No doubt one of the city’s most exciting and beloved nightlife entertainers, this fierce dancing queen is also a staunch professional with very high standards. It only takes one night of watching the intensity of her her energy performance to realize why she’s gigging all over the city… including a major Halloween show that nightlifers everywhere are dying (ha!) to be a part of. Sip some late night tea with the Miami Miracle Pixie Aventura!
Thotyssey: Happy belated birthday, Pixie!
Pixie Aventura: Awww, thank you.
How did the celebration go this year?
Well, this year was the big 3-0, and I wanted to get away. I took an early vacation in September to Orlando and Miami and had an amazing time. Of course I went to the parks in Orlando, and gave my respects at Pulse. Miami was magical, I spent a Sunday with my family and some close friends at a drag brunch, something that I would never have seen happen a few years ago. On my actual birthday I planned nothing, just allowed spontaneity to take control.
That sounds like a great way to do things. I surprisingly enjoyed my 30th birthday, but were you freaking out about it?
[Laughs] yes I was, but I still feel the same (aching dancer body in the morning) and I still look like I’m in college, I hope [laughs]!
And I see you recently had to gig for almost 24 hours in drag for a filming of some kind. How did you hold it together?
As much as I could. I tried to be patient but of course that’s the film industry. It’s not the first, and probably won’t be the last.
Make that coin and be famous! Okay, let’s get to the beginning of all this fierceness. How was being a fabulous child in Miami for you? Like, what were you interested in, and how were you treated?
I grew up in a very Hispanic community, obviously, and all I knew was going to school and doing well. I was in all gifted and honors classes, but I always loved choir. My middle school choir teacher told me I should audition for a school: New World School of the Arts. I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn’t realize studying to be an artist/actor was a thing, let alone a career. It changed my life; but I found what I wanted and haven’t stopped.
So it was always the full package for you as far as performing: acting and dancing together?
Absolutely, I went to college for it as well. Otterbein College in Columbus, Ohio.
Whenever I see you perform, even if you’re doing like a really goofy/funny number, you always have this intensity that makes the performance that much more entertaining. Are you, like, completely in the Zone all the time when you’re performing, or are you sometimes just going through the motions and are like “hmmm I have to drop off the dry cleaning tomorrow?”
Absolutely not, I’m completely in it, even if I’m tired, I use it. I was told by a very wise drag queen that when you’re on stage, you have to prove you belong there. There’s always someone that hasn’t seen you. Plus, I love it!
So back to Columbus. And speaking of wise queens… Nina West and the West family! You collaborated with them while you were there. I’m always interested in how so many queens come through Columbus and the Wests. What is it about them and what they’re doing over there in that scene that’s so remarkable?
Well I worked with Nina for a short amount of time, but the reason they’re doing so well is that they go all the way. It’s about the production, and they realize people are expecting the best. The gay scene in Columbus is fantastic, I had a great time there.
I also feel the community support is bigger. Even though we have more opportunities here, other places crave for that kind of entertainment, but here is sometimes taken for granted.
Good point. How did you drag name yourself?
Well my drag name comes from my first dog, and where I was born. Obviously I couldn’t be Pixie Miami, so I found a neighborhood in the area that made sense. Aventura, a very bougie area.
Aw! What kind of dog was Pixie?
[Laughs] a Black Pomeranian. It was a joke at first, but it stuck and I love it now. Never really been a fan of witty names! I think it describes me very well. I see a pixie as a mysterious always-evolving creature of the night that has many sides to it. Aventura basically means adventure, and I consider myself a storyteller.
I love that! So, what were you looking for when you came to NYC as far as work and creative outlet?
I came specifically to NYC to be an actor: that has been my goal. I started drag at college. I was one of the first drag queens to start as a form of fundraising. Our money went towards the Alopecia Foundation, Equity Fights AIDS, the LGBT Columbus Youth Housing, etc.
The first few years here I was focused on doing theatre. One thing led to another: somebody had a hand in drag, I was asked to do I guest spot… and here I am.
When you first started, I’m guessing drag and Drag Race hadn’t exploded in a huge way yet, and there were probably a lot fewer opportunities for gigs and venues. Was it more of a hustle then to get gigs, you think? Or is it harder now, because there’s almost a drag over-saturation in NYC?
