Miss Toto, a prominent drag queen based in Florida, has found an unconventional yet impactful way to bridge two seemingly disparate worlds: drag performances and shark conservation. Toto, with a background in ocean wildlife conservation, is not just known for her captivating stage presence but also for her dedication to preserving the marine ecosystem and supporting LGBTQ+ causes.
Glamour Meets Conservation
Miss Toto’s journey into the world of shark conservation began during her aqua-culture master’s degree at the University of Miami, where she became deeply involved in shark research. Simultaneously, she embarked on her drag career, eventually realizing that she could merge her passions for drag and marine science to raise awareness and funds.
“Drag doesn’t have to stay strictly in nightlife, and you can have an impact by bringing in fundraising…people pay a lot more attention to what I have to say when I have a wig on,” Toto explains, emphasizing the importance of visibility and activism within the LGBTQ+ community.
Drag N Tag: A Unique Fundraising Event
The Drag N Tag event, conceptualized by the educational marine group Field School, came to life three years ago. In a state where LGBTQ+ rights are increasingly under attack, this event defied adversity and raised around £4,000 ($4,800), with all proceeds benefiting Pridelines, a charity supporting queer youth in southern Florida.
Miss Toto, originally from Chicago but deeply connected to Florida, believes in helping LGBTQ+ youth find their authentic selves. “That’s where I got my start as far as being a drag queen, then also coming into my own queerness, so I want other people to be able to live their lives as truly as possible,” she affirms.
Protecting Sharks and Drag Queens
Miss Toto draws parallels between sharks and drag queens, both often misunderstood and unfairly demonized. She describes sharks as “beautiful,” “misunderstood” creatures that act instinctually, much like the drag community, which often faces harmful rhetoric from right-wing politicians and media.
As she continues her dual role as a drag artist and marine conservationist, Miss Toto hopes to inspire others, particularly Black and LGBTQ+ individuals, to pursue their dreams. Her journey serves as a testament to the power of activism, diversity, and the unifying force of love for both the oceans and the LGBTQ+ community.