What was the first drag show you saw and tell me about the experience?
Divas Las Vegas: the incredible Frank Marino and his cast of uncanny celebrity impersonators. It was overwhelming for me. The first real exposure I had to drag was that – and it sparked something in me. Not only could I idolize my favorite pop culture stars. I could become them! And people would pay to see it! That’s what put the ball rolling into celebrity impersonations for me. I started my drag career impersonating Elvira, Mistress of the Dark thanks to “DIVAS!”
When did you decide you wanted to do drag and when did you realize it would be a profession?
Not long after Divas Las Vegas, the gears turning in my head, I dressed up as Elvira for the first time (2004) and went to my day job on Halloween in costume. A manager from a restaurant in Hard Rock Hotel spotted me and offered for me to come by his business later in the evening for his Halloween event and mingle with the crowd – and said he’d pay me. Who am I to turn down extra money? So I showed up later to camera flashes and groups of people asking me for pictures, and found out he had told them the real Elvira would be there. It was insanity – I felt like a real celebrity! At the end of the night he handed me $500… and I thought…I could get use to this…and so it began. The following year, I had my own show at the Improv Comedy Club as Elvira, and each year after my appearances grew. I created “Nicole” in 2007, and I’ve been working my way up the ladder for more than a decade… and I’m still doing Elvira!
Who is your drag mother and who is your favorite queen other than your drag mother and why?
[Sniffle] I never had a Drag Mother! And I still firmly believe that you don’t need one – make your own damn path and legacy!
My favorite queen would have to be the legendary and always supportive Nikki Adams. When I first started making a name for myself, Nikki was always kind to offer great advice (that I still use to this day) and great laughs. There’s lots of talented girls in town, but very few that have bulldozed their own path quite like her. Today’s drag is so different than when I started. Instagram looks are great, death drops and amazing costumes are impressive…. but everybody does that now. Nikki (to me) is the total package. A multi-talented pageant icon, and a business woman. I identified with her work ethic immediately. She taught me that a professional and carefully curated queen will thrive. And she was right! She’s truly classic showbiz – originating from a time when drag was a less competitive sport, and more a highly regarded art. She embodies all the layers of poise, talent, and brains needed to be successful and I’m thankful she’s been able to pass along her wisdom to me. It’s gotten me far.
What’s your favorite number to perform and why?
“HOCUS POCUS”! This production is my heart and soul. It’s gone from being a one-off drag show production number to a full-blown Wilton Manors Halloween tradition. Last year I was so proud to make it a traveling show! There’s something about being on stage with these incredible performers and friends, and all of us sharing the love and passion for this movie as kids. When we’re all together we get immersed into the show and it just becomes this giant symphony that we all contribute to. Filling up clubs over capacity and the roar of the audience truly makes it my absolute favorite thing to perform. We’re back on tour for our 5th year in 2018! Shameless plug : Check us out at Hocuspocuslive.net!
What’s the best thing that has happened to you in drag?
Meeting one of the Spice Girls and then traveling to LA to perform on America’s Got Talent! I dreamed up this idea to appear at Sugar Factory in Miami for Mel B’s promotional tour appearance in replica Spice Girls looks, and it turned out to be more than I could’ve ever imagined. She was glued to us the entire time, and was so busy chatting that we didn’t realize mass media/news outlets, and photographers for major publications were snapping away. Our pictures (as the drag Spice Gurlz, IG:@omgspicegurlz) ended up on newspapers, blogs, and magazine covers all over the world overnight. Just a few months later there we were standing on stage in front of thousands at a taping of AGT in Los Angeles, and then on TV in front of millions! We still get featured on their ‘flashback’ featurettes, and our photos come up when you google search Spice Girls. It’s NUTS!
What differentiates you from other Queens (Makes you Unique)?
I consider myself a shapeshifter and a business queen! I can adapt to almost anything…into whatever style or brand that I’m required to be, and I know how to negotiate and close a deal. Fetish Parties, Corporate Events, Burlesque, Cosplay, Character Lookalikes, Classic Divas… I love a challenge! Being so versatile (in drag! LOL) has opened doors to a lot of opportunities for me that most drag queens wouldn’t normally see. Don’t get me wrong, I’m surrounded by VERY talented, incredible artists and performers whom I adore, most of whom are far more talented than me in many ways – but I’ve got my own unique style and brand of doing things, which is my little corner niche of the market. There’s nobody who really does what I do. I guess that’s why I’m still around!
What does the future hold?
With so many twists and turns, who knows! I’ve been fortunate enough to continue to be successful in this business, so I’m carefully steering this clown car to keep myself on the path! In the immediate future: I am going to focus on my new show at the incredible Lips Fort Lauderdale – called Twisted Broadway; every Wednesday (lipsfla.com)!
I am also about to celebrate (in March) the one year anniversary of our amazing show Slay Thursdays at Southern Nights, and I’ll be launching 3 new drag-related businesses in 2018. Regardless of what the future holds, I’m thankful for everything I’ve experienced thus far, and all the incredible people who I’ve gotten to work with along the way!