Well–and I don’t mean this to sound big-headed–but I’ve been very fortunate to always have been approached about a gig or some sort of job. I also would support other drag queen shows when I had the time, which is very important. Nowadays, I feel that queens feel entitled after doing drag for a few days, or because they won a bar pageant. It doesn’t work like that. I’ve had the opportunity of being able to give guest spots in the past, I always approached the girls that seemed hard-working, had some sort of humility, and of course lots of talent.
Good standards! What was your first weekly gig?
Vig 27 [laughs], Spotlight Performances on Saturday.
You’ve had long friendships with queens like Holly Dae, Bootsie LeFaris, Brenda Dharling, et cetera, queens you collaborate with a lot and who are all on top of their game like you. How important is it to have a strong support system like that in nightlife?
I think it’s most important to have mutual respect, even if you don’t like what they do. We’re all trying to make a living and are continuously evolving.
I get so troubled when I see people talking about other drag queens, especially the new queens. Why do you think you can question someone’s integrity or abilities? Focus on yourself and improve on it. You’re a performer at the root of it all, and you will never stop learning. So yes, it’s very important, but trust me, we push each other’s buttons [laughs]!
No doubt! What about bar audiences, in general? Have they gotten more or less respectful of your craft over time?
Listen, my job is pretty simple on paper. Engage the audience, entertain them, keep them in the bar buying drinks, make the bar money. I love to do what I do, but there have been times when people think they can do whatever they want. I’ve been told to “shut the fuck up,“ had people rush the stage, stand right in front of me during my number, and so on.
I don’t take myself seriously; I know I’m doing drag late at night. But unwarranted behavior like that is disrespectful. I would never go to someone’s job and act a fool. Treat me with the same respect you demand.
It also takes away from the other audience members who want to be there and enjoying themselves.
Where is the best audience?
Fire Island was probably the best audience. I was spoiled and brought to tears in a good way.
This summer was your first weekly show there, at the Ice Palace, right?
Yeah, it came out of a surprise, it [started out as] a joint show with my aunties Sherry and Peppermint.
So, what’s been your all-time favorite number to do? I always associate you with West Side Story!
[Laughs} of course, stereotypes. Everyone loves my “Voodoo Pussy” number, even though I love it, I try not to do too much because someone always asks for it. I love “Creep” by Radiohead covered by Carrie Manolakos. It’s a very heavy song and it had to be the perfect audience for me to do it. It can be very emotional.
I love her version of “Creep.” Shit’s intense!
I’ve been doing it since she did it like four years ago.
So, you haven’t done a lot of pageants that I know of, at least not lately… I’d think you would slay! Are you too busy for that these days, or does it just not interest you as much as straight up shows?
Hopefully this doesn’t bite me on the ass, [laughs]. When I first started doing drag I entered Tranimal, which allowed me to really get out there. It was also very easy to win money in a bar pageant.
But it wasn’t until this Miss Hell’s Kitchen that I realized that was not the path that I liked. I find it very hard to condense who I am, then to sort of present it as a package to get approval ratings from a group of judges. For me, it’s kind of like gambling, and I hate gambling. I’d rather invest in something I know that I will get a return from, or at least a lot of use from.
My whole life it’s been about me working hard for what I wanted. I was never really handed a part or a role.
Okay let’s talk about the gigs, and let’s start with… Queen, Thursday nights at Industry! You’ve been doing that now for… four years? That’s one of the biggest drag revues in the city right now, with a big stage and big numbers and big crowds… everything big! There’s always a new weekly theme there, and I was wondering what your favorite’s been so far.
I think my favorite is Freak Show. I always try to push myself to try new things and keep the audience guessing. Most recently though, which was my idea [laughs], was Lion Queen. I wanted to portray Scar, and it ended up being a great first production. It will keep getting better.
I’d love to see that next time! Lots of celebs who want to pander to the gays know to come directly to Industry on Thursday nights. Have you been there for any of those celeb takeovers, like Idina Menzel recently?
Idina came while I was away on my birthday Vacation… ahhhhhh! However, I was there when Demi and Nick came. Both were very sweet, and I realized how averaged height Nick was [.
That was a big deal! When’s your next night with Queen by the way?
First week of November. As you know, we have a rotating cast.
Were you pissed with Drag Race fans treatment of your Queen castmate Phi Phi O’Hara after her turn on All-Stars this season?
Yes! I’m actually upset most of the time when fans of reality shows start acting like complete idiots. I’m tired of people justifying criticizing and treating people like s*** because they’re under a limelight and they put themselves there. That’s how the world works though.
