When everything else was falling apart, they turned to drag to survive — and thrive

‘The most important part of all of it is that we have each other’s backs.’

Cancer and drag brought this Honolulu couple closer together

This profile is the third in a series of stories HNN is producing to celebrate Pride Month in Hawaii.

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The drag performing duo known as Party Monsters started a few years ago, the brainchild of a Makiki couple who have since used their alternate personas to overcome adversity.

Party Monsters is G-Dolce (G. Sanchez-Diaz) and J-Dolce (Jason Victorino).

But despite the group’s name, they’re sober and mostly low-key, choosing to get their high by taking to the stage.

It’s also done so much more than that.

On a recent weekday, Sanchez-Diaz and Victorino are in their apartment, where they also have what Sanchez-Diaz has dubbed his drag laboratory.

Sanchez-Diaz said that his partner, who is a successful hairstylist, concentrates on the business side of the show. Sanchez-Diaz handles creative direction.

"So I would say I’m more of the art director,” he said. "I gear it towards a certain way. Like more feminine look for me. Jason has a more masculine side.”

It was just a few years ago that the couple landed their own show at Scarlet Honolulu.

And then came a diagnosis that left them both stunned.

Victorino learned he had a brain tumor. It nearly sidelined their act, leaving Victorino suddenly feeling introverted and frightened of going on stage — especially in the wake of radiation treatment that left him with partial face paralysis.

But the show must go on.

And so the couple did, using some makeup artistry to get them through their shows.

If you go to one of their shows, you’ll notice J-Dolce wears a mask or smudged makeup to throw off the asymmetry of his face. “It’s just so people wont be like, ‘Hey, are you OK?’" he said.

Sanchez-Diaz said Victorino did have some reservations about starting their act — and sticking with it. But they decided to go for it together.

“It’s like the most important part of all of it is that we have each other’s backs in this whole situation because it can get very murky," he said.

The two even kept Victorino’s diagnosis a secret from fans and close friends for a time.

“This landed on my face and I was lucky that I actually found it early and we were able to do radiation, but I didn’t tell anybody,” Victorino said. Performing "was fun and I had something to do with my husband that we really just enjoyed doing.”

But the couple eventually did decide to share their story, taking to social media to let others know what they were going through. The support was immediate — and overwhelmingly.

Now the two are feeling better about their act than ever, knowing the community also knows what it’s taken for them to get on stage. The couple is performing at this weekend’s Honolulu Pride Festival and Parade in Waikiki.

“I just enjoy being on stage,” Victorino said. “Because it shows that I can actually still do something.”

Other stories in this series:

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