Although Kevin Buice says he loves performing and wishes he had started his drag career earlier, his alter ego was almost an afterthought.
Working in restaurant management, some friends at Partners (now Rigby’s Bar & Grill) in Rehoboth Beach, Del., were talking about ways to bolster their brunch about 10 years ago.
“I said, ‘You should have a drag queen,’ and they said, ‘OK, you’re on this Sunday,’” the 49-year-old Atlanta native says. “I said, ‘I don’t do drag.’ They said, ‘You do now.’”
Buice, who performs as Mona Lotts every Thursday and Friday night at the Blue Moon (bluemoonrehoboth.com) year round (except when it’s closed in January), says, “it became obvious very quickly that entertaining was something I was supposed to do.”
Splitting time between Washington and Rehoboth, Mona also performs regularly at Freddie’s Beach Bar, Ziegfeld’s/Secrets, and other gay bars. She has a basement in D.C. and a storage unit in Rehoboth where she keeps more than 100 wigs and “probably” 500 gowns. Mona never likes to be seen in the same gown more than twice a year, Buice says with a laugh.
“Mona has her own personality, I would say,” Buice says. “I know that sounds like mental illness, but I find it’s much easier to say things, do things and be more outgoing as her. Kevin’s actually a pretty shy person. Mona is very extroverted.”
Buice and partner John Foley have been together 13 years. Buice was married to a woman years ago and has a daughter, Katie, 24. He enjoys singing, reading, movies and time with friends in his free time.
“I love meeting new people,” he says. “If you’re in Rehoboth, definitely come by and say hi.”
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
Twenty-five years. My daughter Katie.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
I have two. Tim Ragan, one of the owners of the Blue Moon where I work. Tim is a very successful businessman and has lived his life with his partner Randy for over 30 years. He is a hero of mine because success in public and personal life does not come easy and I have huge respect for the way he’s mastered both! Also the individuals who participated in the Stonewall Riots in New York. These individuals were the catalyst that started the movement that changed the perception of LGBT persons in the USA.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Describe your dream wedding.
Twenty to 30 friends and family gathered to share a short ceremony with me and my partner at the National Cathedral in D.C. followed by a HELLACIOUS party at Blue Moon in Rehoboth!
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Literacy. If you cannot read and write your chance of survival and success in life is almost nonexistent.
What historical outcome would you change?
I would have stopped 9-11. America and the world were changed forever that day.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
The cell phone.
On what do you insist?
Honesty and loyalty.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
I posted Shania Twain’s video of “Dance With The One That Brought You” to my partner John’s FB page. It was my way of telling him I was thinking of him and that he’s the only one for me!
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“Mona – Life In and Out of Lipstick Was Never A Drag”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Run like hell!
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
Somebody bigger than me has got to be looking out for me. Otherwise I’d be dead.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Keep on going! We have to leave this world better than we found it.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
My mother’s cooking.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
Everyone who does drag wants to be a woman.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“To Wong Foo”
What’s the most overrated social custom?
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
The applause and smiles of an audience every time I perform.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
I wish I had known that I could have a career performing. I love what I do and wish I had started the art of female impersonation as early as possible.
You tell me — I’d rather be at the beach!