In Issue 37
If you like Latin clubs like I do then there is no doubt you have been to a club where the cute Latin boys are shouting, “Vega, Vega, Vega,” which is how they express that they want one of their favorite entertainer, Vegas Dion, to come to the stage and perform. Vegas started out in the Latin clubs but has grown and has worked in almost every major club in the state of Florida and has started to travel beyond. As Vegas, one of my closest friends, is celebrating a birthday this week, I thought it appropriate to sit down and have a chat with her.
When was the first time you thought about female impersonation?
I first began admiring female impersonation shows at the legendary Waterfront. Legends like Bianca Brinsky, Paloma DiLaurenti, Stephanie Bofil, and Gloria Klein amazed me, but didn’t really think about starting in the business until I saw TP Lords perform on a stage many, many moons ago.
Where and when was the first time you dressed up?
First time was at a ball function (from the ballroom scene) held at The Saint , in
How did you pick your name?
For one of these functions I walked a category called ‘Hats and Pumps Ahoy’ that called for the biggest hat and the highest pumps in a playful, yet Glamorous style. I told my mother to help me for a ‘school project’ and I asked her what was playful, yet glamorous and she suggested Las Vegas. We made a 3ft. high and 5 ft. wide top hat out of cardboard and plastic with elements of the city of Las Vegas built on top (giant dice, a casino entrance, cars, playing cards, etc). The pumps were lent to me by TP Lords, they were 8 inch black patent leather platforms. The look caused so much attention, that I not only got a standing ovation, but won the trophy and had the name Vegas stuck to me everywhere I went. That’s why I decided to keep the name Vegas when I started doing my shows.
What and where was the first time you were on stage?
I had performed at FIU for gay pride week and different little performances here and there, but my big debut at a nightclub came at Club Ozone on a Thursday night, hosted back then by Adora and Daisy D.
What and where was the first time you got paid to perform?
The first time I got paid $25, which was a decent amount for someone that had no history or experience, but I was innovative with my style at the time and caused an interest within club managers.
What was your first steady gig as a house queen and how did you go about obtaining that gig?
My first steady gig came in 2001 at Club Concorde on Thursday nights, which is now Azucar. The people that followed me were very young, like myself at the time, and Thursdays were getting popular among that young crowd. With the remodeling of Concorde and the change of identity to Azucar, management was looking for a different appeal for Saturday nights, their most popular night. I expressed to the owners my interest of being the Saturday night hostess, and offered them a more casual, young, interactive and modern twist to the night, and it worked! and I thank them for that opportunity because it opened a huge door for me in this career.
How does your family react to you performing as a female impersonator?
At the beginning it was frowned upon. But, as time went by, they saw the professionalism of this art and the way I carried myself in the business. It was pure entertainment. Now, my brother is one of my most adored fans!
Name some of the clubs/events you have worked.
Wow. There is a big list and some of them do not exist anymore. The Saint, The Copa, Cactus, Pure, Oxygen, Azucar, Voodoo Lounge, Boom, Alibi, Twist, Score, Mansion, Coliseum and now Discotekka to name a few here in Miami. In Orlando, Revolution and Parliament House in Naples, The Galley in Key West, Bourbon and Aqua in Gainesville, University Club and in Jacksonville, The Metro…..Also, Energy Club in Houston TX and La Escuelita in NYC. Events: there is really a lot to name Pow Wow Festival in Miami Beach, The Annual Gay Pride in San Francisco and South Beach. etc.
When did you start getting into participating in pageants?
Back in 2003 I got stung by the pageant bug with my victory as the first Miss Azucar.
What was the first pageant you won?
Miss Azucar 2003
What are some of the titles you have and what was your favorite to win?
Too many to mention…Thanks! To name just a few…Miss Illusions, Miss Noche Latina, Miss New York Continental, Miss Pridefest South Florida, Miss Orlando Latina, Miss Fort Lauderdale Icon, Miss Fort Lauderdale, Miss Boardwalk, Miss Revolution and my favorite was Miss Florida Continental,
What is the ultimate title you want to win?
I have always wanted to be a Miss Florida…. but in my heart with all my work and all the years of dedication to my community in South Florida I feel I am already one!
Tell me about the man behind Vegas Dion?
I am so complicated. You cannot assume anything with me because I am usually the total opposite of what you really think I am. I would’ve loved to live in the 40s or 50s. I like the outdoors and watching sports, but I’m not too good at them. One of my favorite hobbies is dining out…I truly enjoy good FOOD with good company! I don’t like chocolate and I die for good cheesecake. There is nothing more meaningful than music…I am crazy about old boleros, musicals and theater. I’m a hopeless romantic and a believer of God, whom I thank everyday for all my blessings. I am a very driven and detailed individual, I am a major in marketing and advertising and have traveled to many countries of the world.
How has Discotekka changed your life?
Tremendously! It opened up a new spectrum of the entertainment and music industry that I never knew was so extensive! Plus, I have had the chance to work with so many people that create what Miami’s night life really is! It has been a great journey!
Some people don’t know that you are also the manager of Discotekka. How do you balance managing with hostessing?
It is a lot of hard work and believe me sometimes a very compromising position. Not only am I responsible for rules and staff and general functioning of the nightclub, but also carrying out the entertainment value and appeal of the club. As any job it takes a lot of hours and effort, and it could be frustrating at times, but ultimately I love what I do!
Describe Vegas in 5 words?
Unique, extravagant, classy, timeless and determined.
What does the future hold for Vegas Dion?
This is uncertain, as is everything! I shall keep performing to the best of my ability on this great stage called LIFE, but one thing is sure I must enjoy it, while it lasts… Always remember, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!”
Vegas will be celebrating her birthday, as only she can, this Saturday, September 12th at Discotekka nightclub from 10:30 to the wee hours of the morning. The party, entitled Rock Your Fashion (Vegas is known for her fashion) will feature a fashion show by UnderwearStation.com, and a CD release event for Nelly Furtado’s “Mi Plan.”I invite you all to come out and celebrate with one of South Florida’s finest entertainers!