Driving in the streets of Los Angeles is probably one of the most frustrating, intimidating and sometimes terrifying things to do. Public transportation is somewhat lackluster to say the least and getting anywhere can take an hour or more depending on traffic. Companies like Uber and Lyft have tried to help alleviate the stress of driving around in cities alone by introducing ride sharing. It’s a concept where drivers use their own cars and pick up strangers to go to various locations depending on their needs. There are apps and all types of variations to the experience, but Erika Simone dragged out the experience.
We took some time to speak with Erika about her “Driving Is a DRAG” concept and here’s how she described it, “The way that it works is that people request a LYFT and see a normal looking guy in the app’s car profile coming to pick them up. Nobody knows that I am showing up in full drag and they look confused when they see a “girl” sitting outside their home/location and typically walk right by my car. At that point I hop out and say ‘Hey Babe, you need a Lyft? I’m Erika Simone, and this is Driving is a DRAG. I’m here to take you on a fabulous ride to your next destination.’ At that point, people typically drop their Whole Foods Shopping Bags on the floor and start laughing hysterically.” Erika continues, “I definitely see this concept as somewhere between Cash Cab, Punked, and Borat – IN DRAG!”
Erika is the alter ego of 38-year-old LA native, Erik Koral. Erik specialized in marketing for bands for 15 years and with his own company, FanManager, for 9 years. Unfortunately, due to shrinking budgets from record labels, he had to shut down his business last year. Out of necessity, he took up the Lyft position to pay bills and the marketing background went to work.
Erik struggled for some time with his sexuality, which led him down a few dark paths. This struggle led to a few relapses with addiction and a life filled with shame and secrecy. While he’s since recovered and is now sober due to rehabilitation and working a 12 step program, he is no longer struggling with his sexuality and is openly bi-sexual. His life as Erika has added a level of empowerment as well. He explains, “I finally feel comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my life and it’s a wonderful feeling.”
We asked Erika why drag and she stated, it’s “fun, it’s creative, and it’s kinky. I think the whole drag thing is a big middle finger to societal norms and I’m all about that. When I first started to try on women’s clothes, I think there’s a very powerful chemical reaction that happens and you feel different, you look different, and I realized that I can be beautiful. That was eye opening to say the least.” While Erik has only been dressing up for 4 months, he has embraced it as an integral part of his life and personality.
As a marketing professional, Driving is a DRAG came to Erik through an epiphany moment that almost made him crash his Toyota Prius in late July. He was able to combine his love for drag and Lyft position to create the ultimate ride-share experience. Erika Simone is providing a safe, sober and entertaining ride and she’s just getting started. She’s got a lot of ideas, opportunities (such as reality TV offers pending and charity partnerships) and miles to go, be sure to check her website www.DrivingIsADrag.com