This very new queen appeared out of thin air and won the latest Miss Lady Liberty crown, after a pair of showstopping numbers that included live vocals, seamless group choreo, wardrobe reveals and a topical Trump head prop. Already proving herself to be as quotable as she is watchable, we can look forward soon to her joining forces with two other powerhouses as they form a singing drag supergroup for the ages. But for now, lets just take a big sip of Rosé!
Rosé: Hi Jim! Thanks for having me! That night was fabulous. More than twenty queens donned delicious looks and sashayed down the runway for a cause; we were celebrating 35 years of service by the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. It felt like a true ball… definitely a successful night with some of my favorite sister queens!
You’re quite new to the scene, but do you already feel a sisterhood with all these NYC queens?
I’ve been on the scene for about two months now, and without the sisterhood of queens like Brita Filter, Lagoona Bloo and Jan Sport, I would have probably been run over by a bus driver who thought I was just a homely, hideous bag of garbage that was left behind at dawn at the end of week three.
Leave Avant Garbage out of this!
Oh, honey, as if! Avant is the most glorious bag of garbage I’ve ever laid eyes on–a bus would be so lucky!
I had the pleasure of watching your amazing performances, filled with live vocals, and amazing group choreo, and soundbytes, and props, and everything else that led you to the ultimate win of the this recent season of Miss Lady Liberty!* How confident were you that you were gonna grab that crown?
I had a total blast creating and performing numbers for the Lady Liberty competition. I was not, however, certain whatsoever that I would win the title. I arrived each night with the goals to let my true self speak, boldly, and to give everything I have. I was confident in my power to achieve those things.
Winning, though? I was aware of and open to the possibility, but truly flabbergasted when it actually happened.
Your final presentation was deeply heated with anti-Trump audio and images. Was that performance very cathartic for you?
My true catharsis will occur when we don’t have an egotistical, bigoted jackass in office (oh, pardon me, I believe it’s pronounced “Donald”), but yes – teehee – it was definitely a lovely release, using my drag to speak out against injustice.
This latest business with the banning of transgender soldiers from the military was a real out-of-left-field rage inducer, wasn’t it?
Infuriating. It is difficult to grasp as reality. But it is real; eager and willing citizens of our country are being banned to serve and protect it by a rich white man who was granted five draft deferments. It’s so ass-backwards. It’s also darkly hilarious–like, our president refers to the inspiring and groundbreaking trans community as burdensome – while being the heaviest burden the country has carried in ages.
I will say, I think there is an upside to his blasphemous declaration – its ignition of the spark of fury among us. We have to stay conscious, and keep fighting. Damn, I feel like I’m living in a Lord of The Rings movie. OMG, and I’m totally Liv Tyler.
Living for Liv!
I was intrigued by your comments about how drag has actually made you feel more masculine in your daily life, which you shared with the pageant audience and in a recent interview with OUT. Pretty much every queen describes drag as being empowering. Where does that power come from, do you think?
We tend to forget that masculine energy is associated with strength and aggressiveness; it is not having a giant muscular body while avoiding saying “yas kween” when you find that good dick 27 feet away. By allowing myself to assume a “female” personality, I’m facing my fears, getting what I want, and living boldly – this is masculinity.
As for the power? THA POWAH?! The power of drag lies in its ability and purpose to blur the edges of our societal gender constructs. And, drag is limitless; there is no one way to do anything. Sometimes the most “hideous” or poorly-executed practice must reign as superior within drag, because of its message, timing, boldness, etc. There are no rules – which is what attracts me most to the art form. It is extremely empowering to be your own lawmaker. And people pay attention, and listen, and cheer you on, because nothing is more relatable or identifiable than vulnerability.
[photo by: Tayte Hanson]
I appreciate that you say you love the “no rules” aspect of drag, because it does seem that lately that drag queens spend maybe too much time bickering amongst themselves about what queens should and shouldn’t be doing, whether it be using racial humor in their act or shaving/not shaving their arms.
Eh. Everyone is proud. Everyone is insecure. Some people know how to handle their opinions better than others. I personally love a bald queen just as much as a hairy queen.
Rosé typically identifies more with tree lizards and fire-breathing dragons than humans, though, so the sheer audacity of someone to come for my drag doesn’t make much sense. Like, would you ever go to the zoo and yell at a Tasmanian tiger, “EY, BITCH! You look FAT, girl! Ever heard of a cincher? Your beat is WHACK! You look like a fucking animal!” No, of course you wouldn’t, because they are extinct.
Having said that, you did mention racial humor; this is a fine line, about which I feel strongly. I believe the most skillful comedian knows how to make a group of people laugh without relying on culturally sensitive matter. We are living in a time when lifting minorities up is crucial. If I see a white queen get up and voluntarily perform a single word from Solange’s “A Seat At The Table,” she’s getting read, by me.
Well-said, and hopefully well-heard!
So, you’re a Scotland native! When did you come to our fair shores… and how can I work some basic kilt joke into this question?
Aye, she’s a wee Scottish lassie! Most people don’t know that, though, because my dialect is conditional. If I’m surrounded by Americans, I usually sound American, unless I’ve had a few glasses of Rosé (which, ya know, gotta stay on brand). When I talk to my parents on the phone, I’m suddenly full-blown Scottish, and when I go back to Scotland, after a couple of hours, it sounds as though I never left (that accent gets thick, daddy). I moved to America (Houston) when I was 9, so… three years ago.
