For the average college student, going out takes a certain amount of time and effort. Razors, lotions, colognes, makeup and the general agony of choosing shirts and shoes all play an important role in the process of “getting ready” on a Friday night. Sophomore social work major Derek Westermeyer not only gets ready to go out, he becomes a whole other person.
Every Monday night at the Grey Fox Pub, Westermeyer becomes drag queen Diamond Devereaux.
“Diamond is glamorous and sexy and has an odd sense of humor about her, which I guess comes from me. I’m goofy and I’ll make bad jokes and laugh at them, and Diamond will too. Honestly she’s just really pretty,” Westermeyer said.
Diamond’s performance directly translates with her look. Westermeyer will spend about four hours shaving everything below the nose, contouring facial structure and shadows into cheekbones, adding glitter and gluing on eyelashes before rushing out the door with a themed costume for the show stuffed into a bag. He admits to spending about $600 on drag gear in the last two months, all to create the look that will be the “wow” factor in Diamond’s show.
In St. Louis, pageant drag is popular. Sequined gowns and huge hair dominate the shows. New York City has a club-kid scene that demonstrates creative and eccentric masterpiece looks. He mentions that drag has a boxed definition, but the point of drag is to break through that box.
For Westermeyer, it’s makeup that helps him live outside the box. He spent a summer working at Ulta Beauty where he had the time to learn about and practice makeup application. He found more people he worked with who loved makeup and did drag and fell into a community of support and interest. He wants the way that Diamond looks to speak for the show. “Some Queens will do flips and splits and I’m living for it but my body hurts watching it happen. Some Queens are more theatrical and will have elaborate costumes while doing musical numbers. Some Queens will perform a burlesque show,” Westermeyer said.
If you’re going to a drag show you have to cheer. He advises tipping every Queen at least once, even if they’re horrible; it takes a lot of courage and bravery to stand up and perform. The biggest compliment is asking to take a picture with your favorite Queen.
Q. How is it being a part of the LGBTQ community on SLU’s campus?
It can be lonesome since there aren’t many people like me here. I don’t have to worry about being harassed. I’ve never felt unsafe, but I’ve gotten plenty of strange looks.
Q. What are some other hobbies you have?
I am very into social justice. I worked for the grassroot PROMO, Missouri’s LGBTQ advocacy group. I hope to volunteer at the Pride Center they just opened up along Chouteau Avenue. And contrary to popular belief and common stereotypes I play volleyball and I think sports are fun to watch, play and go to.
Q. If you had to give general advice to anyone, what would it be?
Live your life and forget gender norms. Just do your thing. No means no, and be a nice person.