Behind The Curtain: The Life Of A Drag Queen

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Antonio Forte, 32, a drag queen at Jacksonville’s The Metro, takes a cigarette break before applying the rest of his makeup before Thursday night’s show, Dragopolis. “I’ve worked at the Metro on and off for about 10 years.”

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Forte always knew he was homosexual. “Oh gosh, I knew when I was a kid I didn’t like girls because I always looked at boys the way you were supposed to look at girls.”

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Forte and his high school best friend, Eden Roxx, started experimenting with drag in 2000. They used to sit in Forte’s room for hours and do each other’s makeup.

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Forte attended Riverside Academy in Jacksonville after high school to become a hair stylist. “I started experimenting with makeup when I was 19.

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“Without drag my life would be boring. I love the art of it all. I get to embrace my skills as a make up artist and hairstlyist and mold it into one. It’s like me trying new techniques out on myself but switching the notch up though.”

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Forte recently found out he is HIV positive. “I found out about three months ago because I was really sick and I started throwing up blood so I went to the ER. From then, they said I would need to stay a couple days for more testing. I knew something was up, so I asked the doctor why and to please be honest. She said one test came back positive but the other was inconclusive. Meaning it was new and at the time hasn’t fully attacked my immune system all the way. So a month later, I went back and got tested at a local clinic and I’m now being treated. I’m currently taking Truvada and Isentress. Truvada gives me really trippy and vivid dreams.”

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His mother and father were completely supportive of his decision to do drag. “My parents were very acccepting and my father actually came to my first drag queen show years ago.”

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“I perform because I did attend a year of college and studied theatre and I feel it’s another outlet for me to perform and let loose.”

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“I get a lot of comments and positive feed back from friends, fans, and patrons. I’m a very diverse queen. I don’t fit into one type or mold. I keep it different by changing looks. I look at what goes on in the West Coast and bring some of that flair over here.”

Ashley Goodman
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Ashley Goodman

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