This past spring, down in Austin, Texas, Rain on 4th held their second semester of “Drag Class” where established queens paired up with baby queens for a weekly drag competition, hosted by the fabulous Sabel Scities. WERRRK.com was proud to team up with Atomic Cosmetics as a sponsor for this event and we are very pleased to bring you an interview with the winners of the second semester of Drag Class!
Chiffon: I’m very excited to be talking to the winning duo from Rain on 4th’s Second Semester of Drag Class, Rhonda Jewels and LaWhore Vagistan. Nice to talk with you both ladies. Condragulations on your big win! So for everyone at home, which one of you was the teacher and which was the student?
LaWhore Vagistan: I was the student!
Rhonda Jewels: Thank you! It’s a pleasure speaking with you as well. I was LaWhore’s mentor
CD: So how did you each come to be involved in this semester of Drag Class?
RJ: I was actually a student last semester, the first semester Drag Class was a thing at Rain. Then when this semester came around, Sable Scities gave me the opportunity to be a mentor since I had been through the ropes before.
LV: I had attended a couple of Drag Classes in the first semester and thought it was a genius idea. I had a great time, and the challenges seemed really productive and fun. I’ve performed in drag for small south Asian gay events in Chicago, but never with any mentorship. and not in a mainstream gay club. I knew i had a lot to learn about drag so this seemed like a really perfect opportunity.
CD: Was it a big adjustment for you Rhonda to go from student to teacher?
RJ: It was and it wasn’t. On the one hand it felt like I was just back in the competition so it was easy to get back in that groove, but on the other hand I was almost asking myself ,”Am I qualified to mentor someone having just exited this competition?”
CD: What ultimately gave you the push to think you could do it?
RJ: I think it was the combination of several different friends telling me I could do it. Then when it finally started and we won a couple of the first challenges it kinda opened my eyes and gave me the confidence I needed.
CD: LaWhore, since you two were paired at random like all the duos, how long did it take for you two to get on the same page? Did you know each other before this semester?
LV: We had never met before. I had little to no experience in Austin’s drag community. I felt super vulnerable and unsure doing Drag Class, so I was willing to take any and all advice Rhonda gave me. On the first day she told me to paint my lips black like hers, and even though that’s not something I would instinctually do, I did it. And I looked good!So basically, from day one, I was on her page!
CD: You mentioned before that you had done small south Asian gay events in Chicago before. How did you get started in drag and how did you wind up in Austin? Also, Rhoda, was the first semester of Drag Class your first time in drag? What got you started down the road of lip gloss and six pairs of tights?
LV: A gay South Asian non-profit in Chicago was hosting a Bollywood party and I suggested that they have a drag queen but we couldn’t find one to perform. So I went to the thrift store and found some Indian women’s clothes, and put them on, with some really bad makeup (I looked like a ghost!), and did a mix of Bollywood songs + MIA. People loved it. I moved to Austin for work in 2014.
RJ: It wasn’t my first time in drag per say. It was my first time taking my drag very seriously though. I’ve been dressing in “drag” since I was a little boy.
CD: What would you say the most difficult challenge was for you both?
LV: The wig challenge started out as a nightmare! We were given a ratty two-tone black and white wig, as well as neon yellow braiding hair and had to make it into something beautiful… we dreaded the neon hair into the wig, and it turned out pretty spectacular actually! And we found a black, white, and neon dress AND bag to match….. we won that challenge! The last challenge was also my greatest fear … singing live in public. I’ve never done that and NEVER wanted to. But we won that too.
RJ: I think the most difficult challenge was probably the hair challenge as well. I was comfortable with makeup and outfits and music but hair styling was one aspect of drag that I had never really tackled myself. We kinda had to skew the challenge to work in our favor and our skill set at the time and we ended up winning! Werk!
CD: In the interest of shamelessly promoting my brand, I am going to have to insist you spell that as WERRRK from now on.
RJ: Haha Yes Ma’am!! WERRRK*
CD: Much better dear! Now on the flip side, what challenge do you think came the easiest to you both?
