If you follow me on social media, or if you’ve read my interviews with Sasha Devaroe or Jaymelah Moore you already know how fierce these queens are and how beloved they are in California’s Central Valley drag scene. Performing everywhere from Modesto to San Francisco, Stockton, and Sacramento, these two veterans of the drag scene are well known to most drag aficionados in the area, as are their amazing support systems by way of Sasha’s man Larry Booker, and Jaymelah’s biological mother Della Moraza
I thought it could be fun for readers to learn a bit about what life is like behind the scenes for people who are in supporting roles so I asked and they agreed to be interviewed. Here’s what they had to say…
Drag Adventures: What was your initial introduction to drag?
Della Moraza: In the early 1990s when my son, James AKA Jamie L’Amour, AKA Jaymz was two to three years old. I used to stay up late and there was a late-night TV show and it had RuPaul on it so I used to stay up late watching it. But I also grew up with a gay uncle that I used to watch get dressed and ready to go out on weekends, so I already knew about drag queens.
Larry Booker: Well my initial introduction to drag is when I met my partner David (Sasha), on our first date, I noticed a pair of broken high heels in his back seat, so I offered to fix them for him. Little did he know, it was my master plan just to see him again. Upon fixing the shoes, I was invited to go see a show of his and the rest is history.
DA: How did you begin your current role in the drag world?
DM: I started to watch the RuPaul Drag Race show in 2008/2009 with Jaymz, AKA Jaymelah. I’d been seeing the advertisement commercials about this new show that was going to start and once it started we watched it together. Jaymz would get one of my bathing suits and use it to do little performances and he would ask me questions about how I did my makeup and would watch me put my makeup on as I got ready to go to work. Later, Jaymz was in contact with a friend that we continue to have a family relationship with. He is close to my heart his name is William and he was one of Monique Moore’s first drag daughters known as Star Moore. He was over one day and showed James how to apply makeup and how to carry himself as a drag queen and from then on it began – watching my son evolve from a newbie drag queen to a polished pageant Queen in my eyes.
LB: My role in the drag world just began. I don’t think I could pinpoint a specific time or anything like that. Throughout my relationship with David, things just started blooming, we noticed how well we vibe with each other and how to challenge one another.
DA: What is the most rewarding part of your role?
DM: My reward is how much love I feel and give to all my babies freely, I love seeing how much all my drag babies have evolved in their craft, my Jaymelah included. I receive the utmost respect and love from them all.
LB: The most rewarding part of my role, to be honest and I know how cheesy this must sound, but I get THE MOST satisfaction seeing, David (Sasha) performing, interacting with the crowd and seeing him do what feeds his soul. I also love the fact that I get to design and create custom outfits for him, I can treat him like my own personal Barbie Doll.
DA: Do you have any rituals before a show?
DM: I really don’t have any unless you consider praying that the crowd will tip generously. Oh, I do like to make me a small meal to go for after hour hunger pains lol
LB: We actually do have a ritual, I’m not fully sure on how exactly it came about though, but before each of his numbers we take a moment before the song starts and we kiss three times. Its kind of our way of saying good luck and I love you, without so many words.
DA: How do you balance drag life with the other parts of your life?
DM: Balancing drag life is tricky for Mama Della, during my 17 years of graveyard working in the medical field, I made sure Jaymelah always let whoever booked her gigs know what my work schedule was in order to make sure she had a way to every event. And all my coworkers adored and loved her as she is.
LB: I think every day we learn to balance our lives/schedules a little more. It can be tough though, I’m a fulltime hairstylist, but I also run a side buisness of making and selling clothes and performance wear, not including all of the club gigs each weekend (that I love!) When things get too hectic we do look at eachother and say, hey its time to take a breather, recuperate and focus on us for awhile and that works for our relationship.
DA: Do you have a favorite story from your experience with drag that you’d like to share?
DM: First time we went to see Queens of Comedy in SF, my daughter Jaymelah Moore began to introduce me to Heklina and before Jaymelah could finish saying my name, Heklina said, ”Is this the legendary mama Della I heard about?” I was in awe meeting Heklina, she is a sweetheart
LB: My favorite story that involves drag would have to be my first time watching David/Sasha perform and I had the opportunity of meeting Nova Starr. I was out of my element, 16 years old at a nightclub in Stockton surrounded by a bunch of drag queens not understanding why the guy I’m interested in wanted to dress as a woman and out of nowhere Nova says to me, “Drag is only a small part of his life, have an open mind with him and I promise you’ll be happy.” And the rest is history!
DA: Do you have any crazy stories about trying to get to a drag show with your charge?
DM: I don’t recall a crazy story of getting to a show
But my car was broken down one time and Jaymelah had a debut in Pollo del Mar’s Sunday night The Glamazone
And one of her fans offered to take us to SF
LB: Oh my gosh, yes! One night, quite a few years ago, we were so late and rushing out the door, that we forgot to even check the gas tank and we ran out of gas in the middle of the street! Sasha had to get out of the car and push us, in high heels, to the gas station. Needless to say that was a very memorable night.
DA: Drag queens are often big personalities. Do you consider yourself to be a big personality as well, or are you more reserved?
DM: Although I’m mostly reserved and just mingle with everyone, the big names queens now if they see that I’m at the event with my daughter, they will spot me and kinda skip over my daughter to get to me first to greet me with a big hug and give a cheek smooch.
LB: Drag queens with big personalities? Thats an understatement! I do consider myself more on the reserved quiet side of things, a lot of people dont know that I suffer from public anxiety, so naturally in larger crowds I tend to kind of stand back a bit, atleast until I really get to know you or have had a couple drinks, then its hard to shut me up.
DA: Have you learned anything from your involvement in the drag world?
DM: have I learned anything?….How to throw shade (laughs) Give a side eye, and pop my fan. Just little things here and there. I’ve learned that when I meet a young up and coming queen I try to introduce myself with a moms love and let them know I’m here for them if they need to vent, talk or cry, etc, and I have actually stayed in long distance contact with a few and stay loyally involved with them as a friend and London distance mom. They in turn stay in communication with me whenever they need to.
LB: I feel like im always learning and experimenting, drag is always changing and it doesnt have a specific definition anymore, so I kind of embodied that lifestyle and I’ve applied it in other aspects of my life, especially designing and creating clothes.
DA: Is there anything else you would like people to know about you or your role?
DM: As for my role in the drag world…I use to ask myself what is it that I’m here for besides my own kid, through the years after Jaymelah started her career in drag,, I found it rewarding that I’m here to give my love to anyone who has been abandoned by their own family or parents, and being accepted by the younger generation whole heartedly
LB: Hmm, a couple things actually: If you need my help with something, just ask. Please and Thank You, still go a long way in my book. DO NOT DEMAND, my help wont be demanded unless your paying me. If your interested in a custom outfit, ASK ME, so many people message Sasha asking for outfits just to be forwarded to me, cut out the middle man, ha ha. I have terrible resting bitch face, its just the way my face looks. Talk to me, I’ll surprise you and answer.
DA: Do you have advice for anyone who might serve in a similar role to yours?
DM: No advice…Just be who you are and love with all your heart
LB: I do have some advice, first up would be to the Queens themselves that see how Sasha and I interact, what we built took over eight years together and was learned over time what works for us. Don’t think you will just meet a man and expect him to know everything about a drag queen, he needs time to get used to this new part of his life, take it easy on him!
The rest would be to the boyfriends, hold on tight, its one hell of a ride!
Written by Rebecca Cave