The opening lines to Eurythmics’ “Beethoven (I Love to Listen to)” perfectly embody drag queen Althea Trix.
“I was dreaming like a Texan girl, a girl who thinks she’s got the right to everything. A girl who thinks she should have something extreme,” Annie Lennox sings.
The song was prominently featured in one of Trix’s more memorable performances, when she cast herself as Antonio Salieri, the composer who was insanely jealous of Mozart.
Althea Trix, a play on the phrase “all theatrics,” is Jaime Romero’s drag alter ego. Romero grew up in love with theater but was never cast as a lead. When Romero joined a drag performance troupe after moving to Austin, she had no drag experience. Now, Trix is leading the “new drag” scene in Austin.
“When I started, it was all about female illusion, and I wanted to do something new, push those creative elements,” Trix said. “So I threw out the female illusion and wanted to see what kind of boundaries I could break, to see how weird I can be.”
Trix calls her style “grotesque drag.” It lives somewhere past breaking the female illusion, celebrity impersonations and pageant-style drag shows of years past. Equal parts nature, technology and science fiction, she is part of the new guard of drag. Extreme proportions and ferocious spikes are part of her repertoire, elevating drag from lip-synched renditions of Cher to mixes of multiple songs that tell the story of the character Trix has channeled.
“In the beginning, it was rough because I was the only weird one, the only person trying different things,” Trix said. “People didn’t like that. They thought I wasn’t doing real drag. That was difficult because I would get called a clown, but I toughed it out, and now I own it. They called me a clown, but I’m a damn good clown, and I look good as a clown.”
Arcie Cola, best known for her shows “Cookin’ Good” and “OraCola” on Austin’s public access channel, works with Trix in the drag performance troupe Poo Poo Platter.
“For the most part, everything is still so fresh and new, so that cutthroat competitiveness that is there in more established drag communities has not tainted it yet,” Cola said. “Now is a great time to get your feet wet, and if you’re serious, like Althea, it’s a great time to develop without being under a microscope.”
Having had help at the start of her career from Kelly Kline, one of Austin’s most established drag queens and host of “Drag Survivor,” Trix gives back to the community that embraced her. She has her “drag kids,” people who come to her for advice on how to start their own drag careers.
Trix is a part of Kline’s own drag family, with strict rules.
“You must be professional, respectful, grateful, be humble, pay it forward,” Kline said. “I’m super strict about that. I do a lot for the Austin community, and part of my being a mentor to people is making sure they participate — a lot.”
For Trix, drag opened up a world where her creative skills could be showcased. It also helped her step out of her shell and put on any personality she desired.
“I have learned to be social,” Trix said. “You have to be your own agent and, in order to promote yourself, you have to be social. You have to be willing to go up to people and just start talking.”
Trix performs every Sunday at Castro’s Warehouse and in “Drag Survivor.”