scene there?

I would love the opportunity to go all over Europe. So much originated from there, and I'm sure the drag scene has something amazing to offer too. I see so many of my international sisters killing the game over there. As for what I would bring, I would bring an overwhelming amount of will to learn and better my aesthetic, my art, my passion. 

9. If you could change something about the drag scene, what would you change and why? 

I would change how a lot of queens interact with others. There’s an overwhelming sense of “let me take her down” or “there can only be one”, as if there is only one person allowed to succeed. I guess I feel as if there’s not one way to do something correctly or to the best possible standard. Come on, art is subjective. The why behind it? Well, I get being competitive comes naturally, but I’ve seen some people straight up quit because of how they were treated. They had so much potential. 

Then again, I could play the Devil’s advocate and say, “The drag world, let alone the entertainment industry, is not for the faint of heart.” Can you tell I like to look at all sides of the argument?

10. What would you say is your best quality?
I would say my best quality is my nose contour. Just kidding. I really like to smile and enjoy life. It's infectious. I like to keep a uplifting outlook on life and any situation. 

11. What is the best compliment you've ever received?

Someone once told me to keep doing whatever I was doing. To just keep going and continue being the lovable, relatable personality who can be the girl next door one second and the show-stopping diva the next.

12. What is the most bizarre thing anyone has said to you while you were out in drag?

Ugh! The list goes on and on. I live in Los Angeles. The amount of bizarre things I could hear from someone is inevitably infinite. Hmmm, possibly "Will you give me your number? I want to have it for when I'm up in heaven. You're an angel and I'll be calling." (The entire time she never broke eye contact, and her husband didn't either.) They must have been swingers!

13. How is drag in LA different from drag everywhere else?
I feel as if LA drag has a bit of everything. The drag scene here is a product of its environment. We have so many different kinds of individuals living here. It’s only safe to assume the drag scene would reflect that. 

14. If you ever had to come up with a catchphrase to describe you as a drag performer, what would it be?
"An ocean of possibilities, beautiful and serene offstage, but a wild juggernaut of captivating gravity onstage." 

15. If you ever won the lottery, what would be the first thing you would do with your money?  

The first thing I would do with the money is buy my family whatever they want. Then a donation to the MAC AIDS fund. After that, I’ll invest in various avenues of revenue, then savings and finally the frivolous spending on anything I want. 
I really should just take the money to an accountant first, but you got the breakdown first! 

Instagram - @Kalistastage
Facebook - Kalista Stage 
Snapchat - Liamdean 
YouTube - Kalista Stage

Photo Credits:

The Drag Enthusiast