One of Brooklyn’s fiercest–excuse me, I meant THE fiercest dancing queen in all of Brooklyn–is here to SLAY. Gigs are coming left and right to her, so lets have a sit-down and bask in it all as Miz Jade Gives Shade!
Thotyssey: Helloooo! How was your weekend?
Miz Jade: Hey Hey! OMG, my weekend was BUSY busy busy! But it was okay, I survived!
Did you do any St. Paddy crap?
Ew, no! I worked and had multiple rehearsals. St. Paddy’s can and should be an incredible acknowledgement and celebration. But somehow, people use it as an excuse to be as messy as possible… and it’s okay. The media acts as though it’s just a good ole’ time. But to me I’m just repulsed [laughs]!
I hear that! What are you rehearsing for, may I ask?
YES! There is a very famous dance school called Broadway Dance Center. They have an annual choreography showcase. One teacher asked me to be in her piece, which was basically a given. It’s a commercial Jazz piece; the teacher, Heather Rigg, calls it SLAZZ.
I also asked one of the Street Style teachers, Chio Yamada, if I can be in her piece. She said YES–she wanted to ask, but assumed I was too busy… because… I kinda am! [laughs]I also had rehearsal with Alotta McGriddles. We have a new Brooklyn party starting next Friday called “Girl, I’m Shook!“
Yazzz queen! I’m gonna ask you more about “Shook” in a bit! I know you’re one of Brooklyn’s great dance queens–
One of Brooklyn’s great dancing queens? I think I am Brooklyn’s BEST dancing queen [laughs]!
Whoops, that’s what I meant! How long have you been dancing?
I’ve danced for most of my life. Started learning choreography to music videos with my cousins when I was younger, then I started doing musical theater. I didn’t start my classical training ‘til I was in my late teens.
According to my grandmother and mom, when I was younger I couldn’t dance!!! I had no rhythm… I refuse to believe those cunts.
Ha! Who was your favorite dancing diva?
Hands down, Janet Jackson! If I ever worked with her, back up danced with her… I would shit my pants and die a VERY happy person!
She’s still the best, at 50!
Like, she isn’t gong anywhere! She could stop if she wanted. She has the rich husband and now a baby, but she is still going to slay and grace us with the gift of Janet.
Where’s your hometown?
My hometown is Yonkers, NY. It’s a huge city in Westchester County, right above the Bronx. It’s super diverse, which I love.
Drag and queer nightlife are starting to make a comeback in Yonkers! Any interest in getting into that scene?
Are they really!? This is news to me! I’m always down to perform anywhere and everywhere. I love performing in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Not sure what the [Yonkers] scene is like. Even when I was younger and lived in Yonkers. or while I was in college. I always went to Manhattan or Brooklyn to party or to drag.
Yes, I went to SUNY Purchase! Purchase is like the prerequisite for drag… and the transitional housing into Brooklyn [laughs]!
That does seem to be the path! So college is where you became Miz Jade?
I actually first did drag when I was 16 years-old. I was going to an LGBTQ youth center in White Plains called Center Lane. The youth counselor organized a Coffee House, which was basically a variety show. He got a bunch of the boys together and made us perform “Lady Marmalade!” He gave me the name Jade, because “Jade gives shade.” He would say this and flicker the lights on and off. I was young and had no idea what he was talking about, I didn’t think I was shady at all… [laughs]
Unlike a plant, you’ve grown in the shade.
Exactly. My family is FULL of it so, naturally!
When did you come to NYC?
I actually have been coming down to perform in New York and Brooklyn for about 8 years, but I didn’t move down here til the summer of 2012.
How did you get caught up with the Brooklyn side of things? You don’t strike me as the “jump out of a garbage bag and light yourself on fire” kinda queen! I’d think you’d be more drawn to the Broadway-influenced Manhattan shows.
LMFAO OMG LOL. Well that’s a very interesting and kinda long story.
I’m really good friends with Thorgy Thor. She was performing a lot in Brooklyn and in Manhattan, so she would invite me to guest, do dance duets with her or play a villain in one of her numbers. The first bar I performed at was Bar 4 in Park Slope, a party named Queerespondence. Then Sugarland. I eventually was guesting or filling in for Saliva Tuesday at The Ritz, which was hosted by Thorgy, Azraea, and Veruca.
