Good morning there Annie B. Frank! How are you stuck talking with me today instead of out enjoying brunch somewhere?
You’re lucky I had to go to work this afternoon otherwise I’d be three Bloody Marys in already.
We’re going to get along quite nicely I think!
Anyone who brunches (drinks) can be my friend.
Amen gurl! So we’ve actually met once before, at the 2015 Glam Awards I believe, correct?
Oh yikes, yeah I remember that. That was early on in my drag, so please excuse my makeup. However, I did have a blast there; I was super bummed I couldn’t go this year.
It always as a really wonderful event each year so hopefully you can make it down this year. That is a bit of a hike from Providence though, no?
I love visiting New York, and it’s only a three hour or so drive from us. I’ll actually be there on the 14th at The Gateway to be a guest host for their RDR viewing party!
Wow! You’re already in mid-interview for when it comes to self-promotion! I’m impressed!
It’s my heritage, what can I say?
So let’s start with Providence itself….herself? What’s your city’s preferred pronoun? Bases on all the queens up there, can I just assume herself is kosher?
I feel Providence is gender fluid, so it depends on how they’re feeling at the moment.
Good enough! So how does a relatively small city in the littlest state in the union have what seems to be the most thriving drag scene in all of New England?
Well it helps that the city itself is in the middle of a revival. Every month we get a cool new restaurant or bar, and the city is investing in itself so the city as a whole is thriving. What I think makes our drag stand out is the dedication of the older generation to creating a space for new queens to perform. The Ego Girls: Pulp Friction, Complete Destruction, and myself have always advocated an open stage. We make sure we have a place for anyone who wants to express themselves while blurring gender lines. We’re not the only ones either, there are quite a few open stages throughout the area on different days of the week. I’ve seen bigger cities who don’t offer a place for new queens to grow and the drag there stays a little stagnant. Without the younger generation pushing what you do and evolving your definition of drag, it becomes the same three queens every week with the same shtick.
A lot of cities tend to be a bit more cutthroat so to speak, not in a malicious way mind you, just that there are only so many spots for so many gurls. What has created this nurturing environment in Providence?
I think Providence has always been this way, at least since I’ve started doing drag. Like any city, we have our sources of petty drama and unnecessary feuds but like any family, you move on.
How did you wind up in Providence?
Well I lived in the DC area for my whole life, moving between Maryland and Virginia quite a few times. My parents still live in northern Virginia but I went to culinary school up here. While doing that I fell in love with the city and my boyfriend and decided to stay once I got my bachelor’s degree.
How does one go from reducing sauces to shaking your money maker in five pairs of tights?
Well I’ve always loved drag. Growing up in DC I went to the club every Friday for 6 straight months once I turned eighteen, and even after that I was there as much as possible. One of my biggest inspirations, and I don’t even know if she knew who I was, is Lena Lett. She hosted the night at a club called Town, and she was hilarious. However, growing up a very hairy Jewish boy, I never thought drag would be for me. Then, my sophomore year, my school did a charity amateur drag show. My best friend ended up doing it and was amazing and won. I’d love to say he inspired me, but honestly I was jealous of the attention she was getting, so I decided to do it as well.
What was the spark that ignited your love of drag? Do you remember that first time you ever saw a drag queen, be it television. movies or something else?
I don’t know exactly what it was, I’ve always loved watching Project Runway and ANTM and shows like that. Drag was kind of the perfect mix of all of those. I saw my first drag queen when I was sixteen at a Youth Pride event in DC. I don’t remember much about them. The first time I watched Drag Race was Season 3 and Raja was my absolute favorite, and I remembered her from America’s Next Top Model. Once I discovered the show, I binged watched that and the other two seasons constantly.
How did you decide on Annie B. Frank? Given that outrage seems to be our new national pastime, has anyone clutched their pearls and complained to you about your drag name?
