My Balance: Mercedez Munro
Name: Lonnie Haley (Mercedez Munro)
Profession: Director of eMarketing
Drag queens may have a reputation for serving sizzle, sass, and a fierce lip-sync for cash, but many of these wig-wearing warriors do more for their local communities than they are given credit.
They are often the first to donate their time, energy, sweat, uniqueness, charisma, nerve, and talent to a good cause – and manage do it all while rocking a pair of sickening heels!
Life balance is essential for those who wish to become successful at their craft, a fact Lonnie Haley, also known as San Francisco’s Mercedez Munro, knows only too well.
We caught up with this gem from the City by the Bay to chat with her about the wonderful contributions she’s made to her community, her future pageantry plans, and why drag and sports have more in common than most people think.
Gay.net: How did you become involved in the world of drag and who inspired your alter ego Mercedez Munro?
Mercedez Munro: I became involved in the world of drag after I lost a bet with an ex-boyfriend, but my alter ego, Mercedez Munro was inspired by my drag mother, Sentury D’Alazandro. She was quite the beauty! Lord, could she paint the house down! She was and still is everything I aspire to be. After her passing, she left behind me and my drag sisters and we always strive to make her proud. To this day I still make decisions with her in my ear. Her honorable memory inspired me to create my own house, “La Maison de Munro” and it is my drag community/family that inspires me today. My drag mother gave me the tools through love, patience, and a lot of paint, to teach my drag daughters everything they would ever need to know about our craft. I owe everything Mercedez is to her.
Since becoming a San Francisco celebrity as Mercedez Munro, you’ve used your platform to assist many charities over the years. For you, drag is about much more than gowns and glory.
Absolutely! Having a voice and the determination to help are the most important gifts you can give a community. My drag mom always had a “pay it forward” attitude and I take that into every endeavor. It has always been my honor to repay our community back for their generosity by donating time, money, and a fierce lip-sync, to a worthy cause. A few organizations that I am most proud of working with are: B.C.A – The Black Coalition on AIDS, Stop AIDS Project, Larkin Street Youth, San Francisco Gay Softball League Association, The Pups, and The Aids Life Cycle.
In addition to your charity work, and local shows, you also actively compete in pageants. In fact, you recently won a highly coveted title and will be going on to even stiffer competition very soon.
Yes! In January 2012, I had the pleasure of being crowned the first Miss Gay California United States, and I couldn’t be more proud! In addition to being honored to hold the title, I’ll soon get to compete for the crown of a true gem, an entertainer that I wholeheartedly respect and adore, Miss Gay United States 2012 – Taylor Madison Monroe.
You maintain an impressive list of responsibilities as Mercedez Munro, but you do even more in your daily life. In addition to working a full-time job, you’re also active in the SFGSL (San Francisco Gay Softball League) and have coached/managed several award-winning teams.
In my day life I am a Director of eMarketing. I really love my job and the people I work with. My personal life sees me as not only Mercedez Munro, but also the coach of The San Francisco Pups. I can honestly say those boys made me fall in love with softball again. But, before I worked with them I coached another team, the SF Treat, and took those boys to the world series several times.
Many people unfairly assume drag and sports are mutually exclusive activities, but you’re living proof that stereotype is totally false.
Oh yes! The primary thing us queens have in common with any other gay male that likes or plays sports is that we’re all men wearing a uniform! One homerun comes from a bat and ball while the other comes from a fierce lip-sync and heels!
Tell us what’s in store for Mercedez Munro in the months ahead.
Well Mercedez Munro continues to be as busy as ever, while working a day job, coaching softball and prepping to win Miss Gay United States. My friends, family and the community at large has really rallied behind me, (something I feel overwhelmed by), showing their love, and support in many different ways. Tomorrow night, a fundraiser is being held in my honor at The Dancing Pig which is owned by my dear friend, Larry Metzger. He’s being so generous offering all you can eat BBQ Ribs and Chicken, from 6pm-10pm with all proceeds going towards my pageant. Also, Chris Hastings, owner of the LookOut bar is allowing me the chance to hold another fundraiser performance on Thursday, October 18th from 9 – 2AM! This is going to be a show not to be missed! Mary-Go-Round - One Night Only! Also, my sisters Suppositori Spelling and Holotta Tymes will reunite to drink, hoot, and holler while giving away raffle prizes, drink specials and more. There are also a few more events scheduled in the weeks ahead to help me on my way to Nationals. It’s definitely going to be a busy month.
You juggle so many things at once and still manage to be a positive force of energy for so many people. How do you maintain that balance?
Thank you! How can a person not be positive when they’re doing things they’re passionate about? I say do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life. Also, the outpouring of love, support, and donations I’ve received while trying to raise money for the Miss Gay United States pageant has been grand. I’ve only been in San Francisco for a little over eight years, but I’ve been greeted by all drag communities here with open arms. I have so much respect for the girls in this city, girls that I wholeheartedly call friend.
How do you maintain balance? Tweet your tips. #Miller64Balance