Hello to all of my friends at WERRRK.com! We are just days away from finding out who will be crowned the next Miss Bio-WERRRK 2017. This season we have seen so much talent, so much beauty…. the crown could go anywhere! I am just shaking in anticipation! Speaking of beauty, I am here with one of the fabulous competitors, Geneva Convention!
Spencer Williams: Geneva thank you so much for being here. How are you!
Geneva Convention: I’m thrilled to be here, Spencer! Thank you for taking the time to talk with me.
SW: The honor is all mine! So let’s get right into it shall we. The Miss Bio-WERRRK pageant… how do you think you did?
GC: The Miss Bio-WERRK pageant was challenging and I definitely ran into some unexpected obstacles with a few of the categories, but overall I’m very pleased with my submissions! I’m quite proud of all the hard work that I put into crafting my looks and I think that my efforts and talent translated well, based on the critiques I received. Nothing is ever completely perfect and it’s easy to look back with hindsight at what you would have done differently, but I feel confident about the package I’ve presented.
SW: Well you should be proud because I think you did really well. Your looks were always very realized, your lip-syncing was on point, and I would say the audience fell in love with your drag to be quite honest.
GC: Thank you so much! It was a privilege to have been able to bring some of my drag to the judges and viewers.
SW: Which challenge would you say was your favorite?
GC: I would have to say that the Creative Eveningwear was my favorite challenge. It was by far the most time consuming and difficult because it took forever to construct that look and I had some trial and error moments. However, my vision of Lady Justice was executed exactly how I intended. She was elegant, powerful, and a strong representation of what the theme of “RESIST” meant to me. That was a fantastic feeling.
SW: Yes! That was by far one of my favorite looks of the season. I mean really you were serving looks all season long from the Aquatic Couture to the Creative Eveningwear. Your “Anything Goes” look had my fashion senses tingling. Do you consider yourself to have a good sense of style?
GC: That means a lot coming from WERRRK’ Senior Fashion Correspondent, haha!
SW: Oh hush, you!
GC: I do think that I have a good sense of style! It’s always evolving so it’s hard to pin down a single aesthetic to categorize my looks, but I feel like I’m always serving something unique and put together when I’m in drag. I love to play with different textures and I’m a stickler for details. Good fashion is all about the details.
SW: Thank you and that is something that the future contestants of any pageant should realize. Attention to detail in every aspect of your performance is the key to true success. Watching your videos and your competitors, I wonder what inspires not only your drag, but you as a person?
GC: Truthfully, I credit most of my inspiration to the vast exposure to pop culture that I had through my parents. They were both music and film lovers, so I can’t recall a time when i wasn’t immersed in entertainment. I grew up listening to every style of music imaginable from every era and poring over fashion magazines, so I was bound to grow creatively from that. Some of my more obvious influences are musicians like Lady Gaga, Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Cher, and Bette Midler. I also draw inspiration from silver screen queens like Rita Hayworth, Gloria Swanson, and Elizabeth Taylor. My favorite fashion designers will forever be Thierry Mugler, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Bob Mackie. I’d say that my primary influences could be summed up as a mashup of avant garde meets old Hollywood, both in fashion and music. What inspires and fuels me as a person is the singular moment when you finally get to show off something that you’ve worked hard to create. That moment when you can see the faces of an audience that appreciates your art, when you can hear an audible gasp of awe or a cheer after a costume reveal, that half a beat of stunned silence after you’ve just performed the song of your life….that makes every ounce of time and energy you’ve poured into your creation worth it. I hold those moments in my heart and call them up when I fee discouraged or exhausted. Entertaining is my life, not a hobby.
SW: It’s interesting you say that because I do see some of those influences in your drag, especially see Freddie Mercury and Gloria Swanson. Now you are from a magical land known as Knoxville, Tennessee… I am curious to know what the Tennessee drag scene is like and how your drag has been accepted?
