On a rainy Monday night on the 3rd of August (British summer, what can I say) the one and only Katya Zamolodchikova graced the Powder Room to close Brighton’s very own Pride weekend. She headlined the show that what full to the brim with dazzling performers, including host Natalia Kalashnikov, TeTe Bang, Virgin Xtravaganzah and of course, the incredible House of Grand Parade. Katya wowed the audience with a flawless spoken word lip-sync, followed by “Pussy” by Lady, then “My Neck, My Back” by Khia (I think there was a theme). With headstands, slow splits and a large amount of audience touching, Katya quite literally made her mark on the UK. I was lucky enough to catch her after the show for a interview.
Emily: Hi Katya! How have you been enjoying the UK so far?
Katya: It’s been incredible, but it’s been stressful. It’s just been really hectic, every single day has been amazing, honestly.
Emily: Are you finding the UK gigs different from the ones in the US?
Katya: Yeah, there’s two big differences. One is that every single venue here is a fucking furnace. It is hot as fuck. It is so fucking hot and I sweat like a freak. The other thing is of course that tipping is not a thing here, but I have taken upon myself to single handedly try to influence change in the drag scene here in the UK, which is to get tipped. I don’t care if they’re chucking coins at me, it doesn’t matter.
Emily: Do you find it strange that we don’t tip?
Katya: Well, I mean, to be perfectly honest I think a lot of drag queens, especially if you’re popular that’s all you kind of do, is just collect money during your number, which is not very entertaining. So here, it’s great because you can just kind of go on stage and do a whole number and be entertaining. If you’re not entertaining then you’re in deep shit in the UK.
Emily: Yeah, you do find that UK performances differ from those of US queens, because they have to be actively doing something every single minute.
Katya: But the thing is, because of that it’s not just like we go on stage to collect money, sometimes that happens, but because of in America, there’s such an interactive part of performances where I crawl all over people, lick their faces, etc.
Emily: So what was your favourite part of the UK so far? Apart from Paul (a mutual friend of ours).
Katya: Apart from Paul, you can find him on Twitter @backrolls, that was really the whole reason for this tour, just to camouflage my undying love and affection for him, couch it within a fucking 12 city tour. Besides that, I’d have to say, I mean every venue has been great, but Glasgow, the applause was so loud it hurt my fucking ears. I mean I just wanted to shit myself and rub it all over my body.
Emily: Have the UK queens you’ve met so far differed from the ones back in the US?
Katya: Yeah, A) they’re all fucking really nice. B) They seem to have a really vibrant alternative drag scene, and what I’ve noticed is that in each show you get a really nice range of styles, and not only drag queens, faux queens and everything. It’s really cool, it’s really really cool. They also seem to be less competitive and more of a community.
Emily: Any British icons that have reflected on your drag at all?
Katya: Just Queen Elizabeth. I love her ankles, they’re very inspiring. They’re so slope-y.
Emily: What was the first drag show you ever did? Your first gig? What was it like?
Katya: Oh, it was bad. I wore this wig that had like gelled spikes, like a wet look spikey gelled black wig, that I put on backwards. I looked insane, I had terrible makeup, I was really really nervous and quite drunk. But it was fun.
Emily: What did you perform?
Katya: I performed Russian songs. It was good, ya know, it’s taken a long time for me to look somewhat presentable, like now I kind of like to look like a women. But all the attitude and everything was there. It’s a process.
Emily: Your Youtube videos are amazing by the way, we love them!
Katya: Thank you!
Emily: Are you ever going to do Youtube full time?
Katya: Yeah, if I had my way, I would pretty much only do Youtube. My Youtube channel isn’t exactly lucrative, it’s costs like a lot of money to make videos and because my friend, my artistic companion slash collaborate slash director/editor, he’s like so fucking talented.
Emily: Is he the one you laugh at off at the side?
Katya: Yeah! We have such a great relationship, he’s so amazing, and he makes it all happen. But you know, I pay him! He gives me a really great deal, but we’re gonna do something, we’re gonna do a Kickstarter maybe.
Emily: You should!
Katya: We wanna have a real budget, and it kind of more epic. Cause I love the Youtubers that just like sit in their living room or whatever and vlog and they just make millions, in their fucking living rooms. But I wanna do more like more cinematic stuff, more ridiculous kind of stuff.
Emily: Like your Ruflections!
Katya: Yeah exactly! Like if each episode of that had a $5000 budget it would be amazing.
Emily: Can you speak any other languages or do any other accents other that Russian?
Katya: Yeah, German, Italian, Spanish and I’m learning Portuguese. No, I’m just kidding. French, I’m really really rusty at, but I studied it for years and years.
Emily: What’s your favourite song to lipsync?
Katya: I like songs, but I like ballads by Alla Pugacheva, but people would be bored to death. My dream is basically like to only lipsync to songs that people really don’t know, and don’t care about and then just totally be self-indulgent and it just be three minutes of just something for me. I wanna give something back to myself.
Emily: Have you ever actually been to Russia?
Katya: No! I would love to though. I’m dying to go. I don’t know if I want to perform there though.
Emily: Is there a fan base there?
Katya: Yeah! People were saying I have a lot of fake VK profiles, which is like Russian Facebook. I think that some Russian people think I’m stupid, and some Russian people are really into it. Some people are like “who is that stupid fucking American bitch”.
Emily: I genuinely thought you were originally from Russia!
Katya: A lot of people in Boston did, I mean they didn’t think I was actually Russian, cause I talked in a Russian accent, only did Russian songs, and they didn’t think that was my real voice. Some stupid people thought that was my real voice, but lots of people thought I was Russian, because they didn’t understand the effort that it takes, they don’t understand why I would go through the effort of learning all these songs in Russian. I only really listen to Russian music and Lana Del Rey.
Emily: Why Russia?
Katya: I don’t know! I learned French and I wanted to learn another language, and I wanted to do something totally different and not a romance language. I don’t know I just loved, got obsessed with Russia for a few years.
Emily: I’m a bit like that with Japan!
*Speak in Japanese to each other*
Emily: We’re done! Thank you, Katya!
Katya: Awesome! Thank you!
Catch the one and only Latrice Royale at the next Powder Room in September! Like them on Facebook for updates on future events: https://www.facebook.com/ThePowderRoomUK?fref=ts