James Palacio

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James Palacio (aka Fiona St. James) is a New York City-based female impersonator and actor who played Fiona, the cross-dressing inmate on the HBO television series Oz, from season two until the show's sixth and final season. Other television credits include Sex and the City, Law & Order, New York Undercover and Mike Nichols's Angels in America for HBO. Palacio's film credits include Flawless, Bringing Out the Dead, Summer of Sam, To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, and Stonewall.

In Australia, the image of his "blonde bombshell" character adorned Stonewall movie posters.[1]

Palacio, who is openly gay, has modeled for Guess?, Goya, MTV and others. He danced in the show Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore! and had a major role in the play More Than a Woman.[1]

James Palacio in his Imperial Court System role of Fiona St. James, Empress XV of New York with Damian Valentino, Emperor XI of New York

Regarding Palacio's role on Oz, a writer for PlanetOut described:

James Palacio may not be the star of "Oz", but he plays one of the show's most colorful characters: Fiona, the prison's resident transvestite and a member of the gay gang. While Fiona rarely has lines, she is one of a handful of inmates we regularly see on the series. An openly gay man, Palacio, who bills himself as an "actor/actress", has portrayed Fiona since the second season of HBO's gritty drama. He was cast because of his experience as an actor as well as a gender illusionist. Born and raised in the Bronx, Palacio has performed in drag since the late '80s [...] In full drag, Palacio is a knockout who could easily pass as a woman, but the Fiona we see on "Oz" isn't quite so glamorous.

Regarding his character's appearance on Oz, Palacio has said:

The audience has to be able to look at Fiona and know she is really a guy [...] She is not a post-op tranny. If she were, she'd be in a women's prison [...] As it was described to me, my character is supposed to be this Puerto Rican cha-cha hooker queen.

Within the Imperial Court System, a charitable, non-profit organization, Palacio uses "Fiona St. James" (formerly "Fiona James") as a stage name and reigned from March 2001 to March 2002 as Empress XV of New York. His appellation was "The Latina Empress of Decadence and Style". Palacio uses the name Fiona St. James in various professional capacities as well and is often credited as such.[2]


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