Hi there Bella Noche! I’m happy to sit down and talk with New York’s resident mermaid queen! How are you doing gurl?
Hey gurl! I’m so happy to be here with you! You know, I can’t complain too much. I’m doing pretty good! How are you, love?
I’m still above ground so I can’t complain either. No one listens anyway. So I have a serious question to start with. Better for mermaids: The East River or the Hudson River?
Oh, definitely the Hudson. No question. That’s actually where I came up from! Right by the piers on Christopher Street. That’s actually how I stumbled into Rockbar, now my home drag bar!
Wow! Good to see you’re not afraid to answer the tough questions! So we go back a few years now, having met during your season of Paige Turner‘s So You Think You Can Drag at New World Stages. How did that journey begin for you?
Yup! Oh, So You Think You Can Drag. Did you know that when I was competing, I had only been doing drag for six months? (and at the beginning you could tell!) But SYTYCD was the reason I now have a career as a drag queen. It was essentially drag boot camp for me, and I grew immensely during my season. And I placed 6th out of ten! So I’m extremely grateful for the experience.
Explain to people how challenging that competition was to the queens who participated. I don’t think people realize how much everyone put into their efforts each week.
I can honestly say that So You Think You Can Drag was one of the most challenging things that I’ve done in drag. From the ten-week commitment of producing something new each week to the money is requires to do so, not to mention the amazingly talented group of girls my season had. We all were put through the ringer on that one, but I think we all came out stronger and, frankly, more bookable queens because of it.
You had a pretty impressive class of gurls you competed against, many of which have gone on to become established queens as well. Do you all have a bond from your mutual experiences together?
Actually, I would say yes. Our season was a pretty close knit group of girls for the duration of it, and definitely right after too. We’ve all gone on to different things, but we still book each other for shows from time to time and it’s always fun running into them. Gloria Swansong makes garments for many of us still!
Running into them…..as in with a car? Shady gurl, shady!
They don’t learn if you don’t leave some sort of impactful memory on them, no what what that might be!
So let’s hop in the Delorean and go back in time a bit. Where does your mer-story begin?
Well, like many mermaids, I was curious about the human world, much like my cousin made famous by Disney, love that bitch. But rather than go through ALL that, I just made my own potion that allows me to spawn legs when I come ashore. Ariel needed to read a damn book. So once I figured it out, I came on land, put on a pair of stilettos and strutted into the West Village. They said I could perform a number because I was really pretty. The rest is herstory.
Sure, we’ll go with that story. What was your first exposure to the world of drag?
I started drag by accident, honestly. One of my favorite NYC queens, Sutton Lee Seymour, encouraged me to do her “first timers” drag show at Barracuda. So I figured, why not? Do it once and have fun. But I wanted to do it OUT. I had a choreographed number with a reveal, I had practiced in my heels for two weeks, and I got Chelsea Piers to do my makeup for it. I truly only intended to do it once. After the show, a bartender who was at the time working at The West End uptown told me about Brita Filter and Terra Hyman’s show at the time, C’mon Wednesday. I reached out, got my first guest gig and it all just snowballed from there. And here we are three years later.
What was it about drag that turned from a one time thing to a full time gig for you?
I wasn’t prepared just how much I enjoyed doing drag and performing. A part of me came alive. I was obsessed and couldn’t wait to do it again. So I guess you could say it was love at first sight.
Like me and pizza. I totally get it.
Oh, 100%. Pizza. My first love…. dammit, now I’m hungry.
How do you feel like your drag has grown over these couple of years since you started?
Oh, so much. My makeup, my looks, my aesthetic, the caliber of my performances, the audiences I reach now… it’s kind of crazy when I think about it. The mermaid story didn’t even come into play until after I had been doing drag for a year. Everything has evolved and grown, and will continue to. As they say, if you’re not growing, you’re dying.
One of the big things you have on your plate now is being involved with Drag Queen Story Hour for all of Long Island. How did that come about for you?
