Cinched for the underworld gods, this glamorously ghoulish, high-fashion horrorshow made her name as a sister of the Haus of Haunt, which also featured infamous frightqueens Sharon Needles and Alaska. Having lived and worked practically everywhere, she’s now back at in the ever-evolving Brooklyn scene serving you everything you didn’t realize you needed. Make room for Heidi Glum!
Thotyssey: Heidi, hello! Thanks for talking to us today.
Heidi Glum: Hey Jim, of course! Thanks for hitting me up!
This is a totally random way to start, but I just read that Tori Amos is 53 today. Yay, or Who Cares?
Well, happy birthday Tori, yay! Who cares…..this interview is about ME.
LOL, that’s the correct answer! And yes, this is ALL about Heidi! How’s your summer going?
I dread summers! I’m all about the furs for fall. But this summer has been pretty nice. Lots of lovers, and not enough sunblock.
When you are a classic gothic diva, the sun must be your enemy. Were you hoping the eclipse would be permanent?
It didn’t even get dark in NY; we got played by the eclipse. And I’m praying a few bitches got blinded, too!
So okay, you’ve been a NY resident for awhile, and you infamously had a long run in DC as well… where is your native land?
Oh man, that’s a long story! Short version: born in Houston, and shipped all over the US. I’ve lived in New Hampshire, Oregon, California, Maryland, our lovely nation’s capital DC… and I did like a two-week stint in Vegas, but had to escape the crazy! Don’t ever move to Vegas if you’re not criminally insane.
Oh, I don’t know anyone who had a healthy life living in Vegas. You’ve mentioned in past interviews that you had a very difficult time growing up… is that what ultimately inspired your allure to a darker aesthetic?
Heidi was created during a really dark time in my life, and became the light at the end of the tunnel for me eventually. But I’ve always been a little darksided; ask the skeletons in my closet!
I’m sure they would agree! Were you inspired by anyone’s particular style when you wee developing your own?
Veruca La’Piranha introduced me to another kind of drag, originally. And as a House of Haunt sister, she eventually introduced me to Sharon Needles, and then hell quite literally did break loose. But I take inspiration from so many women, real and fictional: Dita Von Teese, Elvira, and Barbie… my top 3!
Prior to the House of Haunt, which is Pittsburgh-based, where did you start as a queen?
I used to work in the clubs for Susanne Bartsch and Kenny Kenny as Miles DeNiro. And after Amanda Lepore crowned me Queen of NY at Kenny Kenny’s Big Top party, I had to graduate my look. Luckily, Veruca just moved to NY and helped me elevate things to a higher level. I actually got my start performing at Sugarland, before that went to shit!
Are you still in touch with the Bartsch crowd? I know it’s probably mostly new kids now…
The scene’s changed so much! I keep it cute with heavy-hitters, but I don’t go out much these days. I get a lot of shit for it in Brooklyn, actually! I feel bad and try to support the girls when I can, but it always feels like I’m still working even on my nights off. You have to kiss all the same asses, fend off all the same catty bitches, deal with all the drunkards…and for FREE! Nightlife is weird, and after eight years of working in it I know when to stay home. Others should follow suit.
Do you generally still enjoy performing, though?
I absolutely love performing. I love the power of the stage, and love being in the audience watching just as much.
Has your performing evolved a lot over the years, meaning the types of numbers you do and how you portray them?
100 million percent, yes. In the beginning, it was all about shock value and doing what I wanted: lots of blood and nudity. Frightening everyone with Rob Zombie and Courtney Love. Nowadays, I do what I want with my music, but I keep in mind the audience and space I’m going to be performing in. If it’s a night of shitty faggots, then its a night of Top 40s. If its a chic little artsy affair, then I’ll dip my toes into something with more meaning – but people are fickle yet gag on anything, so it’s hard to decide when to really give it to them.
So many queens put a lot of thought and heart into their performances, and it sucks when it goes unnoticed. I’ve always been the kind of queen who has to wear five different outfits in a night. I dress for my numbers, and I dress for the kiki after!
