By Laura Latzko, May 2018 Issue.
Justin Deeper describes himself as the person who’s always been watching and supporting drag and pageantry from the audience. But that all changed when the Tucson-based entertainer woke up one morning leading up to Oct. 4 prelim in Phoenix and decided he was going to “go ahead and do this, see what it’s like.” Read more about the 2018 Arizona Entertainer of the Year pageant here.
Echo caught up with Deeper as he embarked on his reign as Arizona EOY King 2018 and here’s what he had to say.
Echo: When and where did you start your drag journey?
Deeper: I started performing in fall 2017 at the Phoenix EOY King Pageant.
Echo: Who are your biggest sources of inspiration?
Deeper: Diva and Kriis DiKay.
Echo: What’s your favorite song to perform?
Deeper: Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend.”
Echo: What’s your favorite Costume Piece?
Echo: What drew you to the EOY pageant system?
Deeper: I think EOY was the very first system I saw. I had a couple of friends of mine who competed, and I was like, “This is interesting. I kind of want to give it a try.” Years later, I finally did, and I like the creative aspect of it. I also suffer from horrible anxiety. So, I thought it would be a good way to get out there and try to see if I could help out my anxiety. A lot of people know me as this very quiet, reserved individual. I thought it would be a good way to go out and show what I have creativity-wise.
Echo: Has anxiety been your biggest challenge in pageantry?
Deeper: Anxiety has been the biggest challenge and also the makeup part of it. I’m still learning to do the makeup. This whole time, my girlfriend, who is also a performer and an amazing makeup artist, has been by my side [and] doing my makeup. She’s trying to teach me …
Echo: For your EOY Talent, you performed a theatrical Joker-inspired number with members of HOK as backup dancers. Does Justin Deeper have a very theatrical persona?
Deeper: Not, not really. I’m still testing the waters in this. The talent I did was completely out of my norm. What I did for the Phoenix prelim was a Justin Bieber talent. That’s another reason why I did a play on the name Justin Bieber. People have always told me, “You look just like Justin Bieber. You could totally be an impersonator.”
Echo: Do you see your drag style going more in the pop music direction?
Deeper: I think so. It’s something fresh. From what I’ve viewed and from what others have told me, a lot of the kings are into the alternative…For me, I just want to bring something fresh, as far as the pop part of it.
Echo: What are your goals for your reign as Arizona EOY King?
Deeper: I want to show any performer, in any division – Femme, King, Mr. or F.I. – who is suffering from anxiety or stage fright, it’s OK to go up there and do it. It’s a great way to express yourself. Don’t be afraid to tackle your dream … Also, I do want to get more involved. My mom ran a nonprofit for 14 years, so I understand the fundraising aspect in being involved with the community. I definitely want to get more involved in that, especially here with our Tucson Pride organization.