Chiffon Dior: Hi there Bendovah! I’m glad we’re getting to talk this morning. How are you doing honey?
Bendovah Plenti: I’m doing great! Thanks for having me, Chiffon. It’s a pleasure to be here.
CD: We’re still digging out here in NY from the storm. How did Indiana make out with snow last weekend?
BP: Oh, I know! It snowed a ton here, as well! I’m used to it, as I’m sure you are!
CD: I’m already over this enter already gurl and it’s just getting started. But we’re not here to discuss the weather, we’re here to talk about…..well, you! How is the Hoosier state drag scene treating you?
BP: The Hoosier state drag scene is treating me very well! I was pleased to be a special guest of Someplace Else Nightclub in Evansville over the weekend, and I just joined cast for a new show starting at The Back Door in Bloomington next weekend, Friday, February 5!
CD: The Back Door, very subtle.
BP: It’s literally on the back side of another bar!
CD: I hope that bar is using protection! You can never be too safe these days! Okay so enough bad puns, how did you get started as a drag queen?
BP: The bar actually offers lots of opportunities to get tested and know your status. Our show director is a public health professional! Vanderbilt Lambda Drag Show 2009. Vanderbilt University, where I went to school, has a GSA called the Lambda Association, and one of their biggest events is its annual drag show. Over the years, it has attracted bigger and bigger names, including Chad Michaels and JuJuBee. The year I participated, the host was Genesis, who was recently a top-5 finisher at national EOY. She was fierce, even back then. In preparation for the show, I rehearsed for months Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.” The day of the show, I shaved and put on red lipstick in the shape of a kewpie — no other makeup to speak of — dance tights, a leotard, wayfarers and a cheap Hustler Hollywood blond bob and I worked it out to “Poker Face.” Genesis was going to do the same number in a mix, and she graciously changed her set to let this little gay boy have his moment. I’ll never forget that act of kindness. I mention it on my website, actually.
CD: Very nice plug for your website there dear (check it out here!). So did you think that was going to be a one night thing or did already have aspirations to go further with drag?
BP: I actually did not, at the time, have aspirations to go further with drag. Looking back now, I’m genuinely surprised. It makes so much sense since the days when I was a young, not out-of-the-closet boy pretending to re-enact Cher’s Farewell Tour in my closet at home in rural Tennessee.
CD: Wait, you were doing Cher LITERALLY in the closet??
BP: Not even figuratively! *Laughs*
CD: Well, yeah. You should have seen the signs then!
BP: I know, right? De Nial – not just a river in Egypt.
CD: So how did you wind up in a pair of pumps next after that show?
BP: There was a ‘dress to impress’ party in grad school, so I came decked out in that same costume with longer Gaga hair. Notice a trend?
CD: Someone was a Little Monster!
BP: Yes, put your paws up!
CD: How quickly did it take you to realize you both wanted to do more and were talented enough to do more as a queen?
BP: You think I have talent. Bless you! I was twenty six when I decided to create the Bendovah character, except she was born as ‘Bennifer.’ Some of my friends call me ‘Bennifer’ as a term of endearment, so that is what I thought I wanted my original name to be. Originally, I conceived Bennifer to be something more of a ‘mall girl’. Bendovah is more of a quirky robo-sex kitten. My drag family approves of Bendovah, as well! It was pretty much a condition of joining the family I change that awful name!
CD: Bennifer is forever the couples name of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner and you don’t want to be tied into that mess so I approve of Bendovah! Plus much like the Back Door, it’s very subtle. So or people in your area who want to see you live and stick money in your panties, can you give them the when and the where?
BP: Absolutely! Come see the first installment of Fresh Fridays February 5 at 10:30PM, only at the Back Door! Cover is about $3 or $4, and it is worth mentioning the bar is 21+ only.
CD: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. Do you have any final words of wisdom to leave us with my dear?
BP: I’m thrilled to be here, as well! Thank you again for the opportunity! Final words of wisdom… When you need it most, just Bendovah!