Gorgeous, glamorous and graceful, it’s always a treat when Lolita Golightly of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo is back in town, like she will be this week for a few shows. But you better see them while you can, because she’ll soon be on the road again, this time to win the Miss Continental pageant crown–perhaps the most coveted drag crown in the country–come Labor Day Weekend. Let’s take a turn with the lovely Lolita!
Thotyssey: Hi Lolita! Thanks for talking to us! Has your summer thus far been all about touring with Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (aka the Trocks, the famous all-male drag ballet revue) and preparing for the national Continental pageant, or have you been able to get some chill time in?
Lolita Golightly: Hello, and thanks for reaching out to me! I am very honored to be part of this! My summer has been very busy. I got back from touring about a week ago. We have been in Germany, performing there for four weeks. We did 28 shows in four different cities and had great success!
When I got back tough, my body was really tired, so I took a couple of days off training and dancing and started to focus more on Continental, which is very close! The preparation is really intense: not only do I have to prepare four different looks, but I also need to rehearse my talent numbers. A lot of effort goes into it. I kind of dove right into it, because there is no other way. You’ve got to put all your energies and efforts into it if you want a good result. There is no such thing as a lazy drag queen when it comes to nationals. You really have to step your game up and do the best you can. The competition is fierce, and everyone had been preparing for a long time. Thank god I am not alone and I have a good team of friends that are really helping me a lot!
[Photo credit: Jax Koyote]
It certainly is a huge deal! What made you want to enter Continental this year?
My drag mother (Serenity Lopez) suggested that I would compete. She made Top Five last year with Best Talent, and she really inspired me to participate. One of the main reasons I am doing it is the fabulous platform that Continental is; not to mention that I will be finally able to perform on a nice-size stage that will allow me to dance. That’s the thing I am most excited about! Brooke Lynn Hytes (Miss Continental 2014) is also a former Trock, so I want to think they appreciate our art form there!
So, walk me through Continental a little bit, because there are so many tiers and regions and levels, and it confuses the hell out of me.
It is a little complicated! I am going to try to explain it in a simple way: so, every queen that is going to nationals must have won a title first. There has been preliminaries all year long, all around the United States. I had to go to Boston to do mine, and I won the title of Miss Boston Continental. So I am eligible to go to Chicago [for the finals].
The competition will be during Labor Day weekend, and it lasts a total of three days for the contestants. The public can buy tickets for preliminary night (September 4th) and final night (September 5th). Only the girls that make Top 12 get to perform on the final night, and they get announced the same night. It’s stressful, isn’t it?
Hell, yeah! We’ll talk more about that in a bit. One thing I was curious about: You were called Alby Pretty for a little bit on Facebook: were you trying out a new drag name, or running from the Facebook Name Police? (You’d think “Alby Pretty” would be easier for them to find!)
I wasn’t trying a name out. Me and many other queens got our names snatched away from the Facebook Name Police! Alby Pretty is my nickname, and the name of my dancewear line, so I thought I am going to use the same. Luckily, after something like two years, I got my name back! It was awful to not be Lolita Golightly, and I am so happy I am back to my drag name! Now I live in fear it might happen again [laughs]!
Perish the thought! Let’s go back in time now. I know you’re from Italy, but what part exactly?
I am from Vicenza. It’s a smaller city in the northeast.
What was life like growing up there?
Oh, It was very quiet. I had a nice childhood/ Then at 14 I started ballet training. I would go to school in the morning, and then off to ballet school, sometimes eating my lunch in the car on the way there. And when I got home there was homework, so sometimes I’d stay up and go to bed late. This was Monday to Saturday.
I had a few good friends, mostly all girls. I never really hung out with boys before. It all changed when I joined the Trocks. I had to learn how to be in a company of all gay guys!
That’s makes sense, because more than most queens I’ve met, you are quite passable as this very graceful, glamorous girl. Who were some of your big glamour icons growing up? I’m guessing Audrey Hepburn was one.
How did you know [laughs]? Yes, I love her! And by the way, thanks for the compliment!
I always loved glamorous movie stars from the 40s and 50s. I used to open these books with pictures of them and start sketching . My favorite icons were Marilyn Monroe, Audrey, Rita Hayworth, Vivien Leigh… I could go on for ever!
Well, that’s a pretty good list. So, when you were studying dancing in Italy before you moved, did you always wish you could dance the female parts?
I didn’t know what I wanted. Of course, all I was looking at were the female parts, but I was told that was not okay. So, I learned the male parts and I thought I was satisfied dancing them–until I started working as a professional in Koblenz, Germany. All I was doing was standing behind the girls, lifting them and make them look good. I got tired of it and thought I needed a challenge. I needed to be the center of the attention–and there was always my fascination for the pointe shoes. So I auditioned for the Trockaderos and I got the job! that’s when my whole adventure with the drag ballet began.
