The Haus of Aja (a fierce and fabulous drag family) owns Brooklyn, and will be taking over the other other boroughs–and every damn city on the map–in due time. Exuding strength, glamour and charisma, these girls are true nightlife legends in the making. Kandy Muse is the newest girl in the Haus, and she chats with Thotyssey about their upcoming Stonewall Invasion and everything else that’s fierce.
Hi Kandy! Halloween is finally over and the Haus of Aja was everywhere that weekend. How did it go?
I never realized how crazy hectic Halloween weekend actually is until that weekend! We (the hausofaja) were everywhere! On Saturday, we were at Be Cute, on Sunday we were at Bloodbath, on Monday we were at Metropolitan Bar. And as for Friday, I wouldn’t be able to tell you… my mind has gone blank after this busy weekend! I’m happy to be able to say that I’m busy with gigs, but now I get to sleep for more than four hours!
That’s always a good thing! I kind of love the Haus of Aja cuz y’all are like a girl biker gang from one of those 70′s exploitation movies, gorgeous and fierce and would totally kick any fool’s ass who crossed you. Has the Haus had to take down a bitch yet?
Well thank you for that lovely description, haha! We’re just four girls who grew up in the hood and are trying to make something out of ourselves. We’re working really really hard to prove to people that queens of color can be successful! And as far taking down a bitch, well, some people have tried it with us… but the best revenge is just to do better and be successful!
And that you’re doing! I’ve actually known Aja and her partner-in-crime Momo Shade since they were fetuses, and they’re some of the sweetest and hardest working girls in the biz.
Listen, I always and will forever thank Aja and Momo for giving me the platform that I have now! Granted, yes… I’ve worked hard for what’s come my way. But I don’t know where my career as a drag artist would be today without them. I mean, we’ve traveled all over America together doing what we love, and I can assure you it would not be possible without them!
So, which specific hood did you grow up in?
Well, I was born in the south Bronx and raised in between the Dominican Republic and the south Bronx. So, it wasn’t really easy growing up.
I bet. Did you always want to be a performer of some kind?
Yes! Growing up, I was involved in any and every school play, I had my own dance team in middle school, I was in the marching band, and I also was a cheerleader for, like, four years! Anything that can get me attention and in the spotlights, I was in!
Who were your Everything Divas back then?
I know back in the days most young little gay boys were into Britney Spears. But my Number One Girl was Celia Cruz! I would get in trouble in school because I would get up in front of the class, wrap a head scarf (that I probably stole from my grandmother) around my head, and start dancing and singing to Celia!
Also, growing up I watched a lot of Top Model. I was obsessed with that show. I dreamed that one day I would be on! Honestly, Tyra Banks is the reason I now know how to pose for photos, and why now my walk looks like I’m walking down the Victoria Secret fashion show everywhere I go!
You do carry yourself like a model!
Thank you so much, I pretend to be a model [laughs]!
So, when did you start coming out in drag? And where were you going?
Well, I do remember the first time I went out in drag as Kandy Muse was in July of 2015. I had gone with a bunch of friends to the On Top party thrown by Susanne Bartsch.
It wasn’t the first time I went out in drag, though. Prior to Kandy Muse, I was a completely different drag artist that went by the name “Cherry Blossom.” But after a few months of that, I had quit drag from almost two years. Can you imagine if I would have never done drag ever again!?
I can’t! How is Kandy different from Cherry?
For starters, when I was Cherry Blossom I was super young and didn’t really know much about anything, let alone drag. But I think it was me becoming comfortable with who I was as a person, and really being confident in my own skin. I think that’s why I’m so body positive now as Kandy Muse.
How did you meet Aja and the fam, and how do you all click so well?
That’s a funny story, I walked into TnT one random Friday night, and two really loaded drag queens were acting a fool on stage, and they went by the names of Aja and Momo, I approached them after the show and found them on social media, only to find out that I had met Aja seven years prior to me walking into TnT, and lost all contact with her until my friend forced me to go with him to TnT!
Dahlia Sin was like a “buy 2 get 1 free.” She pretty much came along with Aja and Momo, In reality, I was the new one in their friendship group. They were all getting to know me from scratch! We’re all really similar. It just works so well! Granted, yes: we fight here and there, but what family doesn’t have small argument at times, am I right? Our personalities just flow really well together.
