Jonah Villegas takes his first stab at female impersonation for charity
There’s a myth that every gay man should do drag once — at least, that’s what Jonah Villegas was led to believe. And he’s decided to take it to heart.
Villegas hadn’t given it much thought to getting in touch with his outer diva until he met Candi Munchies, who won the Miss DIVA 2011 drag show, a fundraiser for the Dallas Independent Volleyball Association.
“She totally coaxed me into it, “Villegas says. “I wasn’t volunteering myself in an way, but my view on charity work aligned with them needing another candidate. So that’s how I came to this decision.”
Villegas will don the hair and heels as one of three candidates vying for the title Miss DIVA 2012 at the Round-Up Saloon Sunday.
With a dance and theater background, this isn’t all necessarily new to him, but Villegas learned quickly there was more to drag than slathering on lipstick and lip-syncing to disco.
He originally thought to use his real hair with extensions, but sewing them together and finagling clip-ons was unexpectedly complicated. And he’d never had to tuck and pluck this much before.
“I was not prepared for every aspect of this,” he laughs. “I didn’t know how much work went into it. Finding clothes my size and applying makeup is a task! Right now, I’m walking around in heels to get used to them. I have so much respect now for drag queens.”
As Kristi Yummicuchi, Villegas will go head to head to head with fellow DIVA dragsters Kyky LeChic and Sophie Pilla. All are players within the volleyball organization, but Villegas was a little deflated that there weren’t more contestants. Still, he’s banking on his performance to change that for next year’s competition.
“It used to be much bigger and it’s dwindled,” he says. “I want to do something spectacular and generate buzz so other players will join in [next year]. It’s not just giving back to the community” — proceeds and tips from the show benefit Resource Center Dallas — “but it’s also giving back to DIVA. This should be a bigger deal.”
Villegas hasn’t thought too much beyond the idea that he might win. Miss DIVA doesn’t have the heavy schedule of Miss Gay Texas, but it would be more drag than he originally intended.
“When I think about that, it overwhelms me because it’s overwhelming me now,” he says. “You win an obligation. And raising money for good things is what I believe in. Am I prepared to be Miss DIVA? No! Will I be? I sure hope so. Sometimes you just gotta do it.”
Yummicuchi was unavailable for comment, but Villegas described her as a God-fearing Christian with a hint of naiveté — think country girl comes to the big city. He adds that her idols Whitney, Britney, Oprah and Mary Magdalene have all contributed to who she is today.
“She’s a classy lady who doesn’t gossip and is always nice,” he smirks. “Kristi makes no apologies and stays true to herself. She’ll never talk bad about anyone — unless it’s to a newspaper.”
The rest of the conversation was off the record.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 20, 2012.