This anything-goes entertainer makes up one third of the self-deprecating nightlife collective The Nobodies, who are finally getting their props as of late: a Glam nomination in December, and the the go-ahead from Bob the Drag Queen herself to take over the Slam Awards in January. Let’s catch up with Lady Bearica Andrews and get the T on the Ki!
Thotyssey: Hey Bearica! Welcome back! You’ve been traveling–tell us a little about your journeys.
Lady Bearica Andrews: I just returned from a much needed trip home to the West Coast. I was there to see one of my best friends tie the knot… and to give shows for the first time in the LA area.
Side note: love weddings… all of them. I’m going to have a major gay wedding someday with all the Hetero-Normative-Wedding-Accouterments.
I hope you do! Any madcap adventures out there?
Nothing crazy–although on the first night back I went to every fucking gay bar in Long Beach. Dropped a certain New York queen’s name in order to have an “in” with Morgan McMichaels (fucking sweetheart, that one).
Had a chance to hook up with one of my longest all-time crushes on New Years Eve night…but turned him down. WHY?! Ugh. Who goes on vacation and becomes a prude?
The biggest potential mishap was booking a show in LA the night of my friend’s wedding, which was a billion miles away in Orange County.
But luckily I have amazing friends, who’ll pick me up anytime, any place, and feed me full of booze when we get to wherever I’m supposed to be–much like [my cohorts] Ariel Italic and DJ Accident Report at any given Nobodies show.
So, is Cali is your native land?
At 25, I decided it was time to finish my Bachelor’s and get out of Kansas and see something else, so I moved to Long Beach, California.
I got residency. Became a townie. Fell in love. Blacked out a few times. Long Beach is one of the most diverse cities in the US. I relished being a “minority” for the first time, learning the nuances of race and nationality, and culture. I also realized, despite my perceived open-mindedness, no matter how much I thought I had educated and separated myself from the small-minded privileged behavior I was raised in, ignorance runs deep.
I’m still learning about my privilege. Like every fucking day. While, I grew up surrounded by what I still consider to be mostly good people; people who’ll change a tire on the side of the road; give you the shirt off their back; I started to see the cracks.
Many people live their entire lives without ever seeing the cracks!
I had always been envious of people deeply routed, and continually involved their culture and history. I didn’t feel I had that at the time. Living in California, is when I first realized ‘Gay’ or ‘Queer’ is a culture. It has a history. And I got angry that I wasn’t taught this. And my Voice started to grow.
What were you studying in Long Beach, by the way?
I went back to do film & poli sci/history. I got scared of the idea of learning to make films and missed performing, so I went back to theatre. But I tried to study as many other things as I could. Lots of history. A little Film. A little poli sci.
The Great thing about the theatre department at Cal State Long Beach, is that they made an effort to educate us, and encourage us to educate ourselves in other areas.
Did you create the Bearica character there?
Short answer: no. Theatre helped me to become more myself. And to learn that you are the character, and the character is you. How can there be a separation? I forget where/who this phrase comes from: “It’s (the character) not me, but it’s not not me.” Which is kind of what’s interesting/confusing about nightlife and drag to me.
So what eventually got you to New York?
I wanted to move here, turned 30, and decided it was time.
Did you have a plan for what you wanted to do here?
After college, I didn’t know that I wanted act anymore; I lost interest in theatre. My first professional audition, I forgot to bring a headshot, and while that may be just a rookie mistake, I saw it as a sort of sign, or whatever.
I moved home to Kansas to ‘root myself’. Fell in Love. Made some really good friends. Fell Out of Love. And then moved back to California to take a class that had been life-changing for many of my peers. I still didn’t know I wanted anything to do with performing; I just knew I needed to take this class, with this teacher, before I moved on.
I was also writing a play about a fictionalized drag queen during Stonewall. So that was another excuse to be here.
Oh, sounds interesting! Did you ever complete that project?
I haven’t. But this class was where the idea was born. The teacher was Alexandra Billings, who is now on Transparent. She is the single most phenomenal person I’ve met in my life. She gets it. She saw me. She can probably see you too. No need to meet. She’s that person.
How did Bearica make her debut?
