Alex Aguilar as Mia Deporte, center in red dress and crown, stands as the winner of the Dragging with the Stars contest, surrounded by the other contestants (L-R): Eric McCrickard (Tequila Mockingbird) of Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Brad Joseph Claxton (Mimosa LaBousche) of Campus Pride, Tyler Daniels-Clyne (Carrie Concretia) of Don’t H8 and Gary Carpenter (Nicole Monet) of Charlotte Pride.
Alex Aguilar as Mia Deporte, center in red dress and crown, stands as the winner of the Dragging with the Stars contest, surrounded by the other contestants (L-R): Eric McCrickard (Tequila Mockingbird) of Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Brad Joseph Claxton (Mimosa LaBousche) of Campus Pride, Tyler Daniels-Clyne (Carrie Concretia) of Don’t H8 and Gary Carpenter (Nicole Monet) of Charlotte Pride.

In January and February, five non-profit organizations came together for a unique fundraiser at The Scorpio. “Dragging with the Stars,” sponsored by Scorpio and Pocket Rocket pitted five amateur drag performers against each other through five nights of competition. Aided by professional drag performance veterans, the five contestants battled it out to win $1,000 for their charity.

Alex Aguilar, 28, performed as Mia Deporte on behalf of the Charlotte Royals Rugby Football Team and stole the show. Aguilar’s drag mentor was Cierra Nichole.

We thought it’d be a great opportunity for you to learn more about Aguilar, as he celebrates his victory on behalf of the Royals. We chatted with him briefly for this issue’s “Our People” interview below.

Where are you originally from?
I was born in Miami but grew up in Fort Lauderdale. I moved to Charlotte 10 years ago in May.

What brought you to Charlotte?
It was immediately after high school. I just closed my eyes and pointed at the map. Came up here and auditioned for my first professional acting role at Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte.

And, acting is your career now?
Yes, I’m in “Chicago” in Salisbury. We start rehearsals this week. And, I’m a student.

What are you studying?
I’m studying biology.

What first drew you to acting?
I have just always been very outgoing and have always loved dancing. If you see pictures of me as a child, I’m always at parties dancing and having fun. My parents knew it was something I wanted to do, so they stuck me in chorus. That’s what go me started, just singing and putting myself out there. In high school, I started doing theatre. It was nerve-racking at first. My first language is Spanish and reading didn’t always come easily for me. When you audition, they hand you a script and say you have five minutes to look it over. But, I fell in love with the stage and love going into all these characters and just exploring their psyches. That’s what I did with Mia Deporte for Dragging with the Stars.

How did you find out about the fundraising contest?
I found out through the Charlotte Royals. I’ve been playing with them since 2008. I’m a fundraising fanatic for the team and I said, “I will definitely do this.” We are trying to get to Australia for the Bingham Cup — it’s the gay world cup of rugby.

Had you ever done drag before?
No. I’ve never done drag professionally before and in this kind of arena. Every year, the Royals do the “Crown Royal,” where we dress up in a drag and really bad make up. But, I had never done what we had to do the past five weeks. I never knew how much work went into being a drag queen or a female illusionist — all the pads and five layers of tights. I never knew how long it took to apply all that make up.

What was it like growing up as a gay young person in an immigrant family?
My father is Cuban. My mother is Dominican. I didn’t come out to her until two years ago at Christmas. You hear the word “faggot” a lot around an Hispanic family. You hear derogatory terms constantly. You just have to suck it up. We are Catholic and being Hispanic, you have to be machismo, you have to be a man at all times. In my mind growing up, thinking about being gay, I didn’t associate that with masculinity. When I moved to Charlotte and joined the Royals, I learned that gay is just a word. There’s a giant spectrum of people. I’ve met the bear community, then there are twinks and even people playing rugby. It opened my eyes and I grew a lot moving to Charlotte. And, coming out to my mom, it was a shock, but she has grown and now she is really supportive. : :

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.