This coming Saturday night, Prada G Major and a small of army of some the best drag queens in New York City will be wowing the crowd at Boots and Saddle Drag Lounge in an effort to top last year’s Multiple Sclerosis benefit. I was able to sit down the other day with Prada herself to discuss how she got her start in drag, why she decided Brooklyn wasn’t a good drag name, her battle with M.S., how the benefit came about, the Spice Girls and much more! Enjoy!
Hi there Prada! How are you doing today? Have you adjusted to shift to pumpkin spice season yet?
I’m so not a pumpkin spice girl *Laughs* but fall is my favorite time of year.
I always felt Pumpkin Spice was by far the worst of the Spice Girls if we’re being honest.
*Laughs* Truly. I can’t believe they are doing a reunion next year with just three of the Spice Girls.
I don’t know if I am emotionally prepared to handle that yet. So let’s hop in the Delorean and go back in time a bit, shall we? Where are you from originally?
I was born and raised in Brooklyn and lived here for ten years. My mom got remarried so we moved to Staten Island and the day I got my high school diploma, I moved to Phoenix… and eventually moved back to Brooklyn.
What prompted the move to Phoenix? With these New York winters, the desert seems tempting sometimes.
My father moved out there with his family, so I took a risk and decided to leave and stay there. But New Yorkers always come back.
That’s the truth. What was your first exposure to drag when you were growing up?
When I was in Phoenix, I went out a lot in college. I watched all the drag shows at Charlie’s, Amsterdam, and BSWest. I was infatuated with it. I remember seeing Mya McKenzie and I was just like “Wow!”.
Arizona seems to be a hotbed for drag although the heat would seem to be a serious barrier to padding. Is that where Prada was born?
Prada G was born in Phoenix. I originally wanted to name her Brooklyn, but I thought that would not work once I moved back home. “Make some noise for Brooklyn from Brooklyn!” *Laughs*
I totally get that! Its like people named John Johnson or Jack Jackson. How unimaginative were their parents? Anyway, what was the impetus to get you started in drag?
I worked at a little boutique at the time and every year the employees had to dress in drag for the owner’s birthday. My coworker at the time (turned drag mother), Jenna Sais Quoi, painted me up for the party and that was the beginning. It was horrendous! *Laughs*
As its supposed to be! Everyone’s first time is meant to be tragic!
It truly was but you couldn’t tell me nothing. I thought I was the ticket! *Laughs*
That’s the other thing that invariably happens! Did you get bitten by the proverbial drag bug right away?
Yes and No. I loved the look and the change of being someone else, but I hated the process. Now eight years later I love the process and don’t feel I’m a different person… if that makes sense.
Just an extension of yourself now so to speak?
Absolutely. But when I go on stage, that’s when I feel like I am someone else. That’s when the Prada takes over.
You mentioned before you didn’t want to be Brooklyn from Brooklyn, but how did you ultimately decide on Prada G. Major?
When I worked at the boutique in Phoenix, my coworker bought these knock off Prada glasses and I said “look at you with your knock off Prada g glasses” and then that was it. I remember thinking “prodigy….Prada G, that’s her name”. Major was actually because of Facebook because you needed a last name. I had an obsession with Victoria Beckham at the time and she always says major… and it stuck.
And Brooklyn is the name of one of her children! Now it all makes sense!
Right!!! You’re the first person to realize that!!!!
I know my Spice Girls! Want to hang out and watch Spice World and eat pizza?
Only if you dip your pizza in ranch dressing.
Okay, this friendship is over. I always say if your pizza needs a dipping sauce, you’re not doing it right. Pizza Hut, I’m looking at you.
I take my pizza very seriously, as witnessed by my figure. So how did you do transitioning from the Arizona drag scene to the NYC scene?
I think I did drag less than ten times in Phoenix. Once I moved back to New York City, I really didn’t start doing it again until 2010. I worked at Q on Staten Island and then starting competing at So You Think You Can Drag, Stars Search, Traniaml, and Cattle Call. The Arizona drag scene is more of a unit, three or four numbers and looks for each queen whereas in NYC, it’s more of a one queen one show kind of gig.
How soon after your return to New York did your medical issues begin?
I’ve had M.S. symptoms for maybe four years, but at the time doctors didn’t know what was wrong. It hit me really hard last year in June.
For people who don’t know, Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease, affecting the central nervous system. As someone who has a loved one with autoimmune issues, I know it can be very challenging. How has it affected your life?
I want say it hasn’t… but it has. When I was officially diagnosed I didn’t want to tell anyone besides my family. It became visible to friends because they could see me in pain while performing. You just have to remember that you’re more than a disease. It takes a toll on you but you have to have the undefeated attitude.
It seems like the drag community has been pretty supportive of based on the amazing amount of talent that is going to be appearing at your benefit show this coming Saturday night at Boots and Saddle. How did this show come about?
So after I got diagnosed last year, my Aunt Linda had a yard sale and donated money to the nation M.S. society in my name. That inspired me to do my own benefit show. I wanted to do something that a drag queen could do for people who have M.S. that the average person could not. We did it last year and it was a great first run. Now this year I’ve already raised over $2,000 and the show is still a few days away. I hope each year it gets bigger and better. Multiple Sclerosis may only be two words…. but so it Ma-Jor!
For people who can’t be there in person, is there a way they can still contribute?
You can donate on the national M.S. society website. It is very simple.
A few weeks ago you posted a video telling your story. What made you decide to do that? Was it hard to put yourself out there like that?
Delilah Brooks! I wanted to do a video with all the girls promoting the event. But she convinced me to do just a video and share my story. Watching the video back, I need to stop saying “But ummm” *Laughs*
Well, at least that is the only time you’ve said “But ummm” in this interview. Glass half full!
As far as being a performer, what do you feel that you bring the scene that is unique? What makes Prada stand out from the crowd?
I hate answering these questions… I’m just me. Some people think I’m funny, some people think I’m fierce. I know I go on stage and I put all my energy into my show and as long as people are entertained and enjoying themselves… I did my job.
Do you mind a couple of lighting round questions?
Must have makeup item?
Drag role model?
4am post drag food craving?
Five Guys cheeseburger. Or just five guys! *Laughs*
Best part of drag?
Taking people out of their reality for a short amount of time.
Worst part of drag?
Most surprising thing about you people might not know?
If not for drag, what would you be doing?
Binge watching HGTV
Last one, most embarrassing song on your phone?
Cheryl Cole “Sexy Den A Mutha”.
Thank you so much for your time tonight Prada. I wish you the best of luck with your benefit show. I’m sure its going to be a huge success. Do you have any final words of wisdom to leave our readers with?
Two words; Ma-Jor!