Dancer / Military Kid / Drag Queen
In 2005, Trevor Efinger—better known as drag queen Holly Dae—moved to New York from Boston to pursue a career in theater. At first, Holly made the occasional appearance, nothing professional, and when Trevor’s acting career took off, Holly got put on hold. But after getting his Equity Card on the national tour of Mame, acting work dried up, and Holly Dae was back in business.
“The first bar I was hired at here in New York was Evolve,” Dae recalls. “I’ve actually been fired from that bar three times. I don’t know why I keep going back,” she laughs. That led to a gig at Pieces, which in turn led to more professional drag gigs. “It just escalated one thing after another. Finally my eyebrows got covered. I taught myself how to sew, or my friends have taught me. It’s just taken on a life of its own now.” Recently, she began co-hosting Sunday nights at Barracuda and this summer she even won the prestigious title of Entertainer of the Year at Fire Island’s annual Miss Fire Island Pageant. Now Dae is a six-show-a-week queen.
For Dae, working in nightlife has been a lifelong endeavor: from waiting tables in between acting gigs to go-go dancing in Boston. “Oh god, the first time I ever dressed in drag was in Boston,” Dae remembers. “I entered a competition out there and I didn’t even have a drag name. I just called myself Miss Untitled. It was very tragic.” But Dae turned to established drag queens for help. “They were like, ‘We’re going to dress you.’ And I had to work on it. I had no idea what I was doing, but it started the whole monster.”
Those first experiences in drag eventually led to the Holly we know today. “I think what sets me apart from other girls is that I find inspiration in the 1940s/1950s Hollywood glam,” Dae espouses. “That silhouette and that look is just so unique. It’s so gorgeous. I really based my look off of those women; still with a little contemporary flair, a little drag-queen flair.”
Of course, no drag career is without its occasional mishaps. Once, in the Pines, Dae was feeling adventurous and climbed a small fence, attempting to sit on it. “I fell backwards...and my feet went over my head and my wig fell off. I got up and I kept performing and then I was like, ‘That was really painful,’” she chuckles. Dallas DuBois and Busted were doing that particular show with her and needless to say, they don’t let her live it down. “They’re always like, ‘Careful of those fences.’”
Where will we see Holly in five years? “I think all drag queens wonder how long we’ll be doing this,” Dae admits. “I just kind of take it day by day. I’ve gotten to go to Italy and London and Paris,” she says. “It’s a crazy life. I love talking to my ex-boyfriends that are back in Boston and they’re like, ‘Really? This is what you’re doing now?’”