Undefinable. That’s the way those who have watched non-binary entertainer Paradox Rei perform describe them.
And that suits Paradox just fine since it confirms their favorite saying: all drag is valid.
“It’s a reference in regard to orientation or what they identify as,” they said. “If they want to enter or create a persona to do drag, then they should do it. Whether anyone is trans, non-binary, people of color, we bring them in to perform. We do our best to promote that.”
Paradox Rei is one of the featured entertainers of What A Drag! presented by Rae’s RBar & Grill at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Smithwick Dance Hall at Heart of Texas. The event includes a catered meal by Super Taco and a cash bar. Advanced tickets are $25.
Paradox Rei first began performing about four years ago as a drag king after being inspired by watching videos on the internet with their drag brother. The two entertainers began performing at the Silver Dollar Saloon in San Antonio.
In 2018, the performer created Paradox Rei and hasn’t looked back.
The last 18 months have resulted in invitations to perform in some of the top drag shows in south Texas, including Out in the Park produced by Rey Lopez Entertainment, Haus of Coven, known as San Antonio’s only alternative drag troop, and Dragantula that has “been very prominent in the alternative drag scene,” they said.
Lopez selects local performers and brings others from around the country to San Antonio for Out in the Park, a LGBTQ private event at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Some of the national performers have appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
“Paradox explained the differences between a drag dkng, drag queen and drag entity. A drag king is someone who performs a masculine persona on stage, whereas someone who performs a feminine persona on stage is a queen — but even then drag showcases and promotes expression to where the binary is easily broken.”
Paradox Rei calls themselves a “drag entity,” a term they coined that is a mix of a drag king and drag queen and doesn’t have a specific gender.
“It goes into the territory of drag whatever,” they said. “Drag is a huge form of expression. There’s one million and one ways an artist can describe themselves.”
One reason Aries Fatale and Luiz Fatale invited Paradox Rei to participate in What A Drag! presented by Rae’s RBar & Grill is because of their commitment of never being satisfied. Paradox Rei puts in plenty of thought and creativity to each performance and will use everyday items to construct a look.
They admit they have particular characters they enjoy performing but are known for using different concepts. Paradox Rei especially enjoys applying the makeup and the entire process of creating those impressions but rarely does the same look twice.
“As a person of color, I like to play the vibrant colors and motifs of my African roots with my drag aesthetic,” they said.
Those who aren’t fans of Pop Top 40 music will love Paradox Rei’s tunes. They proudly say they’re behind the times and recently discovered American singer, rapper and actress Lizzo. Paradox Rei prefers techno music from the 1980s and 1990s.
Paradox Rei also makes it a point to give back by teaching what they have learned to others. They have three drag daughters and a drag son, who use veteran performer as a mentor, sounding board and adviser.
Luiz and Aries commend Paradox for their demeanor and willingness to work with and compliment other performers. That humbleness in addition to being a superb entertainer are the reasons Luiz and Aries invited Paradox Rei to perform in What A Drag!
Paradox Rei will appear the Austin International Drag Festival Nov. 14-17.