Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Grande Dame

Sexcilia is among one of the first drag queens I fell in love with along with the Lady Bunny and Kitty Meow. A cross between one of Charlie's Angels and a James Bond girl, with a little Latina oomph, Sexcilia became known as a headliner in drag shows at Warsaw, the Delano and the salsa club Starfish all located in South Beach, where she reign queen for years. Reynaldo Pagan Rivera, the 33-year-old who transformed himself into Sexcilia, died Jan. 14 2004 from complications of acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Sexcilia took drag into completely different directions, where a lot of drags now want to look like real girls, want to sing typical dance songs. But there was nothing typical of Sexcilia. Though Sexcilia's signature disco-era fashions, exaggerated heels, curled eyelashes and black wigs often turned heads, it was his one-of-a-kind performances that were most unforgettable. Sexcilia transformed himself into whomever he was impersonating: Eartha Kitt, Nancy Sinatra or Celia Cruz. However, life away from the strobe lights, VIP entrances and velvet rope wasn't so glamorous for Pagan. Pagan, as he was known when not performing, grew up in Puerto Rico and came to Miami in the early 1990s with a college degree in fashion design, friends say. After he told his family he was gay, Pagan set out to create a new life -- and a new persona -- for himself in Miami Beach. In the early 1990s, when drag queens and club kids emerged as the ruling force of SoBe's blossoming nightlife, Sexcilia was born. Sexcilia took a liking to vintage clothing, big wigs and caked-on makeup. His petite, girlish figure, friends say, made his act quite believable. Dressing in drag often proved profitable for Sexcilia, who made at least $200 each time he appeared at a club, party or special event, Lancaster said. When there wasn't money involved, Pagan wouldn't become Sexcilia. In 1998, Pagan learned he had AIDS. Sexcilia continued appearing at various clubs, including Crobar each Sunday, to make money. In 2004, he developed breathing difficulties, and his health rapidly deteriorated. Even though Sexcilia is now gone, you can still sense her presence of the gay scene in South Beach!


Go ahead darling, tell me something fabulous!

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