Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
A spirit that is not afraid

Drag me around Auburn

When Valentine's Day falls on a Sunday, the weekend is consumed with heart-shaped candies, larger-than-life teddy bears and enough flowers to cause anyone's allergies to flare. This weekend may have been one for love, but it was also a drag for some ... a drag show, that is. 

Auburn's nightlife isn't always confined to downtown. I followed Marcus Gulatte, referred to as Aalora DiArmani on stage, as he performed in a classic bar scene on Friday, Feb. 12, and then switched gears to perform for Auburn Spectrum's "What A Drag" charity event, Saturday, Feb. 13. 

Gulatte was born and raised in Auburn. He was a member of the Auburn High School drumline and loved the time he spent with the band. At 16 years old, he came out to his mother, and at 19, he made it publicly known that he was gay. Gulatte's family is supportive of him. 

"My mom wasn't upset about me being gay," Gulatte said. "She was scared of how the world would perceive me."

Gullate's life drastically changed when he came out to his community. While some chose to find issue with the fact that he was gay, many accepted him for who he was.

"When I came out in high school, I lost a lot of friends, but a whole wave of new ones came with being honest with myself," Gulatte said.

According to Gulatte, his experience with being gay and participating in drag hasn't been one of great trouble. Many of his close friends and family have stuck with him through all of the changes. 

"I really don't think that Auburn is as rigid and conservative as everyone assumes," Gulatte said. "I've walked downtown in drag before and got compliments."

There are many misconceptions about drag, according to Gulatte. But the most prominent is the idea that drag queens want to be women. 

"I enjoy being a boy, but I also enjoy looking pretty like a woman," Gulatte said. "It's being the person that you aren't for a night. All drag is is self-expression."

Gulatte spends his days working in cellphone sales. He recently received a job offer at an automotive dealership, where he will continue working. 

As for nights, Gulatte performs at Fishizzle's on Opelika Road every Friday at 9:30 p.m. 

Gulatte is 25 years old and has been dancing for a little over a year. He began working at Stir, when he was offered at cast role at Fishizzle's. 

"They painted my face and threw me on stage," Gulatte said. "I've been doing it ever since."

Gulatte said he enjoys every moment of performing. 

"I love it when I am performing and I can see the crowd singing and dancing along," Gulatte said. "That energy is what makes you keep dancing every Friday night."

He loves performing to Kelly Rowland and Jennifer Lopez, and he defines his style as classic business professional with elements of sass. Gulatte sticks to blues, reds and black when choosing outfits. He spends about $200 a month on show attire. 

Gulatte and the other queens pulled out all the stops for Auburn Spectrum's "What A Drag" charity event on Saturday night, Feb. 13. According to Ashley Rogers, sophomore in elementary education, the event showcased nine professionals and two amateur drag kings. 

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Auburn Plainsman delivered to your inbox

Auburn Spectrum is a gay-straight alliance group of about 20-30 people who meet weekly. Spectrum's event raised $1,039 for Free2Be, a charity that works to end violence while advocating for human and civil rights as well as sexual and gender minorities. 

"This is a fun part of our community now, and people really love it," Rogers said. "We are spreading awareness about drag in the best way." 

From a drag queen's perspective, performing for a charity event in comparison to a bar is often more challenging, Gulatte said. Losing the straight-on eye contact causes performers to reach from a different side of themselves to really serve up an impressive act. Mustering up the energy to perform on a stage is always more challenging than being on a dance floor, according to Gulatte. 

Gulatte said he spends time practicing his skills, but mostly relies on his instincts while on the floor. For those considering drag, he said to be sure it is something they want to be a part of and to be confident in themselves. 

"Always do your homework first," Gulatte said. "Make sure it is something you really want to do. Then you have to make sure you are confident in yourself. Trust me, someone is going to love you."

For the time being, Gulatte will be burning up the dance floor every Friday night at Fishizzle's and welcomes the community to join him for some quality entertainment. 

"You get one life," Gulatte said. "At the end of the day, if you aren't doing what makes you happy, then you won't be happy. Plain and simple." 

Share and discuss “Drag me around Auburn ” on social media.