Bryce Keyser is planning to eventually get away from the salon work he does — he’s a stylist at Bang Salon on U Street — and make his drag alter ego his full-time work.
Porcelain St. Clair was begun, he says, “on a whim.”
“I did a costume contest at my old job and won,” the Manassas, Va., native says. “People said, ‘Wow, you’re pretty good, maybe you should do some more,’ so I got some costumes made, did some drag contests and got booked pretty quickly.”
Dolly Parton is his main character, which he says he does about 95 percent of the time, but he also does Liza, Madonna and Shania on occasion. He says Parton, whom he grew up idolizing and has met several times, knows his work and has been supportive.
There’s no big secret to the boobs, he says — just cotton padding mostly. He made all the foam body padding himself.
Keyser starts a new show on Thursday at LivingSocial (918 F St., N.W.) where he’ll be every week. He also does Nellie’s Drag Brunch every Sunday and Drag Salute to the Divas every month at the Howard with his drag mother, Shiqueeta Lee (the next Howard show is Feb. 9).
Keyser is single and enjoys reading, shopping at thrift stores and watching QVC and HSN in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I’ve been out, to everyone, for about a year and a half now. The hardest person to tell was myself. For a long time I didn’t want to accept the lifestyle and the pain that may come with associating yourself as gay. I finally got tired of sheltering who I really was and came out to everyone at lightning speed.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
All the LGBT people who came before me and helped pave the way for us today. Without them, I’d probably still be in the closet.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Town is my first love. It was the first gay club I ever went to and the place that I started my drag career and met my drag mother, Shiqueeta Lee!
Describe your dream wedding.
Two men, holding hands, surrounded by friends and family underneath a beautiful altar covered in white roses. I’m a hopeless romantic — as long as there is something sappy and there’s love involved, I’m set!
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
This year, Beyoncé tied Dolly Parton with the record for the most Grammy Award nominations for any female artist. Oh wait — this is supposed to be non-LGBT!
What historical outcome would you change?
The assassination of JFK. He gave America hope at a very crucial time.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
I’m still in recovery from Dolly not winning the Best Original Song Oscar in 2006.
On what do you insist?
Love, acceptance and the pursuit of happiness.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
Announcing that I am one of three new cast members on the D.C.-based drag reality show “Drag City: DC.” This will be the third season of the show and it’s going to be a good one!
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“How to Launch a Drag Career in 30 Days”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I would applaud the scientists who discovered it, then continue watching that week’s Judith Ripka’s Jewelry special on QVC. I am very proud of my sexuality and of who I am. Being gay has enhanced my life in so many ways.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I am not a religious person by any means, although I am a very spiritual person. I do believe there is something bigger than us out there somewhere. I think you kind of have to believe that to stay halfway sane in this world.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Rhinestone the rainbow flag; it will look better under the spotlights.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
My family. Take care of them while you can.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That we all wear pink on Wednesdays. Everyone knows we wear ruby slipper red on Wednesdays now.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Steel Magnolias” will always be my favorite. It’s hilarious, southern, so sad it will make you cry your eyes out and Dolly plays the town hairdresser. It’s got my name written all over it in 12 different languages.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Using the men’s restroom. I am more of a lady than half the traffic that passes through an average women’s restroom. Plus they smell nicer.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
The support of my family. No trophy or honor that I will ever receive in my lifetime will top that.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
I wish I would have known where everything was going to end up and that it all gets better. I stressed out for a long time trying to figure out what I “wanted to be when I grew up” when I actually knew all along, but didn’t want to accept it because it wasn’t what everyone else was doing.
Washington is like New York City’s baby sister. It has almost everything you’d ever want in a city however it’s a little less stressful than New York. The perfect place for a freelance female impressionist like myself.
Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.
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