Olga Dantelly has been a part of the drag community here is South Florida for almost 20 years. Whether she’s performing, competing in pageants, or working behind the scenes, Olga’s been a motivating force and lets you know that big girls have more fun! It was a pleasure to sit down with my friend for this exclusive Hotspots interview.
What was the first drag show you saw? Tell me about the experience.
In 1991 I was in the Brazilian military. It was a very scary time to go to gay places, but my friends and I went to this [club in Rio de Janeiro] called 1140. I saw a trio of drag queens opening a show with the song “Dreamgirls,” and I fell in love. The girls were Lorna Washington, Marilu Lambreta, and Diana Prince. Watching all the shows that day, I was emotional. I got goosebumps! I knew that one day I would love to be in the same position.
When did you decide you wanted to do drag?
After I saw that first performance and the other queens performing that day, I realized the military was not my thing.
When did you know it would be a profession?
I started to follow Lorna everywhere. I became her drag helper and carried all her stuff. I started as a go-go boy, and later on I did, like, androgynous drag. One day someone put makeup on me, and I won a lip-sync contest with Lena Horne’s “I Got a Name.” Then Olga Dantelly was born! I didn’t do drag professionally until I came to the U.S.A. in 1999.
Who is your drag mother?
Lorna Washington is my drag mother in Brazil. But I would rather call her my godmother. When I came to the U.S., Johanna Douglas and Sacha Legrand helped me a lot to standout, so I guess they are my drag mothers.
What’s your favorite number to perform and why?
“Proud Mary Live” by Tina Turner and Cher. I don’t look [like them] or do a character, but I love to have fun with the audience. Nowadays, in the middle of the number, I take two people and dress them like my dancers, and we have so much fun. The audience goes nuts!
What’s the best thing that’s happened to you in drag?
In 2016, I went to Brazil for the inaugural International Drag Festival in Rio de Janeiro. That was the first time my Dad and all of my family saw me in drag.
What differentiates you from other queens?
Like Latrice [Royale] says: I’m big and beautiful. And I don’t have nothing to lose when I’m performing — I give my all. I make people laugh and get emotional.
After one of my shows, a customer came over to me and said, “Thanks for changing my day.” This made me feel alive. It’s not all about the money; it’s about affecting the audience.
What does the future hold?
I am very blessed to be a part of the cast of the new Palace on Ocean Drive [in Miami Beach]. I’ve waited for so long to be part of this experience, and I’m loving it with all my heart.
Performing almost every day of the week is incredible. The energy is amazing! I’m reinventing myself: getting new outfits and songs, being more of a comedian, and enjoying my body. I guess they were needing a big girl to represent, and I was ready.
I also do some productions for Azucar [Nightclub in Miami]. I love to be behind the scenes as well. I’m 46 and still standing. I am happy for new experiences, and it feels good to be alive!
Why We Love Her
She’s big, she’s beautiful, and she is proud!
She is so much fun to watch perform.
She always gives back to the community.
She never forgets her Brazilian roots.
Follow Olga at Instagram.com/olgadantelly.