The WERRRK.com Interview: Soju

 


Hi there Soju! I’m very excited to be talking with our reigning Queen of Chicago! I hope the paparazzi haven’t been TOO relentless since our readers voted you the winner?

Oh I couldn’t get RID of them! I’m so happy to do the interview finally after so much phone tag!

Me too! I’m disappointed that we weren’t able to talk before your last Kpop party here in NYC with our own Jasmine Rice Labeija and Juicy Liu! How did that event go?

It was fantastic! Such a great turn out. Starting a new party in a new city is really hard but our team really pulled through. New York City really has an amazing energy and we felt it at the party. We will be back soon!

I think a lot of people, especially in this country, don’t realize how hugely popular Kpop is. A contributor to our site was a backup showgirl at a Kpop festival in LA and was blown away by the size and passion of the crowd!

Yeah! Kpop is global and it’s only getting bigger and bigger. It was already the biggest thing in Asia and now it’s spreading far into all parts of the world. You don’t really have to speak Korean to love Kpop. It’s light hearted and fun so it’s easy to get down to. Plus they are always visually stunning. I think that’s why it’s becoming more and more popular.

What made you want to get started with these Kpop parties? Was it as simple as seeing a an opportunity in the marketplace?

Kpop was part of my life since I was a little kid. I was born and raised in Korea so obviously Kpop was in my blood. lol But when I lived in America I didn’t necessarily felt the need to share my love for Kpop because it was just so natural to me. In America people voice their Kpop more because it’s something different to them and they want to find other people that also love Kpop. When I started sharing some of my favorite artist or songs, my fans really showed a lot of interest in it. That’s when I realized that lot of my drag fans are also Kpop fans. It was clear to me that my heritage and culture is something that makes me unique. After that I just decided we need to throw Kpop Parties!

Photo by Adam Ouahmane

So you’ve had success with them in Chicago and in New York. Where else have you gone with them and where are you looking to go int the future?

We just hosted one in LA which was another big turn out. I’m working on a party in SF and London ATM but I’ll be continuing to throw the parties in all the previous cities too. The demand is there, I just need to figure out the logistics of it all.

If people from other cities want to see you bring the party to their hometown, what do you suggest the do? Tweet at you? Message their local venue?

First they should gather as many friends as they can and go to their local gay bar and express how they want the Kpop Party to come to them. I can’t do much by just asking the clubs. I’ve had Kpop Community in certain cities do this and we are in the works with the clubs now to bring the party. There are Kpop communities everywhere you just have to search and see.

There you go kids! Get busy if you want Soju in your town! So in the meantime while they do that, let’s hit rewind for a moment. You’re currently one of the biggest stars in the Chicago drag scene but where does your story begin?

*Laughs* Not the biggest, maybe a shinning star. Before I started drag in Chicago I was just a queer Korean boy in his early 20’s trying to figure life out after college. I came out when I was 21 so I had so much to explore and so much to learn. I really give thanks to my ex boyfriend for introducing me to drag which got my interest started. I then met my drag mother Khamora Hall and she taught me how to get in drag. She was the best teacher because she let me grow on my own while teaching me to be polished. I owe her a lot of my drag success.

With Kahmora Hall, Photo by Adam Ouahmane

What was it the attracted you to drag once you were exposed to it?

When I saw drag as an art form. I’ve always been an artistic child. I went to a fine arts school and in college years I joined a very prestigious acapella group. Drag basically brought all my artistic expression together. It was a clear that I had to try it. Once I did and when I noticed people’s reaction to my art, I fell in love.

The Chicago drag scene is very hot right now and incredibly diverse. How did you find your niche in the Windy City?

Trannika Rex was the first Chicago drag queen I fell in love with. I really loved how she made me feel like part of the community. Then when I started doing drag she introduced me to all the other queens in Chicago. Before starting drag I went to every single drag show I could go to. Back then I lived two hours away from the city, but I made the trip whenever I could to go support the drag queens and learn from watching their performances. They were all very welcoming and supportive of my drag. I think it was a way I earned their respect and trust. Chicago drag queens are some of the most unique and talented queens I’ve ever seen. I think if I started drag in any other city, I might not have gotten this far.

You’ve also become a “YouTube star” as the kids say these days. How did your Shot with Soju video show (Subscribe to her channel here!) come about?

