The days of drag queens having to rely on performing in the nightclubs to make their coins are long gone. The modern queen has plenty of avenues to walk down to put her moneymaking talents to the test. In the case of Erika Simone, she doesn’t even have to walk at all. She is making money from inside her car.
Erika is the alter ego of Erik Koral who is the founder of Driving Is a DRAG, the first and only ride-sharing experience that has a drag queen as the driver. As Erika, Koral works in Los Angeles for both Uber and Lyft driving around in a Toyota Prius that has also received a drag makeover complete with signage, pink boas and teddy bears in its interior. When Erika is out on the road, she alternates between three different looks — sexy taxi driver, speed racer and classy limo chauffeur.
Erika Simone’s career as a driver came about shortly after Koral completed a stint in rehab in 2014. In search of a low-stress job that could pay the bills, he began driving for Lyft and shortly after, decided to incorporate his love for cross-dressing into the ride-sharing experience. The response has been overwhelmingly positive from customers and almost one-year later Erika is a busy gal.
Koral has 15 years of marketing expertise in the music industry that he has applied to Driving Is a Drag. When he is not providing passengers with the ultimate road trip kiki as Erika, he is working on developing a reality TV show about it. He also hopes to launch a franchise of drag queen limo and party bus drivers in major cities throughout the country next year.
Erika was recently profiled in Uber Lives: L.A., a series of online short documentaries featuring Los Angeles-based Uber drivers. The interview touches on the fear Koral initially felt when he began driving as Erika Simone, along with the reaction he receives from customers. Koral, who is bisexual, also reveals the unique way in which he began to explore the world of female impersonation. He goes on to state that his addiction was the direct result of not being comfortable in his own skin and that drag has helped him.
“I’m really blessed that I’ve discovered dressing in drag as a way to express myself and it’s a great outlet that’s non-harmful.”