From the very first week of the Miss NotSafe4Werk 2015 pageant, Anita Procedure had me giggling until I cried. Between her sheer hilarity, her vintage style, and her gorgeous singing voice, I couldn’t wait to watch her video each week. I also couldn’t wait to grill her about it all the second Chiffon suggested interviewing the contestants! I messaged Anita immediately and we caught up while she sat in her car drinking water from a 2L milk jug (hydration is key, kids).
Courtney Conquers: Hello! Yaaaayyy!!
Anita Procedure: Hello darling! How are you!
CC: I’m good thanks, how are you?
AP: Good! I went to the 99-cent store and they had all this Halloween bullshit, so I bought it.
CC: What are you going to use it for?
AP: I don’t know yet but look! I decorated my car!
AP: Yeah, it might be illegal to stick a tombstone to my dash but YOLO.
CC: Hey, whatever. Okay, let’s get down to business! What made you get into drag for the first time, and what was it that kept you doing it? Fair warning: these are all double part questions because I’m only supposed to ask six, but that’s not enough.
AP: Brilliant! You just cheated a little! Hmm, what got me into drag? Well I grew up being very close to my mom and I had an older sister, so when I was a little kid they kind of put me in drag! They would put me in dresses and lipstick and stuff. I just always grew up with these female role models and was really into strong beautiful women. Once I got to be about 15 I discovered what drag was and I was like “oh, okay cool!”. I kind of just started picking things out of my mom’s closet and buying crappy wigs and it just progressed from there. I think once I started getting better at it, it kind of gained momentum and made me stick with it.
CC: So did your family always know that you did drag? Were they supportive or open to the idea?
AP: Well, my mom and my sister have been pretty much supportive the entire way. My dad and my step mom definitely found out I do drag, I think probably from social networking. They’re pretty conservative so they were a little unsure about it for a little bit. They were confused and my step mom would ask me if I was transgendered and stuff, but after a while they actually warmed up to it. It’s not their favorite thing to talk about but they’re totally respectful of me doing it. I played Morticia Adams in the musical The Adams Family once and they both came and saw that and they were really supportive and everything, so I’ve been pretty lucky.
CC: That’s really nice to hear. So how long have you “officially” been doing drag?
AP: I always say “officially” since I was like 18. When I was 15 it was more just me playing dress up and being silly. It wasn’t really until I was 18 that I thought okay, it’s time to get out and start performing and going to clubs and, you know, stepping out!
CC: Did you have your Anita Procedure identity all the way through, or did that come a little later on?
AP: I think it didn’t really come until I started going out and sort of putting her on her feet. I don’t think that a drag persona is really something that you can just cook up in your bedroom. You have to kind of get out there and see how people respond to you. See what kind of energy you give off and build from there. I feel like I’m just now settling into what Anita is.
CC: Good, cause I like her. My mom loves her too, she was obsessed with all of you every week. So do you always live sing when you perform? Do you like it better when you can sing, or is it sometimes nice to have a break and just lip-sync?
AP: I mostly only sing when I perform. That’s just kind of become my “thing” as I’m developing my brand or my character. I would never want someone to be disappointed by, like, coming to see me in a show and expecting to see the live singing drag queen and then I don’t sing. It’s also something that makes me unique so I try to hold onto it and really own it. I mean, recently I did a show where I had three numbers and I wanted to sing them all but I was running through one in the car and it just didn’t sound very good, like it just wasn’t very suit to my voice. I was with my friend and he was like “Girl, just lip-sync it. Just do it”. So I did! I sang one, lip-synced that one, and then sang another one. So I guess it is nice in that way, where you do have a little bit of freedom to say “Fuck it, I’m just going to lip-sync if I need to”. I try to stay true to who I am.
CC: Where did the singing come from? Is it just something you’ve always liked doing or do you have a musical theater background? Did you train in singing?
AP: Kind of all of the above. My mom was a theater girl so growing up we listened to a lot of musicals and stuff. I was such a little singer when I was a kid and then when I hit puberty I was really awkward, couldn’t sing, like just didn’t know what my voice was anymore. I kind of came back into it as I got older and just did a lot of theater, which helped me get comfortable with it and hone it.
CC: What’s your absolute favorite thing about drag, and what’s your favorite thing about your drag specifically?
AP: Oh my gosh. Well… I guess I would say my favorite thing… it’s hard, it’s kind of a tie. One of my most favorite things is the transformation of it, you know? People are always just so astonished by just how much you transform head to toe. It’s like magic. But I also like… well, maybe this is what I like most about my own drag too… I like the really positive impact you can have on people. It seems like no matter where you are or what you’re doing, when people run into a drag queen, it’s like they just fucking met a fairy princess! They’re like “oh my god!” and they want to take pictures of you. I don’t know, it’s just a fun feeling to be this fairy god mother that’s like “Hi, yes. Let me bless you, child”. It’s such a unique thing and I think it reminds everyone to not take life so seriously because here I am, a man dressed up ridiculously and just having fun and sharing that with everyone else.
CC: Oh, I have no idea what it’s like to look at drag queens like fairy princesses. Not at all.
AP: I know. I just thought I might give you a little peek into what that’s like!
CC: Thank you, I appreciate it. It’s just such a foreign world to me.
AP: Drag is just so much fun. It’s colorful, it’s happy, it’s crazy, it’s silly… nothing about it is serious, you know? I mean, people do take it seriously and it’s of course important to take your art seriously, but it’s just fun all around.
