As a young gay man in Charlotte of the 1980s, I managed to snag a fake ID that was realistic enough to convince bar owners I was five years older than I actually was. The fact that I was over six feet tall came in handy, too. There’s something about height that implies age.
Much of the Charlotte drag scene is dominated by veteran divas. Breaking onto the stage soon after legal adulthood wasn’t entirely smooth for Carrie Chanel. In the years since, her wit and energy have brought her far. Beginning at a Scorpio talent show in 2012, Chanel, now 24, has won four titles at drag pageants across the state.