A series by Abe Plaut
Juniper Perón (@juniperperon)
Juniper Perón is no stranger to Bloomington, having grown up in B’town herself and performing since 2017 after being adopted into the House of Perón. Her last name Perón shows that she is part of a legacy of drag queens in Bloomington.
The House of Perón is a drag house founded by Argenta Perón, the original show director at the Back Door, a local queer bar in Bloomington. Drag houses, sometimes called drag families, are groups of drag artists that teach and support one another. A drag house is often led by a “drag mother” who adopts new queens into the family and teaches them relevant skills to their art.
“If you have a drag mom, it’s like your mentor. It is somebody that guides you and teaches you how to do different things like sewing or hair or makeup.”
“Because there are so many different aspects that go into being a drag queen… it’s just nice to have somebody that’s there to help do those different [things],” Juniper said. Elements of dance, comedy, music (live performance and/or lip-syncs), theater, and more can be incorporated into a queen’s act.
Juniper’s first experience performing in drag was Christmastime 2017 on December 22 shortly after being adopted into the House of Perón. With drag sisters named Paprika and Ginger Perón, Juniper knew she wanted a name that wouldn’t sound too out of place with spices. She took inspiration from the juniper berries that decorate Christmas trees in order to fit the theme with her sisters.
Like her name, Juniper’s drag is flavorful and festive, drawing on a variety of pop culture figures like the band Florence and the Machine. She does her best to come across to audiences as “fun and happy,” and above all “human.” Juniper recognizes that she isn’t perfect and can’t do it all. “I definitely can’t dance, and I feel like that comes off as really endearing to other people who can’t dance,” she said. Embracing her faults helps her connect to the crowds that gather to see her perform.