CC: Absolutely! What’s your favorite thing to do outside of drag? Can you tell us one non-drag fact that might surprise us?
AP: Hmm, I would say my favorite thing to do outside of drag is theater, but I do kind of think of them as hand in hand. They’re kind of the same thing to me.
CC: When you do theater, are you mostly in drag?
AP: Well, my first drag role in a show was Morticia in The Addams Family, as I said, which is not a drag role. I mean it was written for a woman. But I also did Angel in Rent!
CC: WHAT! I love Rent so much! I love it so much that I actually have a Rent tattoo!
AP: Oh my god, yes! I mean, I don’t know if theater counts then… yeah, I guess that counts! My favorite non-drag is performing in musical theater and also eating. That’s another good one. That can be my fact that might surprise you, too. That I eat, like, bullshit! I’m a fast food queen! Pizza, soda, pasta, all of it! In my car right now, I literally have rice pudding, Mountain Dew, pretzels…
CC: Rice pudding?! In your car?!
AP: Um yeah, I’m classy! Oh look, I have sunflower seeds… I’m a food queen! Suck on that, Lacy Lane!
CC: You’re coming for her gig!
AP: Mmmmmhm. I always tell myself I’m not going to do it with the junk food and then I just do it.
CC: As you should. What do you feel you learned most from this pageant? Do you think the experience will change anything about your drag, or do you feel like it kind of solidifies your drag?
AP: Oh my god, I really feel like I learned so much form this pageant. It’s definitely a lot of time management. Jesus Christ, I can’t tell you how many times it was, like, Sunday night and I was still editing and just freaking out! So yeah, time management is a big one. Of course, creativity too. You know, getting challenges that maybe you’re not… okay, it’s kind of like Drag Race “boot camp”. You’re put on the spot and you just have to turn something out. I take a lot of pride in what I do and I don’t ever want to put out anything that’s, like… not good! I really had to challenge myself every week. Even for things like the swimsuit where it was like… I don’t sew and I don’t have an amazing swimsuit in my closet so I said “How can I make this entertaining? Knowing that I don’t have the best swimsuit, how can I still make this something that people are going to want to watch and that is fun and represents who I am?” Having to be creative and think under pressure were huge, huge parts of this pageant. Another great thing I took away from this pageant was that, as much as it’s really stressful making the videos, it’s a lot of fun and I get to have something that’s there forever that you can look at and share. It’s like a little time capsule and it makes me want to start making more videos. Hell, if I can do all that within a week, I can put something else together, like a skit or just a random funny video and have it be something that’s fun and entertaining!
CC: So she’s gonna be a YouTube queen now!
AP: She gonna be a YouTube queen! I mean, I do have a few videos on my channel, but then I did this, so I had to kind of abandon that!
CC: Right! I’m a nostalgic memory hoarder so I agree, videos are awesome.
AP: It’s so true! You can look back and remember everything about it and everything you put into it, you know?
CC: Did you find there were any weeks where you thought “oh my god, I’m so prepared” and you had your stuff in early, or were there any weeks where you felt like “oh my god, I’m fucked”?
AP: Yes to both! Well… actually no, I don’t think there was any week where I was like “meh, I’ve got this in the bag”. Like, never! Even for things like the second talent video where I did “Young and Beautiful”, I knew immediately that I wanted to do that. I was like “This is one of my favorite numbers that I’ve done, I’m going to make this video”, but I was still scrambling to get everyone involved, get everything I needed for it, get everything set up. So at no point was it just easy sailing, you know? I mean, right off the bat with my cosplay I felt like I had nothing in my closet to do a cosplay and I don’t sew, so I was like “What the hell am I going to do?” I had to really reach into the depths of my mind and pull something out. The other thing is that you also end up spending so much money! I make it such a priority because I don’t want to put out bullshit, so I’m like “Oh, this material costs $30? Well okay, I guess!” I don’t want to cut corners. Then you look at your bank account and you’re like “…shit”.
CC: You realize you can’t afford to eat that week?
AP: Yeah, exactly!
*At this point in the interview, please imagine a random ten-minute pause in the conversation, during which time we practice tongue popping. Anita is passable (most of the time). I suck.*
CC: Okay! My last question! If logic, physics, and time abandoned all of us and you could perform absolutely any drag act in the whole world, featuring absolutely any guest, what would your dream number be like?
AP: Okay… my dream number, or my dream show??
CC: OOOOOHHHH! Okay, dream show! Whatever you want! I don’t know!
*Please imagine Anita waggling her eyebrows here*
CC: All right, well obviously a show!
AP: Most definitely a show!
CC: Duh, who settles for just one number in a world with no space, time, or physics. Psshtt.
AP: Oh god, that’s such a scary question! It’s so open ended! I think I would want to do, like… an old school… Vaudeville… like… burlesque show. In a vintage theater with everyone in period attire. It’s so funny, last night I was just watching a documentary about Vaudeville-era comedians back when the crowds were so rowdy and nightlife wasn’t really allowed, you know? And it all had this crazy energy that was just amazing. I would love to do a show like that.
CC: If you could feature anyone at all, who would you feature?
AP: Hmmm… well I’d love to say someone like Lady Gaga… but I think I’d really choose Ivy Winters.
CC: Yes! I love Ivy!
AP: Right? She’s so talented.
CC: Well I look forward to seeing you pull that show off sometime in the future!
AP: I wish! I’ll keep you posted!
CC: Thank you so much for chatting with me! Good luck!