It ain't easy being queen: Luke List on the "anti-masculinity" stigma of drag performance
A relative newcomer to the drag scene, Luke List has been performing as alter-ego Zoe O. for a little more than a year -- but that was long enough for him to win Charlie's Mr. July and Man of the Year 2011. And he's ready for Saturday night's Queen of Aces pageant and fundraiser for the Colorado Gay Volleyball Association at Hamburger Mary's, where he'll compete in such categories as talent, beauty and creative volleyball wear. The Indiana native -- he moved to Colorado five years ago to attend Naropa University and get his masters of fine arts in contemporary theater performance -- recently took time out from his preparations for this weekend's contest to chat with Westword , offering some insight into being a bastard daughter in a world of drag royal families and established queen dynasties.
Christina Kissel Drag man Luke List.
Westword: How did you become involved in the Queen of Aces pageant?
Luke List: The Queen of Aces fundraiser happens in February, but the spring [volleyball] league starts in January. Daniella DeCoteau [2009's pageant winner] was recruiting people on the first day of spring league. I'm sitting here thinking, "I've never played in a volleyball league before, and it's the first night of games -- I don't know if I want to commit to a drag show right when I walk in the door!"
Then you're looking around at all these cute boys, and you can see their legs because they're wearing their short-shorts. (Laughs.) You're looking around and you're like, "Oh god, I don't know."
I don't really know what it was exactly that made me want to jump in right away, but I had this moment in my life where I had moved to Denver, was fresh out of a serious relationship, and my choice to play volleyball was just that. My therapist had asked me to make a list of things that you enjoy doing or just things that you do for yourself. Then it's like, "surprise, surprise, you're not doing anything on this list, so no wonder you're unhappy." I said, I'm going to go out and play volleyball again, because I used to play every Sunday in the park.
This was a perfect opportunity. I was sort of in this moment of wanting to be open to new things. Plus, my background is in theater; I have my bachelor's and masters in theater, and I thought, "I can pull off a drag performance."