A veteran of New Jersey drag and pageantry and the hostess of the state’s only weekly drag competition, Cee’Mour Cox reflects on her life and career while preparing for a huge birthday kiki this week.
Thotyssey: Hello Cee’mour, thanks for chatting with us today! So it’s been a bit of time already since the Miss Paradise pageant… were you there?
Cee’Mour Cox: I actually did not get to attend the pageant this year (unfortunately my mother is on dialysis, and she had to have emergency surgery that weekend). But I did get to see a ton of live feeds, and it definitely was amazing to see the girls battle out for the Miss Paradise crown.
Jersey drag has always been fierce, but I feel like it’s really getting it’s long overdue respect in more recent years.
That’s for sure. Although a lot of clubs have closed up in New Jersey, drag has definitely continued to flourish.
Where are you from originally, and what were your early interests that may have ultimately put you on the drag path?
Im originally from Arecibo, Puerto Rico and I was raised in Jersey City and in Freehold, New Jersey–which is where I currently reside. As for my drag journey, I always tell people when I was born the doctor said “it’s a BOY! Now where the hell did all this glitter come from,” lol! Now the funny thing is, I always dabbled in makeup and dressed up in my mother’s clothes since I was a child–but now I see my mother stealing my outfits to wear, lol!
Ha! What were your first experiences seeing drag in person, and then doing it professionally yourself?
I’m a huge Madonna fan, and a bunch of us flew out to Detroit for a “Madonnathon” they were having. We went to a club called Menjo’s, and there was this drag queen that was lowered from the ceiling dressed as a mermaid performing “Cherish” dripping in rhinestones… and I was starstruck.
I then searched for places here in Jersey that did drag shows, but couldn’t find any. So I went to New York and ended up at Krash, where I fell in love with Jessica Foxx and Princess Janae. Eventually I got the nerve to try it out, and I was hooked.
Where are some other venues you turned out in those early years?
OMG, so many: Escuelita, Splash, Excalibur, The Colosseum, The Den, The Galaxy. In those days, you were able to practically live off drag shows. There was a show every single night… sometimes twice a night.
You also have quite a successful history with drag pageants.
Oh, definitely! I have way over thirteen crowns under my belt: Miss Mirage, Miss Club Atlantis AP, Miss Somerset County, Miss Gay Asbury Park, Miss Den, Miss Paradise, Miss Gay New Jersey at Large, Miss Sweetheart America, Miss Continental NJ Emeritus… just to name a few, lol!
A queen among queens! Would you ever do another one?
“Drag Wars” is a Jersey competition you’ve been hosting for a while, currently at Paradise in Asbury Park. Can you tell us a bit about the history of that show?
I’ve been doing “Drag Wars” in Asbury Park for 16 years now. The past few years have been at Paradise, but we are still the longest running weekly drag competition in the state. It’s open for drag kings and drag queens, or however you may want to express yourself.
What do you think are the right qualities a drag performer needs nowadays to do well in these competitions?
Honestly… just be yourself, and entertain the crowd. It’s just that simple.
Drag’s changed a lot over the years, thanks to social media and RuPaul’s Drag Race among other things. But is what you just said still basically the same winning formula for drag success?
That all definitely changed the game, but that’s what continues to make drag amazing; drag has never been in a box… it evolves. Drag is evolution.
“Drag Wars” is Monday nights at Paradise! How fun is it there?
I freaking love it–to have such an amazing crew and loving customers that want nothing but your night to be successful is absolutely heartwarming. And the fact that I could provide these amazing performers with a safe place for them to express their art form… cuz let’s face it, there aren’t many nowadays.
Yeah, I can’t wait! I’m actually really excited to see what Tastie has in store for me this Monday night. We’re also still having the drag competition: $100 cash prize and a free beef patty, lol! There will be some special performances by Aurora Van Wales, Queen Bee and I, and we have some lovely giveaways provided by Boga Boga sunglasses.
“Drag Wars” is every Monday night at Paradise in Asbury Park, and everyone needs to see and compete! In closing: what’s the craziest thing you’ve seen or experienced in your drag career?
The girls de-dragging… LMAO!
Ha! Thanks Cee’Mour, and happy birthday!