There's a ring to the name Roxy C. Moorecox. It's witty and gritty, reflective of a dirty-mouthed drag queen with attitude and attention-drawing charisma. But five weeks ago, drag performer Clay Smith traded this longtime stage name for a sweeter, safer form of identification. The new drag alias, Delighted Tobehere, offers a touch of Southern charm along with a PG/family-friendly introduction.
Those fond of Moorecox's blue humor may shiver at the thought, but after 14 years and name censorship on some TV and show appearances, Smith wanted a name with a positive, less offensive demeanor.
Unfortunately, we won't see much more of Delighted Tobehere, who is moving to New York City at the end of the month. On April 9, folks have a chance to say goodbye during Delighted Tobehere's Drag-Tacular Event at the Visulite Theatre.
"Ultimately I have always dreamed of living in N.Y.C.," Smith says. "To quote my dad: 'You gotta do it, while you're young-ish.'"
Smith moved to Charlotte from Greenville, South Carolina, after graduating from Clemson University and being kicked out of his parents' home for being gay. He says the city has given him the chance to hone his skills as a drag performer, which includes plenty of impersonations of Reba McEntire, Adele, Adam Lambert and Dolly Parton, among others.
Over the past nine years, Smith has hosted trivia sets at Petra's Piano Bar & Cabaret and Hartigan's Irish Pub, in addition to performing in drag shows at Cathode Azure, Scorpio and other venues around town. He's also performed with One Voice Chorus of Charlotte, Gay Men's Chorus of Charlotte and Charlotte Pride Band.
So, why leave Charlotte now? Smith wants to experience the Big Apple and all its blossoming opportunities — and, even though we're a little bummed about his leaving, we wish him the best.
We sat down with him to talk about some of the lessons he's learned from nearly a decade in Charlotte.
Try new things. "AAF Charlotte, Carolina Raptor Center, and The Light Factory are obviously not LGBT organizations and they've reached out to me for entertainment. To think that in the South, a non-LGBT-run organization or business, would reach out to a drag queen for their entertainment is really exciting. People are reaching out across the isles and trying different things."
Come together. "LGBT folks don't have to go to gay bars anymore, it's not their last fortress of safety. You can go anywhere. Acceptance has increased in town," says Smith. But with that in mind he also stresses the importance of keeping the LGBT niche of venues alive by avoiding bar wars. "We're a minority that needs to be united and not divided."
Stay positive. "There needs to be more positivity and good energy in the world. Even during hard times, you need to recognize that if you look at it with the right perspective, you can get through the time better and come out farther ahead. You go through things, good and bad, for a reason."
Thinking outside the box. "Charlotte allows you to do whatever you want, but it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be received well. Lord knows, I've done numbers dressed as the Virgin Mary and some people look at you like you're crazy and other people are screaming and throwing money. We have a great and diverse city, so you can try anything. But we need more folks thinking outside of the box and looking at entertainment outside of this town to see what is considered popular or whatever because it does sometimes feel like there is a glass ceiling."
Take chances. "I believe that anything is possible and that we shouldn't limit the path that we're on. If you're going to bowl, don't put the bumpers in the gutter and don't be afraid to play. Even if I go to N.Y.C. and I fall on my face, I can at least say that I did it. I don't want to live my life saying that 'I wish I could've' or 'I should've'. I don't want to just be comfortable. You don't learn and grow like that. I love the [drag] queens in some of the other cities and how they springboard off of each other. It's a positive direction because they are challenging each other. In some cities, especially in the south, they push people down so that they can stay mediocre instead of accepting the new energy as a challenge and trying to push to be a better performer (s). Complacency won't improve your craft. Take the challenge."