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Interview With Lisa King


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#1 Carrie Fairfield

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 09:44 PM

March 2008


Greetings loyal members, friends, fans, and guests


Wow, let me tell you what , I always enjoy going down to Orlando to visit, especially when there's a hot pageant going on. And when I say hot pageant, I mean THREE pageants in one. Bob Taylor and Gary Van Fleet turned it out on March 2nd with their Triple Crown Event: Miss Florida USofA, Miss Florida USofA At Large, and Miss Florida USofA Classic. It was a wonderful night and just chuck full of some of the best entertainers I've seen in a long while. Carmella Marcella Garcia, Danielle Hunter, and Alicia Markstone had me in stitches hosting the event. Asia O'Hara, Mahogany Knight, and Anita Mann were absolutely stunning representing the national titles! It was great to see old friends and to make new ones. Thank you to the staff and management of Revolution Nightclub in Orlando, you were spectacular hosts! Finally, congratulations to the Florida representatives who will be going on to compete for their USofA titles later this year. It was an honor to judge such a fantastic panel of contestants, you truly made my job difficult!And now it's time for another fantastic interview with the makers and shakers in the world of drag, pageantry, and female impersonation. This month, we have an absolute legendary entertainer under our microscope and we have none other than our very own Khori Ross doing the examination. She's been on the scene for many years and has continually gained respect from the people she encounters on her journey. She is the one and only Lisa King.


Enjoy the interview - best wishes!


Carrie Fairfield
Ok Miss King, just like my last interview, I want to start out with you telling us about your life "outside of drag." Help us get to know the "man" that is Lisa King.

In all actuality, there is nothing "manly" in my being. I am a female spirit born in a male form. My personality, actions, and mannerisms are consistently the same, with or without makeup. Even as I am running errands or shopping, the average person addresses me as ma'am. People usually aren't sure what I am. I feel comfortable as an enigma. It works for me.


Now, tell our readers how you got involved in the industry.

When I was a sophomore at FSU, I entered a Tuesday night talent show in my hometown (Jacksonville, FL) and won it. The prize was to be able to perform on

the weekend with the cast. I worked Friday and Saturday, and was hired Saturday after the last show. This was my first job, at The Inferno. You started in Florida, then San Antonio, then ended up in Atlanta and became the "Showstopper." Tell us about the old school hay-days of Atlanta drag.

Well, you have the timeline just a little bit out of order. After Florida, I went to Atlanta in 1974. I lived there until 1982, then I moved to San Antonio. That 12-year span was the best and most fun years of my entire life. We worked all the time. There were large casts of 10 or 12 entertainers (with a few male performers for group numbers) and we did 3 different shows, each night, for 6 days a week. We did elaborate productions with lavish costumes. There were rehearsals, as well, 4 days a week during the day. We worked very hard and we loved every minute of it. But, it was all worthwhile. The weekly responses from the audience, whether it was verbally, by tips, or by applause, were more than rewarding.


Who are your idols in drag?

I honestly don't have any. In the early days, there were not any "so-called" superstars. However, I did admire a Marilyn Monroe illusionist named Torchy Lane. I aspired to have her polished professionalism and magnetic charisma. Her wardrobe, also, was incomparable.


What do you think of the current state of the art?

I really think that it's lacking as an art form. There is too much emphasis placed on physical enhancement, props, and not enough focus on entertainment with substance. It has gone too far to the left, and they all should take a step back. This is not an individual reference to anyone or anything. It's just my personal assessment.


Give us a rundown of you pageant history.

The first pageant I entered was Miss Florida (the year Emore Dubois won), and then the very next year I entered Miss America (the year Shawn Luis won). I didn't make the finals in either one. But, I did get great job offers from them both. The offer from Miss America was the big break that took me to Atlanta, to The Sweet Gum Head in 1974. I entered Miss Atlanta in 1975 & 1976 (1st runner-up in '75 and won in '76). I entered Miss Ft. Lauderdale once in 1979 - and won. I have competed a total of 4 times in Miss Florida (1st runner-up 1979); 5 times in Miss America (3rd runner-up in 1977); 3 times in Miss Texas (1st runner-up all 3 times); and, once in Miss USA - and won. There are 12 other titles that I won, but vaguely remember.