Andrea Mohin, NY Times]
What was moving to New York like, when you joined the Trocks?
Oh it was amazing! A whole new world for me! NYC is an exciting city, and working for the Trocks seemed like a dream job. I couldn’t believe how much dancing I got to do in the company. I am a hard-working ballerina, so I loved every moment of it! And the traveling was another amazing part of the job. I’ve been to so many different places around the world
What’s been your favorite city in the world to perform in?
Paris! I just love speaking French and feeling my Paris Opera ballerina fantasy!
Oh yes, from December 13th to the 31st.
How do fans tend to respond to the Trocks during performances? Are they silent and respectful like ballet audiences, or cheering and clapping like bar drag watchers?
Well, it all depends on the country we are in. Audience members tend to react differently based on where they come from. Latin countries tend to be louder then others–but there are exceptions to it. For example, Germany was so far one of the warmest audiences we ever had! They seemed more like a drag audience. But there’s always the alcohol factor: we perform in theatres and not in clubs. People at the club are there to drink, and obviously tend to get louder.
Does cooter-slamming in heels at the bars bring out this other, fiercer side of you then the one pirouetting in pointe shoes on the stage?
It’s completely different. When I perform on stage with the Trocks, it’s a much more regimented show. The steps are all choreographed, and I don’t get too much freedom. Whereas at the club, it’s my vision that I bring on stage. I like it because I can be my own choreographer, and I can tell whatever story I want and how I want it.
I would bring more balletic numbers in the club if the space would allow me to, but normally the stage is as big as a post stamp! Anyway, I always enjoy performing, whehter is at the theatre or at a drag show!
Where was the very first NYC spot you performed in as Lolita?
I know your schedule might not permit it now, but in the future would you ever consider doing a weekly show in NYC somewhere?
Oh, I would totally consider that! As much as I love my job, I am not going to travel forever! It is very tiring to be somewhere all the time, and I should start considering options on what to do in the future. I always wanted to have my own show in the city. That would be really awesome.
Okay, lets talk about this Tuesday night’s Strut at ACME, where you will be the featured performer. First of all, I saw the promo poster photo, and congratulations on the amazing cakes! I guess being a dancer will do that for you. Who was the photographer?
I am very excited about Tuesday. I’ve already done one of the Tuesday night parties hosted by Deryck Todd at ACME, and they are a lot of fun! Last time I performed with my sister Skim Burley and my drag mother Serenity Lopez. This time, I have a number with a very handsome man, Mitchell Wayne! It’s worth coming out just to look at him!
Very cool, that party is always fun. Now, let’s talk about what’s coming up on August 28th: A Stonewall concert, starring you and some of your besties! You’ll be fundraising for your Continental package. That pageant is unbelievably expensive, right?
Yes it is! So many expenses! A queen has to pay for new hair, jewels, gowns, costumes–not to mention the entry fee for her backup dancers, and their accommodation and travel! It is a crazy amount of money. That’s why I am hoping that a lot of people will come out and donate!
It’s going to be a memorable night! Performances by your one and only Lolita, together with my best friend Fifi Dubois, my sister Miss Gamma Ray, my drag daughter Mariette Moure , Mitchell Wayne and a real burlesque queen: Lilin! She’s gonna give us some real sass! I am very thrilled to have such a stellar cast with me!
That should be really fun, and we rarely get to see a lot of you on stage!
And this is all leading up to the Continental finals on September 5th, at the Vic Theatre. Good luck! Anything else you want to mention?
Yes! I’d like to mention my promoter, J. Cardin Moore, who helped me incredibly in the process of getting ready to Miss Continental. He saw me compete at the Miss Mundo International pageant back in 2013, and really believed in me. He told me he saw a lot of potential, and suggested that I would go to Continental this year. And my drag mother Serenity Lopez, who has been by my side this whole time.
It is important to have a team of friends when it comes to something as big as a national competition. And as much as I try to do everything myself, I discovered that it is okay to ask for help. I am really blessed to have a lot of friends that I can count on, and I call myself a lucky lady!
Wonderful! If (ahem, I mean when) you win Miss Continental… what will happen next?
If I do end up winning, it would be a life-changing experience! I would travel the United States for a whole year, performing in different cities and attending all the preliminaries in preparation for next year!
Thanks for talking yo us Lolita, and I know you’ll kill it at Continental!
Lolita Golightly will perform at the Strut party at ACME on Tuesday, August 23rd (10pm). She will headline the showcase “Road to Continental”–a fundraiser for her pageant expenses–at Stonewall on Sunday, August 28th (7pm), and will compete in the Continental finals in Chicago on September 5th. Her ballet dance troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo will perform at the Joyce Theater on December 13th-31st. Lolita can be followed on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & YouTube, and her line of dancewear Alby Pretty can be found on Etsy.