RuPaul's All Star Spectacular

A Conversation with Adore Delano

Danny Noriega took American Idol by storm, but when he transormed into a drag queen hit crossover superstar status. Contributor LESLIE SCOCCA CROFT talks to Adore about RuPaul's All Star Spectacular

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Transsexuality requires the desire... the desire to live and be accepted as a member of the opposite sex. Transsexuals experience discomfort with, even revulsion to their anatomic sex, and are transfixed by redeeming their bodies to its natural state. Olympic champion Bruce Jenner is the most recent in a parade of individuals confronting gender confusion, while shows like Transparent are taking Golden Globes away for public awareness and compassion.

But what about Drag Queens? Real men have preformed as women since the dawn of Greek tragedies. They were commonplace on the Shakespearean stage, and the modern era gave rise to entertainers like Divine; who belted out cinematic cult classics such as Polyester in 1981, Hairspray in ’88, and achieved global chart success with hits like “I’m so Beautiful” and “Walk Like a Man.”

Danny Noriega is an American television personality, singer, and Drag Queen for the 21st century. Now Adore Delano, he is best known for appearing on American Idol, and RuPaul's Drag Race. His first studio album, Till Death Do Us Party, was released on June 3, 2014 and climbed to #1 on the iTunes Dance Charts. I recently caught up with Adore on her World Tour.

Struggling to channel the female persona within, Noriega admits “Adore was always a part of Danny Noriega. Ostracized for being different and constantly bullied, I started cross-dressing and ultimately just came-out in full drag one day. I wore my superhero mask of make-up to confront the ostracizing and judgmental culture I was living in.”

The youngest of three boys and two girls in his family, Noriega’s father passed away in August 2014 and Adore recalls, “even as I came out in full drag, my parents were always fully supportive of my choices and lifestyle. In fact, my Mom is actually really encouraging. She accompanies me on tour, grounds me, and keeps me out of trouble. She’s my rock.”

With confidence abound from the recognition she was amassing on You Tube, she entered and won a local drag competition in West Hollywood which catapulted her onto Season Six of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Finishing in the top 3, Adore says, “RuPaul’s Drag Race gave me the opportunity to express myself and become a role model for those who don’t necessarily fit in. You should never question yourself. If you want to do something, do it!”

Never Question Yourself

Wondering how involved the artist was with the compilation of Till Death Do Us Party, I asked Adore about her inspirations. “I’m a fan of all music, and an album is something I wanted to do for a long time. I started writing with Ashley Levy, and these songs began to form. I’m influenced by life, relationships, and personal experience. There is a piece of me in every song I write including “I Adore You.” That’s my favorite. I poured my heart into that one.” The music video has been viewed millions of times by her fans on You Tube, and is just what you’d expect from Adore’s attitude and personality. “I’m sent creative mood boards for my songs, and I offer edits and ideas which are incorporated. I, of course, decide on all the makeup, hair and wardrobe picks. It’s truly exciting to see an idea come to life.”

Though some will always remember Adore Delano as Danny Noriega, the artist admits, “I’ve never felt so in drag as when I was out of drag performing on Idol.” With so much commercial success already behind her, Adore looks to the future with projects that include another album, acting roles, and doing her own thing with her brand. “I want the world to know that we (Drag Queens) are not out of work, but rather working hard to be taken seriously both as artists and as people.”

If the consequence of desire is pure, unadulterated adoration... Danny Noriega has made his apologies for not building white picket fences and moved on into the starlight.

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