Do I completely understand what happened? No I don’t, but we can sit here and try to go back and forth and will never ever come to a complete understanding. She said what she said, but she was also cut in those circumstances.
Another show that you and some of your Queen girls–specifically Holly, Bootsie and Brenda–is the Distorted revue at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. Usually the version you do on select Friday nights is Distorted Diznee, where you send up some famous Disney numbers and moments. That show gets a very different crowd than your bar shows: lots of theater-goers and straight people, and everybody’s hanging on your every word and movement and laughing and applauding with gusto. That must be a nice change of pace from the jaded, messy bar gays!
[Laughs] true. I love it. Yes we get a lot of Bachelorette parties, but the energy is always high! And everyone that works there is fantastic.
And this Friday night is a special themed show at the Beechman: Distorted Halloween! That’s you, Brenda, Bootsie & Chelsea Piers, right?
Yes, us four girls!
On Tuesdays, you’re at Hardware for Late Night Tea with the delightful Delighted Tobehere, giving shows and spilling the T. What will a hot topic have been that you’ll have dished about there by the time this interview gets published, you think?
Well, we will definitely talk about the [remake of] the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Mostly about how PG-13 it was.
What grade would you give this Rocky Horror? I’d say, like, B+. Too generous?
[Laughs] Yeah, I would say C-. First half was doing okay, but then it got awkward.
Now let’s talk about The Help at Therapy on Wednesdays, where you share the stage with the great Monet X Change! That girl’s been BUSY. You used to do the show with Bob the Drag Queen, before she of course left to do Drag Race. Did the dynamic or energy of the show change a lot with Monet?
Absolutely, it’s like working with Bob’s special step-sister [laughs]. We had to find what our chemistry was all about: mostly ratchet and class! But we have all continued to keep it amazing.
And on Sundays, you’re solo at Barracuda with Pixie’s Big Adventure! How different are you as a solo host compared to when you’re a co-host like with your other shows?
Well, I think a lot of people forget that I can be, and am, a one woman show. Was I always? No, but like I said before, I’m always growing.
My Sunday show has become a labor of love. I want my audience to let go of all their shit and embrace the craziness my numbers bring. Like you said, I become completely engaged in my number and I forgot what I do.
It’s glorious to behold! Now on Sunday, October 30th, you’re gonna be part of a really special Halloween gig that every nightlifer in the city wanted to be a part of: The Only Bloodbath at Stage 48, with Bob, Kim Chi and all the best NYC queens! This is going to be epic!
I love Halloween!!!!!!! You can ask Mitch Ferrino, I was like, let’s do it now!!!!!!!!! My Halloween numbers reflect that, especially the one on Sunday. I’m so excited to be reunited with Roberta Elaine Channing the Drag Queen (that’s my sister name for Bob).
What else is up with you?
Hmm, well, I recently did my Ancestry DNA test, and I found out I’m everything but Asian. I really wanna do a photo shoot reflecting all of my different backgrounds. Especially because I need new professional pictures!
Oh my gawd, the Many Pixels of Pixie! That would be great. Okay, last question: What is something the world needs to know about Pixie Aventura, but maybe doesn’t?
Well, that’s hard cuz I’m a very open person, sometimes very honest (maybe why I’m called a bitch at times). However, at the end of every Sunday show, I say something close to this: “This world is full assholes and cunts. Don’t let yourself fall under that stereotype. Be a better person, and this world will slowly get better. If you’re ordering a drink at the bar, say Hi to the person next to you. If you’re in an elevator with someone else, say Hi. Acknowledge there’s a human being next to you, not a dating app profile.”
Words to live by! Happy Halloween, Pixie!
Pixie Aventura’s weekly gigs: Sundays at Barracuda for “Pixie’s Big Adventure” (11pm), Tuesdays at Hardware for “Late Night Tea” with co-host Delighted Tobehere (11pm) and Wednesdays at Therapy for “The Help” with co-host Monet X Change (11pm). She performs with “Queen” at Industry on select Thursdays (11pm), and with the Distorted revue at the Laurie Beechman Beechman Theatre on select Fridays (10pm, and October 28th is Distorted Halloween). On Sunday October 30th, she’ll be part of The Only Bloodbath show at Stage 48 (11pm). Pixie can be followed on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.