Most days, Pop Peterson spends a lot of time around the house, cooking and cleaning.
But when the nighttime hits, Pop springs into action, almost as if a switch has been flipped. A self-proclaimed extrovert and narcissist, Pop puts on pants and a fashionable top, puts in earings and a necklace and heads out on the town.
The people love them. They aim to be a household name around town. It seems to be working.
When Pop was growing up, they initially felt the pressure of fitting into the traditional box of masculinity before realizing that wasn't meant for them.
"I learned, at a very young age, that whatever a man was, I wasn't quite that," Pop said.
Before Pop ever realized they were queer, they were a "painfully awkward nerd" and was very excited about the things they liked, which was not a very masculine way to act.
"I already existed outside of traditional masculinity from the time I figured out what it was, so it was never really an option for me to play into it," Pop said. "Eventually, you have to say, 'Either this is what I'm going to be come hell or high water and I'm willing to change every part of myself for this,' or, 'Eh, I may not be your typical dude bro, but I still got friends, so fuck the rest."
Pop realized they liked another man while performing in a theater show in high school, and after having a falling out with that man, he outed Pop to the entire school. It was then Pop realized that there were some people they didn't need around.
"It's like a rosebush, you gotta trim the nonsense if you want the roses to bloom fully," Pop said.
They decided to pursue a career in acting, studying first at Longwood University in Virginia. Later, Pop went to culinary school for two years. They lived in New York for some time pursuing an acting career before coming to Athens. The reason for moving here?
"The long and short of it is, I'm in Athens because the dick is good," Pop said. "The pussy ain't so bad either."
Pop is polyamorous. They live with two of their partners, have another long distance relationship and have one or two girlfriends down the street, among others. Pop is also a drag queen on their way to local celebrity status, but the drag life blurs into their day to day life. Their birth name is actually ShaVaughn, which was confusing for teachers growing up.
"As a kid, constantly being the new kid, the teacher sees the name on the roll. 'Oh we have a new girl in class, ShaVaughn, please raise your hand... Oh, sorry a new guy!'" Pop said. "ShaVaughn, my parents didn't know this was an Irish girl's name when they gave it to me."
ShaVaughn is now Pop's chosen drag persona. But the lines are very blurred between Pop and ShaVaughn in everyday life, especially evidenced by the fact that they found glitter on the cutlery recently.
"So ShaVaughn, she's never really taken on a life of her own because she's just an extension of myself," Pop said. "My drag is dramatic, I'm dramatic, I'm over the top, I'm colorful, I love glitter. 'Glitter is the herpes of crafts,' to quote Dane Cook. And it's literally everywhere. My drag life is my real life, it's just the highlight reel."
At the end of the day, Pop just aims to be themself and in turn, hopes that helps everyone feel more comfortable with their own weirdness.
"In the average group, in the average room of strangers, everyone's only willing to be as strange as the strangest person in the room," Pop said. "I choose to be the strangest person in the room, and then everyone else lets their fuckin' hair down."