A mother, a mentor, and a friend to many, Lady Red Couture has died.
Lady Red was a pillar of Los Angeles’ trans and drag communities, hosting and producing shows like last year’s “Black Girl Magic.” She liked to describe herself as “a trans woman that lives as the largest drag queen in captivity” and the “largest live-singing drag queen in captivity.” Beyond the city she called home, she was perhaps best known for co-hosting YouTube talk show Hey Qween! with Johnny McGovern.
McGovern confirmed Lady Red’s death in an Instagram post on Saturday.
“I can’t believe I am writing this message, but the unthinkable has happened,” he writes. “We are in shock. We are devastated.”
Lady Red had been in intensive care since last Sunday due to complications related to cycling vomiting syndrome, a chronic health condition. All week, McGovern had been crowdfunding on social media to cover her hospital bills and support her during recovery. Now, he says, those funds will go towards helping her family with funeral arrangements.
“She meant so much to so many people,” McGovern’s post continues. “All I can do is cry and mourn the giant loss of my sister, creative partner, and best friend.”
Also known as Mother Couture, Lady Red took an active interest in mentoring younger queens, making them dresses, doing their makeup, and teaching them how to be in the world.
“I always tell them: Don’t live in muck and mire, because it’s unnecessary,” she told Harper’s Bazaar in June. “The devil is on his job, so why shouldn’t we be?”
Many well-known drag queens and trans women have begun mourning Lady Red’s passing on social media.
“Last week, I filmed a new Hey Qween! interview and Lady Red was out sick, so we talked to her like she was there,” tweeted Isis King, the actress and model who appeared on two cycles of America’s Next Top Model. “She was going to film her parts later on. Now, she’s gone.”
“Rest in peace, Lady Red,” King added, sharing a picture of the first time they met three years ago. “She will be truly missed by many.”
“If you knew her, you loved her,” tweeted Shangela of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame. “That was the joy that she carried within her beautiful soul. I’ll always remember your laugh, sister. And your hugs. Rest now, Lady Red.”
A singer with incredible range, Lady Red released her last album, #Stuntqueen, in 2018. Here she is performing her Adele parody off of that album, “Hello Grindr,” at Micky’s West Hollywood in 2016.