I’m also a tear-away junkie! I live for the reveals!! My performance style has always been burlesque-inspired. I mean, what queen doesn’t love taking off their fucking drag?!
Speaking of burlesque, you’re well known for your fondness of cinching and corsets. Is that still ever a physically challenging aesthetic for you?
I am a heavy believer in the power of a corset; I would have eaten the Victorian era alive! I’ve been corset-training for about for years, and can get my waist down to about 18 inches on a good day. All mine are custom made by Sweet Carousel in Canada, and Mystic City Corsets located in NJ.
I always have one on in drag, unless I’ve been starving myself and I’m feeling my natural skeletal oats. Some corsets are made primarily for performances and are actually a little big on me, with extra hip padding that help create that tiny hourglass shape without actually having to cinch down my waist at all. Then I have corsets made for shoots that are a very small size to give me an even more dramatic waist. Great for standing around and modeling in, but impossible for a full night of liquor and performances!
Werk! I find that everyone is a basic drag critic, now. Do you ever encounter criticism from baby Drag Race-informed thots about this wig or that shoe?
People don’t try it as much with me; I’m pretty intimidating, from what I hear. What gets annoying for me is the compliments! Everyone always says how gorgeous or pretty you look, and it’s so shallow. Yes, I own a mirror… I know how I look, but can you muster out anything other than generic compliments!?
You didn’t really enjoy your time living and working DC. You went there because you thought you’d have a better shot a getting on Drag Race if you were not in NY, right?
I have a love/hate relationship with DC. Its obviously very political and power-driven there, and that’s just not a world I’m part of. The scene there is small and tightly knit; bitches talk and the queens there are very divided. Even the cliques have cliques!
There were rumors that producers wanted me to be a DC queen, but it wasn’t for Drag Race: it was actually for True Life. They were doing an episode on fetishes, and didn’t want a bunch of freaks from New York!
I don’t feed into the Drag Race rumors – every year I end up on one of those “rumored queens” lists and laugh. Last year, I managed to go out of town the same time that Aja and Sasha disappeared from social media, and I let the internet have fun with that. They ended up clocking me on Scruff…..nowhere is safe, Reddit trolls are all around!
What made you want to decide to move back to New York after you were done with DC, as opposed to, say, LA or San Francisco?
New York is the only place I feel like myself. I can walk down the street wearing God-knows-what, acting like a hooligan, and no one cares because we’re all too busy living our own lives. I’ve already done WeHo, and honestly I’d love to live in SF… yet I cant sacrifice my fur weather! Maybe if the dick is real good…..but that’s why I moved to DC, and that engagement didn’t end so well. But I got two dogs out of it!
That’s definitely something! What are there names?
There’s Belladonna TellaVersace-SpringSummerFallWinterCollection, and Daphne.
So, Sugarland is gone like you’ve said, and TNT is gone, and it seemed like Brooklyn queer nightlife was in trouble… but then along came the Rosemont with its 65 brand new queens, and now several other mixed venues have opened their doors to drag shows and queer parties. Is this, like, a new Renaissance for Brooklyn queer nightlife?
I really hope so… a lot of event producers have had to find new spaces for performers, and it’s nice to see new gay locations opening. Its definitely a different time for Brooklyn drag, and it’s exciting that it’s not just at the three local bars.
And on a related note: you co-hosted the Drag Race viewing party at Macri Park this past season along with your ladyfriends Alotta McGriddles, Miz Jade and Acid Betty, and local gal Sasha Velour took home the crown! Were you excited for her win… and will this maybe promote some diversity among the aesthetics and performing styles for the show’s future winners?
I’m glad the crown went to a fucking kooky-ass queen! I love Sasha’s aesthetic, and her outlook on drag. It’s inspiring that someone so fresh to the drag scene takes things so seriously and appreciates the culture. It’s also a little annoying because, girl, relax…it’s drag, lets have fun! But I thank her for forcing all the queer history down our throats… it’s important to know where we came from.
