Meet Lady Celestina, the drag artist who dons custom-made top hats in her iconic drag look

Lady Celestina is a New Jersey-based drag performer who can often be found soaking in the vibrant energy of the Asbury Park boardwalk, and who never leaves home without one of her custom-made top hats!

As a performer, Lady Celestina (@ladycelestina) is all about glamour, drama, and fun. She loves the theater and draws on all of the drama and energy of her New Jersey community when she performs. “Lady Celestina, she is opulent, she is theater, she is costumes and performance and fun and energy,” Lady Celestina told In The Know. “It’s just a really fun kind of character to play.”

Lady Celestina became interested in theater at a young age but didn’t discover drag until she started working with an LGBTQ support and advocacy organization called Project REAL as an adult. “I got introduced to theater at a young age, and so, I knew it was something I wanted to get into,” she explained. “I went to college, to one of the local community colleges. There, I met a bunch of folks from a group called Project REAL.”

While working for Project REAL, Lady Celestina was introduced to the drag community in Asbury Park. At first, she just enjoyed attending drag shows, but eventually, she decided to try drag performance herself. “I met some really fantastic drag queens and they introduced me into the bar scene,” she told In The Know. “They introduced me to the other performers, and then one day, I just went, ‘You know what? Let me give it a shot.’”

Just as Lady Celestina never expected to become a drag performer, she never imagined a top hat would become an essential part of her look. “I wore [a top hat] one day because it went with an outfit when I first started drag,” she told In The Know. “And then the next time I went out, someone went, ‘Hey, you’re the one with the top hat, right?’ And I went, ‘That’s a nice calling card, so let me keep that.’”

These days, Lady Celestina performs in both New York and New Jersey, but her heart belongs to Asbury Park. She thrives on the sense of community there, and the vibrancy of all the artists, beachgoers, and locals who visit the Asbury Park boardwalk. “Asbury Park, it’s everything to me, you know, it’s a city full of creativity, and energy, and excitement,” she explained. “It feels like there’s a lot of possibility here.”

And, when it comes down to it, drag is all about the possibility for Lady Celestina. Each night’s performance is an opportunity to bring joy to a new group of people. She told In The Know, “I just get to enjoy that I get to do this and spread joy and entertain people and make sure everyone has a good time.”

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If you enjoyed this story, check out In The Know’s other stories from Behind the Drag here.

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