Well, you all have been killing it with shows and appearances, in Brooklyn and all over. You and Aja had a monthly at TnT for awhile, Q4Q, and you regularly performed at Aja and Momo’s Shit Show Fridays. How did you enjoy the experience of working those shows, and what did you learn as a performer from them?
Oh my, Q4Q was my baby, and I’m so sad it got taken away after only four months. That show was my favorite. Aja and I really wanted to create a show where not only are you gonna see a drag show, but also we were giving sexual, relationship and just life advice.
As for Shit Show Fridays, that show was also my favorite. The Friday crowd was so different from our Thursday crowd at Q4Q. It was more of a party, really! But those shows really helped me not only with my hosting skills, which are pretty good if I do say so myself, but they made me a much better performer!
It really is a bummer that TnT is gone now.
I know, I’m still a bit sad about it. But all good things must come to an end, right?
Are you gals shopping around for new venues?
At the moment, the Haus is working on a new show at a new venue; something that hasn’t been seen in Brooklyn before! I don’t wanna speak to much on it until everything is done and approved, but I’m super excited about it!
That sounds exciting, good luck!
You were a bearded queen not too long ago, but you’ve since gone a more traditional, clean-faced route. What motivated the change?
I honestly forgot I was a bearded queen before, it’s been so long! Listen, I loved being a bearded queen because not only was I the self-proclaimed most beautiful bearded queen that ever existed [laughs], but I didn’t have to shave my face and got to avoid razor bumps!
But I also think that I was hiding behind the beard–not specifically in drag, but outside of drag, I think I was worried about still trying to fit in the masc4masc criteria. But now I’m happy with who I am, and I love the look that I have going on now! I wouldn’t be opposed to doing bearded drag again, but I think that for me the beard is dead at the moment.
The first time I saw you perform was for the Mx. Nobody pageant finale, featuring that final lip sync battle between you and Elle McQueen. I think that remains the most fierce thing I’ve seen it nightlife. Elle won the battle and the pageant, but you gave her a run for her money in a major way! How did you like that experience, and any pageantry in the future for you?
Omg! So much has happened since that competition. You could have told me it happened three years ago and I would’ve believed you! During that lip-sync battle, I really wanted to show off my abilities as an artist and as a performer. Plus, it was $500 on the line! Who doesn’t want $500?
The experience was nerve-racking. I’m not really a competition person, so I don’t think I’m gonna be doing any pageants or competitions in the future. I’ve done a few in the past, and I don’t like the feeling of it! So yeah, I don’t expect to see Kandy Muse in any competition in the future… unless it’s on TV!
What would be, like, your dream gig?
I don’t really have one dream gig. There is so much I want to accomplish in my career as an artist and a performer. But my dream is to tour the world, meet the people who have supported me and the people that inspire me to continue doing what I love doing!
Werk. So OMG, the Haus of Aja Stonewall Invasion is this Sunday! I’m so happy for y’all, cuz that is gonna slay. How excited are you? And give us a spoiler of what’s gonna go down.
I AM SO EXCITED FOR THE HAUSOFAJA INVASION AT STONEWALL THIS SUNDAY, YOU HAVE NO IDEA!!!!!! It’s really going to be an amazing show. And as for a spoiler… hmm, what I can tell you is that there will definitely be more than one group number. And that’s all I’m gonna say!
Sweet. Okay, anything else to mention?
Besides the Haus working on a new show, I’m currently working on a tape that’s gonna take a lot out of me. But I’m excited to film it and to go through this process. I’m also working on photoshoots with amazing photographers!
I’m always working around the city, and I’m currently working on bookings around the country with the Haus. Just follow me on social media to know when and where my next move is!
Okay, in closing; it was just your birthday! What is/was your birthday wish?
I don’t wanna be selfish with my wish. Not only do I wish happiness and success on myself, but I also wish it on everyone around me who supports me, and that has a goal and a passion for something in life!
Aw, the Kandy is so sweet! Thank you!
Kandy Muse will perform for the Haus of Aja’s Invasion at Stonewall on Sunday, November 6th (11pm). The Haus is also working on a new show, details to be announced. Kandy can be followed on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.