As for kilt jokes, I don’t really know any. But I did wear one recently to my good friends’ wedding – a beautiful lesbian wedding upstate, for which I was asked to perform. The other singers and I were unsure of what to do for our final number–so, naturally, we decided to sing “Sissy That Walk” in three-part harmony, complete with improvised strut choreography. I started feeling myself and perhaps blacked out for a moment when I thought doing some spins would be hot, only to expose my genitalia to the entire wedding. Needless to say, my Grindr was lit that night.
Ring those wedding bells, gurl!
By the way, I regret to say that I am one of those ‘mos that can only type your drag name by Googling Beyoncé and copying the “é.” Has anyone just called you “Rose” on a poster, or in life?
HAHA. Hilarious. Nobody calls me “Rose;” if someone were to do so, I would politely correct them. The accented “e” is tricky; it is why I decided to phonetically spell out my name in my Instagram handle. I don’t want to cause any confusion about whether we’re serving flowers or wine, here. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to type a “Beyoncé” e: on Mac computers, hold down the Alt button while pressing ’e’ to reveal the accent. Then, tap ‘e’ again, and voila! On your iPhone, simply hold down ‘e’ on the keyboard to reveal an entire row of fancy options! Slide your thumb to the desired character, and move on with your life. I’m not sure about PC’s or Droids, because, sick.
OMG, I feel so elderly for not knowing this! Amazing.
So you’ve been quite busy since winning Miss Lady Liberty, congratulations!
Thank you! Yes, I have been quite busy, and I’m very grateful. The competition served as a super-propeller for Rosé.
It was SO lovely running into you at GLOW the other night! That crowd was great, and I always love performing with Brita.
I went in the previous Monday and competed with a few other queens to win a one-night solo spot, to which you’re referring, and it was a total SCREAM! We had a great fucking time. I performed about 10 numbers, had a really talented musical guest, Emily Trumble (who just returned to NYC after a year on the Sound Of Music national tour covering Maria and Liesel), and I also featured my beautiful sister Lagoona Bloo for a number as well. I really love improvisation, so it was wonderful and thrilling to have a chance to direct and maneuver a show with nothing but a microphone (and the fabulous DJ T-Boy). I hope Boots & Saddle will have me back, soon!
And this is cool: I see you’ll be making your Brooklyn debut this Thursday, at Metropolitan Bar’s “Straight Acting,” alongside one of my favorite Drag Racers, Tatianna! I mean, that’s gotta be kinda thrilling!
“Straight Acting” WILL be my Brooklyn debut, and I’m so excited! I’m actually just hosting this one, but I’ll have a flash drive on me with my entire repertoire of mixes, just in case a performer mysteriously gets… alcohol poisoning, from drinking… too much Rosé… or, something… (just kidding, Rify! Actually girl, no I’m not.) It’ll be such a jam to kiki with Tatianna, though! I’m a huge fan.
And okay, drum roll please, because this is everything: you’ve formed a drag singing supergroup with Lagoona and last season’s Miss Lady Liberty winner, Jan Sport! Anyone who has seen you all perform separately would be very excited by this. Tell us about the formation of Stephanie’s Child, and what your musical direction might be!
We are beyond thrilled to be joining forces to become Stephanie’s Child. Jan, Lagoona, and I are great friends, and as we’ve gotten to know each other, we’ve learned that our singing styles are really similar and cohesive.
Stephanie’s Child is a drag pop cover group, and our first show is on Friday, August 11th, at 9pm, at The Green Room 42 at Yotel – less than two weeks away! You can expect tight harmonies, ascending riffs in thirds, and a lot of belting. We’re excited to get this project on its feet; in the future, we hope to make pop-up appearances at different drag shows and other venues. And perhaps, someday, we’ll get ourselves into a studio and record an album! That would be a dream come true.
Soooo exciting! Okay, anything else to report?
If you’re in the Houston area on August 13th, I’ll be making my Texas debut at Hamburger Mary’s Houston! Back-to-back Broadway-themed drag brunches, honey!
Then, the following week, you can catch my slightly uglier Gemini twin brother, Ross, in Last Ditch Playlist, a queer play which follows the deterioration of a love shared by two young men – August 17th-20th at Theatrelab in NYC!
Otherwise, check out my Instagram for updates on performances and appearances!
Good luck and have fun with everything! Okay, last question, and it’s one that I hate being asked, but I’m curious to see your answer: where do you see yourself in five years?
On television, or on very large stages, using my drag to raise awareness for those who need help… or whose voices don’t carry as far as mine does.
I’d love to see that happen! Thank you, Rosé!
*Throughout the spring, Vincent Cooper and Impulse Group NYC presented the fourth season of Lady Liberty (New York City’s largest drag competition). After 12 weeks of
competition and 73 queens & kings competing for the title, the field had been narrowed to five contestants for the finale on June 30th. The final five pulled out all of the stops, but it was Rosé who walked away with the crown and $4,000 grand prize package. The prize package included $1,000 cash courtesy of Impulse Group NYC and Hornet, a body paint session & photoshoot with Ish Peralta, custom spacesuit from Yuhua Hamasaki, photoshoot with drag photographer James Michael Avance, two tickets to the Pines Party in Fire Island, a one-night stay at the Ace Hotel, and more! Each of the finalists has also received a $300 shopping spree to Kryolan Professional Makeup and $100 gift card to House of La Rue (the style, glam and drag boutique).
This season of the competition was hosted by Brita Filter and Terra Hyman (the
winners of Best Duo at GLAM Awards). The finale also featured performances from
the previous three Lady Liberty winners: Jan Sport, Avant Garbage, and Hibiscus.