Dallas Black Pride’s Miss Sophia McIntosh emphasizes comedy over glam
We’ve come to expect our drag queens to work in glitzy gowns, high-to-heaven hair and that serious eye makeup that evokes ferocity (or anger — so hard to tell these days). But none of that is necessary for Miss Sophia McIntosh, a Texas-born drag queen who (gasp!) forgoes the glam.
Serving up laughs over sass for almost three decades, McIntosh has etched her place into drag history with comedy more than couture.
Now based in Atlanta, McIntosh will kick off Dallas Black Pride Oct. 4 as part of DFW Pride Movement’s fifth anniversary. But she’s no stranger to Dallas: Miss Sophia is a hosting fixture for the locally-based Miss Gay USofA pageant, but since she has more than just a day back in town, she’s looking forward to getting back in touch with some of her friends, fans and fast food.
— Rich Lopez
Dallas Voice: Welcome back! Are you looking forward to being back in Dallas? Sophia McIntosh: Oh, yes! This is my first Pride in 12 years, and spending a whole weekend in Dallas for me these days is unheard of.
Will you be hitting all the snazzy stops in town? Honestly, I’ll be at the host hotel and I just want to hang out with everyone in for the festivities. I like being around the people and being available. I always try to be accessible. I may be a performer, but I’m still human.
Can that be tough? The gays revere our drag queens. Well, even though they might put me on a pedestal, I want people to know I’m right down in the trenches with them.
When Beyonce tries to be one with the people, it seems to backfire. I totally understand that. When audiences are grabbing her and pulling the buttons of her outfits or touching her behind … that can be scary. And I think people are sometimes scared to touch a drag queen, but I’m not like that room in the house where everything is white and clean and roped off. It’s all right — you can touch!
Why have you emphasized comedy over glam? My gift is to make people laugh. My first experience at a gay club, I was more captivated by the M.C. Plus, I was going to school for theater studies and always loved the comedy side. To know that I am bringing laughter to people’s lives is amazing, and that’s whether there’s one [person] in the audience or 1,000. I get to lift spirits. I’m always gonna perform as if there is a huge audience. Zero percent of my show is worrying about people who are not there.
That’s a very enlightened perspective. Look: Once I go to work, I work. They want to take time and pay their money to see me, but not to complain. So I tell myself to give that extra for all my shows.
You’ve been on stage for almost 30 years and been successful at what you do. Would you say life has worked out like you’d hoped? Oprah once said “Enjoy the journey,” and until I heard her say that, I focused on what I wanted to accomplish [but] when I accomplished small things, I didn’t pay that much attention to it. We all take [things] for granted. Born in the country, grew up in a rough area of Houston and then I end up in a Tyler Perry movie [I Can Do Bad All By Myself], I’ve been to China and Paris and now I’m on the radio in Atlanta. But my dream job growing up was to be a city bus driver!
You did say city bus driver? Yes! When I rode the bus, I loved seeing the relationships they had with their regular [riders]. I wanted that. I wanted people to know who I am.
Girl, I think you’ve accomplished that and more. So no Dallas-specific plans when you get here? No shopping or restaurants? Well, I am definitely going to Jack in the Box and Whataburger. They don’t have those in Atlanta!
An unexpected answer, but, well, a valid one.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 27, 2013.