Drag was born out of perceived necessity, right? Shakespeare needed a ‘woman’ on stage. I needed to take a view from that stage, rather the dressing room, in order to write this character. Really, I just needed to give myself permission to get up there.
I haven’t completed this play yet, maybe I won’t. But, drag has most definitely taught me how to tell a story in a way that seems less daunting than putting pen to paper.
Bearica, originally Bearicunt Lotta (LOL!), born on a Halloween like all of us queens, actually debuted at the Monster, on the very same stage as this year’s Slam Awards! Holly Dae’s monthly competition. Sandi Beaches, who is sadly on an indefinite leave of absence, helped name me, and pushed me to the stage. She’s my OG drag sister.
I did some crazy mashup of “Rose’s Turn” and “Glitch Mob” in a straight-jacket. Everyone was confused. I was elated. Holly forgot my name. I love that kind of contradiction. I love a mashup.
Yeah, that’s where we met. everyone else was headed to Westgay. Ariel and I are old, and way less cool than most, so we ended up holding up the bar at 9th Ave (my favorite spot in HK), made the bartender laugh, and weaseled our way into hosting Drag Race–much like we weaseled our way into hosting The Slammies. This Friday is pretty special. Full circle moment in many ways. At the end of the day, ask for what you want, yes?
Tell me a little about the Nobodies, which consist of you two and DJ Accident Report. You’ve hosted eclectic shows in Brooklyn and Manhattan and beyond, including the viewing parties and a pageant you all created at Eastlands over the summer: Mx. Nobody!
Mx Nobody! What a great privilege, to be able to provide a space for such a diverse group of artists to come together and push themselves, and each other. Can’t wait for Mx. Nobody 2017!
One element that defines you all is this ruthlessly self-deprecating sense of humor. Where does that come from, you think?
Self deprecation? Doesn’t that just come natural to all of us?
The tongue in cheek title of our first show ‘Nobodies Hosting Drag Race’ clicked with people–it felt different, so we went with it. It took the pressure off us too, and allowed us just to have fun, making fun of ourselves before anyone else had the chance to.
Nightlife can be a really difficult world to navigate, especially when there are about a billion other artists (believe me, I counted) raising their voices to be heard. We just wanted to carve out our own space. Once that show was over, Accident Report joined, and The Nobodies were born; and for that I must say I’m sorry and you’re welcome.
Which “type” are you in the Nobodies? Like, if you can break it down to one-dimensional character types like in the Spice Girls (the slutty one, the butch one, the one who can sing, etc.) which one are you?
Well… Eric, DJ Accident Report, is definitely the Angry one (we actually have a segment in our ‘Nobodies Talking Shit’ shows called ‘Shit Eric Shorey hates”). I’m the Late one, and Ariel is the Let’s Get It Together one. We all pop out of the same garbage can, though.
It was nice to see you three nominated for a GLAM this year, though. Did that catch you by surprise?
Yeah. We fucking freaked out! I was in Kansas City hanging out in my cousins living room, probably high af. Ariel texted me and I made some kind of yelp-laugh-noise that made their dog jump. I mean, I was secretly hoping for a nomination, and that validation was really motivating.
Oh! And so glad to have presented Ari Kiki with her award! She’s been such a great Nobodies supporter, like a jockstrap for your tuck. So glad to have her performing at [this year’s] Slammies!
Congrats on your win, by the way. Well-deserved! I personally loved your “uncle jacket!“
Haha, thank you.
What really caught me by surprise was the misprint on the card I was presenting Best Photographer from.
Wait what was the misprint?
Oh, it was a very Steve Harvey moment. The card had double one name and left out another.
But the screen had it right. The crowd was, like, chanting the name left off, and off course it was a Brooklyn girl–Santiago. So when I finally turned around saw his name and said it, everyone thought he was the winner and started cheering. The stage manager was so mad. I was like, ‘Sorry for your technical difficulty, girl.” Whatevs.
So, you all are hosting the SLAMs (aka the Slammies) this weekend, at Monster. What a great fit! The Slammies, of course, are the nightlife awards that cruelly/lovingly reward the “worst” of nightlife, all in good fun. Bob the Drag Queen used to host them, but had to abandon them when Drag Race fame called.
