Philadelphia’s Favorite Drag Queens

Sporting everything from tiaras and bangles to perms and weaves, these are the best drag stars that the city has to offer.

The Goddess Isis

“I’m an ordained minister,” says Isis (real name David Lopez). “And I was part of a gospel group in college.” The Christian college grad’s been performing in drag for more than 20 years, having started by sneaking into a D.C. nightclub at just 16. After stints in Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama, she moved to Philly two years ago and now performs (mostly bald) at Tabu during Sinful Sundays. “I found this gown for a steal,” she says. “Normally I don’t wear hair—and these buns weigh a ton!”

 

Navaya Shay

Seven years after winning an amateur drag contest at Shampoo, Navaya (real name Thom “Tizzo” Gait) is in the Dollhouse Revue. Known for her tightly choreographed tributes to Britney Spears and Gaga, she also performs monthly at Bob & Barbara’s with Miss Lisa Lisa. “It’s been a roller coaster,” she says. “I only ever took a couple of dance classes in high school, and I did hip hop and jazz just for fun.” These days, the look is all about the rock ’n’ roll groupie.

 

Satine Harlow

She may have been performing for only two years, but Satine (real name Eric Ziker) already stars in her own weekly show at Woody’s and regularly appears alongside RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Mimi Imfurst in Voyeur’s Dollhouse Revue. “I went full force and said let’s go big or go home,” says Satine, who’s inspired by everything from Grey Gardens and Gaga to Bettie Page and Bugs Bunny. “The first time I performed was with Brittany Lynn,” she says. When she’s not on stage, she’s a professional makeup artist.

 

Brittany Lynn

At a little over eight feet tall in heels and a wig, Brittany (real name Ian Morrison) is hard to miss. She’s been performing in Philly, New York and Atlantic City since 1996. “I took my sister’s name” after graduating from Temple, she says. “My parents were like ‘Oh, so this is your career now?’” After ditching the boas for some goth and later what she describes as an ode to “big Broadway girls,” she’s marching with the Mummers for the first time on New Year’s Day. “And the heaviest thing,” she says, “is my hair.”

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