This September marks the 4th year of "Design Meets the Divas of Drag" at the San Francisco Design Center during "Fall into Fabrics". Emceed by multi-talented Terry McLaughlin, the combination variety/runway show features drag queens wearing couture gowns fabricated by local workrooms. Each queen sources exquisite textiles from manufacturers represented at the SFDC. Proceeds benefit the Episcopal Community Services
Terry is perfectly suited for his role as Master of Ceremonies. The 20-year veteran of the interior design industry has moonlighted on stage as Edina "Eddie" Monsoon of Ab Fab for the last five years. To judge the queens he is joined by designers, Cheryl DuCote, James Hunter, Kendall Wilkinson, and Kristi Will along with showroom owner Darin Geise. Coupar caught up with him Terry recently to find out his thoughts on Divas, design, and life.
Why did you want to emcee “Design Meets the Divas of Drag?”
TM: DIVAS was born over cocktails at a showroom opening four years ago. SFDC had produced "Haute Dog" which was a fun event. Rhonda Hirata was trying to come up with an idea for a new production. I’d always thought that it would be amazing to see textiles customarily used for sofas, draperies, etc. as fashion and to have people seeing the fabrics in a new way. I have a background in musical theater as well as degrees in communication so being on stage speaking is second nature to me.
How do the "Divas of Drag" event benefit the Episcopal Community Services (ECS)?
TM: It was essential to the committee producing "Fall Into Fabrics" that the proceeds from the "Divas of Drag" benefit a charity of some sort. We are fortunate to work and live in such a beautiful city, but sadly, homelessness is all around us. We made it a point that the proceeds would be donated.
Do you have any amusing stories from the "Divas of Drag" that you can share?
TM: The first year, there were a group of young ladies who needed escorting out because they were intoxicated. Tim Treadway, the CEO of the Design Center, was the “bouncer.” Year two, there was a fiasco with the sound company where someone disconnected the wire that played the vocals on the music tracks! I felt terrible for the Drag Queens who were lip-synching to music with no vocals! Last year’s event was terrific all around from the outfits, performances, pre-parties. People started asking in January about it happening again.
As a design veteran, what do you see as the future of the industry?
TM: Having worked in design for over 20 years, I’ve seen a lot of changes! I think that the industry needs to cater to and educate the end user/clients. People will spend money on quality if they understand what goes into making something and why it costs what it does. I think that it’s OK to mix in lower cost items as accessories or replaceable pieces, but they should never be the main pieces of a room.
What are your top 3 favorite restaurants in San Francisco?
TM: I love Scala’s Bistro at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. I also like Plouff on Belden Lane. I love sitting outside and feeling like I’m in Europe. My third favorite is Zazie which is in my neighborhood of Cole Valley.
Favorite place to travel?
TM: Amsterdam! I’ve been four times and would live there if I could. It reminds me a lot of San Francisco minus the hills!
What is your favorite leisure activity?
TM: I love theater whether I’m seeing a show or performing in one. I am lucky to have a career that allows me the flexibility for rehearsals and performing. By the way, come see me at Oasis starring in "Absolutely Fabulous Live" as Edina Monsoon from November 8-December 1.
Who do you admire and why?
TM: I admire my mother! She is a retired music teacher and worked through my whole childhood and still kept everything at home running smoothly. She supported my family and is the glue that holds us together. As my parents have aged, she continues to take care of my father who is not in the best of health. She is still very active and social and is very involved in the community.
What is one item you could never live without?
TM: Sadly, my phone! I feel like I’m on it practically 24/7,
Describe yourself in 1 word.