Tyra Sanchez: Why Fatherhood Is Fabulous
BY Daniel Reynolds
October 01 2012 3:00 AM ET
Raven, Tyra and Jujubee on RuPaul's Drag Race
Throughout his teens and early 20s, Ross was homeless, in part because the birth of Jeremiah created a rift between Ross and his own parents. For years he drifted from couch to couch of sympathetic friends and family members. He borrowed cars in order to spend time with his growing son and his best friend, Jeremiah’s mother. Along the way, he discovered an unlikely profession.
“He had to start making a living,” Flóki says, “and I think that’s how the drag started: to find a means to make some money and help support his child.”
“Having Jeremiah when I was 17 saved my life,” Ross says.
His drive and dedication to his son led him to audition for, and win, the world’s most prominent drag competition. But his story doesn’t end there.
“I didn’t want to be a drag performer in a nightclub for the rest of my life,” Ross says. “I’ve always wanted to be an actor, and I thought that this was the way to get there.”
In Scandinavian languages, “Tyra” means “God of Battle.” It’s an apt name for Ross as well as for the person he adopted it from: his infant cousin, Tyra. Born prematurely, the little girl had health complications and wasn’t expected to live. But the baby fought against the odds and survived, and James was inspired to do the same.
“At the beginning, drag was a way to escape,” Ross says. “But I don’t really feel that way anymore. It’s a way to break free and become the person that I was meant to be.”
By the conclusion of the trailer, Ross has removed the black baseball cap that reads “America’s Sweetheart.” He places a wig on his head, and the transformation to Tyra is flawless, complete. As the music swells to a crescendo, an announcer’s voice booms over the loudspeakers:
“Please give a welcome to the drop-dead gorgeous diva herself, the season 2 winner of RuPaul’s motherfucking Drag Race. The one, and only: Tyra Sanchez.”
Drag Dad, a documentary film about fabulous fatherhood, is expected to be released early next year.