The WERRRK.com Interview: Adriana Trenta

 


 

Hi there Adriana! How are you doing this fine August day?

Hey Chiffon! Sweating like a hooker in church, but Im doing just fine! How’re you?

I’m just enjoying this lovely humidity. It’s great feeling like you’re serving a tour of duty in Vietnam when you run out to the grocery store.

*Laughs* Nothing like swimming in air!

As a working queen in the city, what is your best advice for surviving summer drag? I always say ideally, drag is a nighttime sport played in the fall and winter.

Oh, I love summer drag! I can get away with just wearing a leotard or a two piece and calling it a day! The shorter the hair the better! I find that the summer really is when people learn how to best block their brows. Cement personally is my favorite.

And how is that different than your normal costuming?

SHADE! *Laughs* I just don’t have to wear a coat!

Big difference clearly my dear! So let’s hop in the Delorean and go back in a time a bit a shall we? Where does your origin story begin?

Well doc, I was born in a small suburban town called North Easton Massachusetts, just south of Boston. I grew up in a very picturesque, straight-out-of-a-movie white picket fence neighborhood and hated it. I was always the black sheep in my family and had no friends in school. After doing every extra curricular activity imaginable to make friends, I was outed my Junior year and decided to move as far away as possible after graduation to avoid ever seeing those people ever again. Fast forward to college, I’m in NYC attending Pace University and loving it. I finally experienced my gay awakening and loved every moment of freedom and really came into my own.

Photo by JMA Photography

So if form holds, I already know the answer but what did you go to school for?

Surprise bitch! I went to school for business management! Not a musical bone in my body!

I’m going to refrain from commenting about bones in your body.

Although,  I did do high school musical theatre and show choir where I met my first boyfriend who I dated in secret. So I guess I can’t say that I really am a drag queen who broke the mold of being in theatre.

But yet you’re also one of the best dancing queens (Trademark ABBA 1976) here in city! Where did those skills come form?

As sappy as it sounds, I picked up dancing as a form of trying to get people to talk to me at school dances. That’s the only time I got to really socialize with people outside of doing school activities, so I would teach myself to dance from watching Dancing With The Stars and other YouTube videos and learn in my bedroom all by my lonesome.

I’m starting to feel like you should be laying on the couch as I take notes and say things like, “Mmmm hmmm” and “Please continue.”.

Thank you Doctor Dior. **grabs pillow** So my friend took me to my VERY first drag show. I had no idea what drag really was beyond a couple of episodes of Season 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. That show was the season 4 finale of Paige Turner‘s So You Think You Can Drag? which featured three amazing NYC queens, Sutton Lee Seymour, Terra Hyman and Monét X. Change!

Looks like our session is up. Please pay the girl on the way out and be sure to schedule another session for next week. No, I’m kidding…..except about the payment part. What was your thought at the time watching three queens who have become some of the best in the city do their thing?

I remember watching the show in absolute amazement and feeling like I was in a room with my people for the first time in my life. All of the jokes and moments resonated so well with me, and it felt like it was a sign from the universe watching these industry legends go for glory. I still have the final lip sync between Terra and Sutton etched into my brain!

Would you have guessed that a few seasons later you would be competing in that same event?

Oh, it was for certain that I would make my way up to that stage. It was something that I just knew I wanted to do. I remember thinking I accomplished it when I was backup dancing for Strawberry Fields and Ritzy Bitz on their season. Little did I know that halloween would’ve changed things.

So of course, Halloween. The drag birthday of all birthdays.

So by this point I’ve gotten the gay awakening and I’ve seen a couple of seasons of Drag Race. I was still closeted to my family until the summer just before my first season dancing for queens on SYTYCD. At which point, I was rewatching Season 7 of Drag Race and getting my life to Jaidynn Diore Fierce and Kandy Ho‘s lipsync. At the time of coming out, Break Free was my gay anthem that I would listen to as a coping mechanism when I was feeling down or weak and wanted to feel powerful and happy again. So for Halloween after doing a season of SYTYCD, I decided that I wanted to evoke the energy that I saw on Drag Race and the energy that I got from listening to Break Free and go as Ariana for Halloween. Fun Fact, Yuhua Hamasaki made my costume. And I looked a MESS (Not Yuhua’s fault mind you). I decided it wasn’t for me after I did it and everything just sat in the back of my closet until Pride the following year when the Pulse shootings happened.