Shot with Soju is a love child with me and my producer DS. We got together one day and we wanted to start a YouTube channel. He wanted a high fashion style video channel and I wanted a wacky Korean Variety Show style talk show. He wasn’t on board at first but now we both really love doing the show. It’s our passion project and we’re so happy that people also love our baby. *Laughs*

Photo by Adam Ouahmane

I think people might not realize how much work goes into putting out high quality video content like you are. How long do it take to put together a typical ten or so minute episode?

It takes a team. Currently we have four people that work on Shot with Soju. Thankfully all of us don’t like to screw around and we are all very good at what we do so it makes things a bit easier. From shooting for about an hour to editing and etc, it take about a week to finish an episode. We do this all while having full time jobs so it takes a little bit longer.

It’s almost unfair to ask because I’m sure they’re all your babies but do you have a favorite episode so far? Do you have a “dream guest” that you haven’t had on yet?

All of them are my favorite episodes, but I think it was Detox and Alaska episode that really put our show on the map. I would love to have mother Ru on my show one day. It’s my dream!

I was hoping you were going to say me but I guess Ru would be a way better choice.

*Laughs* I would love to have you on if you come to Chicago!

It’s on my to do list gurl! Just not during those winters you have! Its bad here in New York but how does a queen survive those Chicago winters?

Girl, I do not know. I mean I guess it’s better than being in Florida sweating all the time, but honestly the pads and layers of tights help!

Photo by Daniel Ellyot

Padding finally has a practical purpose! So I have to say, we haven’t really had a chance to meet yet but I DID get to judge you in the Lady Liberty pageant during DragCon weekend and to my shock, you actually chopped a board in half during your talent number. I have to say, I did not see that coming!

Oh my god! That night I was sick as a dog! *Laughs* I did it because my girl Brita Filter asked me to. I came into the dressing room and saw people had backup dancers, an orchestra and side kicks! I looked at Lucy Stoole and I was like “Girl, I gots to go.” I thought it was gonna be some quick little drag competition, boy was I wrong.

Yes! That night was loaded with amazing talents. You all didn’t make it easy on the judges! Do you enjoy coming to New York?

New York is one of my favorite cities. It has this energy… I don’t know. Everyone is hustling and everyone is under pressure to become a star. I thrive in that kind of environment. I love New York.

Speaking of pressure, are you up for our LIGHTNING ROUND questions??

Oh wow! Okay lets do it!

 

 

Must Have Makeup Item?

Makeup Forever Black Eyeliner.

4am post drag food craving?

Cheese’s Grilled Cheese!

Best part of drag?

Performing.

Worst part of drag?

Heels!

Most surprising thing about you people might not know?

I’m a 5th degree black belt in Taekwondo.

Queen you would pay to see?

Bianca Del Rio.

Guilty pleasure?

Real Housewives.

Death row last meal?

Kimchi Fried Rice.

Last movie to make you cry?

Moana.

Netflix binge recommendation?

The Office or Veep.

Last one, most embarrassing song on your phone?

Shake It Off.

Poor Tay Tay! 

*Laughs*

Well I am very happy to say you made it through the Lightning Round with flying colors!

WOO HOO! I’m happy that wasn’t too hard!

Yeah, we went easy on this time. Occasionally we use real lightning!

*Laughs*

Photo by Adam Ouahmane

So for people who want to keep up with you online, where can they find you on the usual sites, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Farmers Only?

@Shotwitsoju on all platform! I kept it easy~ and I keep it easy for the boys too!

 

Looking ahead, what kind of goals do you have in the future? You mentioned you want to interview RuPaul. Is her show something that you aspire to?

I don’t know if I’m ready for RPDR but I would love to audition next year! I wanna keep doing my Kpop parties and travel with it all over the world!

That seems like a pretty good plan to me! So I don’t want take up too much of your time today so I think we have just about reached the end here. I’m very excited to see where your career goes next! Before we call it a day and head off to listen to some Kpop and eat some deep dish pizza together, do you have any final words of wisdom for the WERRRK.com Universe?

Thank you so much for interviewing me today! I been a reader of WERRRK.com for a very long time. It was such an honor to receive Chicago Queen of the Year and I really hope I can represent our city best to my ability. Please keep supporting my journey as I take over the world with my Kpop Drag! Saranghaeyo (I love you)


Feature image by Adam Ouahmane.

I forgot to mention Soju’s single “So Juicy” but check out the video below and be sure you head to iTunes and download it here

About Chiffon Dior 510 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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