For Aries Fatale, being a drag performer is so much more than entertaining people. It gave him a family.
Aries is one of the featured entertainers for What A Drag! presented by Rae’s RBar & Grill and Haus of Fatale at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Smithwick Dance Hall at the Heart of Texas Ranch. Advanced tickets are $25 with a catered meal by Super Taco and a cash bar.
He’s the reigning Mr. Gay Austin America 2019 and finished in the top 10 of Mr. Gay Texas, which is his best finish in that competition.
“It’s been a lot of work, it’s been a lot of money,” he said. “I feel like you spend more to create an image than you’re given back. You do it cause you love it, you want to do it.”
Thanks to drag, he discovered another way to express himself, lifelong friends and an extended family.
That’s a far cry from where he started.
His first show was a HIV/AIDS benefit in Wisconsin in 2001 when a friend encouraged him to try. After that, he was hooked.
He moved to a different city and met Betty Boop, the individual he calls his “drag mom,” who has 16 different titles from various drag pageants. The two became very close, and she invited Aries to live with her for a short time.
“She’s been Miss Everything,” he said. “She shared the tricks of the trade. Soon I started performing myself.”
Four years ago Aries met Luiz Fatale, and the two have been inseparable ever since.
He doesn’t give details about his first performance, noting most drag entertainers don’t look back at that session proudly. But he’s not shy about sharing what he enjoys most about entertaining: the looks that include the hair and the make-up. He credits his mother for influencing his love of dressing up, which includes rhinestones and beads.
“I love make-up, the transformation process, the accessories, the costume,” he said. “There’s so much detail that goes in three or four minutes of doing a song, all those small details.”
Because of the expense of costumes, Aries tries to choose clothing that can be worn in multiple numbers. He noted that if he wears a costume that resembles a celebrity, audience members will be confused if he doesn’t play a number associated with that performer.
“I try to make the costumes I can wear for pop songs, rock songs, French songs,” he said. “You want your costume to fit anything.”
He calls Texas the pageant state because of the number of pageants and the types of pageants offered for all sorts of affectual orientation and identities. Their friendships in drag helped Aries and Luiz choose carefully the entertainers who are part of What A Drag! presented by Rae’s RBar & Grill and Haus of Fatale, catered meal by Super Taco, and a cash bar.
As for what he’ll perform for What A Drag! presented by Rae’s RBar & Grill, Aries wasn’t sure. He described his look as “very sexy and burlesque but not trashy; … glamorous, very embellished.”
“I know a couple of things I’m going to wear,” he said. “I know I’m going to perform a song that’s Spanglish.”