Drag queen shares character experience


Allie Douglass/The News

Ryan Steele
Staff writer

In the life of a drag queen one thing is for sure. You have to live up to the title. Audiences must be amazed, sponsors have to be pleased and emotions must be touched. In the life of a drag queen, Kara Belle never disappoints.

Belle was one of the featured queens in the Murray State Alliance semiannual drag show. She was also featured on the advertising poster for the show. On Thursday, she showed every audience member why.

Bringing everything she had, Belle rocked the house with her explosive performances. Most notable was her emotional tribute to the late Whitney Houston, performing her hit “I Will Always Love You,” garnering a standing ovation when it was over. Alongside that emotional performance, Belle performed an explosive version of Keri Hilson’s “Pretty Girl Rock,” which brought tips flying in from the audience members.

Getting ready for these shows is by no means a short venture. Participants have to be there hours early just to prepare.

“My usual routine is about 45 minutes for makeup, sometimes 60 minutes, and then usually about 15 minutes to get the wig on and make sure everything looks good,” Belle said. “I do apply my own makeup though, so it can take just a little longer to get it on.”

Once the show is underway, the preparation is nothing more than an afterthought. Everything goes as planned and the performance goes off without a hitch. Everyone has a good time including participants, like Belle, on stage.

“What I love about doing this is the performance side of it all. I enjoy everything about theater and movies, so this is my way of getting to perform,” Belle said. “I originally went to school to be a director, but when things didn’t work out, I just sort of fell into this after my first experience seeing a show.”

As far as life outside, the shows, just like the makeup process, are only a memory and maybe something to look forward to for Belle.

“I live with women in the world; I couldn’t stand being one all the time,” Belle said. “I dress up for shows and everything, but once that’s done I’m a boy until the next one comes around.”

That seems to be the process for most participants, many of them students walking around campus every day. So even in a life filled with makeup and glamour, beneath is just an average person, looking for their own way to give an audience a thrill and take a little for themselves.

“Some people seem to get lost in how they look, trying to make themselves beautiful with makeup and all kinds of products. People just aren’t comfortable with themselves,” Belle said. “People need to realize that even with makeup on, it’s the face underneath all of the makeup that’s responsible for everything. That’s the face that needs to be loved.”

A powerful statement from someone who lives on both sides of the line, and walks it without a problem. Belle is a regular performer for the drag shows, so if anyone missed out on the spring show, count on getting to experience her performances first-hand next fall.