PHOTOS: Get to know these five Charleston drag queens 

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Keely Laughlin
"When Sam Lawrence (Venus Alexander) came out to his parents at 14, he sought out other young LGBTQ locals to help him navigate his newly-acknowledged identity." Read more here »
Keely Laughlin
"Lawrence, better known on the circuit as Venus Alexander, now keeps himself focused with a steady stream of gigs, some of which require a pair of really plump hips." Read more here »
Keely Laughlin
"Along with keeping him out of trouble, drag is also his therapy. .. the Charleston native says nothing takes the edge off like a good dance number, even if drag just adds more work hours to his weekly schedule." Read more here »
Keely Laughlin
Julien Nicolas (Julianna Jade) "has been around long enough to see drag inch out of the shadows." Read more here »
Keely Laughlin
Julianna Jade: "Being an 18-year-old kid in a city in Virginia, I was definitely a little more shy," says Juliana Jade. "I wasn't super outspoken. [Drag] certainly builds confidence, and it's kind of a nice escape, but it's certainly creative expression as well." Read more here »
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Keely Laughlin
"[Tradd Pstrack's] grandma actually thinks he's somebody else when he's dressed up [as Kylee Lovelee]" Read more here »
Keely Laughlin
"Drag kind of allowed me to re-awaken my creative side and utilize everything," [Tradd Pstrack] says. "It's got the art, the theatrics." Read more here »
Keely Laughlin
"They really have these empowering songs that I feel like a lot of gay culture relates to compared to male pop artists," says Pstrak on performing to female pop artists. Read more here »
Keely Laughlin
Michael Peaks (Kymmya) works at Harris Teeter, helping collect groceries for online shoppers. His day normally starts at 7 a.m., and he gets home somewhere around 3 p.m. Read more here »
Keely Laughlin
"Getting into drag takes anywhere from an hour to an hour-and-a-half," says Peaks, but it wasn't always so: "I'd go out in any old thing," he says. "Some cut up jeans, a bikini top, some Shake-N-Go wig, as opposed to now where I take a little more care in my drag." Read more here »
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Keely Laughlin
"You can't be a drag queen and be ashamed, Peaks says. "I feel that drag queens show that I may be a woman exaggerator character, but I'm living my life unapologetically, unashamed, and proud of who I am." Read more here »
Keely Laughlin
The hype surrounding Carmella Monet Monroe is enough to make you stare from afar, gripping your $5 plastic cup margarita as you wait to introduce yourself to this year's Empress of Charleston. Read more here »
Keely Laughlin
"I already knew who I was out of drag, and I had to find myself in drag and who I could be," says Carmella Monet Monroe Read more here »
Keely Laughlin
"I always make sure I move enough gigs and I can have enough to continue making my costumes, and buying my fabric, and buying the stones and the hair," Carmella Monet Monroe says. Read more here »
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Jonathan Boncek, Michael Campina, Ruta Elvikyte, Keely Laughlin17 images
Amy Sullivan8 images
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Keely Laughlin
"When Sam Lawrence (Venus Alexander) came out to his parents at 14, he sought out other young LGBTQ locals to help him navigate his newly-acknowledged identity." Read more here »

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