Well hello there Lucky! I hope had a nice holiday even though you’ve been traveling all over of late!
Traveling is my favorite! I have a deep and strange love of airports.
Like Tom Hanks in The Terminal?
I say whenever you have a chance to be like Tom Hanks, be like Tom Hanks.
I agree. Unfortunately the first Tom Hanks’ thing I ever saw was Bosom Buddies and I worry that might have influenced my life choices.
Oh, I’m so sorry for you. Mine was Big, so I keep thinking one day I’ll wake up with chest hair and an erection.
At least you get a sweet trampoline though in that case. But anyway, as much as it pains me to say it, I think we’re here to talk about something besides Tom Hanks, your experience in the Miss Bio-WERRRK pageant this year. We’re still waiting to find out the final results but how did you enjoy your pageant time with us?
I enjoyed it very much! It was great to be challenged and to watch the other competitors’ interpretations. I also really loved being asked to reflect on why I was making my choices; that’s not something you’re often asked to do in drag.
So before we delve into this further, let’s go back in time a little bit. Where are you originally from?
Before I started doing drag I lived in a little hippie surf town called Santa Cruz, California. I moved across the country for graduate school.
What was your first exposure to the world of drag growing up?
I have very vivid memories of watching To Wong Foo over and over again and not knowing why I was so obsessed with it. Then of course I found out it was based on Priscilla Queen of the Desert and I had to watch THAT over and over again, and so on and so forth. I just gobbled stuff up… and I was a theater kid too so there was also La Cage Aux Folles, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Alan Cumming as the Emcee in Cabaret (which read to me as Drag)… I was an obsessed child.
Oh dear….you never had a chance, did you?
I was so deeply, deeply screwed
So how did you get your start as a drag queen then? What was your first performance?
I was working lip sync sections into plays I was directing in graduate school, and designing characters who were basically drag queens, then doing some performance art myself in heightened looks but not the full thing. I finally bit the bullet one night and did an open stage show in Chicago called Out of Sync which has sadly been discontinued. I did Peggy Lee’s version of Is That All There Is which is SO not a club-appropriate number. But I loved it. I had borrowed a wig from a friend and done the worst attempt at eyebrow cover ever.
Bad. Sections of it peeled up almost immediately. I looked like a very glamorous zombie.
Glamorous zombie could be an amazing Walking Dead spinoff quite honestly.
If they make one they should call me.
Did you hear that AMC? You know where to find Lucky when you go into production!
So beyond your theater kid background, what was it that drew you to drag?
I’m still in awe of drag queens. They would always tell us in class that the true definition of talent was a person who could walk through the door and change the temperature of a room. It’s incredibly hard work to get the attention of a crowd full of drunks at midnight, and even harder work to keep it.
Who was the first queen you saw in person that could do that?
Sara Andrews. She made every single person in the audience feel like they were the only person alive for just a moment. Like she was performing just for them.
How did your drag career unfold after your Peggy Lee number?
I signed up to compete in a show called Crash Landing which is hosted by Chicago Mayor Trannika Rex and Nico. It’s six weeks with an elimination every other week. I made it to the final round, which I’m still very proud of. That’s where I started getting gig offers. From there I was performing with SADHAUS, the Drag/theater hybrid group I co-founded (I went solo just before starting this pageant), and joined Kat Sass in co-producing a monthly all-Gender drag showcase at Berlin nightclub, which is still going on- we just opened submissions for our next round on December 22nd. I’m out in Milwaukee at DIX occasionally, and I’ve also loved finding a second home in the Brooklyn Drag scene with hosts like Ragamuffin, Daphne Always, and Merrie Cherry, and I’m out there performing every so often.
Gee, is that all?
I’ve been a busy little bunny!
So what made you decide to compete in our pageant this year?
I saw in the press release that the pageant had been explicitly opened to non-binary performers this year and that made my little nb heart leap. There are so many of us out here in the drag scene, and I think we often find ourselves having to explain or defend our presence. I was excited to be able to do that on the WERRRK.com platform, so maybe someone else struggling in the clubs wouldn’t have to.
What did you find to be the most challenging part of the pageant?
Having to do it in seclusion. One of my favorite things about drag is that immediate, visceral connection with the audience, and sometimes it felt silly to be alone in my house in face talking to the camera. Sometimes I imagined that the people who would be watching it later were actually in the room with me… so i talked to them.
Did they tip well at least?
Fantastically. Best tippers I ever had.
I think I need to have a talk with Chicago on their tipping practices if that’s the case. Besides that though, your Anything Goes Talent video was arguably the boldest pageant choice in the history of our pageants. Where did you come up with the idea for that?
Well, when the category was announced I started running down the list of things I might do in my head. I can’t death drop. I can’t do the splits. I can’t juggle and I don’t eat fire or roller skate. I can sing, but not so well that I thought I could top some of these queens I see singing like, arias. I‘m a painter. I can paint. Why couldn’t I paint Lucky on paper instead of my own face? And then I realized I’d never tried doing that before… and then I was too curious NOT to do it.
I was fascinated when I saw that video. I know it can be hard for some of the more creative queens fitting into the pageant box but you picked the perfect category to push the envelope so kudos to you. Looking forward, what are some of the goals on your drag bucket list?
I’ve got some strangely specific ones. I’d like to be in a Perfume Genius music video. I’m dying to perform at the Manderley Bar in New York. I have a piece I’ve been desperately secretly saving if I ever get to perform at Sasha Velour’s show, Nightgowns. And I’ve got a list of songs I’d sing live if I was ever able to do a full cabaret show.
I read that as Mandalay Bay and was like, uh I think that’s in Vegas.
Celine Dion and I can’t ever be in the same place at the same time or the universe will implode
That’s good to know! I take the time space continuum very seriously. Almost as seriously as I take social media! Where can people find you on the interwebs?
The best place to find me is on Instagram @lucky.stiff but I also have a Facebook page, and I just started putting some full performances up on YouTube! My show GODDESS also has a Facebook Page (@goddesstheshow), and I have a website combining my theater work and my Drag work at www.ginamariehayes.com
Gasp! Your secret identity!
I feel like TMZ all of a sudden!
This isn’t TMZ?
Miss Bio-TMZ 2017 DOES have a nice ring to it but we will have to wait because its time for the…..LIGHTNING ROUND?
I’m so pumped let’s do it
Must have makeup item?
My Sugarpill Pro Palette. I could do an entire face with just it and my fingers if I had to.
Drag role model?
Best part of drag?
Worst part of drag?
Most surprising thing about you people might not know?
I’m full of anxiety and actually very shy.
If not for drag, what would you be doing?
Writing very sad poems.
Death Row last meal?
West coast oysters.
Last movie to make you cry?
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Netflix binge recommendation?
What Disney character do you relate most to?
The cricket from Mulan.
Last one, most embarrassing song on your phone?
Sugar Daddy by Tom Jones
Clearly you misunderstood and thought I said awesome and not embarrassing.
It’s only embarrassing because I get deeply turned on every time it plays.
That could be awkward in the check out line I suppose.
Only when I’m wearing my gimp mask.
And on THAT note, I think it is time to wrap things up my dear. Thank you so much for taking part in our pageant this year. I truly enjoyed watching you each week and I hope you’re remain part of the WERRRK.com family for years to come. Do you have any final words of wisdom before we ride off into the sunset?
Wisdom’s overrated. Let’s be wild.