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    Ready for More – Miss Juanita MORE!

    By Liam P. Mayclem–

    Fashion, food, philanthropy, and furious beats were all in a day’s work for San Francisco icon Juanita MORE! … and then COVID-19 hit. She still cooks delish eats and creates knockout drag costumes from her SF Tender-Nob home, but the parties and gatherings she is famous for producing have come to a record scratching halt.

    Nevertheless, as a celebrated drag performer, fashion muse, fundraiser, and gourmand, Juanita has been a force of creativity in her hometown of San Francisco for almost thirty years. JM parties like Juanita are legendary, and especially her annual SF Pride party held for many years at The Phoenix Hotel, and in recent years at 620 Jones. I have not missed one of those fab and fierce parties in some 25 years. More than the fun there is the fundraising; JM parties have raised more than six hundred thousand dollars for all manner of LQBTQ+ nonprofits. (see list at the end).

    This week, the San Francisco drag icon is being honored with the Legend Award and is being inducted into the Legends Archive by The Academy SF. I recently spoke with her for the San Francisco Bay Times.

    Liam P. Mayclem: You have received many community awards over the years. This one is a well-deserved Legend Award. What does it mean to you?

    Juanita MORE!: I’m sort of surprised by it and, of course, honored and happy. I am always looking forward, so this stops me in my tracks and it makes me turn around and look back and say, ‘Okay, yeah, you’ve done a lot, but still have much to do.'”

    Liam P. Mayclem: Please tell us about Mr. David and when you started to perform in drag.

    Juanita MORE!: Well, it wasn’t until I came back to San Francisco after a few years in New York in 1992 that I started doing drag. Mr. David came here to visit me and that’s when that started. I knew that he was someone super special in my life. And for drag especially, there was no one else whom I really wanted to have as a drag mother. I admire and look up to David and respect and love him. He’s my family, like my MORE! boys, of course, and my brother, sister, mother, daughter, father. The whole bit. I loved his presence on stage. I soaked it all up. I saw all the things I wanted to do as a performer through him.

    Liam P. Mayclem: Talk me through the timeline on an event day when you transition to Juanita MORE!

    Juanita MORE!: My day is super detail oriented. I want everything to be perfect. Not only perfect for myself, but also perfect for everyone else. I want everyone else to enjoy it. I strive for perfection. If I have an event at 6 pm, I start to put on my makeup at 3.30 pm. It takes almost two hours exactly from doing my makeup to putting on my last nail. It’s two hours to complete that process. Once that process is complete—wig, heels, nails, and all—I’ll consider having my first cocktail, and get ready to call a car so that I can be where I need to be on time. Earlier in the day I lay out my clothes. 

    Liam P. Mayclem: What inspires a Juanita MORE! costume or outfit?  

    Juanita MORE!: I’ll go through my day and I’ll see … I could see a flower, a piece of art, or even a piece of garbage on the ground, just the way it’s wrapped or thrown. That inspires me. I am also inspired by current fashion. I also love a certain era of style, the sixties and the fifties. I love those eras and those shapes for me. I can be inspired by a lot of things; sometimes just simply going to the fabric store and browsing.

    Liam P. Mayclem: Do you have any new hobbies, started during this pandemic time?

    Juanita MORE!: I got some wood, got a glue gun out, and I built a shelf. That was something new!

    Liam P. Mayclem: As an avid home cook, have you been cooking more these days?

    Juanita MORE!: I am always cooking. It’s always been a big part of my life, my daily routine. My passion for cooking remains as strong as ever.

    Liam P. Mayclem: What’s always in your fridge at home?

    Juanita MORE!: Staples in my fridge? On the bottom shelf, in the back, there is a row with clarified butter, fat, and lard. Healthy stuff (laughs).

    Liam P. Mayclem: Have you enjoyed any meals to go during the pandemic, any favorites?

    Juanita MORE!: One of my favorite restaurants, Slanted Door, closed at the start of the pandemic. That was tough. I am someone who cooks all the time, so when I order out, it is cuisine I don’t usually cook, like Vietnamese or Japanese food. So those are the places that I support for food to pick up in my little neighborhood.

    Liam P. Mayclem: What are your hopes for our community in 2021?

    Juanita MORE!: Well, that we can weather through this winter. The restaurant parklets have been an awesome extension of being able to keep restaurants and bars open. I hope we can survive this and thrive once again. It’s hard to make plans for the future, and that’s been the most difficult part. It’s hard. Everything changes every other day. So, it’s about being present and making sure you’re comfortable in that.

    Liam P. Mayclem: Imagine if you could plan and produce your dream party in the future, when we are beyond COVID-19. You can have anyone performing, dead or alive. Who would make the cut?

    Juanita MORE!: I’d want to see all of my drag family performing. I just want to see it all happen in such a big, extreme, over-the-top way, but maintain that sense of connection and intimacy. As for performers, I’d love Divine to return for one night. And I would love Sylvester to perform again. Sylvester loved his audience so much. I would love to see my drag mother, MOTHER MORE!, perform. And there’s a group called Moon Boots out of Los Angeles, and I would have them perform their song “Juanita”!

    The Legends Awards

    Join me and Co-Host Donna Sachet with previous inductee Sister Roma on Friday, December 4, at 7 pm live (Facebook & YouTube) for The Academy Legends Awards Night when Juanita MORE! is celebrated for making San Francisco legendary!

    For More Information

    https://academy-sf.com/events
    https://juanitamore.com

    LGBTQ+ Nonprofits Supported by JM Events

    https://www.glbthistory.org
    https://ourtranstruth.org
    https://theqfoundation.org
    https://www.sfcenter.org

    Emmy Award-winning radio and television personality Liam Mayclem is regularly featured on KPIX as well as KCBS, where he is the popular Foodie Chap. Born in London, Mayclem is now at home in the Bay Area, where he lives with his husband, photographer Rick Camargo. For more information: https://www.bookliam.com/

    Published on December 2, 20202