West Palm Beach native, Melissa St. John is well known by her drag name to gay and straight alike throughout South Florida and beyond.
“Oh honey,” she said during an interview, “no one would know me if we used my other name. I’ll just be Melissa.”
A female impersonator and entertainer, Melissa is often referred to as “First Lady of Palm Beach.” And there’s a reason for that — everybody knows her. She has been performing in gay and straight venues for almost 30 years.
“Once in a while I feel a little uncomfortable in certain locations or establishments, she said. “But I’m there to show the positive aspects of our lives, and it works.”
Melissa graduated from Palm Beach Gardens High School in 1980 and studied architecture at Palm Beach State (then Community) College. Following school, she worked in banking for twelve years before opening her own salon.
Melissa came out to her parents as a gay man the second time they asked if she was gay. “The first time they asked, I said no,” she said. “But the second time… They were very cool about it.”
She has been in a relationship with her partner, David Barden, for 18 years and is performing Saturday nights at H.G. Roosters.
This past year Melissa also won SFGN’s Best Drag Queen for Palm Beach County.
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