The following interview was conducted by pop-culture poster boy, freelance blogger, and executive editor of Gunpowder & Gold Alexander Mayfair. It originally appeared on Washington, D.C.-based online magazine Brightest Young Gays.
I shift awkwardly on my bar stool.
“What do you call a bear that does drag? A brag?” Migs looks me straight in the eyes and erupts into a hearty roar of laughter. At this point, I decide I probably shouldn’t tell him that I googled “female bear” in an attempt to answer my own question on the way over here. It’s seven in the evening, and I am sipping on a Jack and Ginger at The Eagle — perhaps the last place on earth I’d ever imagine myself on a Monday. I’ve only been here 15 minutes, but if it weren’t for Migs, I don’t know if I would have lasted this long.
In fact, walking up to the bar, it wasn’t apparent that it was even open until I pulled the handle. As I entered, it was like walking onto a movie set. Every single guy at the bar slowly turned around and gave me the once-over. Between my gray skinny jeans and my cute vintage messenger bag, it was, and still is, painfully clear that I am not a regular at this bear den. I tried to walk in as nonchalantly as possible but felt an incredible sense of relief the second I spotted Migs at the other end of the bar.
After a couple minutes of small talk, I buy us a round and head over to the only table in sight. I drag over a bar stool and set up shop. My computer turns on and I immediately dim the screen. Damn, in this somber setting, it seems move like a spotlight than a computer!
Alexander: So let’s start! If you were on a desert island and you could only have one cocktail for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Migs: Omigawd … [thinks about it] I think for me, it would be a Bloody Mary. There’s something about having a Bloody Mary on a drunken morning … well, after a drunken night, which ends up becoming a drunken morning because you’re having so many. They’re filling, so you don’t need to eat as much, but I do love the olives and the celery the most! The alcohol content is usually pretty high, and I have to say, they’re very relaxing. I like mine with a lot of hot sauce in them. I’m always asking for more hot sauce.
Alexander: Same goes for a Margarita, actually; a shot of Tabasco does wonders. Now what would you say your ideal Saturday night looks like?
Migs: Lately, my ideal Saturday night involves the gym. Usually I’m getting off work around 6 or 7, and then I’ll run to the gym and do some cardio or something. While I’m on the elliptical, I’m texting everyone trying to figure out what’s going on for the rest of the night. After that, I run home and freshen up. Then I usually start off with drinks somewhere with friends, probably Nellie’s or JR’s, and take it from there. Sometimes it’s somebody’s house, and we’re just talking, drinking, and watching YouTube clips.
Alexander: Sounds like you know how to make a night count! What if you were on “RuPaul’s Drag Race”? What would your drag name be?
Migs: This is great … this is just great! My drag name already exists actually because I’ve dabbled in the make-up here and there, but it’s “Moka Loka Latte.” It’s spelled with K’s.
Alexander: So you’re a Kardashian?
Migs: Right! I just look a lot better in drag than Khloe. The reason I spell it with a K is because one time I did this contest at a Latino club and the hostess only spoke Spanish. I wrote down my name, and then she asked me my name, and I even said “Moka Loka Latte.” She then reads off the list, and introduces me as “Mow-char Loka Latte.” Mochar, in Spanish, means “severed” or “chopped off,” so that doesn’t have a good connotation. From that point on, I’ve always spelled “mocha” with a K.
Alexander: Well, OK, Ms. Severed Mocha, tell me, what’s your song du jour? What song can you just not get enough of at the moment?
Migs: Ever since Whitney Houston died …
Alexander: Bless her soul.
Migs: Amen! She has this song called “Oh Yes,” and anybody who can appreciate a really sexy kind of song should listen to that song. I didn’t even realize I had it on my iPod before, but it was on my playlist of “Every Single Whitney Houston Song Ever,” and it’s just an amazing song. I just love it — I could listen to it over and over again. That said, I love so many songs that sometimes they just get stuck on repeat over and over.
Alexander: Staying on the post-mortem path, what’s your obituary say?
Migs: “He is survived by his many ex-husbands, and all the kids they adopted. He served the public good for most of his career and in the end died doing what he loved doing best.” We’ll just leave it at that. [erupts into laughter]
Alexander: Many ex-husbands, huh? What is it that first attracts you to the future ex-Mr. Migs?
Migs: This is going to sound very generic, but masculinity. I definitely look for masculinity in other men. That being said, however, masculinity can mean a lot of different things. It can mean a certain attitude, or a certain way a guy carries himself. It doesn’t just mean a deep voice and a hairy chest — although those are great things to have! It can come out in the career they have or the way they dress. I mean, there are so many ways that translate that.
Alexander: What about role models? Who’s been your biggest inspiration?
Migs: I was lucky because when I came out at a young age, I immediately found several mentors, several adults who put me on a really good path. I would say one of my biggest mentors was my English teacher from high school because she helped me learn about process — there’s a process to everything. That was sort of my first foray into politics. I wanted to do something at my high school, and she showed me how to get it done. She really helped me figure out a lot of things back then, things that still benefit me to this day.
Alexander: Finish this sentence for me: “My sanctuary in DC is …”
Migs: The gym. I just go there and I’m in my own world. I never understand people who are looking for gym partners because I can’t go with somebody else, even a trainer. I’m not that interested because I want to do what I want to do and not what you’re going to tell me to do. I just want to be in my own little world. I’m not responsible to anybody; I’m not holding anyone back; I can turn my phone off and just listen to music and do my thing. So yeah, the gym is a sanctuary for me.
Alexander: Can you teach me your ways? I still dread it. Now onto food. The question is: to brunch or not to brunch? And where?
Migs: I’m all about brunch, and I’m a Nellie’s drag brunch fanatic! I love, love, love to take anyone who visits D.C. to drag brunch. First of all, the food is great. I love the food in general at Nellie’s, but the buffet is amazing. People don’t realize that Nellie’s is half-owned by a Cuban couple. They also own a Cuban restaurant in Silver Spring (Md.), so the menu is delicious! Secondly, the servers are the drag show. So your servers will inevitably disappear and you’ll be left pining for a water or a mimosa until some other waitress brings it to you. Your waitress will be in the back, changing, getting ready to do her number. It’s brunch, it’s food, it’s music, peppered with a great little drag show with queens running in between the tables. I think it’s a wonderful production.
Alexander: You know, I still haven’t tried it. Sounds like something I definitely need check out, though. What about vacation? What’s your ideal vacation destination?
Migs: Puerto Rico! Puerto Rico! Puerto Rico! I’m not from there, but I love that you can just go and get a decent-priced hotel on the beach … I mean, every hotel is on the beach there. There’s a little bit of a gay scene there — there’s gay bars, gay hotels, gay beaches. There’s so many things you can do. I like to go there and just chill. When I go on vacation, I’m not one of those people who has a huge itinerary. Maybe there are two or three bars I want to go to, and maybe there’s this event I want to check out, but otherwise I’m on vacation, I don’t want to be on a schedule. So I want to go somewhere where I can lay on the beach, work on my tan, and drink pina coladas — and that’s Puerto Rico!
I lollygag on the way home, enjoying one of the first spring nights. I turn on some Whitney and start thinking about the highlights from tonight’s interview. Like with most of the guys I interview, I leave feeling like we have more in common than meets the eye. I mean, I’ll be 27 soon enough … maybe I’ll become a bear? I look down at my iPhone to switch songs and immediately start laughing. My bare forearm is staring straight back at me — I guess there’s no such thing as a hairless bear, huh?
Check out the latest installment of Grindrphiles over at Brightest Young Gays.