Latino drag performer brings “Queen of Tejano Music” to life

Video Story – Andrew Scott from Randy Salgado on Vimeo.

On weekends, you can find actor, singer and dancer Jacob Andrew Almanza, who performs in drag as Andrew Scott, putting on stiletto high heels, padded hips, a halter top and a long wig at R Place, a local nightclub.

Onstage, Scott is transformed into Selena Quintanilla, known as the “Queen of Tejano Music,” who was murdered at age 23 in 1995. 

Selena is one of the personas that Scott brings to life onstage, and one that brings some of his culture into his drag.

“The people who love Selena go crazy every time I perform her,” Scott said. “It is a great way to pay homage to somebody who inspired me and also let people know I am Latino, despite of what I look in drag.”

Screen shot of Andrew Scott performing "Illusion" by Selena (Screenshot of video by R Place).
Screen shot of Andrew Scott performing as Selena (Screenshot of video by R Place).

And Scott hopes to take his drag performances to the next level — as a serious singer.

“I think what’s missing in the drag community is a drag queen that takes her music seriously,” he said, citing inspiration from Whitney Houston, Madonna and, of course, Selena.

“I was like God, that’s what I want to do some day,” he said.

Scott, who also continues to act, dance and sing under his given name, adopted the drag stage name Andrew Scott at Le Faux Show at Julia’s, a Seattle restaurant in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

People tell him they see a difference between Andrew Scott and Jacob Andrew Alamanza — though he doesn’t see it.

“Andrew’s definitely more outgoing. Andrew likes to explore her sexy side,” Scott said. “People have told me, ‘When you’re Andrew you are completely different than when you’re Jacob.’ I guess people view it as their own way but for me personally, they’re the same person.

As a child in “small-town” Yakima, Scott knew dancing and singing was what he wanted to do. He pursued this passion of performance art when he attended Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.

Isaac Scott, Andrew Scott’s mentor, guide and drag mother, recognized his protege’s drive and ambition in his performance art.

“To me, there was always something special about Andrew as a performer, even as a dancer, and he has an amazing stage presence. So I was like, ‘Absolutely, I would love to take you under my wing and try to get you where you want to go,’ ” said Isaac Scott, who is known for celebrity impersonations.

Being a drag queen combines Scott’s passions: dancing, acting, singing. The combination of all his skills makes him unique, said his drag sister Victor Nguyen.

“His drag is unique, you see a lot of fierce queens, pretty queens, but it is hard to find queens out there that look good, perform, and dance,” said Nguyen, an aerialist at Julia’s.

“As I go through my process of putting on makeup, like little things as soon as I finish my contour, I start to perk my shoulders back and get into it,” Scott said. “That minute that lash goes on is [when] everything comes to life.

Andrew Scott is a singer, actor and dancer and drag performer. Selena, the Queen of Tejano music, is one of the personas he creates onstage. (Photo by Randy Salgado.)
Andrew Scott is a singer, actor and dancer and drag performer. Selena, the Queen of Tejano music, is one of the personas he creates onstage. (Screenshot of video by Randy Salgado.)

He says drag is a performing art which allows him do what he loves, entertain people and express that inner dancing child.

“People need to look at drag not at something to be afraid of or something to be ashamed of,” said Almanza. “It’s something that has a big impact [because] it allows people to express themselves in many different ways.”

And some use drag to explore their feminine side and or escape their daily lives, he said.

“It was a journey, it took me awhile to get comfortable with my boyfriend and my friends. ‘Are my parents going to find out?’ ” Scott said. “It was a process.”

Scott keeps his performing life separate from his personal life but occasionally, they collide. He had to explain his love of drag performance to his mother when she saw pictures of him dressed up on Facebook.

“She was like, ‘I don’t care what you do but as long as you’re happy, but I have to know. Is that what you want, to be a woman?’ ” Scott said. “No, not at all; I love being a man.”

While he is now comfortable to explain his performances to his mother, he says he shared some of the same anxiety as many gay youth when he came out. Scott’s family is Hispanic and religious. He was outed at age 16 by his brother.

“Once they found out, it was the last two people I wanted to know,” he said.  

Before being outed, he tried to avoid questions about his social life or who he was attracted to. But, once he was out, people began noticing his change of spirit.

While his parents eventually accepted it and they have always been supportive and caring, he said. Today they accept him and his boyfriend..

“I am not living my life for the people at school, at home. This is my life and all I want to do is be me.”