Chloe T. Crawford is Miss Gay Harris County America … but she isn’t stopping there.
Back in January, About Magazine had the chance to sit down with Chloe T. Crawford, following her big win as Miss Gay Harris County America. Now, Chloe is heading to the state level, we’re she’ll be performing and competing at the state level.
Chloe, who has been doing drag for the last seven years, now performs all around Houston, and will even be hosting a benefit show on Monday, April 23rd, at JR’s to raise money to help her get to the state-level competition.
Here’s a little about what she had to say about the journey so far.
So, tell me a little bit about yourself? How you got started doing drag, what made you want to do it, how you got here, and how its affected your whole being.
In June, this will be my fourth year. I’ve always been a fan of drag, but I didn’t look at it as something that I could do. Because when I would see the drag queens that I wanted to emulate, they were trans, and I was a boy. So, I was kind of like, Well … I don’t know if that’s for me. And then I watched RuPaul’s Drag Race the first and second year, and I didn’t quite relate to any of them, either. But then I saw the third year of it, when Manila and Raja did it, and I went, Oh, okay. That’s beautiful. I can relate to their performance and costumes. So, literally that is what started it all off.
Do you think that those two have influenced you to bring something out to drag that a lot of other people aren’t bringing to drag?
Everybody’s take on drag is different. You might take a piece you saw on TV, or see how someone did their makeup on Instagram, or get inspired for a costume by something you saw at the museum. And nobody can take that or make that, because you thought of all those things together. And that’s what you bring on stage. I don’t necessarily think that I’m revolutionizing drag, but I am giving my own view on it, which can only come from me.
In the seven years you’ve been doing drag, how many of those years have you been doing pageants and competitions?
Literally I did one pageant before this, which was Houston Newcomer. I won that and then it went to state, Texas Newcomer. But that’s with a different system, U.S. of A. But the goal for it is that with Newcomer you only have three years to compete. So, basically it’s a learning pageant for you … with training wheels. I went to America because I had learned what I needed to learn my first time, then I took that to America. This is my first year with America.
What have your drag mothers [Vancie Vega & Tommie Ross] taught you that have made you a better performer that you may not have learned without them?
Confidence. A lot of what they continue to preach to me is how to present myself. But it’s not like, “Oh, this how you be classy,” it’s more of what my vision of Chloe is, and knowing that Chloe is able to elevate and get better on her own and portray that.
In that same vain in being true to Chloe, where do you see your career going? Where would you like to see yourself?
I’d like to continue with pageants. I like doing it. I want to move forward in that world.
Do you have any performances you’ve done or any looks you’ve put on that are favorites of yours or that stand out to you when you think of an excellent performance?
I don’t know. That idea is something that I’d like to think of all my looks and performances. I mean, you’re only as good as your last performance. So, with each one, you want to one-up the one before it.
As far as being in the drag community and getting to work with so many other drag queens, can you tell me a little about how the relationships you’ve made have been special to you as a person and a performer?
We gain sisterhoods because of the fact that you’re with the same group of girls weekly. So, it’s kind of like going to the office. You create relationships, but you also become one another’s family. Some girls I see four times per week. Just from that time, it becomes sisterly. I love you; I hate you; I can’t stand you; you’re my best friend. All of that rolls into one. I don’t think that it ends up being fake, but actually real.
It’s sort of like a biological family, because you don’t pick them. They’re just there.
Exactly! That’s exactly correct.
So, tell me about your pageant win. Gorgeous crown, by the way.
Thank you. I was shocked [when my name was called]. They give you a break down of percentages. I don’t know what I was thinking. My mind was blank standing there, just wondering what was going to happen next. But I won Best Male Interview, Best Evening Gown, and Presentation. So, when they were passing out all the plaques, I was like, “Oh, I got another. Oh, another. Yay.” But even when I was getting them, I didn’t think I’d won. Because I know that the Talent [category] counts the most. In my head, I was like doing the math. But I was still thinking I was first alternate … until they called my name.
With the next pageant coming up in July (in Dallas), what are you looking at with your performance coming up?
Oh, no, sir! [Laughs] It’s a secret. I’ll tell you this –
See how easy that was?
No! [Laughs] I’ll tell you this as a side-note. It’s all top-secret. Even your presentation. The theme this year for Miss Texas is Garden Party. So, you can do something with gardens, or spring, or whatever. But it’s judged. So, you don’t want to give that information out, because people can see what you’re doing and try to copy it.
Hmm. I’d say a few things. “Don’t do it!” [Laughs] No, I’d say to always believe in yourself. Be open to critique. You don’t know everything, especially if you just started. Don’t take yourself so seriously that you can’t receive the information. But, ultimately, believe in who you are and what your vision is. Because, even if I give you criticism on what you’re doing, you’re the only one who knows what you’re trying to bring to the stage and what your vision is. So, some critique you can take, and others you may say, “Oh, that’s not for me.” But be open to receiving it.
Is something you struggled with?
I just know that there are times when you’re starting out when you believe so much in something and you’re so excited, and then you have these older queens with such knowledge who see what you’re trying to do, and who want to help you. But you sometimes don’t want to receive it because you’re excited about your ideas. But we all have those moments.
“I don’t necessarily think that I’m revolutionizing drag, but I am giving my own view on it, which can only come from me.”
If you could tell your younger self something about what you’re going to end up or give that you some knowledge, what would that be?
I don’t know what I’d say. I don’t know where I would be had I not gotten on the journey. And all these experiences made me who I am.
Any final thoughts?
So, I work with HATCH Youth. HATCH is a program for queer teens to come and have a safe space to talk about their lives where they have mentors. They also have activities like movie nights and they do drag shows. I’ll be doing shows throughout my reign and donating money to them, as well as mentoring those kids to build a better view of who they are in the world, even outside of drag.