How Brooklyn-based drag queen Serena Tea found her confidence

Behind the Drag aims to showcase the off-stage lives of some of America's most talented drag queens. The intimate series gives us the opportunity to meet the people behind our favorite over-the-top drag queens. Come back every Friday this summer to meet someone new!

Anderson Lopez went to his first drag show when he was 19 years old and he remembers being in awe of the queens' confident performances. However, he knew he had that same confidence within himself, so a week later, he returned to perform on his own.

Since then, he's hit the drag ballroom scene as Serena Tea. But this isn't your typical ballroom—it's an underground LGBTQ+ scene where contestants express their creativity and compete for trophies or prizes by performing or "walking" on a runway.

16 PHOTOS
Serena Tea on Instagram
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Serena Tea on Instagram
✨💫Space Babe💫✨ Hair and look by me! Inspired by @nange.magro_dead.lotus.couture
The Inner Machinations of my mind are an enigma 💭☀️
My DragCon look for @voguemagazine shot by @hunterabrams Recreated this look I just NEEDED to have from @nikita_dragun
One last moment for this gem of a garment made by my favorite Brooklyn designer, @jamilmoreno I worked with this designer to create this look for my birthday in March. I had no idea that when I stepped out in this look I would be attending @sashavelour ‘s Smoke & Mirrors in LA, or that I would be receiving tens from a panel of respected and legendary judges. This photo was taken by @tannerabelofficial and @nicholasjneedham , two incredibly talented friends of mine. Big things are coming soon and I can’t wait to share with it y’all!
Got my first 10s last night @ota.weekly 0️⃣0️⃣7️⃣
I’ll be wearing this hair for the next 10 weeks until season two is @poseonfx is over thank you
10’s across last night for @ota.weekly
✨🎈#LOVEBALL3 🎈✨ Honored to be modeling this limited edition design by @luar for @bartschland ‘s third ever LoveBall! All proceeds will go to benefit the CFDA/Vogue HIV/AIDS Initiative at the New York Community Trust. Get yours over at @thephluidproject !!! Photo by @joejoegrams 💌
💥🏁Drag Race NOW 🏁💥 at @3dollarbillbk Hair @raywigs Dress by @harajuku.nyc
Did you miss me? 💋✨ Jacket and Hair cut and colored by me 💕
Which one should I post?!! Last nights look made by me for @bubble____t inspired by @jpgaultierofficial SS 19
🏆 TONIGHT! 🌈 House of Veloria 🌈at @moodringnyc from 10-2PM. Come out and boogie with us in LEWKSS!! Wearing #FENDI and #DOLCEANDGABBANA available at @jamesveloria 📷 @dani_aphrodite
2019 I’m coming for that ass 💋👑✨ Look by me
Groove?? In THE heart?!! It’s more like than you think 😏🌈✨ Dress by me for @studiosterling
Flexin my complexion 🍯
Wearing @christiancowan for the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund 🚨💋🌹
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"You basically just get out and serve your fantasy, and it can look like whatever you want it to," Lopez said.

"A huge part of the ballroom scene are these people coming together that come from nothing to showcase themselves in this light where they can be elevated and they can be scene because in a community that accepts them, because the world doesn't," he explained further.

The ballroom scene was something that Lopez said he was always interested in, and as he got more into it, he started incorporating vogueing into his performances. And like many other drag queens, he also makes all of his own outfits, focusing on the silhouette first, then cutting up fabric to fit his body and adding trimming or stones to catch the light.

Lopez said he rides his bike everywhere, including in full drag to his shows. "Literally everybody is looking at me, but it's fine," he said. However, he revealed he wasn't always this confident, but as he started to play around with his "queer gender expression," he gradually came into his look, wearing shorter crop tops, higher heels and bigger earrings. 

"People would look at me and I would get so insecure. But I would remember that I'm living in my life, and that's the thing, is it's my life and not their's. So I have no desire or need to worry about what they're doing, because I'm here looking like a f*cking bad b*tch and they're going to remember me and I'm not going to remember them." he said.

When it comes to his performances, he hopes the audience can have fun and check out of reality for a minute, as he does. 

"When I'm on a stage, I have no idea what's going on in my head. I kind of just serve it as much as I can and not worry about anything else that's going on around me. And I just feel the music, I listen to the beats, I don't listen to my thoughts, I listen to my body, I listen to my movements," he admits. "What I do, you're not going to see anybody else do, because it's my story, it's my performance, it's the way I'm expressing myself." 

