Mars is out of this world

Mars+performing+in+the+cage+at+Stonewall+Warehouse.+Photo+credit%3A+Laura+Figi

Mars performing in the cage at Stonewall Warehouse. Photo credit: Laura Figi

Laura Figi

Which planet is the hottest, Mercury or Venus? Trick question: it’s Mars.

Since his early years in high school, 21-year-old theater senior Jacob Immel has been honing his craft and building an audience doing what he loves: performing. What started as sneaking makeup from his mother and playing dress-up as a child quickly evolved to becoming Mars, the darling of the San Marcos drag scene.

Mars, named after the Roman god of masculinity, has been performing all over central Texas since 2016. She got her start via Instagram and performing at San Marcos’ own Stonewall Warehouse on Friday and Saturday nights. Now, Immel’s Mars account has over 5,000 followers.

“People make me feel so important when I’m in drag—not even my friends, but the public,” Immel said. “To me, that’s so not a lot because I aspire to have a much bigger audience.”

He’s part of what he calls the “RuPaul Baby Boom,” a group of kids who discovered the show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” in the early stages and created a booming population of up-and-coming young drag queens.

“As soon as I started watching season five, I was like, ‘okay, that’s what I want to do,’” Immel said. “It was just a matter of finding out that it’s an actual thing people do in the world and that I can do that too.”

Since turning 21, Mars has been able to start performing at venues in Austin, including Mondays and Fridays at Sellers Underground at 11 p.m., Oil Can Harry’s and Volstead Lounge periodically and Mars is now cast member for Vixen’s Brunch at Javelina.

Matt Canon, who performs as Tequila Rose, got his start performing alongside Mars at Stonewall Warehouse. They often performed as a troupe, called the Haus of Heaven, which also consisted of Jakob “Cherry Haze” Sevier and Tripp “Sandy C Biscuit” Spires.

Now, Tequila Rose has over 1,300 followers on Instagram.

Canon said he thinks Mars will be successful because she knows what she wants and thinks outside the box by connecting old drag to modern drag.

“She’s a damn star and she’s electrifying,” Canon said. “She knows she’s on top of the world and she can do anything she wants to do in a wig and a pair of eight-inch heels.”

Like most prospective queens, the path to stardom has been an uphill climb due to factors like difficulty building an audience in a small area and the struggle to feel just as important when not in drag.

Immel said the hardest part of entertaining an audience is they only get to see Mars from the surface level and never interact with her.

“A lot of people at Stonewall, they know Mars,” Immel said. “I don’t act the same way in drag; I’m still very much me while in drag and Mars is very much still part of me, but they don’t know Jacob.”

However, the struggle does not end there. Canon, Sevier and Spires all said that it can be very scary to start up a career in drag, especially when it comes to buying the essentials.

“When I first started drag, I was so scared to go buy makeup and go buy wigs and stuff in public,” Spires said. “That took a lot for me to get over. It was like a second coming-out.”

Despite all the hardship, Immel said he is lucky to have been born into a supportive family and doesn’t really remember what living without Mars was like. He someday hopes to make it onto “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” the show that started it all.

“At the end of the day I just want people to enjoy what I do,” Immel said. “I think a lot of people just need a drag queen in their life.”

Mars can be found on Twitter and Instagram @marsduh.

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