Its the sixth season of the most popular drag competition in New York City, “So You Think You Can Drag” at New World Stages! I got to sit down with my gal pal, the fabulous Chelsea Piers to talk about what has happened so far, some changes to this season and what is to come! Enjoy!
Chiffon Dior: Hi there Chelsea! So it seems like you drew the short straw and got stuck talking with me. That Paige Turner is one crafty lady! How are you doing my dear?
Chelsea Piers: Hi Chiffon! I’m lovely. Glad I could spare a moment for you between picking up Paige’s dry cleaning and organizing her Barbie collection.
CD: I think there are workers in Apple’s iPhone factory in China that have better working conditions than you do gurl! So aside from being the Andy to Paige’s Miranda Priestly, what is your official position for this season of So You Think You Can Drag?
CP: I am the mentor and coach to the queens. Think Tim Gunn with a much prettier face and just as low of a voice.
CD: So we’re already up to the sixth season of SYTYCD now, right? Who do you have competing this time around?
CP: Season six indeed! This year we’ve got Heidi Haux, Boxxa Vine, Ritzy Bitz, Juicy Liu, Strawberry Fields, Louvel, Sasha Pierce Davenport, Lady Sinagaga, Bang, and Kimmi Moore.
CD: Two of those names are very familiar to the readers of my site, the winner of our Miss NotSafe4Werk.com Pageant, Boxxa Vine and the fabulous Lady SinAGaga! But gratuitous plugs for my site aside, that is quite impressive array of NYC drag talent! How do you feel this crop of queens matches up to prior seasons?
CP: As is the case every year, the group is extremely diverse. We have queens who have been in the game for quite a while as well as girls who are just bursting onto the scene. There are campy costume queens, chanteuses, comediennes, you name it. It’s always hard to compare each season to the others, because this community is comprised of so many unique styles in the first place. One thing is for sure thought, these ladies have done their homework and are playing to win.
CD: This season you made a change to the format and added a Runway challenge each week. How did that come about?
CP: In the past, we used the runway portion of the evening as a way to showcase the contestants and to remind the audience of everyone they’ve seen over the last five acts and several falling chandeliers. Over the years, the girls started taking it upon themselves to appear in some pretty elaborate looks. Every year, we try to make the competition more representative of what it takes to be successful in this industry. And let’s face it, if you ever make it on that TV show, you’ve got to know how to turn a runway out. It’s also exciting to see the queens exercise different sets of creative muscles. Ultimately, the runway challenge has become one of the most anticipated moments of each week. The “yaaaaas-ing” can be deafening.
CD: You definitely have some queens who can turn a look this season! So we’re six weeks in already, let’s take a brief video interlude and catch up so you all can lament what you’ve missed so far!
CD: Wow! Looks amazing so far! I know Week Four, which I attended was marvelous! So what is on tap for this week?
CP: This week is LEGENDS AND DIVAS, which is probably my favorite week of all. Why, might you ask? Because I won it during my season, duh. The girls have made some very smart choices, many of which will surprise you. You can always feel the energy at New World for this theme because it showcases a different side of the contestants and can be interpreted in a number of different ways. And if you’re a fan of my favorite diva to perform, word on the street is that I’ll be bringing a bit of Vegas to Hell’s Kitchen!
CD: I was at the finale last year and the energy was amazing, not to mention the giant crowd! In a city where trends come and go so quickly, what do you think it is about SYTYCD that makes it resonate so strongly with fans?
CP: What excites me most about being a performer in this community is the synthesis between drag and theatre. SYTCD is one the best outlets for emerging artists to explore that movement and offers a platform for queens to create fully realized pieces. The level of production value that these girls bring to the table consistently blows my mind. I always tell my queens to use this opportunity to its full advantage because they are afforded such outstanding support from the professionals who run New World Stages. As a result, the audience experiences an elevated caliber of drag entertainment that you can’t always find in a local bar. Furthermore, you go on a journey with these queens. Week after week, you witness the blood, sweat, tears, and glitter they put into the competition and you can’t help but get invested in their triumphs and losses alike. The stakes are always high, the energy always electric, and you can bet your ass magic will always be made.
CD: Because I’m twelve years old at heart, all I saw there at the end was “ass magic”
CP: That’s at the after party.
CD: *Sigh* I never get invited to those. So SYTYCD aside, what is going on with your career since last we talked gorgeous (Check out my in-depth interview with Chelsea here) ?
CP: This past summer I had the incredible honor of performing my first headlining show, GYPSIES, at the Crown & Anchor in Provincetown, MA. It was a full circle moment for me, not only because I got my start there, but also to be following in the footsteps of the legends such as Varla Jean Merman. I’m hoping to return there next season for an encore run. And to keep expanding the show and take it on the road. You listening universe? And venue owners?! I’m also working on a new web series called “5 to 9” produced by my dear friend Adam Hostler. It’s about a group of friends who all work in NYC gay nightlife and I play, wait for it, a spin instructor by day and a drag diva superstar by night. Additionally, I’m continuing to pursue my career as a professional makeup artist. Otherwise, you can sill catch me Mondays at XES Lounge and Wednesdays at Hardware Bar with PaIge Turner! And on the street corners of Manhattan trying to make an extra buck right before rent is due.
CD: You and every other queen in the city! It was so good to talk with you again Chelsea! If you’re in the City, be sure to head to New World Stages to catch So You Think You Can Drag Thursday nights at 10:30pm and make sure you’re at the finale on November 12th to see the season 6 winner crowned! Do you have any final words of wisdom for us Chelsea before we call it a night and I start begging you to get my name on the after party list?
CP: Wisdom? Are you implying that I’m old? I like to remind myself that being an artist is so much about relishing in the journey. Yes, we should always have goals in our peripheral, but there’s so much joy in the process. In this community, there’s so much to learn and it’s unlikely that you’ll ever master your craft completely. It’s extremely hard work and can be trying, but I always remember that if I can reach even one person every time I step on stage, it was well worth it.