Ronnie Belle is a Drag King met through Hazy Buchanan, who I interviewed previously. Hailing from Iowa City, Iowa, Ronnie has been performing in drag for a relatively short time, however, has already garnered the title of 2018 Mr. Studio 13! This isn’t the only exciting thing that’s happened to him as a drag performer, and if you’re a Trixie Mattel fan you may have seen Ronnie before. Trixie is not the only Ru girl with whom Ronnie has crossed paths, but Ru girls are not the reason you’re here, so let’s get to know this Drag King.
Drag Adventures: Tell us a little bit about your drag name journey.
Ronnie Belle: I started drag with the name “Magnum Dong”, which is an It’s Always Sunny reference I thought was funny. Every time after that I was Lil Ronnie, which I also thought was funny because my dad’s name is Ron. After SBDR (Sasha Belle’s Drag Race – in Iowa) I started to think about letting go of the namesake because I’m trying to find my own aesthetic, but Ronnie still feels good to me. I like that it’s both feminine and masculine, sort of in between. And Sasha Belle is my drag mom, so the full name is Ronnie Belle.
DA: How did you get your start in drag and how long have you been doing drag?
RB: I started drag when I was cast in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Puck. I was a freshman at the time, 19. At first, they said the role was “gender neutral” but we used male pronouns and I had to cut my hair, both of which I resisted at first. Then I started getting more into the role and I could tell it needed that masculinity so I got into it. I decided to do drag at a club a few months after and have kept doing it since, so about two years now.
DA: Where did you get your drag inspiration?
RB: I started watching RuPaul’s Drag Race and loved it, which inspired me to see the shows at Studio (a local club). The performers looked like they were having such a great time and I knew I wanted to try it so I did! I was also inspired by Freddie Mercury. I started drag wanting to do a big tribute number for him (and did at Pride)
DA: As an AFAB (assigned female at birth) drag King, how have people treated you as you’ve begun your drag career?
RB: People have been super cool to me in my experience with drag. The queens at Studio were always so friendly and supportive, which was a huge reason why I kept coming back to perform. I haven’t been booked in many clubs- I’m not 21 yet so I can usually only perform at Studio- but I’ve done a few UI events and those are super cool.
DA: What pronouns do you prefer when out of drag?
RB: Out of drag I use both she/her and they/them.
DA: What type of music do you prefer for your numbers?
RB: I do a lot of rock, hip-hop, and Lady Gaga.
DA: What is your drag style?
RB: I call myself a “femme king”, which to me means I play a mostly masculine person with feminine tendencies. I like exploring gender and encouraging people to let go of outdated norms and ideas with my drag.
DA: What’s your favorite part of drag?
RB: My favorite part of performing is dancing. I love doing jump splits and death drops, because usually, people don’t expect that from a more masculine character.
DA: How long did it take you to perfect the jumping splits?
RB: I learned jumping splits really quickly from just going for it, but I’m still working on perfecting it and doing it most safely.
DA: Tell us about your favorite moment in your drag career.
RB: I worked with Trixie Mattel on her music video “Mama Don’t Make Me Put On The Dress Again” and totally fangirled, although I was able to keep my cool for the most part since I was in work mode. I definitely lost that when Willam showed up unexpectedly.
DA: Those are some pretty big moments! Have you had any other fan-girl moments?
RB: The first time I met Sasha I fangirled super hard and looked like a huge dork probably. I still do it a little sometimes, (laughs)
DA: What kind of challenge would you win if you were on Drag Race? What would send you home?
RB: I think I would kill a musical challenge, like Shade the Rusical or Bitch Perfect. But I would also love to play Snatch Game! I played Snatch Game on Sasha Belle’s race as Shakespeare. I’d love to do it as Danny Devito or Tommy Chong.
DA: Where can people see you perform?
RB: I’m in Iowa City, and there’s a pretty lively drag community here
Be sure to follow Ronnie on the following social media:
Watch Ronnie in Trixie Mattel’s Mama Don’t Make Me Put On The Dress here
Written by Contributor Rebecca Cave