The new Charlotte Pride Magazine makes its inaugural edition debut! An annual publication profiling Charlotte Pride programs, the annual festival and parade, interviews, features, community resource directory, and more! Your year-round guide to LGBTQ Charlotte.
CharlottePride MAGAZINE LOVE WINS A Q&A fit for a Queen 2018 MS. CHARLOTTE PRIDE KRISTIN COLLINS CHATS ABOUT HER ART AND COMMUNITY SERVICE by Matt Comer Mix up a little bit of southern charm, a love for Dolly Parton, an intense passion for entertainment and dedication to community service — the only possible result is Bryce Carey and his drag persona, Kristin Collins. Carey, who grew up just outside of Charlotte in Lincolnton, has brought a special visibility to his role as Ms. CharlottePride since being crowned at the 2018 pageant. Once described by a local drag critic as having the “prettiest smile” at another local pageant contest, Carey can brighten up a room when he walks in. And when he performs as Kristin, you’d best believe his unique style — clogging it out to the classic “Rocky Top,” among them — brings people to their feet. We had an opportunity to catch up with Kristin and chat a bit about her work as a drag artist, her thoughts as a volunteer with CharlottePride and more. CharlottePride: What is your favorite character to perform as? Kristin Collins: My character, Kristin Collins, is a blonde, fun, loving lady that exudes southern charm. Much like my favorite character tribute that I love to do, I love Dolly Parton. I’ve been a fan of hers as long as I can remember. Her message of love, helping others and giving back are all things I strive to emulate. What is your favorite “Pride anthem”? “I Am What I Am” and “This Is My Life” speak to who I am. I’ve enjoyed them for years. However, more recently, “Love Wins” by Carrie Underwood has become my favorite. It speaks to the message I’ve wanted to deliver during my reign as Ms. CharlottePride. When was it that you first starting doing drag, and why? What attracted you to the art form? I first became interested in drag while I was a theatre student at Western Carolina University, in the early ‘90s. I was attracted to the art form, because it allowed me to express myself creatively and in an arena that was accepting of it. What are some lessons you’ve learned from doing drag? I’ve learned a lot in the past 25 years as a drag performer. I’ve learned that competition brings out the worst in some and the best in others. I’ve learned that everyone has a place on the stage and that at the end of the day, we’re all here to make you smile, laugh and have a good time. Don’t take yourself so seriously and step away from the art form when it’s no longer fun. It’s okay to pull back and do a reboot. What do you say to people who don’t view drag as a form of art or dismiss drag performers and their place in our community’s history? I take the opportunity to share and educate on what drag performing is, how it played an integral role in our history, both mainstream and queer, and how it remains relevant today. What are two or three key accomplishments during your reign as Ms. CharlottePride? Visibility: It was important for me to be a positive, visible person in the community, and using my platform to promote pride though drag entertainment. Inclusion: Charlotte has a wide variety of drag performers and its been a priority for me to let them know that everyone who considers themselves a drag entertainer, has a place on our stage. For me, doing drag is being more than a nightlife entertainer. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that — in fact it’s how I spent most of my drag career — in this season of my drag career it was imperative that I ventured out into new territory and connect with new audiences and venues as well as multi-media. Why was it important for you to become involved in CharlottePride as a pageant contestant and volunteer organizer? For me, it was a way to connect with a part of the community that I didn’t know. I wanted to use my drag performing talents to meet, network and engage new audiences in an effort to give back to the wonderful community that has given me so much over the past two decades. I’ve met some wonderful people over the past year, and have worked with some amazing organizations that will continue long after my time as Ms. CharlottePride. What advice would you give to drag performers who want to get more involved in their community? My advice is to look beyond your comfort zone, try something new, and use that to better yourself as an entertainer and as a community member. For me, I wanted to be the person I needed when I was younger. I took that statement and a charge to mentor younger entertainers and queer kids, volunteering with Time Out Youth and doing my part to make the LGBTQ community in Charlotte a better place. — Be sure to follow Kristin Collins on Instagram at @MissCLTPride 36
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