So you were one of the original Miss USA's. How was that experience? Do you have any history of the pageant before Jerry Bird owned it?

Winning Miss USA didn't affect my life that much, at all. I was already traveling and performing all over the country based solely on my name. Although, I must admit that it did feel good to have a national title attached to my name. Naomi Sims was the very first Miss USA, and Johnna Rheis followed. The Lady Nova Bernard was also a past titleholder. This was during the time that Miss Gay America ruled the pageant circuit. Some entertainers were dissatisfied with that pageant and turned to the alternative. Around the same time, Miss Continental began to make its mark as a very credible pageant. Miss Gay USA changed hands twice during my reign and thereby diminished it's potential interest and importance. It wasn't until after Jerry Bird purchased Miss Gay USA that it regained its prominence as the premiere female impersonation title.


You are always independent. You don't have to get too personal but you have nerve damage in your lower extremities but still live independently. What keeps you going everyday?

The mere fact that I am alive is enough to get me out of the bed, each day. I have always been very determined, and it helps me to persevere through any situation or predicament. As the old saying goes, "what doesn't kill you will make you stronger." I live by that. Besides, I'm not done yet. I have so much more that I want to do, in spite of my disability.

So many people love you, but there are also some "haters." Do you mind speaking on some of the gossip or drama about you?

I don't give any thought to any drama or gossip in regards to my name. People that know me love me and we are life long friends. I value my privacy and I expect professionalism from all aspects of the performing arena. Some people think this stems from being difficult, but it is not. I just want to be able to put forth the very best performance for the audience. Anything that was negatively said about me was from someone who doesn't "know" me. I don't have the time or the patience to entertain such immaturity.


What does your family think of Lisa King?

When I moved to Texas in 1982, my mother, father, and brother came to my farewell to Atlanta show. They loved it! They even joined me on stage for the finale. My mother had always been unhappy that I didn't finish college, to become a female impersonator. Well, that night she took the microphone and told the large crowd that she was very proud of me. And, that was the last time that I saw her alive.


I know you recently did your farewell performance. What were your feelings at that moment?

There is (I must laugh to myself) a little bit of confusion here. That was not my farewell performance. It was my last performance, as in the last time I performed. I'm really sorry about that, I have future bookings. When I do have a farewell performance you'll be the first to know.

All right Lisa, I have so much more I want to ask, but we do have space limitation. Do you have any parting words for our readers?

Thank you so much for allowing this small peek into my life.
"I can look flawless and so fishy on the stage - then you hear my voice and realize you can't put EVERYTHING on a Visa card."

Crystal Chante during Onstage Question - 1996 Miss North Carolina America Pageant


"Lights, camera, and me without a stitch of make-up on!"

Becki Leaman

#2 Khori T. Ross

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 10:02 PM

LISA was great.

She is an ABSOLUTE LEGEND and I was honored to have the chance to pick her brain a little bit.
The only thing we have in our lives that no one can take away from us is OUR CHOICES...Dina Jacobs.

I go insane, crazy sometime, trying to keep you from losing your mind. Open your eyes, see what's in front of your face. Save me my fistfull of tears--Maxwell

#3 BobTaylor

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 10:07 PM

Great Interview Khori. Lisa is, indeed, one of the original drag icons....what an honor she bestowed by talking with you for our site.
Thanks so much Lisa...so many people will be completely in awe by just the mere fact that you did this.

Best wishes Goddess!!

#4 AVK

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 11:19 PM

A true LEGEND! Glad to know she's doing well.
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"If you don't say so much, you don't have so much to take back!"


