MORE! for 2018 :: Welcome Our Newest Columnist for the New Year
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It doesn't surprise me much when someone I meet says they don't know who I am. I don't see myself as any kind of a big deal and I end up introducing myself as a dog walker by day for my handsome Frenchie, Jackson.
So for those of you who don't know who I am, Hi, I'm Juanita MORE! I am a local drag queen, mother, DJ, chef, philanthropist and activist. Perhaps you or your ex has attended one of my infamous Naked Dinners, my annual Pride event or one of my two monthly parties at Powerhouse - Beatpig and Powerblouse. I'm happy to announce that I'm joining the Bay Area Reporter as a contributing writer. For those of you that are unfamiliar with my herstory, I'd like to share a little bit of that with you here.
Family has always been a touchstone in my life. 2017 marked my twenty-fifth year as a queen in San Francisco. I met my drag mother when I was living in New York City during the late 1980s. At the time she was performing as the legendary "Glamamore," co-founding and producing New York's Boy Bar Beauties. Known then as 'The Hog Queen of Lipsync' she was casting her spell and warping minds with wit, histrionics, and to quote Andy Warhol, "The biggest mouth in the world!"
I was star-struck from the moment I met Mr. David/Glamamore, and knew that we would someday become great friends. Thirty years later we have become more than that. As I look back at those years in New York, you might say that I was subliminally learning the trade of drag from a master.
Five years after we first met, Glamamore came to San Francisco for a two-week visit that coincided with Halloween. I begged for her to put me in drag, but she adamantly resisted. She swore up and down I'd end up no more than the man that stood before her, not the queen that I had hoped inside to be.
I was reckless, practicing in heels and showed no signs of proving her wrong until the very night she began to beat my face. It was when the liquid eyeliner hit my lid that she exclaimed, 'Oh - you are gonna be pretty with these almond-shaped eyes.'
And so it began. From that night forward I never wanted to stop. It was as though I had found a new way to live my life. Fortunately for me and many others to come, Glamamore decided to stay in San Francisco. Those early days that shaped the Juanita you see today - aside from some wizardry with padding - I owe to many talented hairdressers and stylist friends who were invested in making it happen for me.
This was the beginning of the family we created and called the House of MORE! Through Glama, I learned to embrace not only myself but also that which was unknown. She taught me the value in understanding that, like life, an audience is never chosen - you play to what you're given.
I went out every single weekend and with the help of Mr. David my closet became a huge extravaganza of fashion, in hues of rich colors, shapes, intricate patterns and designs, now more than 3,000 pieces of couture.
It was during those early years that the MOREboys were born. They were friends who loved the magic and artistry being created around me and devoted their time and emotions to help this 'thing' grow. They were widely recognized as a flock of attractive, devoted, fashion-forward and publicly available young men that were always by my side. Though I didn't outright pay them - they in return were provided with dinners and social compensation.
With the girls, I was slow to take on the responsibility of having drag daughters. Back then as now, I have so much respect for the artistry of drag and its roots. I eventually caved in and over twenty years produced three perfect girls.
A few years ago I began to take on the role as Mother to a broader audience of admirers in San Francisco and have not taken it lightly. I am now encouraging and accepting new drag daughters and MOREboys into my life, though sometimes with tentative if not open arms. It's just not every Tom, Dick and Mary.
My queer family goes well beyond what I've helped nurture and create. Because this fantasy of mine is a public story, and though at times it is deeply personal, it is you who have stood by it and supported it.
As always, I am staggered at the ever-expanding web of associations, overwhelming amount of accolades, awards and acknowledgments that have been bestowed upon me through my life here in San Francisco. I'm honored to be a part of the Bay Area Reporter family as this free weekly newspaper has been a part of my life since I moved to San Francisco in the early '80s.
I hope to continue to excite and entertain everyone I come in contact with through this platform. My hopes are to share with you my views on entertainment, food, philanthropy and activism.
You can find Miss MORE! at the Powerhouse Bar first and third Saturdays for Powerblouse and Beatpig. For more high glamour, drag irreverence, danceable beats, culinary delectables and a philanthropic heart that has illuminated San Francisco, visit http://juanitamore.com