GC: Knoxville has been and interesting place to break into the drag scene. We’re very limited on venues where we can perform and there wasn’t much of a scene at all for what we are doing until we put together Clam Slam, our all AFAB drag troupe. We had some occasional entertainers here and there who would do talent nights, but nothing regular. Since we started the group early this year, we’ve had a surge of interest in what we’re doing locally and we’ve doubled our cast members. Our shows are packed out every time and we’ve been able to have some excellent guest artists like Spikey Van Dykey, the reigning winner of King Me, Trey Alize, and our reigning Miss Bio-WERRRK Monroe Fitzgerald! We’re very thankful for the mostly warm reception we’ve had. There are always obstacles to overcome and it’s frustrating that we are somewhat isolated, since Knoxville isn’t a huge city and we’re smack in the middle of the Bible Belt. There are churches on every corner but only two gay bars in the whole city, haha! Because of the support I’ve received in the local community, I’ve been able to experience some beautiful moments, such as having the honor of being the first AFAB drag queen to ever perform at Knoxville Pridefest. I feel like it can be a challenge to be so isolated, but I’ve made it my business to travel and perform in as many places as possible. It’s only going to keep getting better!
SW: I am so glad that you are taking advantage of these opportunities. Your drive will get you far. The fact that you keep pushing the way you do is rather inspiring, and will likely pave the way for any queens longing to do what you do.. So an important question I’ve found myself thinking about a lot this year, why is it so important that you continue to push boundaries and be… Geneva Convention? Especially in this crazy post-election world?
GC: If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s the fact that as public figures and members of the LGBTQ+ community, we have a responsibility to continue to push forward into new horizons on all fronts. From a drag perspective, it’s especially crucial for myself and other AFAB queens to keep creating innovative art and encouraging others to do the same. We aren’t necessarily always met with positive responses about AFAB people being drag queens, and I think that continuing to create amazing drag will solidify our place as valid artists. We can use our position onstage and in the public eye to help create a universally welcoming and encouraging environment for any person who wants to do drag. The current political climate is so volatile and often disheartening but through drag, we can not only have a platform to speak our minds about the world we live in but also create a refuge for ourselves and others to feel completely free.
SW: Beautifully said Geneva. Drag is a safe place for people to be themselves and be loved no matter who you are and where you are from. An AFAB queen is a queen nonetheless and with the world being so full of hate, we should really be uniting rather than pushing each other away. In this day and age, there could never be enough love. So for the moment of truth… Geneva, I want to know why you think you should be the next Miss Bio-WERRRK?
GC: I believe that I deserve to be crowned Miss Bio-WERRRK 2017 because I am a queen that you can count on to always deliver. Throughout the pageant, I consistently brought quality performances and looks. I worked tirelessly to craft the majority of all my costumes and props myself, and managed to work through some less than ideal personal circumstances to still create great submissions. I remained nothing short of 100% committed to the pageant while competing and as the reigning Miss Bio-WERRRK, I would continue to be an outspoken promoter for the crown and advocate for AFAB drag queens. My plan for 2018 is to completely immerse myself in drag and travel to perform and increase visibility. I think that the most important thing for growth in our form of drag is to do everything possible to introduce it to the world, face to face. I would love to be able to take the crown on the road and show the world what it means to be Miss Bio-WERRRK! I would be beyond humbled, honored, and proud to be chosen as Miss Bio-WERRRK 2017. Thank you to my fellow competitors, the esteemed panel of judges, and WERRRK.com for allowing me to have this opportunity. It’s been an incredible experience all around.
SW: Now that the fans have fallen in love with you, how can they continue to see you?
GC: Heyday Revival, my queer folk-pop band, is the headlining act at Midwest Bearfest in Indianapolis on December 16th. The next installment of Clam Slam is February 3rd in Knoxville, TN. I’m also planning several bar and Pridefest tours next year. There will also be Geneva Convention merchandise and a full website launching very soon! Please like and follow me on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated on all my projects!
SW: Geneva, we are so proud of you and it has been a true honor. Thank you so much for speaking with me and I wish you the best of luck! Definitely one of my favorite interviews.
GC: The honor was all mine, Spencer. Thank you for taking the time to chat with me! It’s truly been a privilege to have been a part of this pageant. I can’t wait to see what comes next!