#5 Peney

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 11:41 PM

i want to know more!!!! i never heard of her until now..... i love impersonation
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♥
Jacqueline R. Hall Penéy

#6 Danny

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 03:29 AM

Great interview Khori! I didn't know much about Lisa but glad you took the time to interview a legend!
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Tell the truth and you'll always remember what you said....

 

#7 dallasdrag

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 11:06 AM

it posted 3 times, ugh!

Edited by dallasdrag, 17 March 2008 - 11:07 AM.

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Fallon Scott
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#8 dallasdrag

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 11:06 AM

WOW!

FABULOUS! I could really get a sense of who Lisa was from her responses! A hard worker, a lover of the artform and the entertainment it brings, and someone that has a passion for all aspects of their life. I love hearing from, reading stories from, and talking to our "drag legends"! Lisa is one, of which there are very few left, example of what a "drag legend" is all about!!!!!!!!!!!

Hopefully there can be a "LISA KING INTERVIEW PART 2" sometime in the future! /smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' />
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Fallon Scott
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DRAGHISTORY.WEBS.COM

#9 VICKI V

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 11:09 AM

OMG .. LISA KING .... ( That name RINGS legend in this art-form) ....

Thanks Khori /clapping.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' /> /clapping.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':censored:' /> .... It's interviews like these ...that GIVES me more appreciation and inner encouragement .... ! While I dont aspire to attempt the accomplishments of LISA KING ......it is encouraging to know that HISTORICALLY it happened ....and thankfully ...it continues ... !

I was personally intrigued by this portion of interview ...

So many people love you, but there are also some "haters." Do you mind speaking on some of the gossip or drama about you?

I don't give any thought to any drama or gossip in regards to my name. People that know me love me and we are life long friends. I value my privacy and I expect professionalism from all aspects of the performing arena. Some people think this stems from being difficult, but it is not. I just want to be able to put forth the very best performance for the audience. Anything that was negatively said about me was from someone who doesn't “know” me. I don't have the time or the patience to entertain such immaturity.

What a champion .... what a person ....what a career .... what an INSPIRATION ... !

LISA KING ....

The name alone ...SCREAMS ..... "LEGENDARY LADY".... /good.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':good:' />
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Some "things" have to END....so that others can BEGIN...

Bishop Wyatt I. Greenlee Jr.

"The SCORES are the SCORES"

#10 Khori T. Ross

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 11:26 AM

There Definatly WILL be more to come from Lisa King.

I have to admit...I didn't know much about her either. It was a member of the boards that suggested that I do the interview and helped with some history.

Talking with her was like a drag history lesson...There was SO much information.

I definatly plan on being there when she gets back on the stage....And IT WILL BE DOCUMENTED. !!!!!!!!!
The only thing we have in our lives that no one can take away from us is OUR CHOICES...Dina Jacobs.

I go insane, crazy sometime, trying to keep you from losing your mind. Open your eyes, see what's in front of your face. Save me my fistfull of tears--Maxwell

#11 JandZVenice

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 11:43 AM

Great Interview & a true legend in the art. Keep up the great work.
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Zaviaus



#12 JandZVenice

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 11:45 AM

Khori if you need more pictures of Lisa, let me know I have some.
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Zaviaus



#13 Tyler Alyxander

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 07:18 PM

Lisa King...a name that was legendary when I first started out too many years ago for me to even admit to!

Ms. King...you are STILL an inspiration.

Children, take note. This is someone that should be heard.

Regards!
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Tyler Alyxander, Miss NY Continental Elite 2013, Miss NJ Continental Emeritus, Miss CarrieFairfield Elite 2006, Miss NYC FFI 2003, Miss Gay NJ-America 1990

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#14 Carolina

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 12:16 AM

I just saw Lisa at Miss Georgia USofA, and she looked fabulous ! Lisa is a true legend of the art form ! And I really mean that !....All the best to her... For the many years she gave to us ! No one could Pantomime and interpret a song like Lisa could.....Simply the best !
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#15 mikael

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 01:56 AM

great interview but like dr pepper i want more more more
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