Nytes Deville is a male entertainer that that is sweeping awards all over the Southeast bring home titles such as emperor of Charleston Pride, Mr. Augusta Pride, Mr. Pulse 2018, and Mr. North Carolina Entertainer of the year, just to name a few.
BEAU got the chance to catch up with Mr. Deville.
BEAU: Tell us a little about yourself, how was growing up for you, when did you come out?
Deville:All right. Lol. Thank you for taking time to do this! This really means a lot. I think this is really cool and I’m so excited. I do want to start out with saying I am not a drag King; I’m a male lead. I will explain more of that as we go on; I have so much love and respect for the drag king community and don’t want to confuse my art with theirs. A little about myself: I was born Gabriel Neitz in Columbia, South Carolina. I came out of the closet when I was 17 and then I went back in the closet for religious reasons and then came back out of the closet. I have my coming-out story on YouTube in a series called, “I’m from driftwood.” Growing up for me was pretty southern. I mean, it is the South so it was always just a little different, but I am one that always uses it to make me better and move forward. Coming out was the best thing I’ve ever done. It feels so good to live my life as me and not have to hide it from anybody.
BEAU: How did you get started in drag?
Deville:Okay so I got started in drag 10 years ago when I was 18 or 19. I was just out on my own and I actually started out as Gabby Love DeVille, named by my gay mom – Kiki DeVille – who still loves and supports me (when I behave Lol). It wasn’t until about three years ago that I switched over really to a male lead or male entertainer. I originally started out as a stripper in the male world and it slowly progressed into my style of drag or what I would call my style drag. I perform in the show with the drag queens and to me drag is over the top sequin sparkle, becoming a character that’s just bringing songs to life to entertain in a creative way.
BEAU: When you first started doing drag, how did it feel?
Deville:Well when I first started performing, I was nervous, and I still get nervous to this day. Then when the light hits for that 3 and 1/2 minutes, my job is to entertain people and that feeling is amazing. It is like no matter what I’ve done to prepare or what I haven’t done to prepare, giving you all I got: it feels amazing.
BEAU: Drag kings are sometimes done by females, have you gotten any backlash from doing drag?
Deville:Okay, this is the question that I was hoping would be in here. That’s why it’s important to me whenever being talked about or announced that it is as a male entertainer and not drag King. To break it down, a drag king is generally someone who does or has identified as female. On stage, they are giving the illusion of or performing as a male. I was born and identify as male, and I perform as a male. And out of respect for drag kings, I would never claim that I am one. I am just amplifying and giving my style of drag. I do the same things drag queens, drag kings, and all the entertainers do in that I wear makeup, I have glitter and rhinestones, I have Glam – over the top movements, over the top personality, and entertain. I wanted to perform on the stage, but I didn’t want to necessarily perform as a woman – which is why I would never disrespect any drag Queen by half-assing it. However, when I saw there was an alternative solution, performing as a guy, I was super excited. I am more comfortable doing this and I respect drag and love to watch it. If I could, I would watch it all day long. But I love what I do as well. Where the drag queens have more preparation work before they get on the stage, I do feel personally that as a male lead, I have to work it twice as hard on the stage than they do simply because I have to prove why I am on that stage and why I should be able to be on the stage even though I’m not portraying the opposite sex or gender.
BEAU: when you do drag, do you have a style of drag? If so, what is it?
Deville:My style of drag is that of pop boy band and Bruno Mars, happy-go-lucky heartthrob. Now, whether I accomplished that is up to you. But that’s the character I try to be in my head. Lol.
BEAU: Is there anything you wish people knew or understood about being a drag king, what would it be?
Deville:As entertainers our goal is the same thing and that is to entertain those who come to see us every week or watch our pageant or are out at Pride. We have different styles and different expressions of it, and I wish that the LGBT community was more open to it because if you are entertained, we’ve done our job..
BEAU: what does the future look like for you?
Deville:Well, after I l give up my current titles, I plan to prepare for a national title system again and see where that takes me, but I’ll be back. Hopefully people will see me soon at Dudley’s or Tabbuli or El Jefe again. I’m throwing that out into the universe. 😉