Everybody say “oooo!” Everybody say “ahhh!”

In the very first article of our Local Entertainer Spotlight series, we’re featuring an entertainer whose name is synonymous with Central Florida drag. None other than the renowned Kathryn Nevets. 

Throughout this series, we’ll get to know the local entertainers we love and adore. Here’s what Kathryn had to say about her experience as an entertainer and drag queen.

Where are you from?

I grew up all over Polk County, but Winter Haven is where I’ve lived the longest.

How long have you been doing drag?

It will be 29 years on October 13, 2021.

How did you first get involved in the art of drag?

I was doing a show for Theatre Winter Haven’s Children’s Play Fest called, “The Trial of the Big Bad Wolf.” I played one of the three little pigs, The Hamm Sisters! My friend, and soon to become first drag mother, Joe Jackson (Mercedes Benze, Rest In Peace) saw the show and talked me into performing for an AIDS Charity event at the Dockside. She, along with Stephanie Stuart, taught me that our job as drag queens was to be a service to the community. It’s our job to be the voice others don’t have. It’s our job to lift up our community when they are sad or in need. That is how Kathryn Nevets was born.

What is one of your favorite drag memories?

Honestly, there are so many it’s hard to pinpoint my favorite. A few would be: 

Being the first female impersonator to work as a character for Universal Studios, Orlando as Bette Midler. All the traveling I’ve done. Winning National Miss Comedy Queen. Meeting all the amazing people I’ve met and the long-time friendships that have been forged. The entire run has been a blessing.  

What does drag mean to you?

Drag is art. Drag is political. Drag is telling the world that we will not conform to your idea of what one should do or be. Kathryn, for me, allows me to be someone that I am not in everyday life. She’s wild. She’s crazy. She says stuff that I would never say normally. She allows me to stand up for those who don’t have a voice, but mostly, it’s about letting go and being free.   

Can you tell us the story behind your drag name?

Catherine (Cat is what we call her) is the name of a longtime friend. I just like the Irish spelling: Kathryn. We’ve been friends for over 30 years. She was the one that shaved my back before my very first show. Nevets is my first name (Steven) spelled backwards.  

What is your all-time favorite song to lip-sync?

“Otto Titsling” by Bette Midler. 

How long does it take you to get into drag?

Well, that all depends on how much time I have. I can get completely ready (If already shaved) in less than an hour, but that’s not any fun. I prefer to take my time, laugh, and carry on in the dressing room with the other entertainers. We have such a great time there. That is where our sisterhood starts. During the pandemic, I found that was what I missed the most.   

How many drag daughters have you had over the years?

4-5, I lost count. LOL

What is your favorite Polk Pride memory?

Performing “This Is Me” in Munn Park. I remember when I first was coming out, that park was no place for LGBTQ+ members after dark. It was known to be very dangerous for us. 

What does the future have in store for Polk drag?

I think our young entertainers are going to show everyone that Polk County isn’t a place to be ignored. Our younger entertainers are amazing, and I can’t wait to watch them flourish. It’s truly exciting to see.  

How has your drag experience changed over the years?

When I started Drag, it was “taboo” in most of society’s eyes.  It wasn’t something I could share with people in other facets of my life.  Through the years, because of things like Pride, protests, marriage equality, and then RuPaul’s Drag Race, I’ve seen the profession go mainstream.  Now it’s celebrated.  I honestly never thought this day would come, in my lifetime.    

Do you have any pre-show rituals/traditions?

Before I do anything, I organize my station. I lay out my makeup in a particular order, lay out my tights in the order I will be putting them on, hang my costumes in the order they will be worn, lay out my pumps, and make sure my jewelry is cleaned and ready to go. Everything has to be in order before I start.

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To see Kathryn in her element, follow her on social media @KathrynNevets to find out when and where she’s performing!

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