This ferociously fun and unpredictable queen made her name in the bars of NYC, but these days you are more likely to find her adulting at home with her partner in Ohio. A few times a month, though, the queen must conquer again, and this month is no exception! Thotyssey catches up with CoCo De’Ball as she prepares to drop once more into town for a few crazy weekends.
Thotyssey: CoCo, hello! Long time no see! I was just looking at the merch you sell on your website again… that’s your boyfriend who designed those cupcake monster graphics, right? They’re amazing.
CoCo De’Ball: Howdy Jim! Long time no see indeed! And yes, all of my artistic graphics are usually designed by my partner. He is pretty freaking cool!
It’s hard to describe your aesthetic and stage presence to the uninitiated. You’re kinda punk, kinda glam, kinda Downtown, kinda Hell’s Kitchen. These days, where do you get inspiration for the looks you create?
Well I like to get crafty nowadays! I use to care about way too many things that don’t really matter, and let that stress me out to the point of no return. But since I’ve learned to let go of bullshit drag standards and just enjoy what I create, it’s really helped me come into my own. Also, taking time for myself and having a personal life again has really helped CoCo to evolve!
It’s pretty easy to fall into that trap where every second of your life and every thought in your head is drag-related.
Very easy. But hey, that’s part of the fun of it!
So, I believe you’re in Ohio now, which is your home state, and where your family is still in the restaurant business.
I decided to make my base back closer to home here in Ohio, so I could be there for my parents and help them out when the restaurant burnt down last year. And once we rebuilt, I realized how I could make it work living here and being closer to my family, while working in NYC or wherever else my little crazy ass is booked!
That’s very admirable! It must’ve been interesting to grow up in the restaurant world.
It’s actually where I met a lot of the people who influence who CoCo is today!
Oh Lord, there are so many! But off the top of my head, one was this crazy-ass carny who was just a “no shits given” crazy fool, who used to do dishes at the restaurant when I was a kid. So basically, I’m good at doing dishes!
What brought you to New York?
I moved to NYC in 2008 to attend AMDA and become a musical theatre power bottom. Then I learned I didn’t like bottoming so much, and chose to become the leading lady in my own insane version of Lets Become A Drag Queen: The Musical!
That show’s been a big hit! Did I hear correctly that you started drag bartending in Lucky Chengs, or more specifically as an anticipated cast member of some sort of a proposed reality show about the queens who worked there?
Yeah, that was a biscuit and a banana of a time at Lucky Chengs, it was going to be a reality show about life working there in Times Square, but clearly we know that never happened, bahaha!
And that’s why I’m really excited about the 29th, because I was invited to be a guest for the night back at Lucky Chengs–in a new location, but with the same amazing girls I started this drag journey with! YAY!
So, there’s that amazing clip of you performing in Our Lady of Saliva at the Ritz some years back, with the pyrotechnic dress. That was pretty amazing! I would never ask you to give up your secrets, but were you afraid of exploding at all?
That was such a frunckin’ good time! I burnt myself during my test run, and said fuck it imma do it anyway! And I did, and it was fun!
How much of CoCo the queen is this completely made up character, and how much is she really just you being you?
I feel as though everything I do i am myself. When I am in or out of drag every thing I do is because I chose to do so. Sooooo, I guess as much of a character that I have made up, I am still really there. I may be over-thinking this question, or I may just hate this question… I’m not really sure!
Either way you answered it well! The first time I saw you perform, it was during your initial year working your show at the old Boots & Saddle, and you were making guacamole live onstage while lip syncing “9 to 5” for Cinco de Mayo. You tend to do a lot of multitasking onstage!
I love doing a little bit of everything all the time in my everyday life, so why not on stage as well!? For example, throughout this interview I’ve painted a dress, painted my walls, went to my mother’s and stole her iron, cooked dinner and have been watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2!
I’m impressed! You’ve been giving shows at the old Boots, and now at the new(-er) Boots Lounge location, in some capacity for, like, six years? You certainly have a huge loyal following there, and you’ll be back again for the last two Sundays of this month. Is it insane to see these familiar faces coming back again and again for so many years, like the sexy cop who enjoys being paddled by you onstage?
Ha! Yes, I do love my loyal following that has stayed dedicated at Boots for so long! Has it been six years? I’ve lost count! It’s so great to just keep growing and having people there to witness it all, through good bad and what not. BAHAHA!
You always bring the kiki solo or otherwise, but I do miss when you used to share a Boots show with FiFi DuBois. You two were fascinating magic together!
I do as well! I mean, we would love to bring our gameshow back once a month if somewhere wants us! We do have a great Stockholm Syndrome kinda chemistry!
How long is the commute from where you are in Ohio to NY, by the way?
It takes me about 8 hours to drive to NYC from my new house. But it’s worth it every time!
What’s it like occupying these two worlds at the same time–where you have a nice house with your partner in Ohio and you’re close to your family and their business, but meanwhile you’re still part of NYC nightlife? Do you feel a little schizo sometimes?
It’s been a challenge for sure, but it’s a challenge I’m willing to partake in! It’s all about time management. When I’m here in Ohio, I’m always helping at the restaurant and doing some sort of project in my house, but also always working on costumes and finding new music. I’m basically living my Hannah Montana life, without all the money! BAHAHAHAHAH!
When you see NYC drag queen drama on social media now, are you like “I’m out of this loop,” or are you still in the T?
Depends on the drama. I treat Facebook like my aunts use to treat Star Magazine–but instead of Hollywood drama, I read all the real-life BS! Most of the drama online now, though, seems so fake and trashy that it’s just uncalled for. I’m all about getting yourself attention, but “desperate” isn’t going to get anyone any fame. Or maybe it will… who am I to say?
Gurl, you are the Fame Monster! Or maybe that’s your pug, who has been in so many photo shoots with you now, she must be the World’s Most Famous Drag Dog.
I do love Secret Agent Daisy Lion. When she is not fighting the enemy and trying to take over the world, she enjoys modeling. I guess it gets her off, or something like that. I must say, she is pretty epic… and also available as a full print on the back side of one of my shirts!
Do you have any more planned installments of Coco’s Party, where you interview other queens, family members or total randos in cute YouTube bits?
Well, it’s funny you brought that up! I’m actually working on a new season now of CoCo’s Party, and will be bringing it back in the fall bigger and better than ever! I’m putting more work into it than I used to, and am really excited about what’s to come!
Can’t wait to see! Anything else coming up for you?
Well, I’m in NYC at least once a month for a week or two of shows, so I would say: keep a lookout on my Facebook and other social media for where I’ll be and when. Because you never know when this banana is going to be in your oatmeal!
Excellent! Final question… DragCon in New York! Yay Exciting, or Who Gives a Crap?
I’m totally excited for Drag Con! I think I’ll be in NYC that weekend, so it’s going to be a hoot-scootin’-boogie of a good time! Why hate on anything anymore? Life’s too short for that bull!
I couldn’t have said it better! Thanks CoCo!
CoCo De’Ball usually performs the at Boots & Saddle for the last Sunday of the month (5pm), or sometimes the last two Sundays. Check here for upcoming scheduled appearances, and follow CoCo on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, DragQueenMerch and her own website.