Kora Sline Is Mx. Cincinnati Pride

The recently crowned queen fights on the front lines for her community.
Mx. Cincinnati Pride, Kora Sline, with her crown and scepter.

Photograph by Jess W Photography

Kora Sline (a play on “chorus line”), a teacher turned performer, wig stylist, and costume designer, won the first ever Mx. Cincinnati Pride Pageant in March, and is set on using her platform to advocate for her found family in Cincinnati. She talks to us about her leap into performing drag, supporting her community, and the responsibility of becoming a public figure.

How did your years in the arts lend itself to performing drag?

I moved [to Cincinnati] and I was teaching color guard. Then, one day, I was kind of done with teaching, I felt burnt out, but I still needed that performance fix, a creative outlet. With all my years in theater, I was like, Drag can’t be that hard, so one night I tried to do my makeup, and it was hard, so I practiced. I knew the performance part would come naturally since I’ve done it my whole life. After six or seven months, I finally took the plunge and did my first open stage. It’s happenstance that I just decided one day that I wanted to pursue this and I guess I’ve been mildly successful so far, right?

Why sign up for the pageant to begin with?

I’m always trying to push myself to do new and better things and I’m a very competitive person. I like to compete with myself and see how I can make myself better. I’ve said, ever since I started dragging, that I was never going to be a pageant person. Then one day, Cincinnati Pride posted about the pageant and I was like, You know, this kind of fits my idea of what I would want to present in the pageant, everything they’re representing.

Your pageant costume was themed after a warrior. Tell me about the story behind that.

Presentation was “Show Your Pride,” and you had to create a costume out of one of the pride flags. I wanted to incorporate my love of fantasy and video games to insert my own personality into it. I wanted to do a soldier-warrior-type character because as drag queens, we’re the most visible members of our community and a lot of times are on the frontlines fighting for rights within our community. I sewed everything, I made all the armor. I had help from some of my chosen family as well. It was a big group effort in putting it together which is what pride means to me—working together as a community to help accomplish goals.

Is that costume representative of a fighter inside of you?

Absolutely. I aspire to fight for and help people within our community and around the states and the world. To help people, especially those that are the parts of our community that are underrepresented. [The pageant] being a nonbinary title makes me want to work with more people that identify as nonbinary and help them in any way I can to get their story across. I’ve always wanted to work more within the community, and I’ve never really known where my avenue was to get into there. I’ve done things with [local charities] here and there, but working with Pride, I’m hoping to get more actual feet on the ground and to work with people.

Does being such a visible face for the community put pressure on you as a newly public figure, or is that a responsibility you enjoy?

It does put a little pressure, especially after winning this. It’s a lot of responsibility. But coming from my background in education and being a teacher for almost five years, that kind of just becomes second nature to me. I want to use my platform to show that we’re not dangerous and we’re not people that you should be afraid of for any reason. We’re just normal people trying to live our life and entertain people at the same time. You’ve been entertained by drag your entire life, you’ve just not realized it.

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