Miss Miranda celebrates 1-year entertaining at Scarlet, other Chicago venues

Fri. March 22, 2019 3:07 PM by Ross Forman

miss miranda

Miss Miranda came to life with a little help from Jameson

Chicago, IL - Miss Miranda is, in some form, a mix of Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Selena Quintanilla – and alcohol was, not surprisingly, involved in her debut.

"I got my start in drag because I drunkenly agreed to do it," said Angel 'AJ' Miranda, the real-life Miss Miranda. "I host a show called Feedback with Aurora Gozmic and Chamilla Fox, and I used to just host as a boy, but one night after the show we were chatting and then the next thing I knew, I drunkenly promised to do the next show in drag."

Miss Miranda came to life with a little help from Jameson – and is celebrating her one-year anniversary this month.

"Miss Miranda is a queen who is very proud of her Latin roots, loves Disney, loves comics, loves pop culture, and just loves putting that all together," she said. "(The name, Miss Miranda,) actually is a very sensitive topic for me that I have really never explained to anyone. My name comes from my real last name, which is Miranda. Growing up I came from a family that most of the family had one last name, Serrano. My aunts and uncles all had the same dad. My grandma eventually remarried to my grandpa and they had my dad, leading to a new last name, Miranda. My grandpa raised all of my aunts and uncles, he is the only grandfather any of my cousins have ever known, but everyone still always called us the Serrano family. I always felt that this had to bother my grandpa on some level. I just wanted to pay tribute to our ancestors, our family name, and show I was proud of who I am and where I come from."

Miss Miranda made her debut at the March 2018 Feedback and the first number she performed was Bidi Bidi Bom Bom. "I remember being terrified and my eyebrows were hideous," she said, laughing.

Since then, Miss Miranda said, "My make-up has definitely changed 100 percent and my confidence has grown, too. I know I have so much to learn and can't wait to learn more, but I also know that I have made progress and that's something I'm proud of."

 Miss Miranda has performed at Scarlet Bar in Boystown, where the real-life Angel Miranda is the general manager, several times in Plot Twist, hosted by T Rex – and lost every time.

"But I learned so much from those experiences," she said. "I also have performed in Goddess, hosted by Kat Sass and Lucky Stiff. I did a cycle of Crash Landing, hosted by T Rex and Nico, which is Chicago's biggest amateur contest, where I placed in the Top 3. I have done a night at Roscoe's for Drag Race, I have done a night at Sidetrack for Dixie Wins a Talent Show, and I have also done a few shows with Danika Bonet at Charlie's."

Miss Miranda is the co-host with XO and Venus Carangi for The Takeover, held at Scarlet. Plus, every last Wednesday of the month she hosts Feedback with Chamilla Fox and Aurora Gozmic, which is an amateur drag competition.

Every other Saturday Miss Miranda hosts at Scarlet alongside DJ Knife Fight.

Related: DJ Knife Fight brings the sounds to Boystown hotspot Scarlet Bar

"Miss Miranda tries extremely hard to get better, is always willing to take advice on how to grow in drag, but mostly she knows how to interact with the crowd. People love the fact that Miss Miranda loves to drink, dance, and just have a great time with new people every night, she said. "I love being able to take a moment to put my manager hat aside and just enjoy myself. To be able to tap into my creative/artistic side is something I need every once in a while."

General manager Miranda, 28, was raised in Chicago's northwest suburbs, graduated from Grant Community High School in Fox Lake and has now been living in Chicago for about four years. As the Scarlet GM, "you can literally find me there doing every kind of job, from managing to bartending to hosting in drag," he said.

Miranda is dating Brryce Fersher for almost four years.

"It's always fun when people ask me while in boy where Miss Miranda is, and I explain that that is me. I always get this shocked expression that always makes me laugh. Or vice versa, when I'm in drag and people ask where AJ is. I'm always given the same shocked look, which makes me giggle," he said.

Miranda never watches videos of Miss Miranda performing, he said.

"I am so inspired my Gaga, so turning one of her looks just puts me in the mood of 'OK, I did that!' Also, cosplaying is just so fun to me. I love being able to put my own twist on characters I absolutely love," she said. "Two of my biggest highlights were co-creating and co-hosting two nights that have grown tremendously – The Monster Rave, a monthly Lady Gaga dance party, and The Takeover: Selena!/Fuego.

"Also, when I got Top 3 in Crash Landing was definitely a highlight. That competition, in six weeks, helped me grow so much. I also believe it helped people see me in a different way."

Another memorable moment for Miss Miranda was, early on in her drag career, competing in Plot Twist – and she wanted to end her number with something to be remembered. "A lot of performers are flexible and can do flips and splits. I am not one of them, so I thought I would try something a little different: a belly flop. The crowd was definitely shook, but it didn't clinch me the win," she said.

Then there was the time Miss Miranda was hosting at Scarlet and wanted to get on the bar and dance for a song. She jumped on the bar and stood up, but quickly realized something was wrong. "I looked down and the bartender was taking my fake boobs out of the ice bin," she said, laughing.

"(I want) to just keep enjoying drag for years to come. I'm still a baby; I want to really force myself to learn, grow and get on the level where I am invited/booked to do shows/events that I really look up to their curators. There are shows in Chicago you just know you have done something right or made something of yourself when you're invited to do them, such as Drag Matinee, hosted by T Rex, or Fabitat, hosted by Lucy Stoole, just to name two."

Drinks With ...Miss Miranda

Drag Idols: T Rex, The Princess, Bambi Banks, Nico, Venus Carangi, Chamilla Fox, Abhijeet, Khloe Park, XO, Sara Andrews, Tenderoni, Kat Sass, Lucky Stiff and Dixie Lynn Cartwright, among others.

It's A Drag: "Being a bar manager and being a queen (can be difficult). My business will always come first and sometimes it's hard to get others to understand the business side of things."

LGBT Community: "As a gay Puerto Rican, it means a lot to me to provide a safe space for those who do not always feel like they have one."

HIV Awareness: "(Being) HIV-positive, it is very important to me to speak out about HIV, letting people know about prevention, living with the virus, etc."