On Point With: Lady Simon

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Artist, performer, Brooklyn Nightlife Award-nominated social media presence and “chill dude,” Lady Simon says a lot in this exclusive interview with Thotyssey about his life and art, his opinions on the BNAs and Drag Race, and his blossoming career as Brooklyn’s premiere live talk show host!

Thotyssey: Hi, Lady Simon! Right now, you’re on your way to host the party at Frankie’s at the Jane Hotel tonight. Have you done the meet-and-greet hosting thing at a party like this before?

Lady Simon: Is that what we’re calling it, meet-and-greet hosting? [Laughs] Sounds way to professional! For me, it’s more like, “promote the party, show up, be cute and try not to yell at anybody” Maybe that’s why nobody books me anymore [laughs].

But yeah, I’ve done things like this off and on over the years. I’ll only do it now if it’s for a party I like, or they’re paying me a lot of money [laughs].

Here’s a fun loaded question: How would you describe yourself, as far as what you do? Are you a drag queen, a club kid, a “nightlife personality,” an artist…? Yay labels!

[Laughs] I consider myself an artist that discovered my voice through drag and nightlife.. ff that makes sense [laughs]. I like drag, and I like nightlife, and I definitely like free drinks and being on lists, but my passion is really performance. Performance in a club, in front of a bunch of crazy drunk people? Sure, sometimes. But I’m working on moving into gallery and installation work right now. Something a little more professional, and a lot more serious.

What is a “typical” Lady Simon performance like? 

Well, if I wanna get tips, it’ll be something loud and without a lot of movement. If it’s something that I’m just doing because I want to, it’s usually standing still and just feeling the song very intensely, and kind of forgetting I’m even performing in front of anyone.

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That’s deep! And I guess that combined with elaborate costuming must make you, like, this cool installation or something. Very old school!

[Laughs] Thank you.

If you don’t mind talking about it, how do you identify yourself as a gender?

Yeah, I’m just a dude, I guess. People seem so scared of the concept of “male” or “cisgender male scum” or whatever [laughs]. But I think people forget that you can still just be a chill dude and not conform to the societal pressures of masculinity, and all that other bullshit. So, I guess I’m just a dude in a dress that gets it [laughs], and I’m totally fine with that.

So, what aspect of your art materialized first? Were you drawing as a kid, playing dress-up, dancing in front of the mirror?

I was definitely a mover: always dancing, always acting, always “giving shows” [laughs]. I loved creating something, and even though attention has always been a double-edged sword for me, I definitely craved it from an early age.

When did you start making visual art? 

Um, I guess it officially started when I moved to Brooklyn and started performing. But I think I’ve subconsciously been doing mini-performances most of my life. The “visual” aspect of art is usually not what I’m as much concerned with as I am the intention/emotion behind it.

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Where are you from exactly, and what brought you to Brooklyn?

I’m from Columbus, Ohio. It’s a wonderful place to be from, but not a wonderful place to live after about 21. I’ve always wanted to move to New York, so when my friend was like, “I got a job, I’m moving to Brooklyn in a few weeks, you wanna come?” I was like, duh! So I broke up with my boyfriend, collected all the money I could, and picked up my shit and left.

Kari Kerning, who won Ms. Barracuda last month, is also from Columbus! She says it’s mad gay, and that Nina West her drag mother was kind of the Queen Bee of the realm. Did you ever see either of them there?

Yeah, actually Kari was good friends with the person I moved to Brooklyn with, so I knew her a little bit. Never met Nina, but definitely knew of her. She’s like the most famous queen in Columbus I think, but that being said I didn’t really know much about drag, or that scene, when I was there.

I always wondered, how does Brooklyn embrace a newbie? Were you making friends, and a mark on nightlife, right away? How were you “discovered”? 

Well, I got lucky because I met Krystal Something Something and Backspace right away, and got to see what they did and learn from them. So I definitely got an “in” from them.

But the first M{r}s. Williamsburg Pageant was when I really made my name. I ended up top three after I had only been performing for a few weeks. I think everybody was like, “Who is this crazy person, and where did they come from?” [Laughs.] It all kinda blew up from there!

Did you have to do full drag for that pageant?

I mean I did my drag, whatever that is. Very little makeup, and lots a drapery.

Do you plan out your looks very carefully now, or do you kinda wing it?

I used to. I used to have a full concept, and it would be functional with whatever I was performing that night. Now, I just wear something cute that I find on the floor, because who has time to care anymore, right!?

Well, You are known for your looks, but two of your weekly shows at Macri Park in Brooklyn actually involve a lot of talking. 

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The first is The Look on Monday nights, which is modeled after lady-panel daytime talk shows like The View. The panel is Heidi Glum, Crimson Kitty, Alotta McGriddlesHorrorchata and yourself. What sort of stuff do you guys talk about? Pop culture, politics, music, drag, gossip?

All of the above! Important things in a gay community and in Brooklyn, crazy things going on around the world, stupid celebrity gossip, and my segment Turn It or Burn It where we talk about looks from local queens and award shows.

We’ve taken a break [from the original format] since Drag Race to have a viewing party for the show, so I guess now that it’s over well have a whole new crop of queens to go after!

So, Drag Race this season! Thoughts on the finale? The season? The show as a whole?

Well, thank God this season was entertaining, because last season was so vanilla! Loved seeing people I knew in the show, especially Thorgy, because she’s been an inspiration for a long time! It’s always a fun time watching the show with everybody at the bar.

That being said, I think Drag Race has ruined drag and I don’t think we’ll ever be able to come back from it [laughs].

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We also have to talk about 1 Girl 5 Gays, a Friday weekly happy hour chatfest you co-host with a revolving panel. Are the discussion topics more sex/relationship-based then The Look, like the show which airs on Logo that it’s based on?

Yeah, that’s my new show, and it’s super fun. I make up all the questions, mostly dealing with sex and love, but I also like to individualize my questions based on the panelists I have that week. Just to get as much dirt as I can!

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What is it about Macri Park that makes this format work?

I like the space because with the open glass front door and the patio, it feels more open and chill. Also, I’m hilarious, so people will just get into it regardless [laughs].

Could you ultimately see yourself as a solo live talk show host, like a Brooklyn Marti Gould Cummings?

I don’t know her [laughs]. Yeah, totally. I would love to do a little web series or some shit. It would be hilarious and aggressive.

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Speaking of the web (segues!), you’re up for a Brooklyn Nightlife Award for best social media presence. Congratulations! Where can we find you on the internet, and what are you doing that’s amazing?

Just follow me on Instagram and on Facebook for updates, funny memes, drunk rants and whatever else I’m feeling that day.

Besides yourself (duh!) who are you looking forward to seeing win a BNA this year?

I don’t really care who wins. I’m just there for the drama (plus, most of my friends are nominated, so I hope they all win).

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So, what’s in the future for you?

The only other thing I have in the works right now is my first ever solo art show for the month of July in Brooklyn. Can’t really give any more details right now, but I should be able to announce everything soon… so stay tuned!

So, what does the world need to know about Lady Simon that it might not know already? 

Um… that I’m a classically trained musician, and went to a music conservatory for composition, and can play, like, 10 instruments.

Wow! That’s pretty incredible. You can be the whole Thorchestra!

[Laughs] I could probably be most of it!

Another thing to look forward to! Thanks Lady Simon!


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Lady Simon can be found at Macri Park in Brooklyn co hosting “The Look” Monday nights at 8pm, and hosting ‘1 Girl 5 Gays” with four guest panelists Fridays at 7pm. He is a Brooklyn Nightlife Award nominee as a social media presence, and can be followed on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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