Hi there Golden Delicious! Or should I call you just Golden? You feel like a full name queen to me.
You can call me whatever you want, as long as you’re calling! But my Venmo name is MsGoldenDelicious so maybe we should stick with that?
Way to stay on brand honey! So let’s cut right to the important issue. Is this awful cold and rainy weather going to stop? Its June and I am starting to feel like we might never see boys in shorts and tank tops ever again.
Right!? I thought Leslie Uggams told us that June was supposed to be “Busting out all over”, but I haven’t seen much busting in the first week… what a disappointment! Although, if it can stay cold on the nights I have to do drag, that would be wonderful. I like my makeup to stay ON!
You mean you don’t like touching up your powder every twelve minutes doing summer drag?
They make this thing called “Stop the Sweat” that’s supposed to work well, but I’m pretty sure it’s a carcinogen… but it might just be worth the risk, to be honest.
Well between that and the clown lung from inhaling all the powder, it’s amazing we all don’t drop like flies. So on that positive note, how are you doing my dear? It was nice to finally meet you the other night at Marti Gould Cummings’ show.
I’m doing really well! That was an amazing night, wasn’t it? If you told me last June that I’d be singing Sondheim at 54 Below in a dress and LaDucas, I’d probably not believe you. But, I’m so glad that drag is starting to make some of my biggest dreams come true!
Let’s hop in the Delorean and go back in time a bit. Where are you from originally?
I grew up in Williamson, NY, which is about 30 minutes from Rochester. Williamson’s claim to fame is that it is positively covered in apple orchards! I grew up working on my family’s farm, picking apples and peaches, selling produce at farmers markets and working at the Mott’s applesauce factory down the street from my childhood home!
What a coincidence then that you ended up with an apple themed drag name!
I wish it had been my idea! Long before I officially started doing drag, my friends Keith, Steve and I were on our way home from So You Think You Can Drag, and we were brainstorming ideas for my drag name, and Keith suggested “Red Delicious” and I thought it was such a good idea, but I liked “Golden” better as a first name, and it stuck!
Better than Granny Smith!
If I ever have a drag daughter I want her to be Granny Smith or Ida Red!
Not bad. I’ve always thought Taffeta was the ideal name for my drag daughter. So what is your earliest memory of drag, not counting that old queen Bugs Bunny?
I’m going to sound so millennial saying this! In high school, I got really into Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I was totally obsessed with the horror makeup they did on that show. That brought me to YouTube where I obsessed over effects makeup tutorials, which lead to beauty makeup which eventually led to drag makeup! I remember being totally transfixed by Hedda Lettuce and Coco Peru, but feeling like I shouldn’t be watching them! I remember feeling the same way when I started watching Drag Race. I would watch with headphones in so my parents wouldn’t hear. That all seems pretty silly now, since Drag Race is a major point of conversation when I talk to my parents and sister now.
How did your first time in drag come about?
My sophomore year of college, I was in the school’s production of Chicago, and we had a drag queen (my friend Nick aka Tequila Mockingbird) play one of the Cell Block Tango girls. I asked her to put me in drag for Halloween, and I went as Bernadette Peters. It was certainly a hit with all my friends, though the day photos of that emerge will be a very embarrassing day for Golden Delicious! I did drag costumes the following three years for Halloween, but never took it too seriously and never performed. My first performance in drag was this past August at Barracuda for Star Search!
I am pretty sure I already know the answer but what did you go to school for?
I’m sure you’re surprised to hear that I have my BFA in Musical Theatre from The State University of New York at Fredonia.
I am SHOCKED! Just shocked! And by shocked I mean not even remotely shocked. *laughs*
It’s such a natural progression. I think that’s why New York drag is so great, because people come to the city to become storytellers.
I really think advisers need to tell you kids that by pursing that degree, the odds are you’re going to end up in a dress as opposed to Broadway.
But who says I can’t do both at the same time?
Plot twist! Speaking of Broadway, you seemed to cause of a bit of a Great White Way stir the other day.