RJ: HEADPIECE CHALLENGE! I love a good head piece and it’s something that my Mother, Mandy Quinn, and I share a great love for. We were given a dollar store kite and were instructed to create and extravagant head piece using all parts of the kite. We got a fabulous 90’s print and made this amazing “warriors-esque” avant garde headpiece. We won that challenge too!
LV: I loved the impersonation challenge, when Rhonda asked me who I had chosen to mimic, i said “Nikki Minaj” and she was like “I knew that’s who you’d choose!” I think that was the point that we both knew each other well enough… she had a vision for the look and I had a clear idea for the mix I wanted to make and perform, using an interview she did along with several of her songs. It went over really really well.
CD: What was it like working with Sabel Scities?
LV: She is so lovely, and the challenges she comes up with really push my creative boundaries. I don’t know how she dreams up her challenges, but they’re great. It’s clear that she’s really invested in our success too… she always offers her two cents after the judges give their critiques and they are always really productive. Her explanation of how to paint a good eyebrow has changed my makeup forever!
RJ: It is always amazing working with Sable. She is such a professional each and every time we work together. She runs a tight ship but always keeps things lighthearted (She paid me to say this).
LV: One night she even offered my boyfriend advice on how to be a good partner to a drag queen!
CD: You’re not having to say any of these nice things under duress are you?
LV: No… Sabel is not right beside me with a knife to my throat as I type this *nervous smile*
RJ: Of course not! *nervously glances around the room*
CD: I thought so! Let’s move on to something else before this turns into a hostage situation! So what is next for you both?
RJ: Since I know we have the opportunity to shamelessly plug at the end, I’ll think of this on the broader scale. I would say whats next for me and really both of us is Marketing our name. We are both fairly young so getting ourselves out in performances, meeting other girls, meeting the people who come to see us, meeting people who can get us gigs. Really build up our career and make our name known. I’d like to think we’re the future of drag in Austin
LV: Well Sabel had us write and sing (LIVE!) for the final challenge. I sang a parody of Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” but as “Sari”, talking about looking fierce in my Indian fashions. I’ve never sung in front of human beings before but it went over really well… so my plan is to make a music video! It’s been really exciting to book gigs around Austin and actually have friends (and fans!) come out to see and support us. I never imagined that possibility… and I plan on capitalizing on that momentum!
CD: C’mon music video! I’m available to be a slutty background queen just so you know.
LV: Yes, but I can’t put prettier queens than me in the video…Rhonda will definitely be in it. *wink*
*Editor’s note: Since this interview was conducted, their video did get made and they were smart enough to not include Chiffon!
CD: Oh you’re good! Flattery will get you everywhere even if it does make me question your eyesight. Now comes the fun part of the interview….where we shamelessly promote things! Gigs! Social media! A nice sofa you’re selling on Craigslist. Other services you might be offering on Craigslist. Plug away ladies!
LV: You can follow LaWhore’s adventures on her exclusive page here!
RJ: Rhonda Jewels, the heart of the ocean. (We should have just left her down there) Follow me on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter all @Rhonda Jewels to keep up with my Crazy Scary Wild antics. You can see me perform every Wednesday at Oilcan Harry’s on 4th street where I am competing in Drag Survivor & also catch me on Thursdays at Highland Lounge for OUTCAST Drag Bingo! And every SINGLE night on the corner of 5th and Lavaca (usually swingin’ on the lamp post)!
CD: Thank you both so much for your time ladies and best of luck with both of your drag careers going forward. Do you have any words of wisdom for our readers before we call it a day?
RJ: Thank YOU so much it was so lovely chatting. As for the readers…Don’t ever for one second doubt yourself or be scared to live your dreams. And don’t EVER eat Taco Bell before a night of drag. (Editor’s note: or when you’re bottoming!)
LV: Always have extra hairpins, safety pins, earrings, nails, nail glue, perfume, eyelash glue in your purse. Also, be a lady and carry a purse!