“My drag name at first was Serene Noir, but now it’s Serene Fantasea,” said Flores, a communication senior with a minor in English literature.

Flores began doing drag about a year and a half ago while helping a friend who was also getting into drag. However, his biggest inspiration for getting into drag was rapper Azealia Banks. “I think she is super cool, and it’s because of her that I started doing drag.”

His initial experiences in the drag community was hateful and harsh. He decided to leave behind Serene Noir (his original drag name) with the hate he experienced and come back with his new persona: Serene Fantasea.

“The drag community—they are very harsh people; It’s like gays times ten,” Flores said. “It’s about kissing ass ‘til you reach the top.”

Flores described the drag community as filled with rivalry, competition and constant criticism.

“There can only be one top queen. Everyone thinks they are on top.” Flores has been criticized for nearly everything about Serene Fantasea and has even had his performance ideas stolen by other drag performers.

Though the drag community is competitive by nature, performing and entertaining is the reason he continues. Flores’ creative outlet is to make others smile.

“It really is just putting on a masterpiece for someone,” Flores said. “[In] your own show, you pick out everything: clothes, music, song verses, everything. It’s f***ing awesome.”

Performing requires an entire process, according to Flores. Knowing what the performance is supposed to look like is the first step.

“One of my favorites is performing songs that are sea-based or with mermaid interludes because that’s my aesthetic,” Flores said.

Once the vision is determined, Flores makes or buys the outfit and the pieces required for the performance — which can get expensive.

Prior to the performance, any rehearsals are done a few days in advance. On the day of the event, getting ready can be a long and laborious task. For Flores, make-up alone can take up to two and a half hours. This includes making his eyebrows disappear and contouring his face.

“After that you have to tuck. I grab my dick and balls and put them away,” Flores said, describing the progression of transformation. “That doesn’t take long but it’s a whole process.”

The process conludes with chest contouring and inserting hip and butt pads.

“You are really just trying to create the illusion that you are a woman…that’s the main goal,” Flores said.

Flores has created an entire persona with Serene Fantasea.

“When you alter yourself to a point where you don’t even recognize yourself when you look in the mirror, some other persona comes out,” Flores said.

Serene Fantasea has hardened over time from the negative attitudes against her from other drag queens, but for Flores, drag has been a way to connect with important people in his life.

In the beginning, Flores’ family mistook his drag for Flores being gender confused or transsexual. “It took them awhile, but I educated them on what [drag] was, who I am and what I do; they are two completely different things.”

Since then, Flores feels that drag has helped bring him closer to those he loves. Flores does feel that his drag identity has closed doors for him.

“People automatically assume that I am super feminine, that I wear make-up all the time and that I do this stuff all the time,” Flores said. “All these things, all the negative interpretations of women are put on me automatically.”

Even with all the negativity that surrounds being a drag queen, Flores doesn’t allow other people’s judgment to deter him from continuing to do drag in the future. Even though being Serene Fantasea and a full-time student is a lot to handle.

Currently, Flores is on hiatus from drag while he completes his final semester at UTSA, but he plans to return to the stage after graduating.

Flores encourages people to check out a drag show to experience the culture themselves.

“I used to hate drag queens three years ago,” Flores said. “People should really be more exposed to drag shows. I didn’t know about them until I got lost in the world.”

For Flores, drag has been a source of happiness, creativity and expression.

If you want to stay up-to-date with Christian Flores and Serene Fantasea follow him on Instagram at @Serene_Fantasea_.

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