Chiffon Dior: Hi there Marti! It seems like just yesterday that I saw at the So You Think You Can Drag Grand Finale….wait, that WAS yesterday! Gurl, you’re going be sick of me real quick! But we’ll make this work because I’m a…ahem… journalist. How are you doing today?
Marti Gould Cummings: Today I have been busy working away on getting my Sunday show at the Ritz together…I have two amazing guests! And working on writing jokes for my Monday show all while trying to get errands done!
CD: What was your take on last night’s Finale?
MGC: I think all of the girls in the competition really gave it their all. It was really excited to see such a vast array of drag styles on one stage. You could tell each performer took this seriously and worked really hard! It was exciting to see fresh talent showcasing their unique sense of characteristics and drag styles. Hopefully they each take away from this their strengths and then take in where they can grow and improve to really become superstars.
CD: I agree. I think they made the judges’ job very difficult last night. Okay, so enough about the newbies. Let’s talk about you. One thing that has always impressed me is how much you work. In a city with roughly five thousand drag queens, what is your secret?
MGC: I don’t give up. if someone tells me no, I ask them why. Then I go work on it and come back to them again. Young queens have to remember this is Show Business. Market yourself as a brand.
CD: That sounds like me at a buffet. I don’t give up either.
MGC: Laughs Oh I live for a good buffet! Golden Corral!
CD: I agree. They had me at Chocolate Fountain! So let’s hop in the Delorean and go back in time a bit. Where are you from originally?
MGC: I grew up on a farm in Maryland and have been here ten years.
CD: Ten years? So that makes you a “REAL New Yorker” right?
MGC: Yay! I am here for life!!! It was home the moment I arrived.
CD: As a real New Yorker then, where is the best pizza? This is a hypothetical question of course since everyone knows drag queens don’t eat carbs….or solid food.
MGC: Fuck that, all I eat is carbs haha! Two Boots in West Village is my favorite!
CD: So growing up on farm in Maryland, how does one get exposed to the world of drag?
MGC: It happened by accident. I was doing a show off Broadway where the character was androgynous and gender neutral so my drag started from that. I threw my birthday party in horrible drag at a bar. The next day they called and asked if I wanted a weekly show because they thought I was funny. Boom, my career began.
It had taken a lot of work to go from that to where I am today and I still have a lot to learn and am always trying to educate myself so I can be the best entertainer I can be. The best thing about drag is the you can evolve and get to try new things all the time. You never stop learning.
CD: What brought you to New York in the first place?
MGC: I came to NYC two weeks after high school to study musical theatre and be the next big star. I became a clown instead! Laughs
CD: Oh come on! Can I interview ONE queen about her background without the words “musical theatre” being uttered?
MGC: No! Never! Laughs We all wanted to be Patti Lupone!
CD: Dammit, Patti Lupone are the other two words! Every frickin’ interview! One of the things I think of that makes you stand out from the other queens in the city is the fact that you rarely are seen in wigs. How did that style choice come about?
MGC: It all is rooted from that musical I was doing off Broadway. My drag is more entertainer than just drag. I like being different and not conforming to the confines of modern drag. I think a lot of queens get hung up on being “fish” when if you look at the history of drag that is a very new concept. Find your trademark and do it! I wear wigs sometimes when I’m feeling like changing it up but I love my wiglessness
CD: I feel like so many of the younger queens look alike these days, I can barely tell some of them apart? Do you sense that as well and why do you think there is a seeming lack of individuality in some of them?
MGC: I think they see what’s on TV or what others are doing and think if it works for those people it will work for them. But I would say stand out – be different – chances are you will get noticed and be more successful. If you look like everyone else why do I want to see you perform? What makes you special? Don’t be scared of being weird – you’re a man in a dress!
CD: Preach gurl! You also have an interesting drag name. How did you decide on it?
MGC: My parents gave it to me twenty eight years ago. I wanted to read about me not a character.
CD: You certainly haven’t limited yourself to just being a queen who works in the bars and the clubs. You’ve been seen on many different media platforms, having interviewed Cheyenne Jackson and rubbed shoulders with Bernadette Peters recently! Did you ever expect drag to present you with so many different opportunities?
MGC: Honestly no! But I knew I wanted to do more so I figure why not just do it! The more you put yourself out there the more opportunities come your way. If there are five people in an audience or five hundred, you have to do the same show because you never know who is there! I booked an HBO show and an indie film because of that mindset.
CD: For someone that hasn’t seen you perform, how would you describe a Marti Gould Cummings show to them?
You never know what to expect…..raunchy, vulgar, funny, classic, vaudevillian.
CD: And if people want to see you, you’re not hard to find!
Sunday – Boots & Saddle brunch and The Ritz
Monday – Therapy
Tuesday – Pieces
Wednesday – G Lounge
Saturday – Every other week Boots & Saddle and the Ritz dance party
CD: So obviously you have already accomplished a lot in your time in the city but I’m sure you have more plans. What are some of the goals on your drag bucket list?
MGC: My goals are taking my interviewing and cultivating it into a mainstream talk show and taking my solo show into larger, more theatrical venues.
CD: Thank you so much for your time Marti! I’m excited to see what you have in store for us next. Do you have any final words of wisdom to leave our readers with?
MGC: Just be yourself always and never compromise who you are!
Editor’s Note: Congratulations to Marti on winning the Scene Queen award at the 17th Annual Glam Awards last Wednesday night!