Cord Skyla is a personality rising up in the Orlando nightlife scene. By day he models, by night, he drags. However, the road to gigs has been a fairly bumpy one.
Cord started acting when he was around 7 years old, modeling at age 15, and has loved the feeling of the spotlight since. To preview his recent accomplishments, the Orlando local has walked in Orlando Fashion Week, Aveda Institute Fashion shows, been signed by BMG Modeling agency and has recently begun his journey with drag. Since starting out in October of 2017, he has performed at Parliament House and Southern Nights.
“What really got me into it was one of my friends was obsessed with Ru Paul’s Drag Race, and she did my make up back for Halloween,” said Cord.
“We went downtown for Halloween, and she dressed up in drag. The whole night people thought I was a girl and she was a guy. It was so funny and ever since that night, I just started doing drag.”
“I’ve walked in about 8 or 9 fashion shows. It’s really made me comfortable with who I am. I’m not your basic model, I don’t even look like a model. I’m a little bit on the thicker side compared to all the male models that are usually casted with me. They’re usually all fit and buff and I’m always the oddball,” said Cord.
Cord has also done photoshoots for Lupus Disease Awareness.
Although he continues to work his way up the ladder of entertainment, he has endured an intricate level of losses along the way.
Cord came out when he was around 21 to his mother who was very religious.
“I was experimenting with my clothes. I was cutting off my jeans into short shorts and cutting my shirts. I was getting really comfortable with dressing like who I wanted to be. (the argument escalated) and I just said “You know what mom, I’m gay!” I slammed the door and went outside,” said Cord.
“A few weeks passed and I was sitting in the car with my mom during a car ride and she was like “you’ve always talked about wanting to have kids and a family.” And I told her I’d still have kids and a family, I just don’t know if it’ll be with a woman. She accepted me no matter what but she was just really hurt at first.”
Eventually she came to accept her son and their relationship grew even more. Cord’s father wasn’t around much because of his traveling career in baseball. Despite all of this, Cord has remained a stable faith and left judgement of others at the door.
“Since I’ve come out, I’m still a believer of God. I don’t judge anyone on religion, I have friends of all different religions,” said Cord.
Cord described his mom as his best friend. She struggled with breast cancer and multiple rounds of chemo. Once his mother reached a state of remission they visited Tennessee for his sister’s wedding. While vacationing in Tennessee, they were in a tragic car accident. Cord’s mother lost the ability to walk and became very weak in the hospital. Shortly thereafter, she passed away.
This loss had followed another even more tragic loss; Cord’s fiance had died.
He told me about his fiance, Chris and how the two of them were at their friend’s 40th birthday party. He claimed they were having the times of their lives during a photo shoot, when he noticed Chris’ absence from the party.
He walked outside to find a crowd surrounding his fiance. As he picked up Chris’ head to hold, he noticed black and blue bruising around his left eye and a large gash above his left ear. Cord explained this to police and was instead questioned about being an attacker.
During this night, they had even gone on Facebook live because the incident was such an outrage.
“There’s still video footage from that night that I cant bear to watch it,” said Cord.
The police’s lack of empathy ensued as they dismissed the guests from the party and never followed up with Cord about his fiance’s death. Articles came out claiming the death of Cord’s fiance, was due to natural causes. They stated that his blood vessels simply burst in his brain and there was not further investigating into the external injuries that were visible, though camouflaged with make up, even during the wake of Cord’s fiance Chris.
For a year after both of the close losses, Cord moved to Tennessee to be close to his mother’s grave so he could grieve and heal.
Since Cord has moved back to Orlando, he has jumped right back into the world of work.
“When I moved back in October, I started getting all these gigs. I was in a Disney Live Action Film a couple of weeks ago with Breaking Bad’s Brian Cranston. It’s called One and Only Ivan and it’s coming out Summer of 2019,” said Cord.
During this, he has decided to start exploring in the world of drag. Although he said he gets mostly positive feedback, he hinted that the community of queens is tight-knit and hard to join.
Some of the push back from other queens has included insulting his wigs and questioning his looks.
“Starting out, you get a lot of hate but I’ve still kept going,” said Cord.
On the upside, Cord also told me how he has met some of his truly best friends while out in drag.
“Drag is a form of art for me, a way to escape to be someone else and to perform your talents. I just love how the transformation is for people, how different of a transformation that people can make of themselves. Drag has made me really comfortable with who I am personally,” said Cord.
While he isn’t out in drag or performing, he teaches classes on commercial modeling and acting and runway tactical classes to other aspiring talents.
Overcoming his past has not only thickened his skin, but made him a bit of a role model. When life gets you down, you don’t give up. You heal, and you come back stronger than ever. When considering his past and younger self, he said this-
“I wish I wouldn’t have been so afraid of what everyone thought of me. I used to care so much about what I looked like.
It’s okay to be who you are, God made you a certain way for a reason.”
Thanks for reading! Much love~
If you’d like to see more of Cord Skyla, click the links below.