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Ten Questions with Dorothy Awards receipient Shawn Miller (Dandy Lions)

Shawn Miller has performed in drag as Dandy Lions for more than a decade, but both Shawn and Dandy have dedicated countless hours to the community volunteering time and fundraising money for many deserving local nonprofit organizations. Dandy also reigns as Empress of the Imperial Sovereign Court in 2015. Former Center Co-President Tom Donato interviewed Shawn recently, talking about Dandy’s favorite numbers to perform and the best advice Shawn’s ever received.

  1. How would Dandy Lions introduce Shawn Miller to a crowd? Oh my, as Dandy I would introduce Shawn as the creative genius behind Dandy (hahaha). Shawn is much more quiet and reserved than the character he has created and I believe that sometimes gets misconstrued negatively because he is not as outgoing as the drag persona.
  2. What drives you to give so much of your time to the Imperial Sovereign Court of All Connecticut and the causes and organizations it supports? When I first started drag the Imperial Court was a great organization and community to make friends and work on my craft. Once involved, I realized the great work that they did in the community and it really sparked an interest in other ways I could help or other organizations I could get involved in.  Attending Imperial Court events was also a great way to meet other community members who were involved in other organizations as well. 
  3. Who would play Shawn Miller and Dandy Lions in the movie of your life? Oh gosh,  for Shawn it would be someone like the actor who played Peeta (ed: Josh Hutcherson) in The Hunger Games: serious, quiet and loyal.  While for Dandy is would need to be someone like Kristen Wiig: someone good with situational comedy who can be as funny but also be the victim of the joke. 
  4. What is the most important challenge facing the LGBT community today? I would say the largest challenge is the age of the Internet. It has broken down many community ties.  People no longer congregate to find community whether it is at events, churches, or bars.  The LGBT community is much more vast and while that has had great impacts for social justice, I feel it has broken down some of the smaller local communities. 
  5. Do you see a specific positive benefit of the current political climate? The current political climate is very scary to me personally and I would rather not comment on it publicly. 
  6. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? To always be yourself.  There is a confidence people have when they know who they are, what they want, and why they are doing what they are doing. If you are working to be the best person you can be then you can always hold your head up high.  
  7. Do you have any advice for younger LGBT people? It would piggy back question 6. Be honest and genuine with the people around you always.  The sooner you realize all the “BS” doesn’t matter, the sooner you’ll be happy. 
  8. What is your favorite song to perform as Dandy Lions? I traditionally like to do mash-ups with spoken word inserted in. I think I’m probably most known for my Georgia number or my Mommy Dearest number. 
  9. Who or what are your biggest inspirations? My biggest inspiration is Maya Angelou in life.  Her life story is truly amazing and her body of work is phenomenal.  For drag I’m inspired by performers like Elaine Stritch, Bea Arthur, Angela Lansbury, and some modern day drag queens such as India Ferrah, Bianca Del Rio and Jackie Beat: entertainers who just go for it!
  10. Where do you hope to be in five years? In 5 years I hope to be right here, enjoying our drag community here in Connecticut and hopefully still having a positive and helpful impact on the community!
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