Rising from the ashes of childhood grief, JizzaBella today is a fiery, visible presence in New York nightlife. With a new weekly drag show and a pivotal role as a New York Ambassador for the Austin International Drag Festival–her final fundraiser for this being April 8th–Jizzy’s been a busy gal these past several months. Oh, and she’s also a subject of TWO upcoming documentary films! Thotyssey is grateful to grab a free moment of her time for this exclusive interview.
Thotyssey: Hi JizzaBella! Thanks for chatting with us. I know you’ve been giving a lot of interviews lately in your role as New York ambassador for the Austin International Drag Festival at the end of the month. Are you getting excited about going?
JizzaBella: I am very excited about it, but at the same time a tad stressed. It is a lot of work to pick up and travel to another city and perform and host events. A lot of preparation goes into it, especially mentally. But at the end of the day, I will be excited to be there, doing my thing and enjoying the southern hospitality.
Yeah, I bet things must be insane right now. Let’s talk about Austin for a bit… how did you get involved with the ambassadorship for this year’s festival?
I was a performer last year and had a blast doing it. I felt so much love in Austin, especially after finding out their motto, “Keep Austin weird.” And who else but JizzaBella is a big weirdo…LOL. So they asked me to be an ambassador and I accepted. What a wonderful experience it has been, hosting fundraisers and working with a wonderful group: Erika Klash, Crimson Kitty, Goldie Peacock, and Chris of Hur.
So many great queens performing at the festival this year. Anyone you’re looking forward to seeing the most?
Jimmy James, Chad Michaels (again), and Varla Jean Merman. All great performers and great people, excited to be in the same festival as them.
They’re all wonderful! Let’s talk about you for a bit. Where are you from?
That is a loaded question….let’s talk about the last five or so years of my life because I feel that is where “ME” has really developed. I lived in Rochester for some years while I was in college, and now I am in Queens, NY.
So you became “YOU” in New York?
I would say bits and parts in Rochester and in NYC. Growing up, I never felt a part of anything, never really felt I was truly being me. As I get older and experience more in my life, I feel I am growing more as a person, and learning more about who I am.
I’m glad that’s happening for you. I know you’ve had a lot of hard times when you were younger that led to that detachment. Your mother passed away when you were young; no doubt this was very shattering to your world and identity.
My mother’s passing was very hard. I was 13 years-old and for anyone at that age, you really do not know who you are. And with my mother dying, it really confused things a lot more.
Was the birth of JizzaBella a sort of attempt to create an overall identity, or was she always more of a fictional character to you?
JizzaBella is a fictional character, but a lot of attributes are pulled from me and from influences in my life. I like to be the sexy bombshell with great legs, after my mother, Sophia Loren, Kylie Minogue, and Fran Drescher. All great, beautiful role models in my life. The Diva attitude obviously comes from Cher.
So it’s been easier to communicate with people and express yourself as JizzaBella?
At times, it can be. Drag queens can get away with murder because people either assume it’s an act or part of the character. If I did half the stuff I did as a guy, I would probably be banned from more places or maybe in jail (LOL, TOTALLY Kidding. Maybe).
Well, your makeup and overall look are always so sharp and perfect every time I see you. How long did it take you to perfect that?
Six years and still counting. Always learning how to flick that brush the right way!
How much of your wardrobe is handmade, by the way? Do you design, sew, wig-style?
I do a little styling on wigs, not too much. All the looks are ideas I come to in my head, or things I pick out at a boutique. The makeup is all mine, some outfits I have made, but most are made for me or stuff I put together at a store.
You have a great eye, lots of the stuff you wear looks tailor-made for you. Back to makeup for a minute, what’s your opinion of these makeup tutorials and “getting ready” live FB feeds that a lot of queens are doing these days? Are these good marketing tools, or do you think these queens are giving away their trade secrets?
Trade secrets, hah…most of these “tricks or secrets” have been done by makeup artists or Drag Queens for years. The FB live videos are only smart if they are planned and have meaning. If a Queen is just sitting there and painting, and not really paying attention to the questions or comments being made, it is pretty flat-lined. Makeup tutorials are different because people are chatting or giving tips. Those are helpful, and in the end will grab more attention.
I know you enter occasional weekly drag competitions, but you don’t really do full-on pageants. Why not?