Well I think my name has obvious origins. I added the “B.” in between because I love a good pun. I haven’t had people outright say anything about my name…. Unless of course I’m calling someone out for their shit. They’re normal response is something like, “how can you say that when you have a name like Annie B. Frank blah blah blah”. My answer is always something like this: Listen, Jews have had it rough for a lonnnng time. We’ve been displaced, slaves, displaced again, murdered and hate by multiple groups, including our President’s current political inspiration: Hitler. The best way to deal with something dark is through humor. If you can’t joke about something, then it holds a power over you. Of course, I’m not saying everyone should start making Holocaust jokes, but this is something that directly affected my ancestors and something I still feel the affects of today. Normally that shuts them up.
For people who haven’t ever seen you perform, how would describe your drag style and aesthetic?
I would say my aesthetic is, “Wow that’s so ugly I actually kind of love it”. Same with my performances, I love using humor in my numbers. Recently I did Bette Midler‘s “Wind Beneath my Wings” while eating chicken wings on stage. Actually when I first started drag, it was for a contest at Ego and I did stand up.
Well that is a perfect segue to talk about The Search of the Next EGO Star I would say!
It was almost like I planned it ?
So let’s dish! What is this competition all about?
Well the way Ego works now is we have an open stage early show where anyone can perform and then the Ego Girls will perform in the late show. We have been wanting to be able to book some of our girls in the early show to reward them for continuing to support the nights and to encourage them to bring their A game. So last month we started a little contest where the audience chose their favorite performer and they got a paid gig in the next weeks late show. It’s been going well, so Chris Harris and Rafael (from Chris Harris Presents) decided we should take it a step further. So now we’re doing a 10 week long contest where the winner of the early show still gets a paid booking the following week, but also wins a spot in the finals. The finals will be based on audience applause and the scoring by celebrity judges. The winner of the contest will win 3 months of bookings in the late show with the Ego Girls and be able to perform at Pride! I’m also hoping there will be a small YouTube series to go along with it so people, like your readers, who can’t make it to the club can follow along!
What are some of the things you’re going to be making the young queens do over those ten weeks?
Well we want the queens to be able to showcase their talents. So the only rules are, the performance has to be less than three minutes and its first come, first serve. So anyone can come in and compete any week.
So there is no criteria or theme for each week?
Exactly! We want everyone to be able to perform their best
It sounds like that should be a great event! In the meantime, where else can people keep tabs on your exploits?
How do you feel about a few lightning round questions?
Must have makeup item?
Drag role model?
Bianca Del Rio.
4am post drag food craving?
Chinese food but they’re not open that late here so chicken tenders.
Best part of Drag?
The attention… I mean making people laugh while doing something I love.
Worst part of Drag?
Not being able to do it as a living.
Most surprising thing about you people might not know?
I still play Pokémon GO.
If not for drag, what would you be doing?
I guess just working my day job as a concierge.
Chips and salsa.
Death row last meal?
My mom’s taco cornbread casserole.
Netflix binge recommendation?
Oh god that’s hard. The OA or Black Mirror.
Queen you most want to see on season 10 of Drag Race
I would love to finally see a Providence girl on. Pulp Friction or Complete Destruction would be amazing.
Last one, most embarrassing song on your phone?
My boyfriend would say the ABBA Gold album but I’m proud of that.
I think he and I need to have a talk if he can’t hear the drums!
I mean he likes ABBA… just not enough to have on his phone.
Nobody’s perfect I guess. In the meantime, what kind of goals do you have for yourself as a drag queen going forward?
My goal short term would be able to travel more for drag. I recently was flown out to Colorado to perform and it was an amazing experience. Long term it would be to be able to support myself with drag, rather than having a full time job.
Well Annie, it’s been great talking with you today and I hope that the competition is a big success. Do you have any final words of wisdom to leave the readers with?
It was truly a pleasure. My advice would be: tip your queens and tip your bartender. Also, book a Bitch. Momma needs those coins.