Living proof that true love can prevail in nightlife, this queen has been with her husband and fellow performer Shay D’Pines for twenty years! She’s been a welcomed presence in the pageant and Fire Island scenes, and has recently mended fences with her drag mom, beloved Cherry Grove entertainer Lavinia Draper. And now, she and Shay are about to resurrect Westchester nightlife, in two very unlikely venues. Plug in to Angel Elektra!
Thotyssey: Hi Angel! So, I must start off with the epic question of the hour: how did you enjoy Lady Gaga at the Super Bowl?
Angel Elektra: Lady Gaga was amazing, although many think otherwise! I mean c’mon, she jumped off a roof, and slayed each number she did! But like I always say… people are never happy nor satisfied! Regardless what people think, I’m sure she wouldn’t care any way! And the fact that she kept politics out of her performance… I think it was brilliant! you know, politics is like religion: there is no end of conversations!
That’s true! Anything she did that was political she kept very subtle. I thought it was a fantastic performance! And I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect everybody to jump off the roof… but as far as your own style, how would you describe an Angel Elektra performance?
Hmm… I like to always think outside the box, I’m always willing to accept challenges and to bring my vision to life.
Angel Elektra is known for always grabbing someone’s drink during her number! you will never see her do splits, cartwheels nor death drops. She is too lazy for all that! However, she will give you body, soul and illusions. Pretty much like they say: I’m a pointed queen! But I still give a fierce performance!
The last time I saw you was in the final round of Miss Boots & Saddle last month… you had great looks and did a fierce Lion King number in full kitty regalia for the talent. As a finalist, you also won a few paid gigs there in the future. How did you enjoy that experience… and what’s your pageant history?
My first pageant was Miss Cherry’s on Fire Island, in which Pattaya Hart won: well-deserved! My second pageant was Miss West End, in which I was third runner up; that was fierce! I did a mermaid number, and was very thrilled with the outcome!
And my last one was Miss Boots & Saddle, which was one of the best highlights of my drag career, and life. I felt like my vision was expressed and enjoyed by everyone! I want to thank [Boots owner] Robert, [Boots staffer] Frostie, Xandra Dee, Michelle Brown, Zarria, the entire family at Boots & Saddle. And last but not least, my husband for always believing in me and being my Bonnie, and me his Clyde. Although I did not win the crown at any of these pageants, I still felt like a winner! So stay tuned for those three shows I was given at Miss Boots & Saddle!
I also want to look into competing more in pageantry. I find it to be more enjoyable and challenging for me.
Tell me about yourself! Where are you from, what was life like growing up for you, and how did you meet the man who would become Shay D’Pines?
I’m originally A Bronx boy–I mean, girl! And I’m an 80’s child. At one point in my life, I was actually raised in the religion, as they say–until the age of 14, I said “Hell with this shit, I need to find myself and not find religion!” So I worked, I hung out on Christoper Street voguing with the children, dropping in at Hetrick Martin for after school kiki.
1999 was my last year in high school. I came across this gothic guy at Twin Donuts at Moshulo Parkway in The Bronx. We both attended Dewitt Clinton High School. I was having a conversation with one of my girlfriends, and I said out loud, “I’m strictly dickly.” The guy instantly replied and said “Me too!“ From that moment on, I started to stalk him, until we became boyfriends on June 2, 1999. From that day on, our love has grown and will continue to grow! We got married on June 2, 2013–together 18 years. We have done it all together!
So if anyone say’s “I” in a relationship, do not expect for it to last forever! Together, we have become one, and together we will forever last! Alex Vazquez, aka Shay D’Pines.
Did you two start performing in drag around the same time?
We both did the Fire Island Invasion, where my husband’s adopted mom had a timeshare, and they always had us over during the summers. We went to one Invasion, and were amazed on how many queens with different aspects of drag were involved, and what the meaning of it was! We both said, “we can do this!”
So we did it one year alone, and one year with Lavinia Draper, which was such a highlight of that year! I then went on and competed at New York’s Next Top Drag Queen at the Metropolitan Room. My husband took a break after that Invasion, but shortly after that became Shay D’Pines!
