Meet America's oldest and longest-performing drag queen

Ageless profiles seniors who are pursuing their passions well into their golden years, from drag queen performances to competitive sports. Check in every Wednesday for more unique stories! 

Darcelle XV may be 88 years old, but he's not letting his age stop him from taking the stage. As America's oldest and longest-performing drag queen, Darcelle has been entertaining for over fifty years. And with every performance, his groundbreaking work has inspired others to take the stage.

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See inside Darcelle XV's showplace
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See inside Darcelle XV's showplace
If you have to do day drag, be like Salem #LocalQueen @lylacdoesdrag and make it sickening. 💅🏻 #Drag #draglife #draglook #LocalQueenOR #salemDrag #queen #makeupartist #horror #dragmakeup #supportlocalartists
Let’s “Catch A Rising Star “ TONIGHT! Show starts at 7pm and there’s only a $5 cover! Come down and take advantage of our amazing A/C, entertainment and $5 @absolutvodka_us cocktail! ❤️❤️❤️ #Gay #dragqueen #dragmakeup #darcellexv #longestrunningshowinamerica
More fun from last night! Thanks for the video @mccoyfish 🍾
What a night! Thank you so much to @kelsig2016 and @mccoyfish for planning such a special birthday surprise for me! Shoutout to @jphpdx and @mccoyfish for being such good sports 😂 #darcellexv #drag #21
I know how to work my a** off and I know how to celebrate ! I always wanted to go to a drag show and last night I just went for it and I had such a great time and got to see the #guniessworldrecord for #worldsoldestdragqueen and happy pride month #lovewins 🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈 #letscelebrate #letscelebratelife #party #dragqueens #portlandoregon
Darcelle XV - at 88 yrs old she is the oldest active drag queen in the country and Emmy award winner for her documentary. All walks of life were out last night to enjoy this historically show that is on five nights a week. On our way home we read about the behind the scenes of Darcelle and the true love story she shared with her partner of over 50 years. We recommend this to anyone who is in Portland; local or visitor! . . . . . Click the link in our profile: www.pnwfamilyexplorers.com ________________________________ #everywherewegoweexplore #pnwfamilyexplorers #brothersbestfriends #childhoodunplugged #letthemexplore #littleexplorers #theartofchildhood #outdoorkids #adventurefamily #lovetheoutdoors #neverstopexploring #lifeofadventure #outdoorkids #familyfun #adventureday #adventuresoutside #wildandfreechildren #embracingtheeveryday #pnw #pnwlife ##pnwadventures #familyadventures #exploreportland #darcellexv #dragqueens #dragshow #lgbt #pride #ccslaughters #pdx #portlandnightlife
My birthday I happened to be in Portland. I spent it with friends and Drag Queens. Best birthday EVER! #birthdaygirl #celebration #dragqueen #dontbeadragjustbeaqueen #illneverlookthisgood #darcellexv #portland #portlandoregon
celebrated 24 with a drag show & it was absolutely fabulous ✨
oh yknow just casually hangin with my bestie Poison Waters ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
One of the gayest pictures I have and that’s saying a lot.
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"I'm very proud of the fact that we were there in the beginning," Darcelle told AOL Lifestyle about first taking the stage in 1970. "[We] put our first show on in 1970 and there was nothing like this, nothing." Five decades later, the Darcelle XV Showplace has grown to become one of Portland's biggest stages for drag queens and other performers alike. 

For Darcelle, the key to his work is all in a good performance.

"You can't look like the next-door neighbor," he said of the long and intricate transformation he undergoes in the makeup chair. "You have to bring them in here where they can forget their problems and get in a fantasy land and have a light time." 

No matter the work, retire "is not in [his] vocabulary." "I'm going to do a kick and there'll be a pile of ashes on stage," he explained.

Meet more of Darcelle in the video above! 

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