Whether she’s partying drag queen Allegra Spread or sultry burlesquer Satine S’Allumer, this entertainer delivers. Checkout her exclusive interview with Thotyssey!
Thotyssey: Allegra, hello! So, have you finished holiday shopping yet, if that’s a thing you do? I haven’t even started!
Allegra Spread: I finished about 15 minutes ago, actually! I found some cute Hanukkah gifts for my partner while on a costuming mission!
Yay! Your costumes are very elaborate. And as both a drag queen and burlesque performer, you must add to your wardrobe very frequently.
I acquire pieces as I’m inspired by them; it’s not as frequently as you’d think! Having a collection of originally burlesque costumes that are transferable to drag aesthetic helps. I’m a dollar store drag queen, mostly!
That’s the best way to be! So that’s interesting, many of your costumes work for both your drag and burlesque selves?
I wouldn’t say many, but definitely some of the “investment pieces” – like the Catherine D’Lish you saw me strip out of that time – do!
put together, in a mansion / gallery by Washington Square Park.
Yeah, such fun night! Shoulder-rubbing with so many different kinds of creatives and impromptu photo shoots in kitsch corners, while Al Hirschfeld’s illustrations creep down. Definitely what I’d describe as a “One Of Those New York Nights.”
That slayed my whole life! Nedra was one of the first people really supportive of me as a baby queen – and Marti Gould Cummings – so I’m so thrilled about all their successes!
So does that mean you took part in a season of The Ultimate Drag Pageant, which Nedra and Marti host?
I sure did! One way to create a dossier of acts! Eight weeks of fun.
So let’s rewind a bit… where’s your hometown?
I was born in Narberth, a teeny borough in Philly, but I grew up in Brisbane, Australia.
My parents are Aussies. My whole family is! My dad was doing his PhD (one of them) at Penn State University and so my mom (pregnant at the time) and brothers traveled to Philly with him for that. Jazz hands, I was born, and then they moved back to Australia when I was a toddler. Hellloooooo, dual citizenship!
Amazing! So were you always creative, growing up?
I was heavily into anything creative, but my focus until I was finished university was definitely musical theatre and photography. I taught myself how to do my own stage makeup and vintage hairstyling, and would help the rest of the cast when I could.
So, what initially appealed to you about burlesque?
Badass femmes on stage, oozing with confidence and living their best lives! I was like, I totally want to do that! Then I did! I went to my first show as an audience member at the end of 2013, then started performing at the beginning of 2014.
Did you have to overcome any inhibitions about being scantily clad in front of an audience?
Absolutely. After years of being a dancer, working in fashion and a myriad of eating disorders, I hated my body and showing it anywhere. At university I did a project on my body issues, and started nude modeling for artists to see if it made a difference, Burlesque became an extension of that project, in a way.
What do you try to convey in your burlesque performances as Satine? Like, are you about the drama, the sexiness, the comedy, etc.?
My burlyQ acts, much like my drag numbers, definitely are varied. I like to be able to appeal to a wide range of audiences: some classic striptease, a good chunk of comedy and some modern dance-y pieces, too. My favorite is classic with a twist: it involves a lot of faces, and people are often found both alarmed and aroused. What I’m trying to communicate is sometimes a story, but mostly moods.
So how did drag come into the picture?
I used to spend a lot of time at gay clubs as a “fag hag” when I was about 18, well into my early 20s: dancing, mingling with the drag queens and then watching their live shows. I completely stepped away from that scene when I got carried away with burlesque, and then when I moved to New York and saw that drag and burlesque crowds overlapping, I saw an opportunity to combine ALL my theatre and singing and character / comedy work into a new persona. Plus, burlesque had stopped being challenging for me in the way I needed it to be.
Drag was a great way for me to come out finally, now that I was in New York… and to meet people in the queer community!
How is Allegra different from Satine?
Allegra’s energy is a lot more brassy, and there is more room for mistakes. She’s lovable and a bit snarky. The professional asshole. Satine is very smooth and sweet like Turkish Delight, and modeled after Moulin Rouge dancers and French salons. No farting for Satine.
Did you encounter any resistance from other performers, being a born-as-female drag queen?
I had been dutifully warned to expect resistance but I personally haven’t been on the receiving end of it. I have been very thankful that folks are supportive of my brand! What’s interesting though, is a bunch of AMAB queens haven’t clocked me as a femme in drag until after I’ve gotten changed or taken my makeup off, and then make note to mention this to me. “I had no idea you were a woman!” Well, lizard actually, but close.
Count me as one of those people who failed to clock you from social media in the beginning! You’re pretty amazing with drag makeup.
I mean, the whole idea is to transform, right!? Your born sex is irrelevant to what it is you are exploring or exaggerating in your drag. The literal abbreviation “dressed as a girl” also doesn’t mean you have to be super high-femme all the time. Makeup is play time, and it’s so fun to let the art take its own journey!
Haha! Well, I’ve left the interpretation fairly open to my cast. Instead of Holiday-centric acts I’ve asked them to perform acts that bring them JOY! Also I’m sick of holiday music, to be honest. Fun fact: “Spread Joy” is a play on my name. Allegra is Italian for JOY!
Oh I love that! And you have a great lineup: Burlesquers Elle McQueen, Celia Foxglove, Gemini Blitz, and Trinity Starlight and Apathy Angel; queen Viva Vidalia, burlesque king Lee VaLone and singer Jayse Vegas.
I love all these people! They’re majority Brooklyn babes, too!
Some other projects in the works for 2018 that I’m excited about. But they’re all secret squirrel for now!
Okay! So last question: What’s your New Year’s Resolution?
To put my health first. And to rock the house down!
Yes words we can all live by! Thank you, Allegra!