She appeared with former Drag Racer and Ticked Off co-star Willam Belli at his show at the Rose Room in December. “A Goddess just met God,” Belli tweeted last night when word broke of her passing last night — ironically, as the latest episode of Drag Race aired on Logo. “I love you Erica Andrews,” Belli added.
“I’m sad. It came as such a shock,” said Ronald Radwanski, a local painter and director of the ilume Gallerie on Cedar Springs. “I didn’t even know she was sick. The last time we talked was when my nephew moved to Chicago. She was loving living in Chicago with her boyfriend, Juan.”
Radwanski became close to Andrews when he and photographer Jorge Rivas chose her as the first model for the Faces of Life photographic campaign.
“She was the first person we photographed with the red ribbon back in 2010,” he said. “She was a delight to be with — always doing something to help people. She used her art to perform and make a difference. It’s one thing to be talented; it’s another to have people make movies about you. She didn’t turn off her heart when she turned on her charm.”
“I’d met Erica prior to working with her on Ticked Off,” said Toni Miller, who produced the film. “Like many, I was dazzled by her beauty and incredible presence. To our good fortune, Erica exuded all that and more in her performance and remained a true professional throughout the filming process. Erica’s passing is a tragic loss for our community. I’m blessed to have known her.”
Born in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, Andrews — who went by “Eddie” as a boy — created her drag character about 25 years ago. She won numerous drag titles over her career, including Miss Gay Texas USofA 1997, Miss Gay USofA 1999 and 2006′s Entertainer of the Year. But more than just pageants, she was dedicated to gay causes.
The ilume is planning a memorial service for Andrews, which will take place Thursday. The time has not been set yet
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