By Jane Kellogg Murray
Special to the American-Statesman
Television is getting a new crop of queens when the eighth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” premieres March 7, and Austin finally has its very own glamazon to root for as Cynthia Lee Fontaine vies for the crown of America’s Next Drag Superstar. A regular performer at Oilcan Harry’s, the local Latin diva welcomed her fellow contestants to Texas on Friday night for the show’s Austin premiere party at Ironwood Hall.
Fans waited up to two hours in a line that went around the block for the chance to meet the new cast, as well as Season 6 winner Bianca Del Rio and famed drag performer Lady Bunny.
Fontaine called out her signature statement (“¡Hola mis amores!”) as she vogued for photographers on the red carpet in a sexy, skin-tight, gold-sequin number that could best be described as Sofia Vergara meets Monopoly man — complete with a top hat and cane.
It’s customary for the contestants to design their own looks throughout the show’s filming and on tour afterward, but for her hometown event, Fontaine wore a look designed by friend Erika Lorenk Mykels, a fellow Oilcan Harry’s performer. “I wanted to bring exposure to the talent we have here in Austin,” Fontaine explained.
Born Carlos Hernandez in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the 34-year-old professional singer and dancer had been performing in drag for a decade before auditioning for the Logo show. This season, the series will feature a new crop of celebrity guest judges joining RuPaul, including Nicole Richie, Gigi Hadid, Marc Jacobs, David and Amy Sedaris, Faith Evans, and Chanel Iman.
What would Fontaine do if she snatches the crown and sashays away with the $100,000 cash prize?
“I’m going to buy 175 chalupas and 175 burritos, and we’re going to eat that for an entire year,” she revealed. Spoken like a true Austinite. Los Comales (2136 E. 7th St.) is her go-to spot. “Aye, those gorditas!” She clutched her sequin-covered torso. “Lord have mercy, I cannot talk about eating …”
“It’s a wonderful experience to represent Austin, Texas, my Hispanic community, and my community here in Austin,” she continued. “We are equipped with great performers — female, male, androgynous, campy, trashy, whatever — and this city provides everything in between. So I’m just proud that I can represent a little piece of that and share it with the entire world.”