Best known for slaying gigs along the boardwalk of Asbury Park, this gorgeous dancing comedy queen has also made quite a few New York fans with her stunning and hilarious turns in the City’s competitions and guest spots. Now she has a good shot at a pageant crown here, and in a few months she will be hosting a pageant of her own creation back in Jersey. Wag your finger at Rhedd Rhumm!
Thotyssey: How’s it going today Rhedd, and how’s your summer been?
Rhedd Rhumm: Hey Jim! My day is alright! I’m six feet above the dirt, so I guess I can’t complain! My summer has been pretty crazy actually, between work and doing shows, my hair is falling out, literally! How about for you?
I can’t complain I guess! Judging this past season of Miss Lady Liberty was a recent highlight for me, and I got to watch you compete. I loved your gross-out performance, snot rockets and semen-guzzling and all! It was hilarious because you came out looking very glam and femme, and then you interpreted pretty much every bodily function and general grotesquerie during the course of the mix.
Hahaha, you were there for that? I’m glad you loved it! That was actually my third time doing that number! I built that number to be as disgusting as possible.
You succeeded – it was an instant classic pageant moment!
So okay, what’s your origin story?
Well I am based out of New Jersey – born and raised here, I doubt I’d be who I am if I wasn’t – and currently living in Asbury Park! I couldn’t be any happier about it. “Rhedd Rhumm” came to be from just watching RuPaul’s Drag Race and thinking to myself, “drag doesn’t look that hard, I can do that and make something out if it.”
Drag Race spawned a whole generation of drag queens. Who were you a fan of on the show?
I guess I’d have to say queens like Sharon Needles and Bob the Drag Queen. While the aesthetic they hold is unique to them, for me it’s more so how they stood for something they believed in.
True that! When and where did you start drag?
Lord, every time I’m asked this I feel like I’m old because I’ve done a lot in a short time. The first time I hit the stage was winter 2014 at The Den Nightclub in Somerset NJ, for Alexis Milian’s Diva Showcase Competition.
RIP The Den! So many queens got their start there.
I know! I miss it. Even though it’s gone, I still consider it my home bar!
Talk to me a bit about Jersey drag. There are some truly wonderful queens with angelic reputations (like Lady Marisa) in the Jersey drag community, but from what I hear there seems to be a really disproportionate amount of Shaaaade… queens in all-out war over gigs, crowns, and trade. Do you observe this, or is this an unfair exaggeration?
Trade is the most sought after thing here in Jersey; the men are in demand! New Jersey is full of dancing divas, pageant royalty, and some of the best entertainment out there. There definitely are queens that are the sweetest things possible, and you’ll get a cavity from them. But there are also those that are too much, all the time, for no reason.
I do feel there is a lot of shade in this community. I feel like with Jersey being that we are pageant heavy, it can be cut throat, if it’s warranted or not. Most is unneeded: girls flipping stories around about being “cancelled”, unfair competitions, girls saying they are working and giving up a paying gig just to try to get in good with Drag Race girls. It’s a bit insane really… but hey, every scene has its faults.
Well, at least you are aware and you make it work! Is there any particular Queen that you would consider a drag mother?
I actually have two drag mothers! The first being the somewhat retired Brook Lynn Herrea; she took me as hers because she didn’t want someone else to possibly abuse my raw talent. And the second is the current reigning Miss Paradise, Victoria Courtez; she has me more so because of proximity, and that her other drag daughter Jolina Jasmine and I are attached at the hip.
As far as your drag name goes, are you a particular fan of The Shining?
I love The Shining! My favorite thriller. It’s a coincidence, actually. My favorite color is red and my favorite liquor is rum, so it all lined up.
Aside from your Jersey appearances, you do a lot of NYC gigs, too… is that a pain in the ass, as far as lugging around all that drag across state lines?
It’s a struggle! I’m not exactly the smallest person, so my bag gets pretty heavy, lugging around at least three different looks each night… even if I’m just doing one number. But I’m dedicated to doing it, so it just becomes a labor of love, driving back and forth. Ultimately, it killed my car!
RIP Rhedd Rhide. what do you think about doing all the drag competitions? Are they just something you have to do to get your name out there and network, or are they fun for you?
The competitions, I truly do believe, are a needed thing if you want to take drag seriously, build your image, brand and fan base. I obviously started doing competitions to get exposure, and still do to this day. I feel like I’d still do them even if I am a big name one day. I have the most fun doing them and watching them, mainly because all effort that is put in to create a sickeningggggg show.
Werk! And you got some big gigs coming up, starting with: brunch at the Brightside Tavern on Saturday, August 19th, for Jersey City Pride! Have you done the whole drag brunch thing before?
This is my second brunch, actually! I’m excited to be doing it, especially with Harmonica Sunbeam by my side. I’m still getting used to day drag; I don’t know how these queens do it. Getting up early to eat, drink and offend people: can’t be beat!
It’s the best way to start the day!
And then on Sunday, you will be giving us Maritime Drag as you perform on the Hot Rabbit boat party, with your sis Jolina! That is going to be a lot of fun… unless you get seasick!
OMG yes. I’ve been looking forward to it for the longest! Hopefully I don’t barf. I’m probably going to make a costume out of life preservers and pool floaties, just in case we reenact the Titanic.
And speaking of competitions and pageants earlier, you’ve made it to the finale of one of the most highly anticipated drag events of the year… Miss Look Queen at Monster on Sunday, August 27th! Shall we gag?
I know! Haven’t even hit my first year at Look Queen, and I’m doing their pageant! Gagging, jaw dropping, falling out and giving life to the dead, shall be had. It’s a shift from doing Miss Paradise to Miss Look Queen, but I’ve been on my way to the top in the city so regardless I’m not stopping!
Slay! Anything else coming up for you?
Two big things I have coming up is Fresh Face (November 10th at Paradise). It’s a competition / drag class that I started for new drag queens (17-21) that are unable to get into venues to perform a chance to hit the stage.
Oh, wow! You created it and you host it?
Yes! I put it together because the newer generations of drag are getting younger, and are hungry to perform. And some are already doing so, but want help and guidance. The first season was last year, and the turnout was amazing. The girls I had worked so hard, and were so dedicated. I just had to do it again. The buzz I’m getting from it ensures it’ll be around for a while.
The other [gig that’s coming up] is, I will be promoting and performing on the Drag Stars at Sea tour. I’m super excited! My first voyage is March 2018 out of Louisiana, and the second is out of Australia January 2019. This boat party coming up will be my practice on water.
Yaz! Okay, last question! What’s the worst thing about drag for you, and what is the best?
The absolute worst thing for me is getting stuck in drag where I shouldn’t be – be it on the side if the turnpike, or in the middle of a police station.
The best, OMG, the best is making people smile. The main reason I perform is to make people smile, and ensure they are out having a excellent time.
And you certainly succeed at that! Thanks for chatting, Rhedd!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Rhedd Rhumm’s scheduled gigs. Follow Rhedd on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.