The Lady Chablis
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|The Lady Chablis|
|Born||Benjamin Edward Knox
March 11, 1957
|Other names||Brenda Dale Knox
The Lady Jonel
Chablis became notable in the early 1990s when she was featured as one of Savannah's colorful characters in John Berendt's book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, based on a true crime story. In the book, Chablis and her larger-than-life adventures provided a counterbalance to the darker narrative of murder that was central to the book.
Chablis played herself in the 1997 movie of the same title, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Kevin Spacey and John Cusack. Chablis made several appearances on talk shows when the book and the movie were released. Chablis frequently performs at her "home" nightclub of Club One in Savannah. Chablis also continues to travel the US performing at various venues and special events, such as gay pride gatherings. She has also appeared on radio shows.
The Lady Chablis was featured in the closing segment of the Savannah episode of Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern on The Travel Channel. She joined Zimmern at several Savannah restaurants including Elizabeth on 37th.
According to Berendt's book, Chablis was a preoperative transsexual woman; Berendt wrote that he met Chablis as she was returning home from having a hormone injection. In her book Hiding my Candy, Chablis said she has not undergone gender reassignment surgery. Chablis is a preoperative transsexual woman, as well as a full-time drag queen. Chablis was interviewed about the making of the film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil in the documentary Damn Good Dog.
Awards and titles
In her early career as an entertainer, under the names Brenda Dale Knox and The Lady Jonel, she won multiple titles in drag pageantry including:
- Miss Dixieland 1976
- Miss Gay World 1976
- The Grand Empress of Savannah 1977
- Miss Sweetheart International 1989
- Empress of Atlanta 1996
- Miss Cosmo U.S. 1997
- Miss Garden City 1997
- Miss Atlanta Universe 1998
- Miss Georgia National 1998
- Miss Southern States USA 1998
- "Bizarre Foods America: Savannah" - Herself 2012
- "Damn Good Dog" (video documentary) - Herself 2004
- "Partners" (TV Movie) - Beverly 1999
- "Midnight in Savannah" - (TV documentary) - Herself 1997
- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - Chablis Deveau (as Lady Chablis) 1997