What made you think it wasn’t for you?

The pictures mainly. Lots of jokes were thrown my way that made me too scared to go out again. I found that when the pulse tragedy happened, I was at a point in my life where a crossroads was coming. I was graduating from school, I was becoming more in tune with the LGBTQIA community, and I was disengaging from working as a boy in nightlife. After being moved from the attack and feeling such pride for my community and once again listening to the universe, I saw that Sutton Lee Seymour was doing a virgin show in honor of Pulse for Pride week. I jumped at it and resurrected Adriana.

Photo by Anthony Stephen Photography

Where did your connection with Ariana Grande come from?

Mainly from Break Free being my gay anthem. It evoked a sense of pride, power and confidence. Stylistically I’m inspired by her fashion, but the core of my inspiration really comes from her music. And before you ask: yes I did make sure to perform that song to death when I was starting out. *Laughs*

Probably the proudest I’ve been of you is when you organized a big fundraiser at Stonewall following the tragic suicide attack at her Manchester show. How did that all come about?

Thank you!! When Manchester happened, it was only a couple of months after I had gone to see her show myself. Thinking of all of the youths affected by something so harmless as attending a concert of their favorite artist, and how many lives were lost by this…I knew I had to do something. Not even in a “Hi I’m New York’s Ariana girl, let me make this about me” sort of way. I knew that others were feeling just as inspired, and I was moved by just how many queens also wanted to step in and raise money for a great cause. Stonewall in particular was so symbolic to work with. Having the birthplace of the LGBTQIA movement stand with you and show support for all of the lives lost by this horrid tragedy is so moving. We even had people from Manchester in the audience who were supposed to fly home that day, they were too scared to come home to see their loved ones, and by chance saw our show after wanting to just drink their troubles away. THAT is what drag is all about. Community and art coming together and supporting those that need it.

What made you decide to try out for season 7 of So You Think You Can Drag?

SYTYCD was always a goal of mine to perform at. After getting the drag bug from doing Sutton’s show, I knew that this show was the experience that I wanted to have with drag. Seeing so many girls go through the wringer and sparkle afterwards made me realize that the satisfaction that I got from performing as a backup dancer for that show was only the tip of the iceberg. I needed more!

I know Paige and the judges really challenged all the girls that have competed. What was your biggest surprise once you were elbow deep in it, that you didn’t anticipate going in?

Just shy of the elbow, I was really surprised at just how little I truly knew about myself and drag. In typical 22 year old fashion, I thought I knew myself a lot more than I did and look back and almost shudder at the stylistic choices I made in some of my performances, and I’m happy to say that my season really grew as a unit and we all treat each other as sisters, having shared a wonderfully stressful experience together.

You were even padding by the end!

THANK YOU FOR MY FIRST SET OF PADS BY THE WAY!!!!!

*Laughs* It was basically an intervention! I think I’ve gone on to make pads for 2/3 of the cast that season.

Remind me to place an order with you for a new set for my next pageant after this!

Well that is a perfect segue! You’ve also dabbled in pageantry since then. What made you decide to delve into that world?

The thrill of competition, the sting of defeat, the blood of my enemies sprayed on the floor. Typical stuff really.

Sounds like someone is watching too much Game of Thrones.

I’m no Shangela! *Laughs* I actually really enjoyed the thrill of competing, and I love a good theme! After SYTYCD, I kept going and moved onto even bigger stages and got the itch to be in pageants more often.

Do you have a big bucket list pageantry system that you want to do?

