Hi there Raquel! I’m happy we’re finally getting to sit down and talk for a bit. I know you’ve been traveling up and down the highways entertaining the masses! Does it feel good to be home?
It feels great to be home! I never realized how much I missed the people in my life here while I was gone. Granted it’s no world tour like the drag race girls. But it defiantly opened my eyes to what they go through
Gurl! I can’t imagine what those queens go through! I would totally lose track of where I was each morning I think!
It was an adventure. *laughs* Especially my bus ride from hell to Tulsa.
A bus ride sounds like hell period. What happened?
Cramped, a dog that smelled like shit, seven hours with my knees up to my chest. *laughs* After only being home for about nine hours after I got back from Vancouver.
Let’s talk about Vancouver rather than that bus ride then! You were up there for their Pride event. How did you like the so called “Most Beautiful City in North America”?
Yes! I was there for pride and then a week after to relax. Vancouver is soooooooo breathtaking. I loved every second of the sixteen days I was there.
What is the drag scene like there? I know a lot of the movie “Connie and Carla” was filmed there but I’m thinking that might not be a completely accurate depiction of it.
The drag scenes are different everywhere but there are some similarities too. In Vancouver there’s a large new wave drag that is great, very electro pop / bearded queen and glamour queens all rolled into one. Joan E who was in “Connie and Carla” is a big staple there as well as Jaylene Tyme and Raye Sunshine. The Imperial Court System is big there as well.
I know Raye Sunshine. We actually did an interview with her last year here on WERRRK. She’s an incredible cosplayer! So how did Vancouver Pride get a Dallas queen up there for their festivities?
I met Raye while I was there and fell in love. What a doll! I got the opportunity to work Vancouver pride from my best friend Chuck who has been living in Vancouver for close 9 years now. We met in Boston when I lived there. With being there last January I met Scott Macay who is an amazing promoter and more for Vancouver pride.
So we’ve already mentioned a bunch of cities and my ADD is having trouble keeping track already. Let’s go back to the start of things. shall we? Where does your story begin?
*Laughs* My story began in Boston, Massachusetts, sixteen years ago next month.
Wow! Your look is very polished for a sixteen year old! I’m impressed!
Well thank you. But I was what my mom called an ugly duckling starting out. I didn’t have YouTube or anything like that. I was completely self taught with lots of nights watching the queens I idolized paint.
Growing up, what was your earliest memory of drag, not counting Bugs Bunny of course?
Watching “Bosom Buddies”! That’s probably my earliest memory besides Bugs. My aunt told me when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I would say Dorothy. And I loved my Barbies! I always had the best ones.
Ha! So which Dorothy did you want to be….Gale, Dandrige, Zbornak?
*Laughs* I might have the height of Zbornak but my heart is with Gale.
So it sounds like you had a pretty open minded upbringing if you had the best Barbies?
I totally did. My family means everything to me. My mother did a great job raising the three of us.
What inspired you to get started in drag?
I was seventeen when I went to my first gay club and I remember watching the drag show and just falling in love with it. I used to watch “The RuPaul Show” religiously in high school so to see drag LIVE made me feel alive! All that hard work lip syncing to Debbie Gibson when I was younger could finally pay off!
So after your trip to that first club, how long after that did it take for Raquel to emerge?
Raquel was born about three years later.
That sounds like a torturous pregnancy for your Drag Mom!
I didn’t get my drag mom, Mizery, until a few months into me going out in drag. She’s still a big name in Boston to this day. I love her to pieces. She clearly saw something in me.
I am trying REALLY REALLY hard to refrain from asking you if she adopted you just because she loves company Raquel.
I was waiting for that. *laughs*
I’m the literal worst.
I entered an amateur drag contest as Madamm (Miss Adamm) before Raquel was thought up. Never did I ever expect that twelve years later I would be the Host and Show Director of that show!
Where did Raquel Blake come from?
My exes initials Nothing fancy. *laughs*
What was the drag scene in Boston like for your time there?
It was great. We had one core group of girls that through time retired or moved away so then the next group of us took their places. When I decided to move to Dallas three years ago, I felt complacent and like there was no moving forward. I wanted a challenge. I wanted to learn more. And what better place than the drag capitol of the world?
Hey stop stealing my questions lady! I was about to ask that!
I can’t say I blame you though. The Rose Room is one of the most iconic drag venues in the country!
It is and since the remodel it’s even more outstanding!
I feel like performing there is on the bucket list of any queen with a knowledge of history.
The feeling on the stage is electrifying.
How was your transition to the Dallas drag scene? What was the biggest adjustment you had to make?
Well I took my first two months to go to the shows to meet the girls I didn’t know yet, kind of crossing all my T’s. My biggest adjustment was working with such powerhouse queens, title holders and then some.
Texas always had a reputation for being a huge drag pageant area. In the age of Drag Race, is that still the case?
Oh yes it’s still here. We basically have a pageant every night of the week almost. I love when USofA week rolls around.
I know how you feel. I’m like that with Fleet Week here. Wait, that’s totally different.
Have you delved into the pageant world in your time there?
