A Canadian drag queen was just recognized by Guinness World Records with the esteemed title of being the “World’s Oldest Performing Drag Queen.”
Toronto resident Michelle DuBarry (a.k.a. Russell Alldread) earned the honor last week after celebrating her 84th birthday, the Toronto Star reports.
“Michelle represents an era that I grew up, the Dynasty era, because she’s all furs, gowns and diamonds. That’s what set her apart,” Max MacDonald, a close friend of DuBarry’s and the person who nominated her for the world record, told the Star.
“I’ve always had the love of the stage,” DuBarry told the Toronto paper, recalling how she first got into performing drag. “I had two sisters and the three of us were always put out singing to the women’s groups or to the hospital — Christmastime, whatever. And then I got dressed up in drag. I didn’t know anything about drag then. We got dressed up like girls at the high school Halloween night. And then, when I got into the city in the 1950s, I got involved in theatre and ballet. I was a ladies’ shoes salesman and started doing underground dress-up.”
DuBarry succeeds 83-year-old Palm Springs, Calif., resident and dancer James Haake (a.k.a. Gypsy), who held the title despite the fact that he doesn’t consider himself a drag queen.
“It’s quite an honor. I wake up in the morning. I don’t live yesterday, I don’t live tomorrow. I wake up and count my blessings because I’m very, very lucky,” DuBarry continued. “I’m very healthy. I’ve lost pretty well all my special friends now. They’ve all died on me. You know, because I’m old. It’s your attitude at living every day, I think, that counts. I’m an old drag queen, but I’m still very young.”