Clark Kent and Superman are entirely different people—a journalist and cape-clad hero sharing the same body. And that’s how drag is for Spenst Hansen and Angela Saxon, the winner of the 2013 Miss City Weekly Pageant. Hansen is loud and proud, eccentric and electric; Saxon, Hansen’s drag personality, is a silly pageant woman who’s oblivious to the world. And once Saxon’s makeup and costumes come on, Hansen no longer exists. We talked to Hansen before he left the state for a study-abroad opportunity about his and Saxon’s new life as Miss City Weekly.
How has your life changed since being crowned Miss City Weekly?
Since winning, so many people have bought me drinks. Thank you, new friends—my liver hates you. But on a more serious note, since receiving my crown, I’ve gotten the chance to meet so many amazing people. There are some extremely passionate performers in Utah, and I’m only beginning to fully recognize what this facet of society has to offer.
I have had a flair for the dramatic and dreams of grandeur ever since I was little. I’ve always loved performing, acting, dancing and especially singing. The Miss City Weekly Pageant has turned out to be an unlikely outlet to pursue my passions. It’s been a real honor to get such a substantial spot in the limelight, even though I’m sharing it with Angela.
Does drag still face controversy in Utah?
I have had a few concerns. Salt Lake City is wonderful, but as a whole, Utah is definitely not the easiest place to be LGBTQ—or different at all, for that matter. It’s been really sad knowing that I can’t share this victory with certain members of my family.
I’ve noticed that there exists a level of discrimination in the gay community as well. Aside from a wide array of casually negative remarks on the subject, I’ve heard plenty of gay men blatantly say that they would never date a drag performer. For a while, I was really nervous to even enter Angela into the competition for fear of what certain people might think. Of course I got over that; I can’t let the disapproval of others get in the way of my fabulousness.
How did you first get into drag?
I think drag is a great way to express every extreme that exists in me. Drag can be unapologetically stupid or happy, angry or insane—anything I want. I first did drag for the annual Silence Is a Drag event at the University of Utah. That was just something fun to raise some money and I didn’t think I would ever do it again. But a few weeks later, I went with one of my very best friends, Rafael, to the Miss City Weekly 2012 pageant. We were watching the contestants perform and spent the night repeating, “Ugh, I could do that! Why aren’t we up there?” By the end of the night, we both agreed to enter the 2013 pageant and bring home the crown. We followed through with our promise and this year, Angela Saxon and Ravenna took first and second place. Ravenna is an insanely fierce queen, and Rafael has been an amazing friend through all of this.
What’s unique about your drag personality?
I’ve gone to so many drag shows where the queens paint themselves up, look pretty (or think they do at least) and then just pace around the stage looking down their noses at everyone. The smug attitude and lack of entertainment factor has always been a huge pet peeve of mine. In my opinion, a drag queen is essentially a sophisticated clown, a man in a dress. It should be fun, entertaining and comical. Angela is a complete caricature and she doesn’t take herself too seriously. She’s a ditzy, sugary-sweet Disney princess (in her mind), a culmination of cartoon characters, ’50s housewives and the occasional horror movie. And then I decided to give her a Minnesotan accent; it was just the icing on top of the cake. I thought, if down the line, Angela ever manages an overly sexy, scary or couture look, she can always immediately tone it down the moment she starts talking.
How did you choose your drag name?
Angela Saxon is actually a pun name that no one seems to get. I grew up as a very privileged, white kid and I wanted to play with that in naming her. It’s supposed to sound like Anglo-Saxon, but I guess it’s too subtle because very few people get the joke.