Well hello there AuDrey Phoenix! Congratulations on your shiny new crown! Have you taken it off yet since Sunday night?
Almost immediately, actually. But what an honor.
So for those people outside of New York City, you won the second season of ICONIC, following in the footsteps of Nicole Onoscopi! How did you get involved in this competition?
I was familiar with Nicole’s season, and I read posts online about a Win-In for Season 2. I had just finished Ultimate Drag Pageant and wasn’t really looking to get into another competition. I saw Megami perform, and win, that night and knew I needed to compete.
Tell us a little bit about your experience winning this competition that was hosted by the fabulous Heidi Haux and produced by Michael Bradley Block and Lindsey Kay!
Honestly it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. They asked a lot out of us. I tried to be as versatile as I could, and I hope I was! Winning was not something I expected, and I’m still kind of reeling. It’s rare to find a space where an entire audience, or most of an audience, is really living for what you’re doing.
Considering the success of the first two seasons, hopefully a third one is in the works. What would your advice to the next batch of queens to compete be?
It sounds silly, but just be you. It’s easy to come into any competition and think “this is what they’re looking for, I have to be this” You don’t! Also always ask for help. No queen can do it all alone. It takes a village.
What was the most challenging category for you?
Home week. My strength is comedy and I think I relied too heavily on that that week. Everyone else was giving these emotional performances and I was the only one being an idiot. *Laughs*
A lot of queens have made a perfectly good living being idiots. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Oh, I love being an idiot. I just don’t think I stood out in a good way that week.
Let’s go back in time a bit, shall we? Where does your story begin?
Oh, that’s broad. I grew up in the Bronx and I guess my story begins when I was five and I would draw on my bedsheets with crayons. And then the walls of our apartment. And then the walls outside our apartment. Twenty five years later, I’m drawing on my face.
What was your first exposure to the world of drag?
Outside of watching John Waters movies, To Wong Foo, or trying on my mother’s shoes growing up, it was a few years ago. My best friend dragged me to the Season 7 finale of Drag Race. I hadn’t watched before. I was instantly hooked, but it still wasn’t something I planned on pursuing.
So what was the genesis of AuDrey?
Almost two years ago a friend of mine tagged me in a Facebook post by Sutton Lee Seymour about her Debutante show at Albatross. I had been going to Broadway Monday’s at Hardware for over a year and was completely enamored with her. And I was always a Halloween queen, so I submitted my name. I was honestly only planning on doing it that one time, but once you get a taste of an audience, it’s hard not to get addicted. After that night I started getting asked to do guest spots and its somehow spiraled into this.
Any connection with being enamored with Sutton and AuDrey being your drag name?
Oh, you could say that. I loved seeing someone who loved Little Shop of Horrors as much as I did. It was and still is my favorite show and film. That’s what I had on repeat as a kid while others were watching The Little Mermaid.
What was it about Little Shop that appealed to you?
As a kid? Definitely the music and the wacky nature of the story. As an adult it’s definitely Ellen Greene as Audrey. I seem to be drawn to tragic females, even the name Phoenix is based on the X-Men character.
Tragic is a good way of describing what that Dark Phoenix movie looks like. *Laughs*
Tea! I’m super glad this’ll probably be the last one before the Disney overlords takeover and reboot the entire series. But I guess twenty years is a good run for any series. Am I getting too nerdy now?
You’re talking to someone whose drag name was nearly Allison Blaire as a homage to Dazzler’s secret identity so I am going to say no.
Oh my god! She’s supposed to be in this one, probably doing absolutely nothing for fifteen seconds.
There was a rumor that Taylor Swift was going to play her in the last movie. I was terrified.
And now we get to look forward to her Bombalurina in CATS. *Laughs*
I think we just brought everyone down.
Right. Let’s bring it back up.
So…..the President….no wait…
Let’s go back to talking about you. That should work. For someone who hasn’t seen you perform, how would you describe your drag, without using the word idiot?
Oh but it’s my favorite word to use! I just like being as ridiculous as I can be. It took me a while to realize that that’s what people really gravitated towards when I would perform. I do this Shaggy live sing of Angel, and I’m not a singer at all, but it’s always my money maker. I’ve even had bookings with that song being requested.
Irony alert. I told a friend I was doing an interview with you today and the first thing she mentioned was how amazing your Shaggy is.
I like your friend! It’s so dumb. *Laughs* But people like it and it makes me so happy singing it. It’s how I won week one of Iconic!
I won’t lie, I was hoping she meant Shaggy from Scooby Doo but I guess your version is good too.
I think I can do that too. I seem to be pretty good at impressions. I should really try to work them into my repertoire more outside of Mr. Boombastic.
Its important to have goals! But in the meantime, are you ready for…..THE LIGHTNING ROUND??
Uh oh. Sure?
Must have makeup item?
4 AM post show craving?
The best part of drag?
The worst part of drag?
Most surprising thing about you that people might not know?
I have type 1 diabetes, which doesn’t agree with drag at all.
Queen you would pay the most to see?
Miss Coco Peru
The Greatest Showman Soundtrack
Last movie to make you cry?
Death Row last meal?
My grandma’s bread pudding!
Netflix binge recommendation?
Grace and Frankie!
Disney character you relate to the most?
Final question, most embarrassing song on your phone?
Taio Cruz — Break Your Heart
Well, the final tallies are coming in and it looks like you will comfortably survive….THE LIGHTNING ROUND!
So what do you have coming up besides a well-deserved rest after weeks of competition?
I’m working on this really fun web series called Real Drag Moms of New York. It’s a Real Housewives Parody staring Pussy Willow, Lemon, Vix, Michele Shocked, Xunami Muse and myself. I’m so excited to play with these girls. We’re just gonna be having fun on camera.
How did this series come about?
My sister Sterling, who I did Ultimate Drag Pageant with, and her incredible partner Aaron Cooper came up with the idea and are producing, writing and everything else.
When is it slated to drop, as the kids say?
Hopefully by summer! We just did a solid fundraiser show at The West End and are going to be Crowdfunding in the next week or so. These things cost more money then you could imagine. But we’ve got a solid footing.
Well as we wait for that, where can people get their fix of AuDrey?
I’ll be guesting at Albatross with Misty Mountains this Saturday. I’m at Viva Visalia’s show at the Vault in Brooklyn in the 28th. At Rockbar in the 30th. And just ironing out the details of the show I won at Icon. Follow me on Instagram at @audreyphoenixrises and @realdragmoms for the series!
Well my dear, congratulations on your ICONIC victory! I’m looking forward to seeing what is next to come for you. Do you have any final words of wisdom for the WERRRK .com universe?
Just be sweet. It goes a long fucking way.