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Cher and Cher-alike: Impersonator Chad Michaels, Perez Hilton and Thelma Houston in Miami Saturday

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Cher impersonator Chad Michaels, a star of RuPaul's Drag Race, on Saturday night headlines Ultimate Miami Drag Queen, along with blogger Perez Hilton and disco diva Thelma Houston at Magic City Casino.

We caught up with Michaels by email:

Q: Is Chad Michaels your birth name? Where did you grow up?

A: Hey Miami!! Yes, Chad Michaels is a version of my birth name. Michael is actually my middle and I added an S for good measure!!  I actually grew up in San Diego, CA, which feels really similar to Miami without the humidity!! San Diego is a surf town and growing up at the beach was amazing!!

Q: How did you drag career begin?
 
A: I started my drag career in 1992 after meeting my Drag mother Hunter!  He was a major influence and inspiration for me and really helped get my career off the ground. Good mentorship is an important thing to have as a young drag queen and I was lucky.  From there it has been a blur of night clubs, casinos, Cher songs,  and cigarettes!

Q: You are best known for your Cher impersonation. Have you ever performed for Cher?
 

A: I love doing Cher and actually opened for her at an event produced my David Foster in 2003.  She was gracious, gorgeous, and fierce.  Impersonating Cher has been at the heart of my drag career and always will be.  She has done a lot for me and I'm grateful.

Q: Who else do you impersonate?
 
A: I have impersonated other artists like Celine Dion, Marilyn Manson, and Florence Welch to name a few in my repertoire of celebrity look-a-likes.

Q: Do you make any of your own gowns and costumes? 
 
A: Most of my costumes are made by myself or my partner Adam Magee.  Designing is one of our biggest creative outlets and we are often in the studio for hours at a time.

Q: How long does it take to get made up?
 
A: Sometimes it takes hours for me to put on my makeup but usually can do it in 1.5 hours form head to toe.  Faster if I'm in a pinch!!  Model through it!!

Q: How did your life and career change after performing on RuPaul's Drag Race?

A: Since drag race I've been touring, traveling, and really working my butt off!! It has been great and rewarding to meet the fans on the road and just entertain, which is what I love to do!  It has been an honor to win RPDR All Stars and represent the show!  I take it very seriously.  I have a new project in the works that I'm very excited about with details to come soon!!

Q: Is this show a one-time event or have you performed it elsewhere? Have you previously worked with Perez Hilton or Thelma Houston?
 
A: For me this is a one time show, however, Thelma Houston and I are booked together quite often as she and I share the same agent.  Thelma is a legend and I am always so honored to work with her. It should be great to watch Perez Hilton in action at the show as he never ceases to amaze!!

Q: What are the biggest public misconceptions about drag?
 
A: That drag is gag or a joke. Drag is an art form and anyone thinking it is easy or just a gag, the joke is on you Baby!! We are taking over!! and looking fierce doing it!!

Q: Do you prefer performing for gay or straight audiences? Why?
 
A: I love any audience that is hungry to be entertained. I love enthusiasm and an open mind and heart!  If you came to sit with your arms crossed and your brow set at the drag show, you are a bummer and should leave!!!  See you soon MIAMI!!

IF YOU GO

Ultimate Miami Drag Queen starring Chad Michaels, Perez Hilton and Thelma Houston

Event Date: July 13, 2013, 9 p.m.

Event Location: Stage 305 - Magic City Casino

Cost: $40

Click here for tickets.

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