Chiffon Dior: Hi there Bendovah! I’m glad we’re getting to talk this morning. How are you doing honey?
Bendovah Plenti: I’m doing great! Thanks for having me, Chiffon. It’s a pleasure to be here.
CD: We’re still digging out here in NY from the storm. How did Indiana make out with snow last weekend?
BP: Oh, I know! It snowed a ton here, as well! I’m used to it, as I’m sure you are!
CD: I’m already over this enter already gurl and it’s just getting started. But we’re not here to discuss the weather, we’re here to talk about…..well, you! How is the Hoosier state drag scene treating you?
BP: The Hoosier state drag scene is treating me very well! I was pleased to be a special guest of Someplace Else Nightclub in Evansville over the weekend, and I just joined cast for a new show starting at The Back Door in Bloomington next weekend, Friday, February 5!
CD: The Back Door, very subtle.
BP: It’s literally on the back side of another bar!
CD: I hope that bar is using protection! You can never be too safe these days! Okay so enough bad puns, how did you get started as a drag queen?
BP: The bar actually offers lots of opportunities to get tested and know your status. Our show director is a public health professional! Vanderbilt Lambda Drag Show 2009. Vanderbilt University, where I went to school, has a GSA called the Lambda Association, and one of their biggest events is its annual drag show. Over the years, it has attracted bigger and bigger names, including Chad Michaels and JuJuBee. The year I participated, the host was Genesis, who was recently a top-5 finisher at national EOY. She was fierce, even back then. In preparation for the show, I rehearsed for months Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.” The day of the show, I shaved and put on red lipstick in the shape of a kewpie — no other makeup to speak of — dance tights, a leotard, wayfarers and a cheap Hustler Hollywood blond bob and I worked it out to “Poker Face.” Genesis was going to do the same number in a mix, and she graciously changed her set to let this little gay boy have his moment. I’ll never forget that act of kindness. I mention it on my website, actually.
CD: Very nice plug for your website there dear (check it out here!). So did you think that was going to be a one night thing or did already have aspirations to go further with drag?
BP: I actually did not, at the time, have aspirations to go further with drag. Looking back now, I’m genuinely surprised. It makes so much sense since the days when I was a young, not out-of-the-closet boy pretending to re-enact Cher’s Farewell Tour in my closet at home in rural Tennessee.
CD: Wait, you were doing Cher LITERALLY in the closet??
BP: Not even figuratively! *Laughs*
CD: Well, yeah. You should have seen the signs then!
BP: I know, right? De Nial – not just a river in Egypt.
CD: So how did you wind up in a pair of pumps next after that show?
BP: There was a ‘dress to impress’ party in grad school, so I came decked out in that same costume with longer Gaga hair. Notice a trend?
CD: Someone was a Little Monster!
BP: Yes, put your paws up!
CD: How quickly did it take you to realize you both wanted to do more and were talented enough to do more as a queen?
BP: You think I have talent. Bless you! I was twenty six when I decided to create the Bendovah character, except she was born as ‘Bennifer.’ Some of my friends call me ‘Bennifer’ as a term of endearment, so that is what I thought I wanted my original name to be. Originally, I conceived Bennifer to be something more of a ‘mall girl’. Bendovah is more of a quirky robo-sex kitten. My drag family approves of Bendovah, as well! It was pretty much a condition of joining the family I change that awful name!
CD: Bennifer is forever the couples name of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner and you don’t want to be tied into that mess so I approve of Bendovah! Plus much like the Back Door, it’s very subtle. But in all seriousness everyone here at WERRRK.com thinks you have talent which is the main reason we’re here today. Would you like to make the official announcement?
BP: Thank you, I am very flattered to hear that, and I am very pleased to be joining the list of your contributors with my new web series, Plenti of Fish!
CD: We’re all very excited for your show to be joining our burgeoning YouTube channel! (Subscribe here!) Growing that channel this year and giving exposure to some young queens was a priority for me in 2016 so I’m really excited for this behind the scenes look at drag in America’s heartland!
BP: The show is designed to convey the experience of my friends and I, with me in the reporter role, as well as to take viewers behind-the-scenes of Indiana drag. It’s not something queens outside the Midwest get perspective on because we’re not New York or L.A.
CD: In addition we’re going to see performances from you and other Indiana queens as well. What can people expect to see on the stage?
BP: We’re in the middle of a drag renaissance in the state of Indiana. We have a lot of talent here, and there’s a new show at The Back Door, called “Fresh Fridays,” designed to showcase it. We have old school, new school, burlesque, boylesque – there’s some fabulous talent in the local bar scene. We have bucking queens, dancing queens, pageant queens, ballroom queens, cosplay queens, theater queens – cis, trans, bio, gay, lesbian, male and female – there’s a refreshing variety. It’s almost hard to say we have only ‘queens’ because Indiana is so rich in entertainers, broadly speaking.
CD: So it’s sounds like we’re going to get to meet some exciting new talent! Who can we expect to see with you on the first episode of “Plenti of Fish”?
BP: In the first episode, I will be appearing with our show director, Argenta Perón, “The People’s Diva” and 2016 Austin International Drag Festival Ambassador, Boy Gorge and other local favorites!
CD: I’m excited to see what you all bring to the table. For people in your area who want to be their live to stick money in your panties, can you give them the when and the where?
BP: Absolutely! Come see the first installment of Fresh Fridays February 5 at 10:30PM, only at the Back Door! Cover is about $3 or $4, and it is worth mentioning the bar is 21+ only.
CD: And we can expect to see the first episode of Plenti of Fish shortly after that! I’m thrilled to have you as a part of the WERRRK.com family Bendovah and hopefully this series becomes a big hit, Gaga willing! Do you have any final words of wisdom to leave us with my dear?
BP: I’m thrilled to be here, as well! Thank you again for the opportunity! Final words of wisdom… When you need it most, just Bendovah!