This Upstate Girl will be rocking the Downtown World this weekend with her Stonewall Invasion… and big things are definitely on the horizon for Gigi Cutina!
Thotyssey: Gigi, hello! Thanks for chatting, and Happy Birthday! How did you celebrate?
Gigi Cutina: Hey Jim, thank you! I celebrated by finishing up my outfits for my Invasion on Sunday [laughs]! I was gluing all day! I also celebrated at the Ritz, at TURNt.
That’s a productive birthday! Let’s just get right into TURNt, since you mentioned it: are you officially a cast member of that show? There’s always so much going on there each week, it’s hard to keep track.
[Laughs] I like to say the I’m the unofficial-official cast member of the show. I love [showrunner] Maddelynn Hatter, and I ask her if I can perform every so often… and she usually lets me. But she’s never asked me to be part of the cast [laughs]! It’s okay, as long as I get to perform.
So how long have you been doing drag now?
I have been a drag queen for six years, but performing for
five. OMG, I started when I was 19! I was in my bed just practicing makeup. And my first time out in drag was for Pride, when I was 20. My first performance was March 17, when I was 20 also.
Where was that?
My regular show in Westchester, NY. It was every Thursday, and that ran for three years. But then the bar closed, and they opened up a restaurant. I did brunch there for about a year, and then the business closed because we only have a handful of gays in Westchester. After that, I still wanted to continue drag, so I started traveling to Manhattan. And yeah, I’ve been working here since!
So you’re still a Westchester gal, home-wise?
Yes, it’s where I got my start and reside. But I haven’t worked in Westchester in about a year, I’ve been in Manhattan grabbing every gig that I can, and entering any competition that I can.
And you’ve certainly been slaying these competitions! Are you “in it to win it” when you enter these, or is it mostly about networking and experience for you?
Well, of course I go in with 110%. But I don’t always win, which is fine. It’s good to get your name out there, and people start to recognize you and book you for their shows, which is nice. In all honesty, I hate doing competitions. But I guess they mold you to do better!
What’s the origin of your drag name?
Well, my original drag name was Georgina Cutina, cuz my boy name is Jorge, and it was just merged with vagina. But people were like, huh?, and couldn’t pronounce it. So I shortened it to Gigi Cutina. Cutina is “Cunt” and “Vagina” in one word.
Aw that’s cute! And what’s a Gigi stage performance like, generally?
It varies. Sometimes I’ll do a comedy mix, I’ll do a “dance number” (move around enough and people think your dancing!), I like to fill the song with all the emotion that I can, and really try to feel the energy of the music when I perform. And the audience cheering really adds to it, because you feed of their energy.
Who are queens that amaze you with their stage performances?
Aja. She feels every beat of the music, it’s fun to watch; Holly Box-Springs with all her outfit reveals; Lola Michele-Kiki, I love when she does her Hamilton number; Shequida, she’s a hoot and so funny; Maddelynn, love all her song choices; Brita Filter, I love her; Aquaria, I love a queen that can split and twirl; Bootsie LeFaris, such a funny queen and a good dancer. And my own drag daughter, Tess Tickles, has come a long way–her mixes are everything. The list goes on and on!
Oh, I didn’t know Tess was your daughter. When did that happen?
It happened a long time ago! She used to come to my shows in Westchester; we’ve been friends since I started drag. One day she’s like, “I want to be a queen,” and I put her in face, and gave her a spot to perform at my shows. I try to push her to do evey gig she can, and now she’s doing her thing. It’s awesome!
Yonkers in Westchester is making a queer comeback lately. Angel Elektra and Shay D’Pines co-host two shows there, and it looks like the Ramada Inn there has a weekly drag show. Any interest in being a part of that scene, or have you become too much of a Big City Gurl?
[Laughs] I haven’t been asked for Angel’s and Shady’s shows, but I went there for [one of the] openings and it was great! And I was there for the opening of the Ramada also. I hosted it alongside my drag sister RoRo–but I can’t commit to it because it’s on a Saturday night, and I work at a restaurant where I get out late on weekends. I’ll probably pop back in when I get a chance, they’ve been doing great.
And so have you! One of the competitions you won (tied with Godiva Romance) at Stonewall back in November has gotten you your very own Invasion for this Sunday! How excited are you for that?
Yes! I’m so excited! Me and my drag sisters from Westchester have been trying to get an Invasion for the longest time, and when I saw [the promotion for the competition] I’m like, “oh, imma enter it.” And now I have it, and I can’t be happier. It came so fast, and making everything ready for it has been fun. I can’t be any happier!
Do you have a number you’re really looking forward to doing?
All of them! I’m trying to do all new songs, keep it new. And I’m excited for all my guests, too! I have a bunch of talented girls in the lineup!
Should be a great night! And later that week, you’ll be guesting for Ari Kiki’s Tuesday show at Boots & Saddle! Have you done her show before?
I have never done one of her shows, I’m so excited! I always wanted to be part of her show; we had her at our show way back when, and I was amazed! I love her, such a good queen!
And this just in: You’ll be competing in the premiere of the latest version of Vodka Soda/Bottom’s Up’s weekly drag competition hosted by Ritzy Bitz later that night!
[Laughs] yes, I just got put in it!
I’ll be hosting at the EDEN party on March 24 at the Hudson Terrace.
Oh nice! Those children know how to throw a party. And Season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race will premiere earlier that night! Who are you the most excited to see on the show?
Well, I have come very friendly with Aja in the past year so obviously her. And of course, all the NYC girls! But also Kimora–I have followed her career for the last two years. And Valentina, whom I just got introduced to. She seems fun, and I feel like I connect with her because we are both Mexican!
Viva la Mexico! Anything else to discuss, gigs or projects?
The gigs just happen randomly. I’m at Drag Wars every Monday at Pieces [laughs]! A queen said it was my residency, which is funny. And I’m guesting at the Ritz basically every Wednesday, until I’m part of the cast.
As for projects, I have just been putting out images of me on my Instagram and Facebook that I shoot and edit myself. And I recently got a package in the mail from a makeup company that want me to do reviews on their products–so that’s also on its way. But we will see what else the future holds!
The future is wide open, congrats! Okay, so I’m closing: what’s the worst part about drag for you, and what’s the best?
The worst part of drag is being in it: it’s so uncomfortable [laughs]! The padding, corsets, duct tape on your head so the wig doesn’t fly off, nails, heels.
But the best is when I perform and see people’s reactions. And meeting people–I have gotten to meet a lot of cool people because of drag. I have done makeup for a BET documentary, I’ve been an extra in a movie, I have gone to fashion shows. And drink tickets [laughs]! It’s like being a mini-celebrity. It’s cool!
It sure is… thanks Gigi!
Gigi Cutina will host the Stonewall Invasion on Sunday, March 19th (11pm). Check here for other scheduled gigs. Gigi can be followed on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.