Yeah, that was a total mistake! I was super excited and wanted to stir up excitement about our Tony Awards Viewing Party at the West End, but the poster and Facebook event weren’t ready, so I posted a cryptic status… and people jumped to the INSANE conclusion that I had booked a Broadway show. I was flattered!
So……wait…..you’re NOT playing the groundhog in Groundhog’s Day? This interview is over!
I can neither confirm nor deny that I’m replacing Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly!
Okay, interview back on I guess, just to be safe! So what was the impetus for you to start performing?
I was going through a bit of soul-searching at the time, because I realized that auditioning and the whole acting thing wasn’t making me happy. I had started some writing projects that got some decent attention, but I missed performing. I went to see The Countess Mascara at Barracuda one week for Star Search (she had already claimed me as her drag daughter, as we went to college together) and told her I wanted to do it the next week! We got everything together for my debut, and I loved the process so much. Creating everything behind the scenes is 70% of the joy for me.
The other 30% is clearly the vast fortune NYC queens make at shows?
Obviously! And the bachelorette parties!
Poor Becky! Everyone hates her. Back to you though, you’ve clearly taken to the art form quickly since you’ve already won a big drag competition already.
I’ve been lucky! I’ve always tried to surround myself with people who inspire me creatively, and that has had a huge impact on my drag. I’ve always been someone who thrives off of collaboration, so making new dresses, brainstorming new mixes and styling hair with my friends is often more fun than it is work! The night of the Ultimate Drag Pageant Finale was spectacular. I pulled in every favor I had to get all of my friends from work, college and new New York family there. We filled up at least half of the venue. Then, I drew Contestant Number One, and went on first for my final number. I did a mix of songs from musicals I did in my childhood, except I finally got to play the female roles! It was a dream come true in a lot of ways. The girls in the competition are so amazing and I’m so glad I got to know them. Almost all of us are very new to the drag scene, so getting to do the competition all together was amazing. I made some great friends. Plus, now I have a shiny crown on my bookshelf!
So where do you want to go from here in your drag career?
I’m ready for wherever it takes me. I love that I get to be fully in charge of myself as a performer. My biggest dream is to write full length cabaret acts for myself. I want to be able to incorporate Musical Theatre, Standup Comedy and Drag into one cohesive night. I want my shows to be theatre, at the core. Back in November (which was a hard time for most of us) I was going through a lot of stuff in my personal life, and I went to see Kristin Chenoweth‘s one-woman Broadway show and it was an incredibly cathartic experience for me. I knew, sitting in the Lunt-Fontanne (in a puddle of my own bodily fluids) that I wanted to do what SHE did that night. So yeah, if you’ve got contacts at the Nederlander Organization, let them known I’m available.
I just flipped through my Rolodex and I’m not seeing anything beyond a liquor store that delivers and seventeen pizza places. Sorry! But in the meantime where can people see you doing your thing on stage?
Are you up for the LIGHTNING ROUND?
Must have makeup item?
Ben Nye Sparklers glitter!
Drag role model?
AGH! Bianca Del Rio!
4am post drag food craving?
Best part of Drag?
Making people laugh!
Worst part of Drag?
Most surprising thing about you people might not know?
I collect fountain pens!
If not for drag, what would you be doing?
Writing, acting, performing (so, basically the same?)
FaceTune is my favorite Subway activity!
Death row last meal?
Indian Food from the place in my sister’s neighborhood in Edinburgh, Scotland!
Netflix binge recommendation?
Chewing Gum, or Sarah Silverman‘s new special “A Speck of Dust”.
Best pizza in the city?
Whatever is $1.
Most underrated apple?
Golden Delicious, of course!
Last one, most embarrassing song on your phone?
“But Alive” from Applause
Far from the most embarrassing one I’ve heard.
It was either that or Barbra’s entire discography! But I’m not embarrassed! *laughs*
Nor should you be! So we have just about reached the end of our time together my dear. For my two cents, you were extremely impressive at 54 Below and I’m looking forward to seeing more from you. Do you have any final words of wisdom to leave the WERRRK .com universe with?
An apple a day keeps the doctor away (and PrEP helps too!).
Be sure to check out our own Strawberry Fields’ video interview with Golden here!