OPI Celebrates Pride 2020: Lolita Colby
How long have you been doing drag?
I have been doing drag for about 8 years now.
Due to social distancing, this pride month is different than one’s before. What are you doing to celebrate?
Honestly, with all that is going on in the world, it is hard to say that I am “Celebrating” pride. Rather, it is a time to reflect on how we treat each other. The LGBTQ+ community has always had to fight for human rights. Today, more than ever, it is time to standup to those oppressors to enact change and to protect our own. I am definitely using this pride month to continue to help
How has the LGBTQ community empowered you?
Without my community, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I am a proud, gay, Bi-Racial drag queen. The LGBTQ+ community has taught me to never apologize for who I am, to never backdown in the face of adversity, and to be as fabulous as I can. *Insert tongue-pop here*
Tell us about your earliest influence with a drag queen.
My first real drag show was at the Palace Bar in South Beach, Miami. It is along the beach and these larger than life drag queens perform on a very busy sidewalk. I knew I was going to a gay bar but I didn’t know I was going to a drag show. I just remember thinking “Wow. I don’t know what this is but I want to be that!” I was so enamored. That same day the hostess, Miami Drag Legend, Noel Leon, came up to me and asked me if I had ever done drag before. I said “no” and she said “Good. Because you’d steal all of our business.” To this day, I don’t think she knows that she is part of the reason I am the drag queen I am today.
Can you tell us what the word “drag” means to you?
Drag is self-expression in its truest form. Drag means the world to me as it helped me discover who I am once the makeup and the costumes come off.
How did you come up with your drag name?
“Lolita” is one of my favorite novels. I thought it was cute and flirty. “Colby” comes from my Drag Mother’s last name. When you’re in a drag family, you typically inherit your mother’s last name.
What advice would you give to the next generation of drag queens?
Be humble. Breathe. And have fun! I see these younger queens taking Drag too seriously! It is supposed to be a fun escape from the mundane.
Do you believe that dressing in drag has an influence in culture today? (fashion, beauty, etc.)
100%. Whether anyone wants to admit it or not.
How important is your manicure for your overall look? Why or why not?
I am one of the few drag queens that I know of that actually get their nails done, rather than wearing press-on nails. I love a gel mani with stones, glitter, and honestly, if you can put it on my nails: I want it. I’ve always loved nail polish and nail art, I think it helps in finessing the female illusion. I also like the way a good mani can elongate your hands and make them look more elegant. Luckily, I work for a company that encourages everyone to express themselves through nail polish so I don’t have to worry about my nails when I am out of drag.
If you were an OPI shade, which one would you be? Why?
Lincoln Park After Dark. I love a black nail but that hint of purple just adds enough edginess to standout!
In light of recent events with the Black Lives Matter movement, what does Black Lives Matter and Pride mean to you?
Thank you for asking this but I do need to separate the two as they both deserve to be spoken about separately.
Firstly, Black Lives Matter. Period. This movement has opened my eyes to truly see the country I live in. A country where you are instantly made to be less than because of the color of your skin. A country where our legal and justice systems fail in protecting the black community. This movement has taught me that I had previously not been doing enough with my privilege that I was so simply born with. And that is on me. The BLM movement opened my eyes to the importance of action and not staying silent. To truly using myself as a means to fight for change in any way I can. This movement has opened my eyes to understanding how much hate and racism still exists in this country. It has taught me what damage staying silent has done. Now, more than ever, it is so important to be out and loud. To continue to fight for our black brothers and sisters. And I will say it one more time: BLACK LIVES MATTER.
Now let’s talk about Pride. Pride started as a protest. A riot, really. And it was led by a black woman of the trans experience. Pride, now more than ever, has taken on a meaning much different than in the past. Pride, to me, used to be about celebrating all that made me, me. It had lost its true heart for a long time. I need to discuss something very important to me. Today the Trans community, especially Trans women of Color are being beaten and killed for the simple fact of living the life of the person they truly are. Sadly, many of the reports of violence towards the Trans community goes unreported or misreported. The Trans community is not being recognized as human. We have always fought for equality, but with a heavy focus on Gay and Lesbian rights including the right to marry. But the Trans community is still fighting for basic human rights and sadly, their lives. Just recently, a Trans woman of color was beaten by a group of cis-gendered men and women following a fender bender. Was she beaten because of a car accident? No. She was a target due to the simple fact she was a Trans woman. In this Pride month, we need to all recognize the core of why Pride started. It was a fight to be recognized as human. It pains me to understand that there are people in my community that are not being recognized as that. I know I have a duty in this world as a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community to keep fighting. I know I have a duty as a cis-gendered man in this world to keep fighting. I know I can enact change and I will continue to be out and proud.