A Taste of Svetlana Stoli

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Photo by Hazel Tart

Hi there Svetlana! Thanks for carving out some time to talk with me and congratulations on your big win the other night! Have you been sleeping with that crown on the pillow next to you?

No, I stacked it on top of my crown for being 1st runner up at Miss Barracuda. *Laughs* I find those crowns useless. I’m grateful for the title. But looking at some achieved pageant queens I wonder what they do with their crowns.

I think they take over entire shelves and cabinets in the living room.

Isn’t it horrible? It’s like those shelves of endless useless birthday statues and toys. This is an upgrade though. Shiny dust collectors but I’d be happy to win more. *Laughs*

Excuse me, I need to go move my shelf of Disney figures and toys.

*Laughs* When I lived in Moscow in my own apartment, I didn’t have that problem. Here I am sitting in a small room stuffed with dresses and pantyhose so maybe that’s why I’m so hateful towards that kinda stuff.

I don’t know how some of you city girls find the room for two wardrobes in those apartments. I have a nice sized place outside the city and I am still lacking for room.

That is like a maxi challenge for Drag Race – organize your room and make a presentation. I hope Ru is listening! *Laughs*

The size of that workroom would be like Barbie’s Dream House to most NYC Queens. So it sounds like this wasn’t your first time taking a ride on the pageant roller coaster. What got you interested in pageantry?

I am very competitive and it’s a great way to put yourself out there, as well as challenge your artistry. That’s why I mostly do pageants and competitions that are outside the box. I think that’s what NYC drag is famous for, we may live in a shoe boxes but our imagination have no limits.

That is an understatement. The creativity of the queens in this city never ceases to amaze me. Speaking of which, how did you wind up here in the Big Apple?

I graduated Tulane university in New Orleans in 2013 and I already applied for a political asylum, so I knew I was staying in the country. I had no intention to keep living in New Orleans, so I had three options for moving: Chicago, San Francisco and New York City. All three cities I adore (which is weird cause none of them them are warm places and I’ve lived in a winter land most of the time). So considering that NYC resembled Moscow the most, I moved here. It has culture, it has public transportation system which we can bitch on Facebook a lot but it’s way better than just a street car named desire to get to the place I want way faster when we’re going It has pretty people, great history and nightlife history. Many many options to express yourself. I love it, I don’t see another place in the world I can call home easier than NYC.

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Photo by Thomas Trinity

Do the winters here feel tame compared to Moscow?

No, not at all. *laughs* My friends come to visit me here usually during the winter and everyone says it’s pretty damn dreadful here. The big factor is humidity. Moscow is relatively dry comparing to NYC. It’s like when I lived in New Orleans, for a month that place feels like hell, because its so humid that 32 degrees feels like negative hundred

How does a boy from Russia wind up at Tulane?

It’s a long and interesting story. When I was graduating the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts, like any college senior I thought about where I was going to go from there. Russia is a very, very corrupted country, as many might know, and that projects into show business and the theatre industry strongly. Your chances of succeeding are so low unless you’re from a rich family or bang someone with money and/or connections. My family was once rich but lost almost everything in 00s, and I’m like true sex Robin Hood only have sex for free, spreading the pleasures as much and often as I spread my legs. It’s always charity work because I give to the community. Don’t ask me what I give! *Laughs* Just don’t forget to get tested on regulars.

Anyways, so I was thinking what should I do after school, and I thought to myself, “Why not try and come to the country of the opportunities – The United States. I did my research about my options. I didn’t want to come here on a work and travel visa and get then married like most Russians do, so I thought I’m going to come to a language school and later, see what happens.

But my boyfriend at that time said, “You’ll learn the language just being there. Go get a higher degree.” I was like okay and Googled some theatre schools, looked at your tuition prices and it shocked me so much. I told him, “Baby, I am not selling my property to get a fucking degree.”. Russian people don’t get loans, we like to spend what we have. He replied, “Well, you think you’re smart….win a scholarship.”  The only scholarship that I found out about was Fulbright and I fucking won it!

Don’t say that too loud or El Presidente Trump will try to figure out how to build a wall to keep Russians from taking American scholarships!

I’m surprised Republicans never tried to get rid of that program. Also I don’t understand why they never made a change in two years rule because it’s like this country spends so much money getting the professionals from other countries, giving them additional skills and then sends them back to their countries. Not so Democratic at times.

