MX Berry Pageant Winner: George Not-Strait

I first saw George Not-Strait at the pageant they recently won, the MX Berry Competition. There I was introduced to a world where art, charisma, and self-expression are as fluid as a stunning evening gown – the electrifying universe of George Not-Strait. This captivating, Denver-based drag artist has a unique perspective, delivering powerful performances packed with glitter, drama, and irresistible personality. An embodiment of creativity, George Not-Strait has never been one to follow the crowd; instead, they have taken the conventional and given it a truly unique twist. So, buckle up and prepare to dive headfirst into the technicolor world of Denver’s most fabulous drag phenomenon. Trust us, it’s about to get interesting!

An Interview With Non-Binary Drag Artist: George Not-Strait

George Not-Strait was the winner of the MX Berry Pageant, the first-ever non-binary drag pageant held in Colorado. Their act involved two other drag artists and utilized a detailed background. The theme was a moving piece about nature’s sexual ambiguity and had George feeding folks grapes!

GayDenver: Where ya from?

George Not-Strait: I’m from a tiny town called Paonia on the western slope of Colorado. I grew up on a ranch there.

GayDenver: What brought you out to Denver?

George Not-Strait: Grad school, honestly! I left Colorado for my undergraduate and went right into my graduate degree directly. I got my MBA from CU Denver in an accelerated one-year program; then, I just stayed here because I started to do drag during school. My undergraduate degree is in creative writing, and ultimately, I still want to be an author, but my master’s is in business. I got a job working in marketing here in Denver and have stayed for community and career purposes; plus, I met my partner, Prince Zaddy, here!

GayDenver: How would you describe your Drag persona?

George Not-Strait: George is kind of a fruity he/they. He does everything from my original concept of country (music) to alternative (music) to pretty much anything. I’m mostly known for taking my clothes off and showing off my butt, but I love to play with my art and George’s versatility. The biggest thing for me is that I started drag to push and challenge myself – I don’t have a performer background. Performing drag has helped me with my gender journey and become a better, more confident me. 

GayDenver: Where did the name come from?

George Not-Strait: There’s a country music artist named George Strait. During my undergraduate, I posted a picture of my freshly shaved head, wearing a cowboy hat, and looking more masculine on Instagram. The caption was ‘What would my drag name be?’ Someone suggested George Not-Strait, and it was hilarious. It stuck with me until I started my drag journey.

GayDenver: How long have you been doing drag?

George Not-Strait: Over three years. I started at the king nights at Pride and Swagger with Manifest Drag Troupe and grew from there!

GayDenver: How does it feel to be the winner of the Mx Berry competition?

George Not-Strait: Mx Berry was my first pageant and competition in general. Honestly, it feels surreal/not real. After they announced me as the winner, I couldn’t stop smiling. Overall it feels awesome. I worked hard for it and had so many people supporting me, particularly my drag family: Prince Zaddy and Mary Cone. I’m proud of what I did. It was a great competition, and everyone brought their best. I feel honored to have come out on top and am proud of everyone else.

GayDenver: Can you talk about your Mx Berry act and the inspiration behind it?

George Not-Strait: I wanted to do a kind of androgynous nature look. The theme was super open, so I wanted to incorporate my love of nature. In a lot of ways, nature is a gender goal. It doesn’t have a gender, and it has so much beauty. And, of course, I had to sexy it up! I usually take off my clothes and have a more sexual spin on many of my performances. I wanted the audience to look at everything going on from top to bottom and wonder what they were looking at. Are they a man or a woman? I delivered a mash-up of pretty, sexual, and ethereal. 

I made raspberry titties out of balloons that we used velcro to attach to my green body harness. My drag mom, Mary Cone, sewed my dress and tearaway pants. My partner, Prince Zaddy, also my drag brother, created the backdrops and helped decorate props. We used a lot of green with moss and embellishments, like little birds and butterflies, wrapped in one package. There must have been like ten reveals, so it was a lot of fun.

GayDenver: What does drag mean to you?

George Not-Strait: Drag is an art and a versatile form, full of expression. All these people say it’s inappropriate and predatory, but it simply isn’t. Such a broad range of people create drag for different reasons and with diverse audiences in mind. For me, drag is a way to put myself out there and express myself in a way that feels good. It makes me happy. To share that is a fantastic experience. And, of course, it’s a form of gender expression for me.

GayDenver: If you could put anything on a billboard, what would it be?


GayDenver: Anything you would like to say to the readers?

George Not-Strait: Drag is more than watching RuPaul. It’s an intimate community space. If you’re not already attending local drag shows, go to them. There are so many bars and venues in Denver with amazing drag artists performing. Get out there, support them! They are making art and need your voice to hold them up. Spirits are down right now because of what’s happening in the world. But if we can all come together and celebrate through the art of drag, it’s another step in the right direction. It may not solve anything immediately, but it is still a powerful and easy step. Additionally, if you have a little time and want to support my art, check out Mercury Cafe in Denver’s calendar for my monthly open stage show, StageFluid – we’d love to have you perform in it, too, if you’re interested!

Jeff Wilson
Author: Jeff Wilson

Jeff is one of the owner of GayDenver and one of its writers. He is a Denver transplant who loves the city and the proximity of the mountains. He is happily married to his partner.

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