Chiffon Dior: Hello there ladies! Thanks for making the time to talk with me this evening. How are you both doing? Has it dropped below 100 degrees out there in California yet?
Missy Anne: It’s cooled off, thank God. I think I can speak for us both when I say tired..We are really tired.
Lacey Noel: The weather’s alright. Thank god the heat is not that bad anymore! I felt like I was going to pass out at school last week! I’m soooo looking forward to the Fall season…
CD: So I’m not positive but I think you both first came to my attention via someone retweeting one of your Vine videos Missy so let’s start with you first. Where are you from and how does your story begin?
MA: Oh my God! laughs I didn’t think anyone paid much attention to my Vines! I was born and raised in New Jersey. I was bullied pretty badly in the 9th grade and started going to night clubs. I left school that year, was home schooled for the rest of the year and then totally dropped out to get my GED. I met Lacey’s biological father while I was in school, but wasn’t interested in him at the time. After I left, he didn’t seem that bad so we dated for a year. I stopped going to clubs and got pregnant. I had Lacey in 1996. She was born with a rare blood disorder that only one other person had and we spend the most of her first two years in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She had a bone marrow transplant on Oct 16th 1997. They don’t consider you to be “out of the woods” till you reach five years though. I had a lot going on and Lacey’s biological father had left the picture before she was even born.
CD: Oh wow, I didn’t realize this was my first ever interview with an actual miracle! I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been for the two of you. Is that where your obviously extremely close bond comes from?
LN: Well, I don’t remember any of that, but I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for my mom! Not only was she going through having a sick child, but she was a single teen mother as well. To know how strong my mother is, makes me have even more respect for her. I love her very much, and I’m so proud to call her my best friend.
I think our close bond comes from that, but also from the fact that I always found it very difficult to make friends at school. I still do. In elementary and middle school, I used to get bullied really badly and I had no friends. But my mom was always there for me. To add to that, with my mom being only seventeen (my age!) when she had me, I think that makes us even closer because we practically grew up together.
CD: So Missy, when did you discover photography?
MA: I’ve always LOVED it. I remember taking my mothers camera and setting up all my Barbies and taking photos of them…or my dog, creating a whole “set” out of boxes for him to look cute in or even just taking photos of my mothers rose garden. I didn’t get serious about it till eight years ago though. That’s when I found my boyfriend and moved to Texas. He was one of the only people who’s ever believed in me. He got me started by buying me a nice camera and lights. I did a casting call kind of thing and shot 15 girls for free. I did all their hair and makeup. I needed to learn how to work with people and didn’t want to charge anyone if I messed up. I’ve been documenting Lacey’s whole life with a camera, the good and all the bad. I don’t know if there is a day that goes by that I don’t take a photo.
CD: Since you’ve both had problems with bullying in your lives, what do you think can be done to deal with that problem? How were you both able to move past it to become the women you are today?
MA: I did what people shouldn’t do, I ran away. You need to not pay your bullies any attention, easier said than done. I’ve had some problems here in LA with other photographers being mean, but I have totally removed myself from their radar. I shoot pinups and have never really been into the whole “rockabilly” thing, so I don’t need to see them. It’s much easier to avoid people and drama in a big city. When Lacey was getting picked on I would go to the school non-stop and if they wouldn’t do anything about it, I would say something at the bus stop in front of other parents to the kids that were picking on her. I’ve also had to get on the school bus and ask them to move her up front so they could keep an eye on her so nothing bad would happen. She was verbally and physically bullied. So was I, but I think I tried to protect her more than anyone ever tried to protect me.
LN: We have each other to make each other feel better, and over time, we started to not pay too much attention to the negativity anymore. For me, the drag community has really helped me with my self-esteem and has made me feel good about who I am. I see all these people who are free to be who they are and don’t care about what others think, and I find that very inspiring.
MA: I would advise anyone who’s going through any bullying to go watch Courtney Act‘s “It Gets Better” video. I believe what she has to say really works!
CD: That’s a perfect segue Lacey! When was the first exposure to the drag community for both of you and what about it appealed to you?
MA: I started going to clubs when I was around 14. I loved going to NYC and have always loved gay bars. I am no stranger to drag queens, but I wasn’t totally obsessed like I am now, thanks to Rupaul’s Drag Race. We started watching season 3, missed season 5, then watched it when it was over. We were living in LA season 4 so we watched all those, but didn’t really try to meet any of the queens or see any shows till season 6. I remember seeing that Adore posted a photo at Hamburger Marys and we went to go track her down but she was gone when we got there . The next week we went to go see a show at The Roxy and decided that we were gonna make our way down to Mickys and watch the show from outside. That night we met Morgan McMichaels and Detox and have been going to shows ever since. They couldn’t have been nicer to us and got us hooked. Since then our whole lives have changed.