I don’t really like club/bar competitions. I do like [Beat Your Face] with Holly Dae or Star Search with Tina Burner because I like the Queens. I like hanging out with them and having a good social. Always a good time. Also, it is a good time to practice songs. Unfortunately I cannot do Star Search anymore because I have a new show in Hell’s Kitchen, every Thursday. Pageants are fun, A LOT OF WORK! I am sure you will see me in a competition / pageant / show soon, we hope! *wink wink*
I must ask… what about Drag Race? It seems like for the past few seasons there were constant rumors that you were going to be on the show. Have you ever actually gone through the audition process, or are people just widely speculating?
Rumors are rumors….the only truth lies between the casting producers, myself, and God. God obviously being Joan Rivers.
I remember at one point immediately prior to this past season, you seemed to have disappeared from social media for a bit.
Drag is a mind fuck…sometimes a little break can do you well.
I bet. And with everything else that’s going on, I hear that you’re involved in some documentary projects?
I am in two documentaries coming out this year. 7000 miles is about a filmmaker and student who is from Pakistan and lived in NYC for a time. She wanted to document the people in her two homes that are 7000 miles apart and show people a little more into her life and the world around her. Dragged is a documentary on Drag Queens and the culture around it.
Okay, let’s talk about your weekly show at Bamboo52, “Are You Smarter Than a Drag Queen?” that you co-host with The Countess Mascara. What happens at that show?
It is a fun trivia night mixed with shows and BOOZE. We go around and have people sign-up, and then we pick names, ask them questions, and each round we choose a winner. They go to our finale where they can win some great prizes: brunch for two or bottle service at Señor Frogs, movie posters, gift cards, etc. We also play some drinking games and then we like to have Drag Queens who stopped by do a number at the end.
It was a show that The Countess Mascara has been doing for 3 + years in Westchester, and a couple times in NYC. We just revamped it and changed some stuff to make it work at its new home.
Generally speaking, how, um, smart are your contestants?
Some are pretty smart, and the more they drink the smarter and more anxious they get…it’s astonishing.
How do you like performing at Bamboo? It seems like an interesting new venue for shows. A drag bar and sushi restaurant! It’s a great combo, isn’t it?
I hate sushi…LOL! I am plenty of fish already…no need for competition.
I love Bamboo, great staff, newly enhanced sound system and CHEAP drinks! I am very thankful for the general manager Stacy, also known as DJ Stacy, for giving The Countess Mascara and I this great opportunity!
You’re also doing your final fundraiser there for the Austin International Drag Festival on Friday, April 8th. What ’s going down that night?
All the NYC Ambassadors for the Austin IDF will be hosting our last fundraiser to raise money for the performers and us with travel expenses, food, lodging, etc. It is not cheap to do all of that, so we are trying to raise as much money as possible. It is going to be fun: great performances, 50/50 raffle, and more!
Sounds like a fun night. You must all be like a sisterhood now, you and the other ambassadors.
A fucked up sisterhood..yes!
What will you specifically be doing in Austin?
Friday and Saturday night I am at the Swan Dive, and then hosting two workshops as well. Not sure the location yet of the workshops, pretty sure it is in the host hotel.
That’s exciting! What are you presenting?
Public Relations: A Drag Queen’s Best Friend and Love Can Be a Drag: The Difficulty Finding Love in The Drag World.
Sounds like you’re the best queen to teach those. And when the festival is over, when all the preparation and fundraising and travel and performances are finally OVER, what’s the first thing you are going to do?
Go back to my weekly gigs! I am a busy lady and have to keep working or I get in trouble!
We wouldn’t want that. Thanks JizzaBella, and good luck!
JizzaBella co-hosts “Are You Smarter Than a Drag Queen?” with The Countess Mascara 9pm Thursday nights at Bamboo 52. Also at Bamboo52 on Friday, April 8th at 10pm, she’ll be hosting the final fundraiser for NYC participants of the Austin International Drag Festival. And on April 10th, she’ll be a guest performer at The Countess’ Stonewall Invasion. In Austin, she’ll be performing at the Swan Song Friday and Saturday night (April 26th-27th), and hosting two seminars elsewhere in the city later that weekend. On social media she can be found on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and her website JizzaBella.com.