From there, many queens would have me as a guest performer. “Manhattan Queens” like Bob The Drag Queen, Pattaya Hart and Ari Kiki. I was even performing with a 90’s inspired dance/fitness Fly Girl group called Haus of Sweat. It was three biological woman and me in drag.
At a certain point, I was performing exclusively in Manhattan. Not by choice. I think the scene in Brooklyn was changing and figuring itself out, and the cliques were obvious, bloop. I basically lived in Hell’s Kitchen. I was always at the Ritz!
My first few months in NYC, and I was asked to join the competition “So You Think You Can Drag” hosted by Paige Turner. I was already kinda known in the scene, but I did the competition to get even more exposure, network and of course have a fucking blast performing and meeting the queens.
What’s funny is, I would be in Manhattan and people would tell me that I’m good for a “Brooklyn Queen.” But I would also have people in Brooklyn tell me, “You’re such a Manhattan queen.” This really bothered me, so I started telling people I’m not a Brooklyn queen OR a Manhattan queen, I’m EVERYONE’S QUEEN!
I also think we as a community have stigmatized what BK drag is, and how it differs from Manhattan drag. There is beauty, power, and inspiration in both. There is honestly so many ways to be, there are so many ways to do drag!
Honestly, it wasn’t til about a year or so ago that I really started getting more booked in Brooklyn. I’m different than many BK queens, but that’s also what makes me special, bookable, and an exciting performer. I’m also not a two-dimensional queen. Yes, I’m a dancer, but many of my numbers are thought provoking, political, comical and gross.
What’s been one of your favorite numbers or mixes or bits to perform?
I have a Janet mix I love. It starts with a remix of “Someone to Call My Lover” into “Scream” and finishing up with “All 4 U”. BUT I also love performing a song called “The Loophole” by Garfunkel & Oats! They are a comedic folk duo, and the song is about refraining from vaginal sex for religious reasons but engaging in anal sex to please your partner, and because God is okay with it. BTW… this is MANY people’s beliefs [laughs]!
They sure do! Maybe they have a point! So throw some #vagueshade for a minute: what is something that other drag queens do that you can’t stand?
Wow, that’s actually kinda tough: maybe cuz I have a few. I can’t stand the fake, overly chipper and happy shit. Do you know what I mean? [Laughs] maybe cuz overly happy people scare me! I also don’t like when queens are just mean to be mean. Like, okay sis, be shady, be a bitch… but have that be a part of your character, not the only thing you do.
I also hate when queens don’t tip bartenders [laughs]! Like, bitch, you get discounted drinks or free drinks, tip the staff! They are working hard too!
OMG yes, I was kinda shocked! I Love Ben too! He is such a cutie, so kind, sweet and always willing to help a girl out! Sometimes we talk shop on vegan foods.
You’re a vegan?
Yes I am!
Yay, good for you, I’m jealous!
Thank you boo!
So, did you like competing in the Mr(s) BK pageant finals recently?
YES, I did. I love performing, I don’t think I am really into competitions, but I thought, why not!? I had incredible numbers, an air of professionalism and confidence, but I also just had fun! If it’s not fun, I don’t want to do it.
That’s a good philosophy.
Right!? I feel that way about everything!
OMG yes! I perform at a monthly dance party called “Everything.” My DJs are the incredible Jack & Jill (crazy, right?) We have been doing this party for, OMG, it will be two years come May or June I think…. damn! It doesn’t feel that long.
I’ve listened to many of the RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap podcasts you’ve guested on with your lovely gals Grizzly Kiki this past season, and you seem like a great authority: very observant, and you hold those queens to a high standard!
You must’ve been pissed when Thorgy was sent home in Season 8.
The episode when Thorgy went home was a dark day at the Grizzly Kiki headquarters, but I remained positive. I knew that Thorgy being on the show was enough. Everyone who meets that clown basically falls in love with her. I love her, and I knew everyone who would see her would as we. Bitch is booked and she’s loving it!
That’s the best result! Let’s talk about Season 9: surely it’s not too early to make a thousand predictions, right? Who do you see slaying, and who has already gotten on your last nerve?
