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    Ladies and Gentleman: Lady Camden

    By Jan Wahl–

    So, there I am at Davies Hall awaiting the arrival of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. Their Music in the Movies event was long on my calendar. Suddenly, those of us in the audience turned from the stage to the aisle. A gorgeous ballerina floated down, from tiara to tutu to a smile full of excitement and love for the audience. Onstage, she began to dance, sing, and make us laugh. This was dance and drag sensation Lady Camden, and I wanted to know more about her!

    I learned that she was born and raised in London, trained at the Royal Ballet School, and for many years was a professional dancer for companies such as the Birmingham Royal Ballet, Slovak National Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, and San Francisco’s own Smuin Ballet. Rex Wheeler, aka Lady Camden, is now a choreographer at Smuin.

    She must have been a strong man, lifting and catching as well as beautifully swirling. In drag, she is on point, literally, and could be at home in any world-class ballet company. She is young and relatively new to the world of drag. I spoke with her by phone from her home in the Castro.

    Lady Camden

    “I went pretty quickly from straight ballet to drag because of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 14,” Lady Camden told me for the San Francisco Bay Times. “All of a sudden, this Sacramento Queen (they called us by cities during COVID-19) almost won first place. I went on tour two years after that, fell in love with San Francisco, and did a Christmas show at the Oasis. I started meeting fabulous people in our community.”

    She continued, “I’m rooted basically in ballet, Spice Girls, and old London town. My mother is American and was hoping I’d keep up with ballet. I was always Billy Elliot, the boy who loved to dance. But I really wanted in my heart to be surrounded by theatrical drag. Also, I was injured at 26, so drag helped me tremendously in my recovery.”

    “I ended up at Smuin Ballet and Oakland’s White Horse Bar,” Lady Camden added. “(Drag queen) Mara Guevara was very helpful in giving me the opportunity to try things out and learn. When I left the ballet scene, I did two things: I learned about putting on makeup, and signed up for serious acting lessons.”

    Lady Camden

    She said, “There are so many people I have looked up to along the journey: Marianela Nunez, who only gets better with age; Leslie Jordan, may he rest in peace, who made people smile; and Jinkx Monsoon of Broadway and television. I have admired her career.”

    And here’s some great news! Lady Camden added, “I am creating a solo Pride show that will be on June 27 at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre. It’s called Lady Land, and is a spoof of an old TV game show and a journey through the colors of the rainbow flag. The show with the remarkable San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus was proof I am meant to do this. I’ve made this place home.”

    For tickets to Lady Camden’s upcoming June 27 show at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, visit:

    Jan Wahl is a Hollywood historian and film critic on various broadcast outlets. She has two Emmys and many awards for her longtime work on behalf of film buffs and the LGBTQ community. Contact her at

    Off the Wahl
    Published on April 18, 2024