This singing queen made such a great impression during her season of “New York’s Next Top Drag Queen” that she’s been invited to compete in a one-night-only All-Stars edition this week at Stonewall! She’s overcome hardship to be the fierce performer she is today… let’s get pumped for Delilah Pipes!
Delilah Pipes: It was a great experience. It was my first time hosting my own show, instead of being a guest performer. I got to do a show of only live-singing numbers, and it went really well!
I’ve heard you sing a few times, and you have a lovely voice. Are you a trained singer?
Oh, thanks! Yes, I have been classically trained since I was 13. I was a Vocal Performance student in the Conservatory Of Music At Brooklyn College and received more operatic training there. I’ve also been trained in Musical Theater/Contemporary singing, too.
Are you a New York native?
No. I’m originally from Houston, Texas. I moved here four years ago.
Did you have a hard time growing up there?
Yes and no. Yes, because even though Houston is somewhat liberal, it is still very much a “red state.” I didn’t come out of the closet completely until I moved to New York. And no, because I had very liberal parents who were supportive of every aspect of my life.
I’m glad you had that support system. So, how did you discover drag and become Delilah?
I saw drag a few times back home, but didn’t understand or appreciate it then. After moving to New York and starting to go to gay bars, I saw Brita Filter performing one night at Ritz Bar & Lounge and was amazed by her. I had a few drinks in me since it was Mardi Gras Night, so I had the liquid courage to approach her and ask about drag. She painted my face the first time and got me my first show, and it snow-balled from there.
I taught myself how to do makeup through YouTube videos, because even though Brita was my drag mother, she was far too busy to help me very much. It started as an experiment to just see if I could do it, and then became a consistent performance hobby. I’ve now been doing drag since Spring 2015.
You’re no stranger to the weekly competition circuit here – and you’ve done some of the bigger competitions and pageants, too.
I recall a terrible thing that happened last year, where you were jumped on the street, and you subsequently had to wear an eye patch for a while due to the injuries from that attack. That was during a strange wave of assaults on several drag queens here. Are you still traumatized by that experience?
I’m not traumatized by it. I was for just a couple months, but I’m pretty scrappy and got over it quickly.
Does living in Trump’s America make you feel less safe, in general?
I don’t feel less safe. It’s still the same place, just a different President. I won’t let him phase me. I might feel less safe back home in the South, though.
Okay, happier topics! Tell me about how much you enjoyed your original run last year at “New York’s Next Top Drag Queen,” an all-singing drag cabaret competition hosted by Holly Dae at the recently-closed (for now) Metropolitan Room.
I loved the competition. Made some talented friends with the other queens, and I really grew as a performer from that one contest. It forced me to scrap together an idea in 6 days when they gave us each week’s topic.
Super excited! I’m going to belt my face off and hope to win, but just performing in the show is a win in itself. I’ll be singing a song I’ve never performed before!
Good luck and have fun! Anything else coming up for you?
I’m also cast in a new Off-Broadway musical, Faux-bia, that is coming out in the Spring, and will be playing the role of Zeus’ mortal lover Ganymede. It’s an anti-war political comedy with a Greek mythology theme.
I’ll keep my eyes open for that one! Last question: What’s the worst thing about doing drag today… and what’s the best?
Worst: when makeup goes wrong and you have to start over or fix it, and be late to a gig. Also worst: negative, unsupportive queens who won’t help you. It can be quite cliquish.
Best: the way it’s made me evolve and grow as a performer, and the on-stage confidence it has instilled in me.
Yay! Thanks, Delilah!