Better known as his alter ego — Shi-Queeta-Lee — Jerry VanHook is one of D.C.’s leading female impersonators, as well as the founder of VanHook Productions, a troupe of male and female impersonators that travels nationally. As Shi-Queeta-Lee, VanHook, 52, specializes in impersonating R&B divas, including Rihanna, Mary J. Blige and Tina Turner; Shi-Queeta-Lee’s Turner even rocked the White House in 2016 in what was (probably) the first drag performance there. D.C. residents most often see VanHook in action as one of the performers at Nellie’s Sports Bar’s weekend drag brunches or at Town Danceboutique on Fridays and Saturdays. How VanHook would spend an entire day off might surprise you — it’s less camp and more camping.
When I don’t have to work, I don’t get up until after 12. I just purchased an RV, so I spend a lot of time out at the campground, trying to plan my day, where I want to drive to sightsee or explore in the RV. [I like] the Cosca Regional Park in Clinton, Md. It’s a relaxing atmosphere. It’s not really, really busy, popping like most RV grounds are. [The RV is] a 31-footer, it sleeps eight people — two queen-size beds, two bunk beds, two pull-out beds. Kitchen, dinette, living room, fully equipped bathroom, two showers. It’s nicer than my first apartment.
Because I deal with the public on weekends, performing for people I’ve never seen, don’t know, would never meet, a day to relax and not work — it’s amazing to be by myself. I also spend half of my day picking up different costumes and designs to make, so I spend a lot of time in the fabric stores. I prefer to go up to New York, to the fashion district, but [here] I go to Sarah Fabrics in Takoma Park, [Md.], or Vien Dong in [Falls Church], Va.
If people come to town, I take them down to the monuments, but now they have the MGM [National Harbor] and that’s a very nice place to relax. I don’t spend too much, but I like the atmosphere. I only play the slot machines — the 50 cents or the dollar. I hate losing money because I love making money.