Here’s a queen who works hard and plays hard, and has been a staple of the Boots & Saddle drag lineup for a blessed while now. Reflecting on this summer’s Pride, “Drag Race” and her entire career… it’s true West Village Royalty, Princess Bitch!
Princess Bitch: Battery Harris was great! It’s a bar and restaurant, so there were people of all shapes and sizes. We even had a child in the audience whose family stayed to watch our show. The entire staff treated us like royalty; I couldn’t have asked for a better Pride Sunday!
I noticed the place had you billed as “Queen Bitch” on the flyer for the Pride show. Have you gotten a promotion?
Ahahah! I’m still really not sure how that even happened. Maybe they thought they were giving me one. Either way, it was a funny mishap.
It does have a nice ring to it!
Okay, let’s get to the beginning of the Bitch! You’re a native Long Islander, right?
Correct! I grew up in Long Beach, Nassau County.
What was that like for you? LI can be rough for someone who doesn’t fit a Very Specific Mold.
Well, I have a very unique experience in life. To be a brown child with a single white biological mother is already confusing for people. Adding to that a gender non-conforming, flamboyant homosexual was a whole other project.
I feel that I was lucky to grow up in Long Beach specifically; it’s the only city in southern Nassau County. So we had our own police force, high school and etc. Everything was very handled within the community.
So to cut to the chase, the kids I grew up with were too privilegedly pussy to really do too much bullying, and the ones who were assholes were either my friends or potheads. This, of course, is before I smoked weed myself.
I can’t imagine there was every a time before that! But it certainly sounds like you had a unique experience.
Were you always a dancer or performer of some sort?
I was always a dancer, and was always the only boy I class. Then I came out at around 15 or 16, and I joined the school musicals. The choreographer would always call me “princess” because I always needed to be perfect. So, Princess is all thanks to–or blamed on–that man.
When did you discover drag?
That same year of life, I started going to–and eventually working for–Pride for Youth in Bellmore, Long Island, where I really learned more about being a gay person in the world and all the beautiful things it could mean and be.
I performed that same year in PFY’s drag pageant, and won first place with a friend of mine. Our talent was the choreography to “When I Grow Up,” which I still remember today.
PFY is such a great organization!
It really is!
So, fast forward with me a few years. I had been working for just under a year at all the “shitty Long Island bars,” for lack of a better way of putting it–and I only say that because at that time, people had just stopped going out and the party promoters were going through hell trying to find us any place to go.
But anyway, at one of the better nights on a Saturday I think, a friend of mine (who really would rather me refer to him as Satan) was there. He came up to me and said–in his own adorable and crude way of speaking–“you’re so much better then all these hoes. I am going to introduce you to my friends who moved to the city; do you want to do shows in Manhattan!?” I said “sure,” and that very same week was booked to do Thursday with Misty and Mocha at Vlada. Another RIP, Vlada Lounge!
So I drove myself for the very first time to Bushwick, and got ready at their apartment with them; then for the first time, I drove in drag to Manhattan.
A long-standing tradition!
It’s impossible not to observe that you and Mocha look so damn alike sometimes, especially when you’re on stage together. Did you notice that yourself in the beginning, or did people have to bring it to your attention?
People have always told us that! We both see it, and think it’s hilarious that people don’t get it. We’ve been at two different places, and someone will walk up to either of us and ask.. “how did you get here and change your clothes so fast?!” And.. I’ve given up the fight of “you’re Mocha Lite!” “No, I’m Princess Bitch, my sister is Mocha.” “NO, YOU ARE MOCHA LITE, WHY ARE YOU BEING A CUNT!?” So now, when people confuse me with Mocha, I put in my best raspy voice, laugh, and say an automated message like “hahaha, oh yeah hi, oh I’ll be right back.” Then wait for someone else to explain who I am, or for them to come after the show and say “OMG, I totally thought you were Mocha till just now!”
But in reality, I’m just another brown girl who isn’t ugly with braids, or whatever hair, big lips, who’s dancing. And that’s all people see. I could be Mocha or MoMo Shade–I’ve gotten all the names switched on me.
I do remember when you and Mocha were background dancers in matching outfits for Lilith when she tried out for Miss Boots & Saddle that first time… it was like an amazing special effect!
Haha, you have no idea how many ideas I myself, or one of our friends, have had to use it as a gimmick. But then, we all remember we’re too poor for most of the ideas .
You were a frequent guest performer for Misty and Mocha’s Friday show at the old Boots & Saddle on Christopher Street, and eventually you got your own weekly show there. I still think that was one of the best, and craziest, venues for drag in the city ever.