Yes. I actually competed for USofA twice. That’s how I first found out about Dallas but I’ve also done Texas USA here since I moved, as well as the pride pageant and then held the title of CEBA Sweetheart, Texas AAG and now Miss Red Foundation.
Do you have that USofA evening gown modeling triangle down to a tee?
*Laughs* No. In evening gown I always act kind of goofy. Modeling always makes me giggle. Some people are so serious about it.
I did a USofA Prelim a few years back and the administrator said, “Please be sure you model your gown in the traditional USofA triangle.” I nodded along with the rest of the gurls and then ran over to Empress Vizcaya, the reigning titleholder and asked what the hell that was. Needless to say, I didn’t win that night.
The Miss Red Foundation sounds like the perfect segue to talk about the Red Party. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Sure! It’s the 8th annual Red Party. The Red Foundation is non-profit organization that produces engaging events to provide financial support for organizations that serve those affected by HIV/AIDS including the Legacy House throughout the year. This year we have J Sutta a former Pussy Cat Doll.
Did you have any involvement with them prior to the pageant?
I did a few events for them prior to the pageant. I also have some friends that are part of the organization as well. This was their first pageant.
Do you think the charitable and fundraising side of drag is still a big thing or has the younger generation gotten away from that?
It’s still alive. I always tell the new girls to do the charitable events and donate their time, talent and tips because you never know who’s out in the audience
Beyond the Red Party, you’re also involved in a pretty cool photography project as well.
I am!!! My friend Graden van Erkelens had an amazing idea to do a book on the inside and behind the scenes of drag. All the photos from this series are taken from his iPhone 6s Plus.
That one shot where you’re basically carting around two full sofa in your tights is amazing…..and just too real.
Thank you. We laughed a lot over that one. In between the shots I was dancing around being silly as usual.
Have you always padded so….amply?
Yes for at least seven years now.
What made Graden decide to make you the focus of this project?
We had been talking about it from my first trip in January. And from there we decided during pride following me around would be a great 1st for the both of us. He’s an extremely talents stylist and artist.
What is he ultimately looking to do with all these shots of you?
We are going to make a book and then do some merchandise with it as well. Hopefully in the future, a gallery showing once he does some more gals. But really just open people’s eyes of what we actually go through. It truly is an art form. And more than just lips, lashes and liner.
Absolutely. There is also pain and suffering!
It’s an abusive boyfriend….as much as it hurts we keep going back because we love it. *laughs*
That might be the best analogy I’ve ever heard. An abusive boyfriend who likes to abuse feet especially.
Do you mind doing a few “lightning round” questions?
Must have makeup item?
Right now Snob lip glass.
Drag role model?
Oooh….I adore Layla Larue
4am post drag food craving?
Whataburger double meat cheeseburger, three slices of cheese.
Best part of drag?
Worst part of drag?
Getting padded on a hot day.
Most surprising thing about you people might not know?
I have a broken tooth.
Person you most want to work with?
If not for drag, what would you be doing?
Hair and makeup.
Reese’s peanut butter cups.
Last one, most embarrassing song on your phone?
Oh god. “Please Don’t Touch Me” from “Young Frankenstein”. I love it but it’s funny.
That is not embarrassing! I’ve done that number!
Other than that, probably any Beyoncé song I have on there. I’m not a fan, don’t shoot me.
There is a mob with pitchforks and torches gathering outside your home as we speak.
That’s why my house is shaking. *laughs*
So assuming the Beyhive spares your life, where can people come see that magnificent padded rear and give you money?
- MONDAY: Once a Month for Cassie Novas Freakshow at JRS Dallas 11pm
- THURSDAY: Thursday’s & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamgirls at JRs 11pm
- SATURDAY: Monthly at MARTYS Live Dallas Dannee Phann Productions Drag Race Events 9pm
I also do occasional guest spots in The Rose Room at Station 4 on weekends along with random drag brunches and charity events held by the Dallas Red Foundation, and Caven Enterprises Benevolence Association (CEBA) to name a few.
Looking ahead to the future, what goals do you have on your drag bucket list that you would still like to accomplish?
Well Drag Race would be nice. I’ve auditioned every year since season two but I really would love to be on the red carpet interviewing or doing some sort of travel show.
Do you have a good excuse for vanishing made up yet for whenever you do get on?
It was going to be Canada for a few weeks but now I gotta think of something better. *Laughs* I’d probably have someone keep posting on my page or something, make it like I never went anywhere.
What is your opinion of Drag Race?
I love the show. I feel it’s gone a little blah but I’m hoping All Stars will bring back its fire.
Aside from yourself, who would like to see on the show?
My sister Fena Barbitall from Boston, Daphne Rio and Leyla Edwards from Dallas and Mayhem Miller from California
Well I think we have just about reached the end her my dear. Thank you so much for your time. I’ve been a fan for a while now. Hopefully we can cross paths in the future. Do you have any final words of wisdom to leave the WERRRK.com universe with?
Work hard, be kind, and eat whatever makes you happy!
That philosophy is why I need so many pairs of Spanx!
And why I pad so much. *laughs*