20 Questions: Kevin Grooms aka Miss Della, Charlotte

If someone calls Kevin Grooms by that name, the person is probably either checking his ID at the airport or trying to sell him life insurance over the phone, because everybody else knows his real name is Della. Everybody also knows that the venerable Miss Della is the Hedda Hopper of Drag and when you need the crossdressed tea, she’s the queen bee-yotch. Pageant contestants, fans and promoters from coast to coast slavishly follow Della’s long-running qnotes column “The Drag Rag” to catch up on the latest news — always delivered with that singular Miss Della flourish. (Droll, party of one!)

20 Questions has been a fan since we were only half that many queries, and with this issue’s drag cover story there wasn’t even a second choice for us. We went all in with the ole gal and boygirl are we glad we did. OK, enough introduction for a legend who needs none. Make like Della herself and sop this one up with a biscuit. Damn, that’s good!

How old were you when you bought your first wig?
Bought or wore? Bought was probably not until my mid-20s. I wore my first as a church lady for Halloween in fourth grade. Ole girl was kinda cute!

How would you finish this sentence: “If I’m going to a church service, it must be ______.”
A wedding, a funeral or a Holy Day as I am an “unchurched” Roman Catholic.

Is your bed currently dressed with cotton sheets, flannel sheets or silk sheets?
Cotton from Springmaid — white with wine-colored borders. Couldn’t find purple, my favorite color. Bitter, party of one!

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Who would you rather have as your housekeeper: Mr. Belvedere, Mrs. Garrett, Nell Harper or Florence Johnston?
Probably Mrs. Garrett, although I did love me some Nell. Nell and Florence would read your ass and I’m past those days. I do the reading now.

Do you know how to play tiddlywinks?
I cannot be bothered, but the name is fun at least. It sounds British to me. I can’t even tell you the last time I played jacks or hopscotch, so…

What food are you craving right now?
Watermelon earlier and that was resolved. Usually it’s ice cream. I also joke that I’m Southern, where ice cream and ketchup are separate food groups. Think about it.

Is your ideal man more likely to wear wing tips, sneakers, flip flops or Timberlands?
More like work boots, but not Timberlands. Maybe sneakers is a safer answer and flip flops on the weekends. Wait, what am I thinking? Soccer cleats — Hell-O!

From which musical act do you own the most albums?
Ms. Billie Holiday, followed by Sarah Brightman, I’m thinking. Then a big ole collection of ’80s stuff.

Can you dial your closest relative’s phone number from memory?
God yes! My mom lives with my grandmother and she’s had the same number since Rover was a pup. Literally, when they first got that number you only had to dial 5 digits! We’re talking late ’50s here, boys and girls.

Regardless of whether the glass is half-full or half-empty, what do you want in it?
Sweet tea — it is the house wine of the South (and my dentist is flipping out right now, too). As for alcohol, I’d say white wine or some vodka. Brown liquor makes me either giddy or mean. Take your pick. Really puts a different perspective on “What’s your poison?”

How do these “men in dresses” films rank based on the number of times you’ve seen them: “Big Momma’s House,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Some Like It Hot,” “Tootsie”?
Well, I am about to have my gay card revoked, but I have never seen “Some Like It Hot” in its entirety. Nor have I seen “Big Momma’s House.” I saw “Tootsie” when I was a little girl, so I guess “Mrs. Doubtfire” wins. The salon scene with Fierstein is a holler, ya now?

What was your favorite event on Field Day?
We flew kites in fifth grade and I guess I did a pretty good job because people are still telling me to “go fly a kite!”

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Is living well really the best revenge?
No doubt. Life is good. I’m still not where I want to be yet, but just within the last two years, I’ve experienced so much personal growth. I can honestly say I’m happy and I could not have said that a few years ago. You have to get the negativity out of the way, appreciate what you have, share when you can and cherish your family and close friends. Stop focusing on self! Seriously. (This coming from someone who enjoyed time on the stage back in the day!)

Do you own any hats outside of the baseball/trucker variety?
I do not. But true to form, my baseball cap says “The Pageant: Continental.” I hope Mr. Flint is proud of that answer. LOL

On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your ability to use your non-dominant hand?
I would say at least a 7. I can’t write too well with the left one but, oh, the other things I can do with it.

Which is longer, your pinky finger or the highest heel in your drag shoe collection?
Well, my wardrobe is limited these days, but definitely my cute heels are bigger than my “little sausage” pinky.

Fried squash, fried okra or fried green tomatoes?
Squash first, then okra, following up with the tomatoes. All the better if they’re from my grandma’s kitchen or a Greek-owned eatery. It’s all about a “meat and two!” Damn, Big Mama B and I are due a trip to the Landmark [Diner] after that one.

Would you rather spend an afternoon at a circus, a carnival, a fine art museum or a zoo?
A carnival, I guess. I don’t like the circus; I haven’t been to the zoo since third grade, back in the Stone Ages; and, you have to take the museums in little by little. I am going to disclose a fear here that only my closest friends know — and don’t laugh at me: I don’t like the circus because of the little people. No more on this subject, please.

What’s the last item made of leather you’ve bought?
I just bought new dress shoes for Miss Della’s alter ego. ’Nuff said?

Who would make the prettier drag queen: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove or Michele Bachmann?
Well, Karl Rove and Dick “Antichrist” Cheney would be beasts; Michele would be pretty, but she doesn’t have a pretty outlook. I’m gonna go with Dubya and hope he turns out looking like his sweet mom, Mrs. Barbara Pierce Bush, the Silver Fox. : :

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Posted by David Stout

David Stout is the associate editor of QNotes. He can be reached at editor2@goqnotes.com.