Victoria Courtez is the product of a dare started back in 2005 for a local coffee house-styled show at Mercer County Community College. I would perform weekly wearing costume store wigs and costumes from my old dance team member. I performed mixes we used for competition as a dancer. No lip-syncing. In 2008 I decided to test the waters at Georgies in Asbury Park. There is where my craft began to grow by learning from the queens I performed alongside. My style is very 1990s old school drag based of the legends like Lady Catiria, Mimi Marks, Shequida Hall, just to name of few. In short, I am the melting pot of drag performers past, present, and future.
Congrats on winning Miss Paradise this year. Why was winning this pageant in particular so meaningful to you?
There is no denying that the title of Miss Paradise is the creme de la creme of New Jersey drag pageantry. If you were to look at my sisters who have come before me, many of them are accomplished entertainers who have built magnificent careers for themselves. So to have won this title was like winning the lottery. There is no greater feeling in this world than to be able to be a part of a family of such great entertainers.
Paradise has definitely had former queens, like Lea Sky, and most recently Jolina Jasmine, that really left a mark during their reign. The bar has been set pretty high. How are you planning to make your own waves, leave your own mark?
Many may think that I would be out to compete with what some of my other sisters have brought forth during their reign – that is not the case. The “girls” have established their reigns in different ways. I plan to open my doors to entertainers that our patrons have never seen before, while still bringing forth some of the great local talent that my audience enjoys. In my house all are welcome!
What advice would you give a drag performer that’s just starting out in the art?
The best advice I can give to the newer girls is simply this. While the opinions and suggestions of other queens can be helpful, always remember to be original and own your style! Alyssa Edwards said it best “Drag is art and art is subjective.” A queen that marches to the beat of her own drum is someone I respect more than one who marches to the beat of someone else’s. Be yourself and others will grow to love and appreciate you for whom you are and what you do.
Rupaul’s “Drag Race” is in its ninth season, there have been naysayers that say that the show has “bastardized” drag. What are your thoughts?
People will always have their opinions. Lest we forget, before “RPDR,” drag didn’t have as big of a voice. By introducing drag to mainstream, we now can speak out in a publicly about issues that affect our communities. Most fail to realize that a lot of these queens have since spoken out on subjects such as HIV/AIDS awareness, gay marriage, transgender rights, politics, equal rights in the workplace, acting against bullying in schools. I, for one am thankful for “RPDR” for helping to give us a voice over the last decade.
What’s next for Ms. Courtez?
For now, my priority is executing a successful and memorable reign as Miss Paradise 2017. I hope to not only share it with the people I love, but to build new and long lasting relationships in my time as the queen.