I was their first guest on the first show they had on Fridays, and was basically there for the whole first year of that show “Meaner, Meaner, Meaner.” Fridays was magical. The old venue was, in my own words, the revolving door of drag. You always walked in, and immediately were in a drag show at any point in the week. It was pretty epic!
How do you think you evolved as a performer in that unusual environment?
I’ve definitely learned that you have to be ready for anything. Appeasing a crowded room of drunks is always a test of your own strength.
You also had a show at Pride Lounge in Forest Hills.
You were the one who told me about [that place]!
Yeah, sorry about that!
Eh, I did get to see some pretty great dicks there.
That’s all that matters!
And I met Lilith at Pride Lounge, and she stole what little of my heart I had left. And I haven’t let her leave me since.
Aja and Momo Shade had a show. Lilith and I had a show. And LeeLee did karaoke I believe, as well as a show.
You had an original co-star for your Boots and Pride Lounge shows, Zultana, who I think has since relocated.
Zultana was the friend I won my first pageant at pride for youth with, so we just go back.
Then Lilith became your right hand gal. Do you just prefer performing as part of a pair?
I prefer to perform in any capacity. I think having a partner that you can have fun with and trust is a very important part of drag. Someone to slap you out of your own mess of a life, when you need it.
You two have performed all over the city together, and as you mentioned earlier, you had shows at the late Sugarland & TnT. Do you have any interest in trying to get another show down in Brooklyn somewhere?
I would love to work more in Brooklyn, it’s just difficult with so many of us queens, and so little places to perform. I have done guest slots at Macri Park here and there. I would love to work at Battery Harris again, as well. Sunday really was magical, and all the food looked so great. But I was half-naked. so I couldn’t eat!
Lilith won Miss Boots & Saddle this year, and you competed in Miss Barracuda a while back. Any more pageantry in your future?
I’m really not a pageant person: bar pageants or organization pageants. I don’t believe one person’s art should be pitted against another’s. It’s not like a sport, where you can score or put a number on it. I kinda think it’s demeaning.
Some people love it. Some people grow up in pageants. And like Sarah Silverman says, if I grew up with those values and things I’d be that way too. We’re all the same. So personally, no pageants in my foreseeable future.
The present incarnation of your show at the current Boots & Saddle is #Blackfridays, a whopping four hour dragfest, 7-11pm! How do you two get through that every week without dying?
Who says we don’t die, lol? #Blackfridays is probably the most fun I have all week. There’s nothing like being at the bar you love the most, and being given such a long and great time slot is a dream come true. I love to perform.
And our DJ Kiki Darling is honestly one of the best people and DJs I’ve meet since moving to the city. Lilith and I are both lucky to have him with us. The bar staff are really the unsung heroes, though. They put up with so much, and that’s just all my bullshit–let alone all the other queens and patrons.
You two were hosting the RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing party as part of your show this season. So many great gag moments…. Valentina’s mask, Charlie Hides’ pointing, Aja and Alexis’ carrying, THAT REUNION, and of course all the great moments from the finale and Sasha’s win… what was your favorite viewing experience from the season?
Oy. I barely remember the season. I would have to say my favorite moments were when, like many people who watch TV, I was able to call all the tricks RuPaul was trying to pull. From the first episode to the Top 4, I wad able to call what shenanigans Ru was plotting. Like, I knew she wasn’t going to eliminate any of the Top 4 girls.
Are you happy with Sasha’s win? And do you wish Aja went further?
I’m not surprised by the win, Sasha is epic. I think Aja could have gone further, but she’s happy, so I’m happy.
Heard! Okay, what else is coming up for you?
Well, #BlackFridays is back to our scheduled time, so shows start around 7:30 and go till 11pm! I would love to see some new and familiar faces.
My birthday is in August, so that’s fun.
I’m thinking of going to another water park this year.
Also I wanted to ask: do you have a favorite Princess moment, or song, you like to see me perform?
Me, personally? I love it when you do “Funkytown,” I think of that as your signature song!
OMG, throwback! And speaking of “Funkytown,” that was my Miss Barracuda music video I made for one of the challenges.
How annoying is it that Facebook is still making you use your boy name, which by the World’s Biggest Nightlife Coincidence happens to be the name of one of the city’s most popular nightlife photographers?
It’s very annoying! I can’t tell you the amount of people who still message me as if I’m a 6 foot 3 white guy. It’s almost as silly as being confused for Mocha.
But way less reasonable!
Okay, last question: what’s the best piece of advice you can give to a baby drag queen in NYC who wants to Make It Big?
Glue down those nipples, girls. Lol, it’s an inside joke. But honestly, making it big shouldn’t always be the goal. The goal should be being happy, and making yourself happy to make others happy.
Preach! Stay beautiful, Princess!