At 43, Velvet Lenore has been doing drag for almost half her life. “I started 21 years ago,” she says proudly. “And I’ve never come out in the traditional sense,” she continued anticipating the next question.

Born and raised in Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce, Velvet avers, “I was born out. People knew from the start that I wasn’t your regular boy and nobody cared.” She attributes some of her good fortune to being raised by her grandmother. “She just let me be who I was and didn’t give a care who didn’t like it.”

Velvet and Michael Cushman have been together in a committed relationship for nine years. “We’re not legally married, but we consider ourselves married,” she said. “That’s what counts.”

An award-winning female impersonator, Velvet raises a lot of money for charities and supports the Compass youth group among many others. She has also performed at the last 11 Pride Festivals held at the end of March.

Her advice to people still in the closet is to “…respect yourself and other people will respect you as well.”

Readers can learn more about Velvet and find out where she’s performing at her Facebook page.

– VL