Yes! So I’ve been a part of the Drag Queen Story Hour family for about a year now, doing readings as libraries in Queens and Brooklyn. Also in the last year, I’ve become part of the Long Island drag scene, even as to now having a weekly show every Thursday at Off Key Tiki in Patchogue. So when a library in Long Island contacted my managers about doing a reading at the East Meadow Public Library. They asked me to do it and it went over really well. The kids and parents want more. I actually just did a reading at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington this past Saturday. I’m really excited about bringing the program all over Long Island!
The reading program across the country has really grown exponentially in the past year. Why do you think it has caught on the way it has?
It has! Drag Queen Story Hour is now happening all over the country. And unfortunately, in some places the events have been met with threats and protestors from the extreme right who don’t want drag queens to read to kids. It’s gotten a lot of press that shed light on not only the program’s existence, but the battle we are facing when we are only trying to do good. So that’s a big part of why it’s initially grown in such popularity. Another huge part is the overwhelming support we get from libraries, schools, parents and educators who understand our vision and have really helped the program reach more and more areas of the county.
Beyond the library, what are some of your drag bucket list goals you’d like to achieve?
I’d love to perform overseas. I am an international queen already because of that one time I performed in Canada BUT I would love to perform in England or Italy, or even Japan or Australia! I love to travel, so combining that with doing drag while traveling is such a dream of mine.
Speaking of dreams, can we talk about your new Kryolan pallete that is coming out soon?
Yes! I’m SO excited about it! I’ve been working on this with Tim Pearson from Kryolan for a little while now, and we’re finally ready to launch the palette. It’s called the “Bella” palette and it’s, of course, mermaid themed. The launch event is Wednesday, March 20th from 6-8pm at the Kryolan New York City store in the West Village. I think this is the coolest thing I’ve done to date involving my drag. I’m so grateful to be working with Tim and Kryolan. He’s a true artist.
What is the color scheme like?
Well, I wanted to create a color story that you could use to do an entire face if you so wanted. So there are two shimmer highlight shades, a coral pink and bright fuchsia for blush, two aquatic greens, and a darker burgundy red and navy blue for dramatic accents. I’m in love with it.
Are people going to be able to order it online as well or do they need to make their way down to Bleecker Street to get it?
It’s going to be a limited edition in-store special. It will retail for $75 but at the launch event we are selling it for $50 that night only. So get them while you can!
I’m going to check my piggy bank in a second but for now, we have reached…..THE LIGHTNING ROUND! Are you game?
Yes! Let’s do it!
Must have makeup item?
Jeffree Star Alien Palette
4 AM post show craving?
The best part of drag?
The worst part of drag?
The pain my level of beauty requires. *Laughs*
Most surprising thing about you that people might not know?
I like watching football.
Queen you would pay the most to see?
Last movie to make you cry?
Beauty and the Beast, original animated film.
Death Row last meal?
Stuffed crust extra cheese pizza from Pizza Hut.
Netflix binge recommendation?
Disney character you relate to the most?
I love Ariel, but I think I relate most with Elsa.
Final question, most embarrassing song on your phone?
High School Musical – We’re All In This Together
Well….I’m just tabulating the results but it looks like you’re going to survive….THE LIGHTNING ROUND!
Huzzah! And I didn’t even need my trident.
So in the meantime, for the folks who don’t want to head…ahem….under the sea, where can they find you doing your thing?
You can find me at @bellanocheNYC on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Venmo but no longer Craigslist since they took down the personals section. I also host a Drag Race viewing party at Off Key Tiki every Thursday at 9pm, I’m at Rockbar every first Tuesday hosting trivia from 7-9pm and a soon-coming drag variety show every last Wednesday at 10pm [exclusive], and every other Wednesday on spoiledNYC’s Facebook Live for my Cocktails & Contours show at 7:30pm! So come out and hang out with me sometime!
Well my dear, we have just about reached the end of the road here but I am so proud of all you have accomplished since we first met. I’m sure there’s plenty more to come but in the meantime, do you have any words of wisdom to leave the WERRRK .com universe with?
The biggest thing drag has taught me is that no matter what, always be your genuine self. Mean what you say and do what makes you happy as a not just a performer but an artist. Trust your story. Thank you so, so much for having me. I adore you. And thank you again for making me my first set of pads ever. *Laughs* I’ve had a blast! Thank you again for having me!