Drag can be such a thankless endeavor. It’s easy to overlook the uncountable hours and expense the art demands; the relentless dedication, devotion, care and attention that form the heart of any professional queen worth her styling wand. Which immediately brings to mind my friend Kristopher Zello, or, Kristie Champagne, as she’s so effervescently called when her hip-pads are happening and her wig’s all teased high. In fact, in my humble opinion, Kristie is one of the most fun, dedicated, generous spirited, and hardest working queens in the entire Seattle scene.
She’s also the best Adele impersonator…well, period. Or at least she is according to…well, Adele.
Kristopher, a bouncy boy with a deep love of Disney and an infectious smile, is a powerhouse drag performer, known mostly for Julia’s on Broadway’s successful and long-running celebrity impersonation show LeFaux, as well as their weekend Queen of the Brunch show, both of which feature her as a performer and host.
“I started hosting Julia’s after Jinkx (Monsoon) won RuPaul’s Drag Race”, Kristopher tells us. Kristie was born at LeFaux back in 2009. “Before that I was doing, ‘Fat Madonna’”, he jokes. Kristopher began doing drag just six years ago, and of those six, he has hostessed LeFaux for four—quite an accomplishment for a relatively fledgling queen.
As hostess of both shows, the marvelous Mr. Zello tackles many numbers and celebrity impersonations each week. But his spot-on Adele is his spécialité. More than that, Adele is Kristopher’s idol, obsession, and muse.
“Adele means so much to me”, Kristopher explains. “She is not only the inspiration for my job, but she is so classy and respectful to her fans…I look up to that a lot.”
“I was not in a great point in my life when I first came to LeFaux”, Kristopher tells us. “When I really got the chance to pursue Adele as an impersonation, my life turned around. Her lyrics and songs touched me and made me the person that I am today.”
So it is not difficult to imagine Kristopher’s reaction when his Adele captured the attention and adulation of the Adele. And it happened just last Monday at her concert at Key Arena.
“So we were midsection of the Arena, dead in the middle,” Kristopher explains. “My friends were flashing their lights on their phones at me.” As was only proper, Kristopher was garbed in full Adele drag for the event. “Adele saw me, and we locked eyes! She started laughing and said that I looked amazing! And then invited me to come up (on stage)…she was so sweet and asked me where I worked and said she would have come to see me at LeFaux.”
“I was on cloud 9!” Kristopher confides.
“She also said that she loved my dress and how I contoured my makeup and chin to look just like her. I got to tell her what she meant to me and how she changed my life and that getting to impersonate her was a thrill and honor. She told me I was the best Adele impersonator she had ever seen and dedicated the song, ‘Someone Like You’ to me!” It was a moment that made everyone tear up.
But perhaps the most exciting part of the encounter was when Adele confided in Kristopher that she’d like him to attend her own birthday party. “She said she would bring me to her next birthday, but that’s not till may of next year. So fingers crossed it happens!” Fingers crossed, indeed.
“I can’t believe that I got the chance to meet her and hug her. It was truly amazing.”