Rudy Flesher, drag performer, won’t wear a wig or shave his beard—and that doesn’t make him any less of a queen.
Rudy Flesher is “gender fuck royalty.”
The New Jersey native broke his nose during one of his first rugby games, but kept playing with a tampon shoved up his nostril. He got his nickname from that other Rudy, the one Sean Astin played with such underdog aplomb on the football field in 1993. He likes beer, he’s hairy, though he keeps his beard well-trimmed. And he’s still all these things when he straps on six-inch heels and performs as the Notorious OMG in Philadelphia drag shows.
See, Rudy doesn’t shave his legs or don a wig when he becomes a queen. He wears a corset and a leather jockstrap, and doesn’t lose any sense of sexiness (or feel like he’s being disingenuous) in the combination. In a new interview on I’m From Driftwood (a nonprofit archive of true gay stories), Rudy details his own journey toward gender acceptance, one that underscores just how prevalent outdated dichotomies of masculinity still are, even within the gay community.
The interview highlights an anecdote about the surprising allies Rudy found in his straight rugby teammates, who responded supportively to photos of Notorious OMG’s first performance at Liberty City Kings in Philadelphia. And while that’s fantastic, it’s less inspiring than Rudy discovery’s that he could be be feminine, masculine and sexy all at once.
“I didn’t know how to be sexy and a blend of masculine and feminine,” said Rudy. “Because to me they were somehow separate, or to be feminine would be to stop being sexy.”
Now, Flesher not only inhabits two extremes on the gender stereotype spectrum—he melds them into one new identity, a drag queen he refuses to call a character, but rather “just Rudy turned to 11.” Eventually, Rudy learned he didn’t have to choose, and that didn’t make him any less royal.
Photo: “Going From Rugby Jock to Glamazon Drag Queen: By Rudy Flesher” from I’m From Driftwood