Meet Aurora Sexton, a drag queen performing in Provincetown here and check out her looks below:

 

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Aurora Sexton on Instagram
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Aurora Sexton on Instagram
It’s been an honor to share the stage with you @hcshirley @gardenwitchbitch living our 80’s fairytale fantasies for the last 6 weeks. Our final show of the season HEXED plays tonight 7pm @postofficecafeandcabaret #ptown #provincetown #hexed
You’ll never meet a kinder queen than @missctoronto ❤️ Thank you for your friendship and support, please go see her brilliant show TV LAND playing all summer at the Art House here in Provincetown. AND GET THIS WOMAN ON DRAG RACE CANADA! #missconception #dragracecanada #ptown #provincetown #sisterssupportingsisters
Always find your light ✨ #showtime #girlslikeus #transisbeautiful 📸 @directordonato
A queen needs her coins 👸🏼👑 Please come put some money in my bank account 💰💰💰 HEXED plays tonight 7pm @postofficecafeandcabaret #ptown #provincetown 📸 @rozziechris 👗 @troycford
🇺🇸 @flotus here wishing you great birthday America! I’m smiling inside! Really! #happy4th #independenceday #firstlady #melaniatrump #help
Do I look like someone who would try to poison you? 🍎☠️🍎 HEXED plays tomorrow and Sunday (my birthday) at 7pm @postofficecafeandcabaret #evilqueen #ptown #provincetown #hexed
🍎APPLES FOR SALE🍎 The hag returns tonight to slay @lizalott in HEXED playing at the @postofficecafeandcabaret 7pm tickets available at the box office or online www.postofficecabaret.com #hexed #ptown #provincetown #snowwhite #evilqueen #hag #apples #fairytales #adultsonly #poison #olderwomen #makeup #transformation #transisbeautiful #girlslikeus #transactress #wickedwitch #evil #sorceress #magic
I can not describe how warm, kind, engaging and generally awesome this woman is! After the show we shared some very special moments with @paulaabdul and then danced the night away at @theabbeyweho 💃🏼 Every time I questioned myself, if I made the right move out here, if I could make it in this town was answered last night 🤩 Thank you @maccosmetics for the amazing opportunity. You were right @jeniferlewisforreal you have to ask! 🙏🏼#manifest #dreams #paulaabdul #hollywood #pride #mac #vivaglam
🐆 Lovely In Leopard 🐆 Presentation look for Drag Queen Of The Year 👑 Catsuit/ Mask & Airbrush @troycford Mohawk Construction @timmywilly Stoned & Slaved over by @callitodeh @nicholasmonaco @keepingupwithwill85 #dqoy #leopardprint #mydrag #girlslikeus #costumedesign #catsuit
🦁 Cersei Lannister, you deserved better. @iamlenaheadey Thank you for 8 years of delicious wickedness and reinventing the evil queen to depths unimagined. We stan thee forever. First of her name, Queen of the Andals and the first men, protector of the 7 kingdoms. Long may she reign 👑 On set for my new comedy HEXED coming to @postofficecafeandcabaret this summer #got #gameofthrones #gameofmones #cerseilannister #houseoflannister #cersei #evilqueen #evilregals #wino #winelover #lovemybrother #hbo #cosplay #fantasy #whatwig #royal #ironthrone
❤️🌹SHE IS COMING🌹❤️ The Queen Of Hearts takes the stage tonight in HEXED playing at @postofficecafeandcabaret 7pm ticket link in bio #redqueen #bloodyqueen #ptown #provincetown #aliceinwonderland #alice #wonderland #evilqueen #ketolife #mydrag #transactress
Bye @victoriassecret 👋🏼 You can keep your trans/ plus size shame, we can serve our own runway Fantasy with plenty of other designers! Missing these beautiful wings made by the super talented @redaggio bodysuit by me #angel #runway #transawareness #victoriassecret #icanfly #girlslikeus #transisbeautiful #transrightsarehumanrights #transmodel #transactress #transwoman
It sure was a beautiful and productive day! Hope you had a great one too 😃 Earrings: @beckermanolo Top: @forever21 Hair: @willithier85 Grill: @snowteethwhitening #girlslikeus #transwoman #transisbeautiful #hollywood #businesswoman
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