I’ve gotten to work or have seen all the NY queens. I’m really hoping Peppermint slays the haus down! Shea is also gorgeous, but I don’t know her–I have high hopes for her. Jaymes Mansfield is much [laughs]. That voice! That giggle! I just can’t. Remember, that happy chipper drag energy freaks me out! Is it shady to say I’m just a lil’ underwhelmed!? We shall see, maybe my edges will be snatched and I will be doing death drops while watching!
Please do! That brings us to the viewing party at Macri Park that’ll you be co-hosting every Friday night for this season’s run with two other very opinionated queens, Alotta and Heidi Glum! Do you think you will all be on the same side about everybody, or are you already drawing the lines?
it’s actually very possible we might be on the same side of things. Alotta has pretty strong opinions and is a total bitch–but that’s my girl [laughs]! During our All-Stars viewing party, we did not agree and much, but I have a feeling we may be on the same page this time around. We have yet to actually talk about the girls, isn’t that crazy!?
And next week, right after Episode 2, y’all are debuting a new monthly-ish party there (5th Fridays and/or Saturdays) featuring actual choreo by Miz Jade!
Yes, March 31st we will be debuting a new party. The dates are wonky because there is not always a 5th Friday!
Tell us more!
For now, it’s just me and Alotta; we have plans on bringing other queens into the mix too, for special group numbers. That will be fun.
I’ve been choreographing big drag numbers since my Purchase days. It was so competitive in the dance conservatory. Sometimes I didn’t have many projects, so I put my creative energy into choreographing creative big dance numbers for myself and my backup dancers. There is an annual drag competition there called Fall Ball, which is basically the second largest event on campus. We love our kings and queens.
For this event, we are showcasing different styles as well. We have a Broadway jazz solo, live singing accompanied by a contemporary solo, and much more. It’s going to be very interesting and I’m hoping well received by the community. Either way, it’s going to be such a fucking blast!
This will be the last Bordello at Bizzare, but Bordello will be actually moving to a new location: so keep your eyes, ears, and legs open!
What will you do there… and please don’t say it involves matches!
[Laughs] no matches for me this time around! I was planning on doing a big burlesque performance. I love burlesque, and was hoping to add something a lil’ vintage and classic to my rep. But I decided to actually serve a more sexy hip hop number. Very 90’s female R&B singer, with swag and hot moves. [Laughs] it may sound very generic to some, but I’ve been to and have performed at Bordello, and no one actually does these kinds of numbers–so I thought, why not!? It will be different than the other performers.
And this just in: after the Drag Race premiere on Friday, you have another gig?
Yes! It will be fun to do that again! I did Be Cute for Halloween 2015. The stage is every performers dream, plus the crowd is super cute.
Whoah, anything else?
Yes actually! I have another monthly party coming up at Macri! It’s the 4th Saturday of every month and is called Thotz & Prayerz! A super fun drag show hosted by me, with performances by me and DJ/VJ Jonathan Love. Expect fun and ridiculous numbers, silly games/competitions, and hot beats and music videos. The bartenders are also always taking care of the patrons and there is a late night happy hour! Perfect party for a Saturday night!
Got it! I can get behind (ahem) any party for Thotz! Okay, final question… let’s say Ru casts you on Season 10. What’s your catchphrase and/or signature move?
Tough question. If you ask people, they will probably say my signature move is “cartwheel-into a one hand cartwheel-into a split!” My catchphrase has been, and always will be, my high-pitched loud version of ‘Yaaaaaazzz’. But it’s different: It’s more like YEEEAAAAAAauuuuuuuuuzzzzay!
If it wasn’t that, it would probably be “Abort” or “abortion” [laughs]. That can be a lil’ triggering, but: if it’s not for me and I’m not into, it’s gotta go.
If anyone is gonna scream “abortion” on RuPaul’s Drag Race it’s gotta be you! Thank you Miz Jade!
Miz Jade hosts the monthly “Everything” at Metropolitan Bar (first Fridays, 10pm). At Macri Park, she hosts “Thotz & Prayerz” (fourth Saturdays, 10pm), and “Girl, I’m Shook” with Alotta McGriddles (5th Fridays and/or Saturdays, 10pm), plus a weekly viewing party of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 9 with Alotta & Heidi Glum (Fridays, 8pm this season). Check here for other scheduled appearances. Miz Jade can be followed on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.