The Nobodies of course have personal ties to the Slammies, but what specifically motivated you all to want to take up the hosting duties for the revival?
You’re right… it is a good fit. And it’s where Ariel and I met. I don’t know though…we just really wanted the event to happen.
We had another segment in our Talking Shit show called ‘Drag Queen Drama’ where we’d do dramatic readings of the drama from the previous week. I think holding up a mirror in this community, and poking fun at our missteps is funny. We all get drunk together and do/say stupid things...it’s not that deep! Let’s laugh about it.
It’s been an interesting transition for us, going from random shows in front of a pool table in a sports bar in Bushwick to taking on such a beloved / divisive event as the Slammies. From the beginning, the intent was to bring all different types from every borough together to shake hands, slap asses and laugh. The previous Slammies were very, very Manhattan-centric, and we saw an opportunity for The Nobodies to be the East River that connected everyone; we’re the garbage floating on top. if you need to walk on us to get to one another, so be it.
There’s been some drama with the changing of the guard, though!
I’ve heard some talk about our “perceived intentions,” and I’d like to clear a couple things up: the nomination process was left up to the public. If there’s anything we’ve learned this year, it’s you need to fucking vote!
Did we have to make some decisions on the final candidates? Yes. Some of the categories are confusing, but so is the concept of an Anti-Awards Show. I remember Erika Klash saying something at the last Slams, like “I don’t know whether to be honored or embarrassed,’ but she just went with it. And that’s the spirit. Do we really think you’re not going to be on Drag Race? No! Well, maybe. Who cares?
I think we made a mistake by not opening ourselves up for noms, though. The Slammies are meant to be about the community, bringing it together, ya know? but if it makes you uncomfortable, let me know, I’ll take you off the ballot, silently and discreetly. But come direct. And I appreciate those who have.
How do you think the show will go?
Here’s’s the Real Deal: I am really excited to bring in a fundraising component to the Slam Awards. All the door proceeds will be going straight to the Trans Justice Funding Project. and I am so thankful for the support of our co-producer, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, who’ll be provided us with some scents to give out at the door: first come first served, with a door donation of $15 bucks or more.
With BPAL, our local sponsor House of La Rue, Mitch Ferrino and the Monster Bar, and the support of our Nobabies and friends, I think we have put together another kick ass show. And Bob the Drag Queen, she was probably just sick of us talking about it. Really though, I have to thank her for trusting us to do this show. Oh, and Jessye Herrell will be taking photos!
So come. Have fun. Maybe make a new friend, or a family, like Ariel and I did. We have performances by GLAM AWARD winners Will Sheridan & Ari Kiki, and Mx. Nobody contestant Miss Cuntstrude. Also, a Secret Surprise Award!
Madness! Do you have any predictions on who will ”Misty Meaner“ the shit out of the proceedings this time around (i.e., cause a scene and destroy shit)? The actual Misty Meaner again, maybe?
Hopefully! There has been some talk about it. She is nominated for Cunt of the Year, so…
Anything else coming up for you and the Nobodies?
Well, we’ve been talking to Catland in Bushwick. The owner is amazing, and she has a really great space. We did an event there in October called “Nobodies Worshipping Satan.” It went really well, and I am excited to get back into that space.
Also, “Nobodies Hosting Drag Race” will return, of course. And personally, I am excited to introduce cousin Shelley to NYC. I think she is flying in Friday from Kansas, so she’ll surely be at the Slammies. Come over and help me give her a warm New York welcome:
Hi Shelley! Okay, last question: what’s something that the world may not know about Lady Bearica, but should?
Oh God. that’s a toughy…
First and foremost, I’m a fan of drag, I’m a fan of people. I want to support you. I may not be at every show, but if you need me, let me know. Going through the Mx. Nobody Pageant at the same moment as the Pulse shooting, really tested me as an artist and person. It changed me, like it changed so many others.
Take a moment to check in with each other, look each other in the eye. We are a community: the T the L the G the B the I the Q. Don’t forget to be where your hands are… stay present.
Wow. okay. There you have it, Serious moments with Bearica.
Thanks Bearica, see you Friday!