It’s sorta fun to watch us get ready together, because we are bitches to each other. If she says she wants to do a number or use a color I like, I cockblock her and make her go through changes, as funny as it sounds! It’s simply amazing that we both love and enjoy what we do.
And you two also have day jobs?
I’m a campus dining manager at a college, and she is a full-time deli queen at Marymount. I manage about 30 employees, in two different cafeterias. I pretty much do it all: I cook, I read the children to filth for eating so much, and I read my bosses to filth for not accommodating my drag schedule! And I’ve been with this company since 2010. Honey, full benefits and paid vacations, who can leave that behind [laughs]!
So Lavinia was your drag mom for awhile, right? You used to be known as Angel Draper.
Haha! Yeah… she was my drag mom. Now that we’re on that topic! I’d like to express that, regardless of what was said, I’ve always been taught to move on and let things go! The real Tea was: the day of her birthday, I was asked by [Cherry’s queen] Vita Summers to do one number at Cherry’s. I said sure, of course… I mean, I was thirsty for the exposure, and I was still going to attend Lavinia’s show at the Ice Palace.
I got to the Ice Palace a little late, and Lavinia Draper read me and Vita to filth on stage. I was offended and hurt by the reaction, regardless if it was a joke or not. A little fairy by the name Sonny Shores decided to put his two cents in and made shit worse then it was! We moved on, and finally last month–January 6th–we had a reunion with Lavinia Draper. I reached out to her because I felt it was the right thing to do. So yeah, we big girls and real queens can actually move on and forgive each other! She’ll be having another show at Stonewall soon! i’d love to see some of you there.
Yay, I’m glad things have been fixed!
So you and Shay do a lot of the weekly and monthly drag competitions in the city, both together and separately. Do you have a favorite one of those to do?
My favorite one is Beat Your Face Hosted By Holly Dae. It’s always scored fairly, and she is beyond welcoming! It’s kind of shady, but I’ll say most of these other competitions are rigged – Bloop! I don’t care what any one says! However! I use these competitions as a stepping stone to better myself for bigger and better opportunities. Like I said before, I am always up for a challenge, and having the opportunity to perform on any stage with hundreds of queens. Always means I’m a winner! Me and Shay always come to slay, but Judges will always be Judges!
Speaking of slaying, let’s talk about what y’all are doing to Yonkers! The gay nightlife scene in Westchester has all but disappeared lately. Yet now, you and Shay are gonna be performing a twice-a-week and a monthly there! First of all, how do you know the Yonkers scene, and what made you connect to these specific (non-gay) venues?
Yasss!! Drag in Westchester. The B Lounge bar in Valhalla closed, and there was a spot named Ignite in White Plains that also closed. Westchester has tons of gays, and nowhere for them to come hang out, meet, drink, socialize and enjoy some drag.
Shay D’Pines always wanted to reach out to this little bar across the street from where we live named Danny Boy’s Tavern, so she took a chance and got a reply for us to meet the owner! Mind you, this is an Irish bar. We met, we spoke and shared our ideas. Instantly, the owner agreed to have a gay night once a month at this location!
I was then contacted by Aidan Loughran on Instagram about having two nights at Ireland’s 32, another Irish bar in the area! Of course we took the opportunity, and Gay Night will be every Thursday and Sunday at Ireland’s 32. We are so excited to bring this kind of event to Yonkers, so that all of our LGBTQ people have a place to come and enjoy!
Congratulations and good luck! Okay, last question: what is your least favorite and most favorite things about drag?
My favorite thing about drag is, not only am I able to express femininity, but I’m also able to express fashion, art and talent. There is nothing I dislike about drag. Life is a drag. Just like RuPaul says, we are all born naked, the rest is all drag.
Amen! Thanks, Angel!
Angel Elektra and her co-star Shay D’Pines host a twice-a-week show at Ireland’s 32 in Yonkers on Thursdays and Sundays (9pm) in Yonkers, and a monthly show at Danny Boy’s on third Saturdays (9pm) beginning February 18th, also in Yonkers. Follow Angel on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.