Well I think Oscar Wilde said it best when he said, “The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.”.

Another wise and talented gay.

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Photo by Dillon Henderson

Indeed. So how did you get your start in drag?

I came to New York and I applied for a political asylum. Officially I couldn’t work for six months so I got depressed because I felt all that artistry is sitting inside and rotting. Plus I needed some extra coin. My friend Alexander D’Or told me, “You always have so much to say about drag queens, do it yourself.” With his help and help from Pusse Couture and Maddelynn Hatter, I started taking my first steps in drag. I was very blessed with friends who do drag already as you can tell. Add to it that I started having a regular outlet during Princess Bitch’s shows at Boots. Actually at her show, I had my first performance doing “Dancing on My Own” by Robyn. And when Bianca Del Rio came back from Drag Race, I got shit tons of Colorevolution makeup which was absolutely great because you know make up is not cheap. Also I met my life long drag sister Sapphire Diamond at Sephora. We did a bunch of events together and got paid in make up. So yeah, I was very lucky and surrounded with a lot of support in drag which has never changed. It’s a real sisterhood of tuck!

For someone who hasn’t seen you, how would you describe your style of drag?

An R rated circus based on true stories and personal experiences!

So juggling, lion taming, sword swallowing? That sort of thing?

No, the circus with sad and bitter clowns that barely makes money. *Laughs*

Doesn’t sound like the best business model, I have to be honest. *Laughs*

It always a good time though.

You’re also involved with the Voss Events Drag Brunch in the city as well right?

Yes I’m you door goddess, cashier and greeter. Basically they hide the cast backstage because they have no customer service skills. I’m like a panda of Voss events. Very likable and I like a bamboo in my mouth. *Laughs*

I hope you get more than bamboo shoots for your time.

Brandon Voss is the best employer I had in nightlife so far I can’t complain.

How are you liking the new venue at the Hard Rock?

Oh my god, it’s gorgeous! The food is amazing and the sound system is incredible. I recommend everyone to go online and make their reservations. Also it’s ten bucks cheaper if you do it online. That’s my customer service skills in action *Laughs*

You’re a natural!

You should check it out! High quality entertainment goes really well with arugula salad and grilled chicken!

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Photo by Jeff Eason

Would you mind doing a few short lightning round questions?

Let’s do it

Must have makeup item?

Blending brush or translucent powder *laughs*

Drag role model?

I have a bunch : Sherry Vine, Bianca Del Rio, Jackie Beat, Lady Bunny and Coco Peru. Can’t choose one. All five are my idols and have qualities and skills that every true entertainer must have.

4am post drag food craving?

Bread pudding. Love my carbs.

Best part of drag?

The people you meet and get the luck to entertain

Worst part of drag?

Shaving, no argument here.

Most surprising thing about you people might not know?

I have a good heart and I really care about people and communities even when I am acting like a total cunt *Laughs*

If not for drag, what would you be doing?

No idea. Would be fucking five times more people I guess with all that free time and more space in my room *Laughs*

Guilty pleasure?

Bread. Watermelon. And bread.

Last one, most embarrassing song on your phone?

Hoe (a parody of Meghan Trainor’s song No that has never been released)

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Photo by Maddelynn Hatter

Peering ahead into the future, what goals do you have for yourself as a queen moving forward?

Short term – get the balls and energy to finally apply for Drag Race. Long term -inspire, entertain and educate others. More and more!

In the meantime, where can people come to see you do your thing?

I’d say just add me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and stay tuned. Of course come to Drag Brunch at Hard Rock Cafe, book your Halloween tickets for Voss events celebration at Madame Tussaud’s museum, a Night of Living Drag and of course if you’re in town during the Thanksgiving weekend come to the iconic Stonewall to celebrate my birthday on sunday November 27!

Thank you so much for your time Svetlana and congratulations on winning Miss West End. Do you have any final words of wisdom to leave the WERRRK.com universe with?

Be active and live a life that is worthy remembering on a sick night when you can’t leave your house. So while you have your ability to leave it, get out and experience everything that we all sometimes take for granted.

About Chiffon Dior 454 Articles
Despite being a drag journalist for over five years, Chiffon only recently realized that she missed a golden opportunity back then to change her drag name to Rhoda Story.

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