2018 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Alexis De La Mer

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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“Coming from New York, my drag is a little outrageous and a little more colorful than most of the drag queens in the Tampa Bay area,” Alexis De La Mer says. “Drag is an art form to me.”

The queen’s name stems from her favorite soap opera Dynasty, and in particular its character Alexis Carrington. “She was always dressed up in beautiful evening gowns and business suits with furs,” De La Mer says, “and dripping in jewelry. She always had a beautiful, hot young man by her side… I said, ‘I want to be just like her.’”

The performer chose “De La Mer,” which she says in French means “by the sea,” because of her love for the ocean, “mystical mermaids and the mysterious sea.” But as she recalls, her brand of drag—which she’s been devoted to for “oh god, about 20 years,” wasn’t always welcome in Tampa Bay.

“When I first moved down here and started going out, a lot of people said that I would never make it performing here,” she says. “That my hair was too big, my makeup was too colorful and that my costumes were just too outlandish.”

But the entertainer asserts that she was undeterred. “I worked really hard in promoting myself and being at benefits for queens and being the nice queen,” she recalls. “And that kind of morphed others into saying, ‘maybe we’ll overlook the big hair and crazy makeup.’”

Things are very different for the entertainer now. “The people really appreciate the shows in St. Pete,” she says of the local LGBTQ community. “When they’re excited to see them, it really makes you give it your all. It’s really fun.”

Where there’s fun, there are also games. For the last three years, De La Mer’s hosted bingo at the Flamingo Resort, something she also does at Hamburger Mary’s in St. Petersburg. But “it isn’t just about calling numbers on balls,” she says. “I have made it a platform.”

“Every six weeks or so I’m planning benefits for entertainers that are moving onto pageants to follow their dreams,” she says. It’s also allowed her to call upon the community to assist area entertainers who are dealing with personal tragedies and to raise funds for nonprofits.

“I’m really into giving back to the community that has been there for me and given so much to me,” she says. “I’m totally blessed.”

It’s a community that De La Mer has cemented herself in. This year, she will celebrate four years at Hamburger Mary’s, where she’s worked as a server, queen and hostess. Even more impressive, this year also marks the entertainer’s ninth year on the cast of the Flamingo. “I’ve been there since day one,” she notes. “Nine. Years. It doesn’t seem that long ago. That’s a lot alcohol that I’ve drank.”

“I’m for the long run,” De La Mer says. “When I find a passion, I stick with it and give it my all.”

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