One of the reasons I love what I do is because I get to feature fabulous drag queens on occasion. This time it is my Good Judy Kristin Collins who is the current reigning Miss Charlotte Pride 2018. Kristin shares that she will crown the 16th Miss Charlotte Pride on Sunday, Aug. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Levine Museum of the New South. Please get a biscuit and enjoy this Rolling Stone-style interview with a Charlotte rockstar!
Buff: Hey lady, let’s get started by telling us about your childhood — a long time ago [shade]. No seriously, where were you born, and did your childhood inspire who you are today?
Kristin: Ha. Well, as a child, my family moved to the Charlotte area when I was four years old. Young Bryce (or Kristin) was not much different from today. I had a very active imagination and enjoyed all things that involved dressing up or playing out a scene from one of my favorite TV shows, books or movies. I’ve always loved Dolly Parton, and that is definitely an influence in my drag career. I also loved Blair from the “Facts of Life” and the cartoon “Jem and the Holograms.”
Buff: Oh wow! I loved “Jem and the Holograms” too. So when was your first drag appearance?
Kristin: Technically, my first drag experience was in the fourth grade. I performed “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” by Denise Williams, in a shoulder-padded and belted, oversized T-shirt, parachute pants and leg warmers. I won the school talent show. Ha! Then when I was a theatre student at Western Carolina University, I started going out to Scandals, and was immediately intrigued by the drag shows. The more I watched, the more I wanted to try it.
Buff: Okay now. Snatching trophies at such a young age.
Kristin: Then, in April 1993, Kristin Collins made her debut in a quarterly talent show at Scandals. I won performing “Queen of the Night” in a black fringe leotard with fringed gauntlet sleeves that I had made as part of a costume design class project at Western Carolina University. I was hooked and loved it.
Buff: Most drag queens know of you because you won Miss Gay North Carolina America in 1999. When did that become a dream for you?
Kristin: Honestly, I did not see my drag career going any further than Scandals. Then I saw a show featuring Miss North Carolina America Sharde Ross in 1993. There was something about that golden punch bowl crown, encircled with stars that got me… and the overall presence of Miss North Carolina America intrigued me. That continued, and then after seeing Kerri Nichols perform at Scandals when she won Miss North Carolina America, [it]ultimately fueled my passion to become Miss North Carolina America.
Buff: So where did you get your drag name? And do you have a certain style or persona as an entertainer?
Kristin: My first drag name was going to be Carey Collins, because of my last name, and the Panthers QB at the time had the same name. I was talked into not using the name Carey, because there was already a queen named Kerri, and it would be weird. One of my first drag sisters, Domonique, who passed away this year, came up with a more feminine version of Kris — which was after Kris Munroe, my favorite Charlie’s Angel by the way. Collins was what I had decided because I wanted to marry an NFL Quarterback. LOL.
Buff: A girl can dream I guess. Ha, ha…
Kristin: Exactly. Anyway, I love pop culture. My drag is a little country, a little rock ‘n roll. And Kristin is definitely a blonde, southern lady. And ultimately, I love to make people smile, feel good and leave a performance full of love.
Buff: That transitions well into your current reign as Miss Charlotte Pride. What makes this title stand out from your Miss North Carolina America title?
Kristin: Both titles, while different, are the same in that they are both something that I wanted really bad. Miss North Carolina America was more about me, taught me a lot about drag performance and being part of a legacy of drag in the state. Miss Charlotte Pride is about being part of the Charlotte community and using my drag talents as a platform to give back. This community has been so gracious and good to me over the past 25 years.
Buff: Tell us what differences you feel you made as Miss Charlotte Pride to promote unity and involve more of the community?
Kristin: I don’t know that I have made any difference in the community as Miss Charlotte Pride, but at least the community will know I was here. I have tried my best this year to be as visible in the community as I could be, sharing my talents with organizations that are close to my heart — and sharing smiles, laughs and hugs along the way.
Buff: I know the Miss Charlotte Pride pageant is coming up on Sunday, Aug. 4. Are you excited to crown the next queen?
Kristin: Actually, this year’s pageant has been completely reimagined to be more inclusive to all drag entertainers. Charlotte has always had a rich legacy in pageantry drag, but not all queens are pageant queens. I wanted to help move the pageant in a more progressive direction that’s inclusive and more reflective of the drag scene here in the Queen City. This year we will crown three individuals with the title of Ms, Mr, and Mx. Plus, we’ve changed up the interview categories to make them more “real life,” especially the On-Stage Interview, which will be facilitated by local news reporters. We’ve also changed the categories up a little bit to make it more entertaining for the crowd. The pageant is also closer to the festival date and will be like an “unofficial kick-off” to Charlotte Pride Week. I have worked really hard with the Charlotte Pride organization to make this years pageant one to remember.
Buff: That’s wonderful. Well, I know I have asked you so many questions. I know we are both similar ages. I am younger, of course. LOL. What do you feel to be your greatest drag accomplishment?
Kristin: Hmmm… funny thing, I remember saying, “I can’t imagine doing drag after 40.” My greatest accomplishment is the simple fact that I’m still here. I love what I do, who I do it with and who I do it for. I try each day to be a better version of myself and help others.
Buff: That is beautiful and so true. Thank you, lady. Do you have any closing inspirational words for our community?
Kristin: “Be the person you needed when you were younger” is a quote that I’ve really put into action this year as Miss Charlotte Pride. Thank you everyone for being part of this incredible journey with me. I appreciate each and every kind word, tip and smile I receive. Remember “Love Wins!”
Buff: Indeed it does. Thank you.
DRAG TIP: Stay fresh. Remember to wash your pads and undergarments regularly.
SHOUT OUTS: Don’t miss the Miss Charlotte Pride Pageant on Sunday, Aug. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Levine Museum of the New South. Buy tickets on Eventbrite.com.
Buff Faye calls the Queen City her home and performs so she can feed her pet unicorn (and raise money for charities). Find her at your favorite bars and hot spots. Plus don’t forget her weekly Saturday night show with Patti O’Furniture and regular Friday night party bus. Learn more at AllBuff.com. Follow on Twitter @BuffFaye.