I've always loved performing, even at a young age, and got into theater in middle school. Needing to be the center of attention, I continued to perform in the arts all through High School and ended up majoring in Theatre Arts and becoming the first male to Minor in the Dance Program in College (don't think Fiona is a dancer by any means). By the time I was immersed in my theater training in college, I was more interested in the production of a show, especially Costume Design and Show Management. I still performed when my schedule would allow, but I excelled back-stage. I actually one a Kennedy Center for the Arts award for costume design for the production of Sam Shepard's "Curse of the Starving Class"!

My escape from the stresses of a Jesuit Education was Drag. Before moving up to Spokane, WA to attend Gonzaga University, with my boyfriend, Daniel and I would sneak into (I don't feel bad about admitting this since it's now, no longer in business) Amsterdam under-age to see the drag performances. I was mesmerized by the glitz and glamor, their confidence, and their ability to command the audience's attention. They were Gods to me, and at 17 I was hooked. I would take in as much drag as I could in my free time and frequented the Drag Shows in Spokane all through college, and then when I could after I moved back home after graduation.

Fiona Wearing Her Katy Perry Inspired Hershey Kiss Two Piece

I immersed myself into the drag community later being a regular at Club Volt. Being there 3 to 4 days a week, and becoming close with the staff and Queens is where I decided I was at a point in my life where I was ready to step into heels. Creating a Drag Persona never officially (or maybe I didn't let myself acknowledge it) crossed my mind until I was stable in my personal and work life. Until recently, my life was creating our business. Once the business got off and running, I had time to focus on my passions again. Fiona started off like most queens do- an Idea. I came up with my name in the car on my way to San Diego Pride with a group of friends. My best friend is from Ohio, and is obsessed with their internet star: Fiona the Hippo. She was born prematurely at the Cincinnati Zoo, which gave her her headlines, but her cuteness is really what made her rise above. As we were talking, I said out loud: “Please welcome to the stage: FIONA THE HIPPO!” And Fiona had her name. After my name was solidified, my next move was what most people do when wanting to dip their toes into the art of “Gender Illusion” asking a friend to help them into drag for the first time.

Severely Mame, or as I affectionately know her as Aunty Mame, took the time to show me how to do a cut crease, and help me with my hair and makeup. She showed me the basics, and for that, I'm truly grateful. Whitney Stevens also helped me a ton in the beginning. She let me practice my styling skills on her old, busted wigs, and created my body that Fiona is known for. It truly took a village to get Fiona to where she is today, but my biggest continued support has been from that same boyfriend that used to sneak me into the drag shows all those years ago. I had so much support from the Volt Family, and along with pushing from Daniel, encouraged me to compete in that next season of Facelift - an amateur talent competition.

With hard work, and a whole lot of marketing myself, I was able to pull off the win for Season 6! My win opened a lot of doors for me, and shined a spotlight on my drag, getting the attention (and bookings) from hosts in shows all over the valley. Since then, I’ve honed my skills in sewing and wiggery! I construct all my own costumes, since my size rarely allows me to purchase something “off the rack.” And although it’s my least favorite aspect of getting a look together, I style the majority of my wigs myself. I love problem solving how a reveal should be constructed, where it needs to tear away, and how the costume underneath should show or not show. It’s a puzzle I fixate on until it’s solved.

Fiona the Hippo, Miss Gay Melrose America 2022

Drag has been one of the pillars holding up the Queer Community from the very beginning. We are the ambassadors to the Heteronormative community through our community out-reach, fund raising, and frankly just existing in Non-Queer spaces all while being the cheer-leaders for the queer community. Drag today is what it is because of those that came before us. It’s an ever-evolving artform, and would not be possible without our Trans Brothers and Sisters that came before us. Mainstream drag really started during prohibition, when drinking moved to underground speakeasies. Gay men and women could express themselves more openly, which lead way to the almost main-stream “Pansy Craze,” and continued as a staple in the underground gay bars until the 1960s.

While the mainstream culture continued to criminalize gay culture, drag moved back underground because of police raids on gay bars. The New York Mafia, specifically the Genovese Family gave the LGBTQ+ community safe havens by paying off police and the New York Liquor Authority allowing queer spaces to exist safely(er) again. You cannot take part in current Drag Culture without acknowledging the foundations and references that evolved from Black Queer Spaces. Drag has evolved into such an artform that ranges from the tame to insane. All drag is valid and Queens/Kings/Theys are the leaders of the community. We lead by example. We have our fingers on the pulse of the community and hold the megaphones for change. We have the privilege of a platform to educate, and demand change for social injustice.