In this episode of In The Know’s Dragged, Marti Gould Cummings and Jasmine Rice LaBeija unleash Julia’s inner-drag queen.
When it comes to coming up with a name, Julia feels inspired by her grandmother Mary’s love of flamenco. Flamenco is a form of song and dance that’s popular in Spain.
“I’m mixed. I’m Latina and Jewish,” Julia explained. “One of my favorite family memories is my abuelita’s flamenco dress. It was really gorgeous and traditional and I want to honor her by revamping it.”
Jasmine and Marti then asked Julia how she envisioned the drag version of herself.
“I want to be fierce,” Julia said. “I’m picturing, like, a very long dress, like something I can twirl around.”
Julia cleverly came up with Kai Ann Pepper for her stage name, which the hosts loved.
“She’s spicy! She’s hot,” Marti said. “She’s gonna take the stage by storm.”
After undergoing hours of makeup, Julia was stunned when she saw herself in the mirror.
“First of all, who put my grandma’s lips on me? Because mine do not look like this,” Julia joked.
When Jasmine asked if she had ever worn this much makeup before, Julia’s answer was simple: “No.”
When it came time to pick Kai Ann Pepper’s debut outfit, the hosts chose a fiery orange dress, red pumps and big, voluminous hair like Jasmine’s.
“I feel great,” Julia — ahem, Kai Ann Pepper — said. “I can’t wait to dance in it.”
The transformation is complete. Kai Ann Pepper rocked a long, flowing orange dress with a lacy, bohemian ruffled top. Her legs peaked out of its two large side-slits. Fierceness achieved.
“She’s going to be so happy and surprised,” Julia said about her grandmother. “It was always really important to her that I knew where I came from. So she’s going to be really happy.”
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If you enjoyed this story, read about a Black, proud and resilient Miami-based queen.
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