Cheer New York’s adorable Zaccary is better known in some circles as Inita D, a competition and stage slaying young queen who’s already a force to be reckoned with. Let’s get down with the D!
Thotyssey: Hey there Inita! I just watched Sherry Vine’s “These Queens,” where you appeared as a messy cooter-slamming queen stealing all the gigs! Was that fun to do?
Inita D.: That was soooo much fun to do! I tried a different look on my face… my day with a beard was fun to try, and the best part was working with all those talented and hilarious queens! I loved how everyone was there to have fun and no one had any ego or attitude.
It was fun to watch! You are certainly a hard worker and are earning your gigs with your talent, but do you see the possible “message” behind the parody that there are so many basic young queens out there gobbling gigs cuz they work for free or fit into a formula?
Honestly, that’s not the message I got from the parody at all! It reminded me of that classic scenario of when you’re younger, and your elders are telling you how to do things or how they were done “back in their day,” but with a comical twist to it.
But also, as a performer not only doing drag but dancing, I know what it’s like to be new to any scene. And sometimes you grab opportunities for free to get exposure in hopes of picking up more gigs. So I don’t judge those new girl, as I’m still new myself and I can understand how challenging it can be to get a steady gig in NYC.
The last time I saw you perform, it was complete and utter slayage as you won the Hornet-sponsored Jock’s Got Talent competition on the night of the Drag Race premiere at the Hudson Terrace! You were accompanied by your troupe Cheer New York, and it was incredible and entertaining. Was that one of your regular Cheer routines, or did you create it specifically for the competition?
OMG, that was such an amazing performance, and my teammates really helped nail it and complete the slayage. I swear it was complete coincidence, because I had already done that mix before for the Miss Lady Liberty semi-finals drag competition last season. So when Vincent Cooper and Hornet approached me about competing in this fundraiser competition and representing Cheer New York, I said to myself “oh my God, I have the perfect mix and routine for this.”
But of course, I took my previous performance and revamped it to include more cheer stunts and represent the team even further in our theme.
It was dynamic and a well-deserved win! Okay, we’ll get back to Cheer and drag in a bit, but let’s get some background first. Where’s your hometown?
I was born in white plains New York, but raised in Yonkers, so I’m a Westchester girl!!
Were you into performing at a young age?
Yeah, in middle school I was involved in choir and drama, and did a few plays in my school, which was my escape from the reality of being a closeted homosexual who was bullied all the time.
Sorry to hear that, gurl. When do you think you broke away from that and became Fabulous?
High school definitely was the changing part for me. It was like a whole new fresh start. I told myself I’m going to be me and not lie to myself anymore, and not be afraid to take risks… and it paid off. I came out after my freshman year, I joined the Marine Corp Junior ROTC drill team there (one of the first openly gay students to do that), joined the swimming team, cheerleading team and helped start our first LGBT Club there as well.
That’s a lot! No wonder you had the discipline to be Cheer and in drag. So, when did you actually decide to join Cheer, and what was that process like?
I joined Cheer in January of 2015, and it was a fun and cool process. So we went to an orientation/clinic where we learned about the organization and the requirements, and then we learned a cheer and some stunts, and then the next week we tried out and showcased the stuff we learned, and got to showcase any talents we have.
With all the high flying, leaping, climbing and diving that y’all do in your routines, do you ever worry about serious injury?
Of course, we always do! It comes with the sport! However, with any sport you do the most you can to be the safest in whatever stunt your doing, even if it’s dangerous.
And what’s the most amazing move you pulled off during a Cheer routine?
I think every time I’ve been in a pyramid, it has been amazing to me because people don’t understand the coordination and concentration that needs to happen with even the most simplest of skills in that pyramid.
You used to be known as Pink Blahnik, right?
Yeah, that was my performance name within the ballroom scene, when I used to compete in voguing!
What was that world like?
It was great experience– expensive, because I had to buy or create outfits that fit the theme of the competitions, which are called balls! But I got to vogue and dance and compete, which is always fun. I love competing!
When did Zaccary/Pink become Inita D?
On September 2016, at a drag competition at Rise Bar.
Did you always plan to incorporate your cheerleading into your drag (or vice versa), or did that just kind of happen by itself?
I’ve always wanted to incorporate all of Zaccary into my drag. I want my drag to be a fiercer representation of me who is a dancer, a cheerleader, a stepper, and just a clown and free spirit.
You’ve been doing a lot of these pop-up performances in Rise lately. What’s that all about?
Right now, I have a weekly gig at Rise Bar which I’m super happy and thankful for; it’s a great place to work! Ted, the manager there who booked me, has been so supportive, and I appreciate it so much!
When exactly can we see you there?
It’s every Friday. I usually perform around 12:3,0 and it’s not like my own show. I just perform every Friday there to give the night a little fun variety!
What does performing in drag give you?
It gives me another form of expression. A chance to show off my creativity, and for that short moment be the shining star that everyone is watching!
Hibiscus is another Cheer New Yorker who’s become a successful drag queen. Is she a good person to come to for Cheer/drag advice?
Absolutely! Hibiscus actually is my drag sister, as we both have the same drag mom, Andora Tetee. And honestly, Hibiscus is the one that pushed me to do drag and showed me the ropes!
Talk about Cheer for a bit! Besides wowing us with your high energy acts, you are all also major fundraisers for great causes in the community. What have been some of your favorite activities that Cheer have been involved in?
Wow, there’s so many events we have done that I love! I really love participating in the AIDS Walk because we cheer on all those walking at this event which is a major topic and issue within the LGBTQ community. And Pride is always my favorite because we get to perform and see people from all works of life come together for equal love and pride in each other!
Well, both Inita and Cheer are gonna be at Rise in a big way this Wednesday. Tell us about the cause your raising funds for, first of all.
I am so excited for this event! So, Cheer New York is doing our first–and hopefully not last–talent showcase fundraiser, where all the money we raise goes towards our Cheer for Life recipients this year; Immigration Equality, a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to LGBTQ Immigrants looking for asylum in this country! They win about 99% of their cases, and basically save LGBTQ immigrants from going back to their home country where homosexuality is illegal and or punishable by death.
Sounds like an incredibly important advocate. What’s the showcase itself gonna be like?
The show will have members from the team performing a variety of talents like comedy, dancing, cultural dances and a few drag performances in there. I myself will be stepping with two friends of mine, and I can’t wait.
Okay, any closing comments?
Yeah! I just wanted to let everyone know that Immigration Equality is an amazing organization, and I urge anyone who wants to help out our community–especially during this political time–to come out tomorrow to Rise Bar for our Cheer New York Talent Showcase, and buy a raffle or donate or support. Because it’s for an amazing cause.
Got it! Okay, last question: What song is the soundtrack to your life?
Although I love dancing and performing to diva-choreographed fierce songs like Beyoncé of course… honestly “Never Give Up” by Sia is the soundtrack for my life. Especially living in the city, it’s always a hustle… and the city can knock you down. But you just gotta keep pushing through, and never give up!
And you’re definitely flying high on that positivity, Inita! Thank you!
Inita D performs Friday nights at Rise Bar (12:30am), and will perform there for the Cheer New York talent showcase fundrasier on Wednesday, April 26th (7pm). Follow Inita on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, and see what else is coming up from Cheer New York on their website.