Not really, I adopted a one-day-at-a-time mentality with most things, and find myself lucky to compete in the pageants that I do. I would love to do another Miss’d America, Miss Fire Island, maybe even one of the regional Miss Gay America prelims. No doubt I’d have to start dressing like a woman, but hey, life is all about growth.

There is more to life than just leotards my dear.

YOU TAKE THAT BACK! I’M JUST STARTING TO GET THE HANG OF SEWING THEM!

Photo by Grace Chu

I’ll just say keep living your truth honey and segue right into the reason we’re here: to talk about your new show coming up this week, Grapes of Sass!

YAS! Buy your tickets now ladies!!!

This is the part where you’re supposed to shamelessly shill for your event honey.

Well thank you for the soap box! **clears throat** Grapes of Sass is a new cabaret that I have been developing with Gilda Wabbit and Sapphira Cristal. We’re teaming up with City Winery to put on a night of drag at its most excellent, there will be comedy, celebrity illusions and impersonations, dance numbers, stupidity and most importantly, WINE! This event will be available for anyone to attend! Yes anyone! The venue is allowing us to have people under the age of 21 present, meaning that all of the NYU twinks that want to go to bars to watch drag but can’t now have a show made for them!

How did this night come about? This is City Winery first night of drag right?

Yes!!! So City Winery is a fabulous Company that not only produces great wine and has lovely concerts, but also gives back to the various communities here in NYC and globally. They raised money for Immigration Equality, The Human Rights Campaign as well as a for a relief fund for Puerto Rico. HOWEVER, the venue has never had explicitly LGBT programming! So I approached the venue about their interest in engaging with the community and giving a space for queer artistry to flourish and for the youth to connect with the community in a way they otherwise don’t often get to do, and a show was born! Its been quite the labor of love!

How can people get tickets for this?

You can purchase tickets here or by calling City Winery. This show is truly a groundbreaking and community pushing piece of work. Its not often for us queens to navigate into a traditionally heteronormative space and to claim it as a spot on the map. Support queer artistry!

I’m sure that is going to be a great night now but for now, are you ready for……THE LIGHTNING ROUND??

Uh oh.

*evil laugh*

 

 

Must Have makeup item?

Kryolan Mastix Matt Spirit gum to glue down your brows and wig!

4 AM post show food craving?

PEPPERONI BAGEL BITES.

The best part of drag?

The chance to be stupid on stage

The worst part of drag?

The totem pole of our industry. Designers, bar owners, anyone really places too much emphasis on your social clout and not enough on the quality of your artistry

Most surprising thing about you that people might not know?

I can play five musical instruments and write string quartet pop music covers!

Queen you would pay to see?

Michelle Visage or Jackie Beat.

Guilty Pleasure?

Ain’t nothin guilty about it. Eating frozen peas with salt, in a cup, with a spoon.

Last movie to make you cry?

Make the Yuletide Gay.

Death Row last meal?

Pasta sautéed with sausages veggies and spices! Oooh and some grated cheese and a Pepsi!

Netflix Binge recommendation?

I don’t have a Netflix account, but Queer Eye is good from what I’ve heard and seen!

Disney character you relate to the most?

Mulan, kicking ass and having family problems all the way to the top

Final question, most embarrassing song on your phone?

C’est La Vie B*Witched

Well, I think you managed to survive the Lightning Round…..but only barely!

Whew.

So if after reading all that people still want to see you, where can they find you?

You can find me on Facebook and Instagram @AdrianaTrenta, in person every Sunday at 10PM for Mortal Catfight at Vodka Soda, at City Winery on August 10th at 11PM for Grapes of Sass, and most importantly, on your nerves wherever!

Well my dear, I think we have just about reached the end here. Thank you so much for you time and I am super excited to see Grapes of Sass this Friday. Do you have any final words of wisdom for the WERRRK.com Universe?

WASH YA TIGHTS! Thank you Chiffon for putting up with me for this interview!! Can’t wait to see you there!

About Chiffon Dior 512 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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