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Bring Out the Kings!: Gage Gatlyn

Gage Gatlyn:

Official MySpace: www.myspace.com/gagegatlyn

Gage graphic OI

Cris Long: What influenced your decision to start performing drag?

Gate Gatyln:  I regularly attended a Thursday night show in Jacksonville, which included a 'talent competition.' The Host of the Show mesmerized me every time I seen her perform. Watching her made me think that I wanted to do it, but 'she' was a queen.. So I said, "Well, I want to do this, but If I do, I will be that good, or I won't do it at all." There were no kings in Jacksonville at the time, that I knew of. So, I did the talent show...it went over so well, and I enjoyed it so much that I took it to other bars in Jacksonville. It took off. The calls started coming in from all over Florida.  As I competed more and won more titles, even more bookings came. Until eventually, I couldn't work a regular job, in order to continue to perform.

CL: Do you credit a specific person or entertainer for your performance decisions? If so, who and why?

GG: Well, no. I perform for the audience. So, if anything, they get the credit. I have always tried to perform what I believe the fans will enjoy, not what I enjoy performing. Although I do enjoy it most of the time. (smile) My partner has a hand in it as well. There are songs she loves to watch me perform...so I will pull those out when she wants to see them. Or, sometimes she will just come to me and say, 'I heard this on the radio, you should do it..' If I like it, I do it, and sometimes, if I don't like it, I do it anyway.  If a song is popular and highly requested, I do it whether I like it or not.

CL: Would you say that the latest style/fashion trends play a part in your song and costume choices? If so, what trends have you executed on stage? 

GG: I try not to use trends or other designers. I make my own.  I also design fashion and costuming, and they do play a huge part in my performances.  My costumes will almost always have something to do with the music. Normally I design for the song.

CL: Do you perform for non-profit? If so, what organizations have you been affiliated with?

GG: I have, and still do. To name a few..
- Illusion of the Stars - West Virginia (Benefit Aids Families)
- Humane Society - Jacksonville, FL
- Benefit for Katrina Victims - Jacksonville, FL
- First Coast Pride - Florida
- Clarksville Pride - Tennessee
- St. Pete Pride - Florida
- Southern Women’s Festival

I am always open to helping and supporting the community, as they have supported me for so long.

CL: What is the most rewarding experience you've had performing?

GG: I can't really tell you one.. Almost every time I step on a stage and see the faces of the fans is rewarding.  They love it, and I love that they do. When the show is over, and I go out to mingle and sign photos, the fans tell me stories about how I have somehow touched their lives. It is amazing to me.

CL: If you could give advice to aspiring drag kings what would it be?

GG: I actually just gave this advice to an aspiring drag king a couple days ago:

Practice hard, and have fun doing it!
Originality - No one ever became great by imitation!
AND 99.99999% of success is Passion!

CL: Would you share your coming out story with us?

GG: I was dating a girl at 18. I really liked her, and of course thought we would be together forever.. So, I took her home to meet my mother. The whole time we were there, I never once told my mom that she was girlfriend or that I was queer.

Well, we headed out and I stopped at the gas station a couple blocks down the road from her house, and called her from the payphone. I never had to say anything...she just asked me, "So, when were you going to tell me you were gay?" I laughed so hard, I almost collapsed right there in the parking lot. When I got my senses together, I just said, "Right now, Mom. Why didn't you just let me?" She took it very well.

By the way, Misty and I broke up the following week.. (laughs)

CL: Where do you regularly perform? Please include all venues.

GG: Florida:

The Norm / The Night Zone / The Metro / University Club, Gainesville / Zeba, Daytona Bch / Waterside landing, Port Ritchie

West Virginia:
Club Utopia, Parkersburg / Visa Versa, Morgantown

Stiletto’s, Inkster / Pink, Detroit

Club Majestic, Tulsa

Klub XLR8, Ft. Smith

Club Masque, Dayton

New York:
Club Angles, Elmira

North Carolina:
Warehouse 29, Greensboro / Ibiza, Wilmington

Crossroads, Appleton / La Cage, Milwaukee / Tryangles, Milwaukee

South Carolina:
PT's 1109, Columbia

This is not a complete list of places I perform, these are a regular quarterly, or so, basis.

CL: Have you won any titles? When? What songs did you perform?

GG: I held eight titles in one year. The most held by a drag king at one time in a year.

FMI National Title - Turn The Page (Mix of Live Singing and Lip Sync) (Held for 13 months - Title was brought from 17 to 52 Qualified contestants, 5 to 25 preliminaries in 12 months. No longer promoted nor endorsed due to difference in ethics / morals)

Viewer’s Choice National Entertainer Of the Year 05/06 - No Talent. Result determined by a National Voting System.

Mr. Sunshine State 2004 - "So Far Away"

Mr. Metro American Idol 2004 - "Living On The Edge"

Mr. NC, FMI 2005 - "It's My Life"

Mr. Southern Tier, NY 2005 - Won all 3 talents - "Numb", " Drops of Jupiter", "Live Like You Were Dying"

Mister First Coast Pride, FL 2005 - "It's My Life"

Mr. Clarksville Pride, TN 2005 - Appointed

Voted Best Drag King of 2005 - First Coast Jacksonville, FL

2005 Angles Award (Awarded Every 2 Years) for 'Best Performance by a Drag King' (Tim McGraw's "Live like You Were Dying")
Best King Talent in all Winning Competitions

CL: Do you have any signature moves or techniques to help you work the crowd?

GG: Other kings will tell you I do.. (laughing) They point them out to me all the time..but I never really thought of them as signature.

The biggest and most noticeable is probably when I go almost to a back bend before hitting my knees to the floor and then going the rest of the way back. The crowd loves that one..you probably have to see it to understand..

CL: Did/do you have a special person who mentored you?

GG: Unfortunately, no. 98% was trial and error.. As I travel from state to state, every now and then a queen will throw me some advice. I am very appreciative for the queens I have worked with for that. The queen I mentioned earlier, helped me out with a couple of makeup tips.

CL: Any Drag Queens that helped you break into performing?

GG: Well, the one I was telling you about in the first question - Rhiannon Todd of Jacksonville, FL.
As I continued to perform, I got to watch Coti Collins.. I was dumbfounded by her talent, and was pushed to continue on with what I was doing.. Since then, I have performed several times with her... four years ago, I would have never imagined I would be to the level of sharing a stage in a duet with the infamous Coti Collins.

There are many queens across the country that I adore. But those are the two that had a hand in "Gage Gatlyn."

  • Arsen

  • Gage Gatlyn

  • Aidan Justus

  • Maria Kogan of All The Kings Men

  • Shank "El Ray" Torres

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