Heklina, a famous drag queen from San Francisco, was discovered de@d in London on April 3. She was in London as part of a touring production under her stage name, actor Stefan Grygelko. A fellow drag queen and her performing partner, Joshua Grannell aka Peaches Christ, confirmed her dea†h on social media. The circumstances surrounding Heklina’s passing remain unknown.
“I am shocked to bring this news to you. I am living in a real-life nightmare so forgive me if I don’t have all the answers just now. This morning, in London, England I went to collect my dear friend Heklina, who is costarring with me in a Mommie Queerest show here, and found her dead,” Peaches Christ wrote in a statement on social media. “Heklina is not just my best friend, but a beloved icon of our community. I am a mess.”
— Peaches Christ (@PeachesChrist) April 3, 2023
A statement from the Soho Theatre said, “Our sympathies are with Peaches, Mommie Queerest company, Heklina’s family, friends + their wider community” after the news of Heklina’s dea†h was confirmed there.
Originally from Minnesota, the performer spent some time in Iceland before settling in the Bay Area. The active volcano Hekla is the inspiration for the name Heklina.
In 1996, Heklina established herself as a mainstay of the San Francisco drag scene when she began hosting the hit weekly series “Mother,” which featured guests like Lady Gaga and Charro. Alaska Thunderfuck, the winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race: All-Stars,” was among the numerous local drag queens whose careers were begun at this institution.
In the year 2020, Alaska said, “Heklina is an institution.” She has sown and nurtured countless seeds of drag, which have blossomed into numerous beautiful gardens and bouquets. I’m always impressed by her dedication, perseverance, and caring nature at work. As well as her mole.”
Heklina co-founded the drag club Oasis in San Francisco in 2015. She has hosted and performed at many of the city’s Pride celebrations and other festivals. Heklina starred in the city’s many performances of the hit play “Golden Girls Live” and acted in the independent parody film “Baby Jane?” in 2010.
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Who was Heklina?
Heklina has appeared in several theater performances, including a drag version of “The Golden Girls” in San Francisco, where she portrayed Dorothy Zbornak. The long-running drag performance “Trannyshack,” which began in the mid-1990s, made her famous.
Oasis, a nightclub and theater in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, just reopened with Heklina as one of the proprietors. The door first opened for business in 2014. Heklina was also a familiar face at local events, where she served as host or emcee.
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