The newly crowned Miss Boots & Saddle has already been a Boots fan favorite now for some time, so it’s no surprise that the room went wild when her name was announced as the winner. Known for her sweetness and her hot dance moves, this half of the “#BlackFridays” weekly show has overcome her struggles with social anxiety to become the fierce reining queen Lilith LeFae!
Thotyssey: Hey Miss Boots & Saddle, congratulations!
Lilith LeFae: Thank you so much, love!
Where is your crown right now?
I have it placed on a shelf right above my sofa, so from the proper angle I’m always wearing it!
Beautiful! If I were you I’d probably still be wearing it. Do you feel a bit more queenly now that you that you have a proper crown?
To be perfectly honest, it still hasn’t sunk all the way in (teehee). But I have been smiling the last two days, and anyone that knows me knows that’s pretty rare [laughs]. But I couldn’t be more happy or thankful!
Your win was a wonderful moment and we were all so proud! Was it completely surprising to you?
Thank you so much! I did my best, but I have complete respect for the other queens, and they all really brought it… so it definitely not expected. The crowd chanting my name is still totally surreal, and I’ll never forget it.
When you were lip syncing Whitney’s “I Will Always Love You” at the end, what were you thinking? Were you thinking anything, or was it just like you were in a dream?
[Pageant host] Delilah totally surprised me with that! I wasn’t expecting to do a number at all. Mostly I was overcome looking out at so many of my friends and Boots family, all happy and cheering for me. I’m actually welling up thinking about it now! It felt like all of us won, and sharing it was incredibly magical!
It was a great moment! So, how long did it take you to prepare your final pageant package?
The most difficult part of preparing for me was mentally. I’m really not cut out for competitions! I get far too anxious. So, remembering to relax and try to have fun and not stress so much was my biggest hurdle.
My Wonder Woman presentation look I had made previously for a Geeks OUT event, and the talent number I had worked out. Once I knew I was in the finals, I just had to make my evening gown, which took a few days. So the physical preparation wasn’t as intense as conquering my nerves.
I didn’t know you actually made everything, it was all gorgeous! And I do remember you wearing the Wonder Woman costume for that previous event.
Thank you so much! It was my first time attempting to make armor, but I was pretty pleased with the end result.
Are you psyched for the movie, by the way?
Omg I’m soooo excited for it! She was by far the best part of Batman v Superman. Can’t wait to see what they do with her story.
Should be good! Okay before we talk more about this stuff, lets back up to the beginning–where’s your hometown?
Right here. I was born in Manhattan at Metropolitan Hospital, and I grew up in Queens. Went to high school in Chelsea. A NYC girl through and through!
What were you into as kid?
Pretty much all the things I’m into now: pretty dresses and fantasy [laughs]. I spent a lot a lot of time reading (actual paper books), and I was your typical artsy queer chubby kid. Again, not a whole lot of change in that arena either! I always had a big love of fashion, so spent lots of time with my nose in a magazine, or turning socks into Barbie clothes. Nothing groundbreaking, but the internet wasn’t around yet so we had to find shit to do!
I bet your Barbies had the fiercest sock dresses ever. When did drag come in to your life?
Well, I was always a fan of drag. I was even one of those Season One Drag Race viewers, but I didn’t ever imagine doing it myself until about four years ago.
I used to have this idea that to do drag, you had to be like 5’4 and 100 lbs soaking wet, or you couldn’t get away with it. Maybe it’s ‘cause of all the Roosevelt Avenue pageants I witnessed when I first went to gay bars!
Those lovely pageant chicas in Jackson Heights are certainly an interesting first impression of drag. What motivated you to give it a try yourself?
Well, like I may have mentioned, I have pretty bad social anxiety at times. And I have never had great self-esteem, or been comfortable in front of people… and it had gotten progressively worse. And while it might sound crazy, drag to me was a way to smash all the way out of my comfort zone, doing something fun and that incorporated so many things I was already passionate about (sequins and getting drunk). It was kind of a challenge to myself.
Yay queen! What was Lilith’s first night out?