I don’t think any of the winners can fall into a category together; they’ve all been pretty diverse in their own way. It’s definitely been an evolution in the winners….introducing mainstream media and the viewers to a different level of queerness every season, seeing how much they can get away with before the patina becomes damaged.
You definitely have a point! You can usually be found these days performing with one or both of your judys Jade and/or Alotta. Why do you think you click so well with these two?
The three of us are true to ourselves. We don’t play games and we definitely don’t bullshit. It gets us in trouble sometimes, but I’d rather hear the truth than be spoonfed lies. We also know who we are, who our drag characters are and where they’ve been, and where we want them to go. We’re just a good gaggle of like-minded freaks that actually happen to like each other and work well together; no BS just real talk.
Thats all you can ask for in a partnership! So, you’re at Macri Park every fifth Friday or Saturday with Jade and Alotta for Girl I’m Shook. Do you all see a lot of regulars at these shows?
Macri definitely has a lot of regulars, that bar draws out some real crazy trade! And there’s a few BK queens who always make it out to the shows.
Are you happy to see all the long-lasting Brooklyn queens these days, or are there still some where you’re like “ugh, this bitch?”
Seeing the queens who’ve remained here pre-Merrie Cherry days is fucking great! We made it, girl! And we’ll definitely make it through this! Of course, I have my frienemies – I just have no time to hate on them, nor any more room for new enemies. So, I try to bite my tongue and keep my mind open when new queens come crawling out of the cracks.
Another monthly show – originally called Sweet Charity – that you’d been doing with Alotta and Crimson Kitty at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Bar was a benefit raising funds for Gays Against Guns. That’s now moving to Rockbar in the West Village, and will be renamed Alotta Charity, starting September 7th! Are you excited to move the party there?
I’m so stoked! We’ve raised over 7k for GAG since Alotta started the event after the Pulse shooting, and its been with every patrons help. Seeing the support from the community is always touching. It’s nice to know there’s good people in the world right now. The idea is to bring in other charities in the future, so I’m really excited to see how the clientele at Rockbar take the event… and hopefully we can raise even more money, for even more people.
Great work so far, and Rockbar should be a great match!
Earlier that night (Sept. 7th), you’re gonna be featured in the huge cast of performers at the Highland Ballroom for another charity event, which is also serving as the release party for Gregory Kramer’s eloquent photography book DRAGS!
Yes! It’s going to be such a crazy week with DragCon closing out the weekend!
What was the DRAGS shoot like?
Shooting with Gregory was amazing! He was gagged that I got there early, and even more gagged when I was ready to take my corset and couture off after our first set! I mean, we both agreed I definitely turned out the first crop of pictures we took, but it’s nice having him push me to do three more sets. We would sit together after each one and pull up three photos at a time, and rate each one until we found three we liked in the very end… then eventually just the final image! He definitely made me strike many a new pose, and I can’t wait to share the image we created with everyone. It’s definitely not the usual haughty Glüm you’ve seen in print before.
Tell me about what you’ll be doing at DragCon… and are you taking part in Bushwig?
I’ll be out and about lurking at Bushwig, for sure. And you can find me at DragCon working the door for the Acidtorium at booth #373. Acid Betty has concocted something crazy for everyone! Y’all not ready!
Okay, last question: If you were an X-Man, what would your mutant power be?
In an ideal world, I’d be able to like stop time or read minds so I can extort and blackmail people, and use my powers for evil and become a rich villain. But in reality, it would probably be something lame, like if you touch me you die.
Stay clear of the nuclear radiation! Thank you, Heidi!
Heidi Glum hosts “Girl, I’m Shook” with Alotta McGriddles & Miz Jade every fifth Friday or Saturday at Macri Park (10pm), and hosts “Alotta Charity” with Alotta and Crimson Kitty at Rockbar on first Thursdays (10pm). Check the Thotyssey calendar for all upcoming appearances. Follow Heidi on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.