‘My style is couture, high fashion and tongue-in-cheek chic.’
Juanita More is a legendary San Francisco drag queen, activist and philanthropist. She’s been performing for 20 years and is a pillar in the queer community. Wigs, makeup, jewelry, padding: in her book, it’s the more, the better.
I’m curious: what’s San Francisco’s drag scene like?
‘It’s very diverse, primarily because of its unique history. San Francisco is where trailblazing community organizer Jose Sarria created the Imperial Court System, the longest-running LGBT non-profit globally. The Court System has been crowning Empresses and Emperors for over fifty years and has raised millions of dollars throughout the Americas. The City also gave birth to many drag bars; the oldest one opened in the late 30s. All of this helped shape what San Francisco drag looks like today: an eclectic bunch of freaks.’
Let’s talk style. I heard it takes you 3 hours to get ready?
‘Yes, I usually need that long to get in drag for each event. That includes styling wigs, putting on makeup and using special paddings to accentuate my curves. Over the past thirty years, I have worked with only one designer, Mr. David, who has been influential in creating Juanita’s style from her inception. It is couture, high-fashion, and tongue-in-cheek chic.’
I can totally see how Uli’s designs are a great match with your avant-garde costumes.
‘I first found Uli’s jewelry on display at Velvet da Vinci, a local San Francisco shop and gallery of contemporary craft specializing in art jewelry and metalwork. I’ve always been an art jewelry enthusiast and now store my jewelry pieces in vintage movie reel shipping boxes.’
I love the ease of Uli’s pieces. They are super stylish and yet easy to wear. I’ve worn one particular necklace over a t-shirt dress for a day event and on top of an evening gown for something more formal.’
Do you have a favorite Uli design?
‘The first piece of Uli jewelry I purchased was the Pearls & Chains necklace. It was a conversation starter from the first time I wore it out. It’s a deceiving three-dimensional illusion of brings joy to everyone’s who lays eyes on it –– causing many to take a step closer and take a second look. I love the ease of Uli’s pieces. They are super stylish and yet easy to wear. I’ve worn one particular necklace over a t-shirt dress for a day event and on top of an evening gown for something more formal.’
That’s great! Do you layer the necklaces or wear just one at a time?
‘It depends on my mood! I mainly find myself wearing them just one at a time –– showcasing the simplicity of the design and the jewelry’s powerful creativity.’
You’re currently running to become Empress of the Imperial Council of San Francisco – a non-profit LGBT charity organization. What’s that been like so far?
‘The process to become Empress has been both exciting and exhausting! Win or lose; I have already accomplished one of the main goals since I decided to run: shining a brighter light on an organization that has been critical to the fight for LGBTQ+ equality here in San Francisco and abroad. I came out in this city as a teen and have actively been a part of it all my adult life. I wish the best for all candidates, and regardless of what happens, I will continue to support the Court and encourage you to do so as well.’