So, they always say baby queens are born Halloween and Pride… but for me it was the weekend after Pride, because I’m a chicken and backed out of doing it on actual Pride at the last minute [laughs]! I went to my friends apartment to get ready, and we went to Club Evolution in Jackson Heights! I could barely look anyone in the eye! Most of those guys [at Evolution] can tell you the war stories… they’re usually at Boots on Friday still getting drunk with me!
Were you always named Lilith LeFae?
Yup. I’ve never changed my name since I first started. I gave it some thought and made sure I was happy with it, so I’ve yet to want to. But I guess anything is possible!
So, when did you meet your partner-in-crime, Princess Bitch?
Last week was our three-year friend-iversary! We met entirely by chance. A friend of mine was having his birthday party at the now defunct Pride Lounge while Princess was hosting along with two guests… one of which was the amazing
Sapphira Cristal. And as soon as I got there, she walked right up to me and said “You’re pretty, wanna do a number together?” I instantly started to panic sweat but said yes, and she goes “Great, we’re up after this song, you’re first.” So I grabbed every drink my friends had and downed them–starting a lovely performing tradition we still carry on today! That was both the first time I met Princess, and the first time I ever performed anywhere.
Omg he really is, to put it mildly!
Princess has actually performed and worked at Boots much longer than I have. She had a show there before we even met, but shortly after we linked up, she was asked to cover a show and invited me to be her co-host. I also met and performed with Misty Meaner and Mocha Lite the night of my Boots debut. And they were kind enough to have us back often enough for [Boots owner] Robert to occasionally offer us to stay on stage and keep the crowd there between shows. That led him to offer Princess a pre-happy hour show slot from 4 to 6, which became #BlackFridays… and that was two years ago this past September.
You two are big hits there with a huge following, which was evident during the pageant with the cheering and the drink tickets! How would you describe #BlackFridays to someone who’s never seen the show?
I can’t remember a single one. Just kidding! I would describe it as hanging out with you friends: your drunk, rowdy friends. I think part of why we are popular is because we’re able to share our real life friendship with our audience. We’re not just a duo for work, we’re really friends and it comes across
Are you really going for a weekly 7-11pm slot there now? Wow!
That’s the plan. We’ve grown a great crowd that starts showing up around 7, and truth be told we love our Friday crowd. And as long as they’ll have us, we’ll be there! The extra time is a total blessing!
So aside from your pageant ware, I remember when TNT was still open you were occasionally selling your wares in some pop up boutiques they occasionally had there. Do you still regularly sell your stuff to other queens, or design for them?
I’ve definitely taken commissions from people who know I design, and am happy to collaborate with anyone. But it’s not something I’ve done steadily in the past… although I’ve been looking to change that recently, now that I have more time. So hit me up for your Lilith LeFae originals!
At the pageant, you mentioned the lovely patriotic group photo taken by Fred Attenborough that you appeared in with other Brooklyn queens of color, as a way to encourage people to vote the right way… and bitches did not obey. As a drag queen of color in the city, how are you prepared to handle this mess of a political situation?
Well, it’s scary in general, as a visibly queer person and a person of color. But I think the most important thing any of us can do is stay visible, outspoken, proud and Fabulous. It’s not the darkest time for our community, and while I’m sure most of us thought we’d come farther than this, we’ll make it through with I’m sure more wit and sass than anyone on the other side.
That’s one reason why you deserve the crown, girl, you’re such a force of positivity!
Thank you very much!
Anything else coming up, by way of shows and projects? I know that you won a few extra paid gigs at Boots when you got the crown.
I’m not sure yet when the Miss Boots shows will be, but you can catch me every Friday night until 11. I’ve got some fun things I’m working on, so stay tuned! And a girl can always use an extra booking… and with Princess and I, you get two for the price of one (but don’t get crazy)!
Okay, so in closing, Wonder Woman… if you could have any superpower you can think of, what would it be?
What do you mean if? Final answer.
Slain. Thank you Lilith, and many more congrats on your crowning!