LN: I remember getting To Wong Foo in my stocking on Christmas morning when I was about eleven. That’s when I began with my drag queen obsession! I also remember me and my mom watching RuPaul’s Drag Race for the first time, and as time went on, we got more and more into the community. I just really admire drag queens and how unique they are. Every queen has their own style, and they’re not afraid to flaunt that no matter what others may think. On RPDR, you see these people on a more personal level. You get to know them through the stories they tell. Some of these people have been through hell and back just to express themselves, and to see them rise up above that is just so inspiring to me.
CD: So how did your drag queen cosplay photo shoots come about? Had you dabbled in cosplay prior?
LN:I started doing drag queen inspired looks, and then it evolved into full on cosplay projects. The first one was BenDelaCreme. I made an attempt to do the makeup like her, and since my mother is a pin-up photographer, she had clothes that kind of resembled Dela’s. My mom shoots right out of our home, and so we threw everything together, and voila! Project Faux Drag was born! I’ve never done any kind of cosplay project before the drag queen ones, but as a big fan of some TV shows and video games, I’ve always had an interest in doing cosplay. Also, since RuPaul’s Drag Race is the greatest show ever, why not cosplay as some of these astonishing queens?!
CD: Your looks have been pretty spot-on for the queens and it seems like a lot of them have taken notice. How does that make you feel when the gurls you’re portraying take the time to appreciate your art, on both sides of the camera?
LN: Thank you so very much!! It makes me feel so amazing… So incredibly amazing… It takes so much hard work to transform myself into these people and it means the world to me, getting good feedback from the queens!
MA: The spotlight is all on my Lacey. The person behind the scenes never gets that much attention but I don’t mind at all. I love seeing her get their attention, we wait for it! I get so excited when they either post it, retweet it or add her as a friend. She has one of my very favorites following her but not me! laughs I joke and tell her how mad I am, but I’m not at all though I do wish some of these amazing queens would follow me too! I’m dying to shoot Josyln Fox, Jinkx Monsoon, BenDelaCreme and Detox!
CD: Well all you bitches out there, you read it here! Follow @misssmissy! The WERRRK.com fan bump should be good for at least 2-3 new followers for you Missy!
MA: HAHAHA! Thank you!
LN: SERIOUSLY! I couldn’t have done ANY of this without my mom. We’re a team!
CD: What was it like to shoot with Tammie Brown? Those shots were adorable!
MA: Haha, Tammie is very sweet. I was nervous though because it was the first queen I ever shot! Lacey was nervous too. I have some solo shots of her I’ve yet to post. I will soon though.
LN: Thank you! Ah, that shoot was really something! It was so much fun to shoot, and I had such a wonderful time getting made over by Miss Tammie herself! One of the best days ever.
CD: You just posted your take on Detox’s black and white look which is fabulous! Can we get a little spoiler into what queen you’re going to tackle next?
LN: Heheheheehh..One of my favorites who DOES follow me. She lives in WEST HOLLYWOOD and has a song about it. “Is this America’s Next Top Model?” She has a rat testicle. Shrimp on a Barbie.
CD: If I had a nickel for every queen I knew that had a rat testicle…..I would have one nickel.
CD: Lacey, is this just a fun project for you and your mom or do you want to continue to build on it and do more?
LN: BOTH! This is such a wonderful and fun series of photo shoots that really challenges my makeup and modelling skills and hopefully this will also open doors to amazing things for me. Actually, I have some really crazy amazing things happen for me so far, and they are so amazing, that I actually can’t speak a word about them until they come out!
CD: Well that is a total tease! So what does the future hold for the both of you? What are the long term goals you’re both working towards?
MA: I just want to see all her dreams come true, be happy and be able to pay my rent and have good health care, maybe get to work with some of my favorite queens, but really it makes me happy to see Lacey happy. As a parent you want to see your children have a better life than you. It started off not so great for her, but things are looking up.
LN: I’m not too sure! I’ll be graduating high school soon, and hopefully my modeling, makeup and artwork will take me somewhere. Regardless of what I do, I’m an artist and I need to create. I’d love to live a very long and healthy life and maybe me and my mom could be like The Golden Girls when we get old!
CD: A Golden Girls reference! You clearly know my target audience very well! Missy, if any queens (or anyone else for that matter) out there on the west coast are interesting in setting up a photo shoot with you, how would they go about it?
MA: Just email me! (MisSsmissy@aol.com) I would love to work with so many of the rugirls and a ton of the girls who have never been on the show.
CD: Thank you both for your time tonight ladies! We’ll be sure to keep an eye on both of you as you both progress in your careers. Do you have any final words of wisdom for the readers?
MA: I don’t know. The mom in me wants to tell everyone out there that if they have a dream, if you work hard and are nice to people, it will happen. Seriously though, don’t let anyone or anything get in the way of your dreams.
LN: It was so much fun doing this interview with you! And as for words of wisdom… Hm… Never be afraid of being who you are, and don’t worry about others not accepting you because when you are truly yourself, you’ll eventually find the people in your life who do matter. Never give up on being yourself, because it’s truly the worst thing you can ever do.