The newly-crowned Miss Latinissima has been a high-kicking pageant and party queen since the days of Esquelita, and remains a popular and hard working entertainer throughout the Tri-State Area. Give it up for Octavia Anyae!
Thotyssey: Octavia, hello! First off, congratulations on your Miss Latinissima win at Club Mandala in Possaic on Sunday! Tell us about the pageant… what was your talent number, first of all?
Octavia Anyae: My talent was a mix. It was basically me calling my friend to see if he was still coming to support me, and he let me down… but that didn’t stop my from achieving my dreams. It went into a song: “I Am Octavia,” then into the “One Night Only” disco version. It basically told a story from behind the scenes to the stage.
Was it an autobiographical mix?
One day I was looking for songs and skits with the name “Octavia” in it, and I happened to come across the skit and the song… so I kind of lucked up on it. And it just so happened that the night of the pageant, a close friend of mine was suppose to come and didn’t show up!
Aw, life imitates art! And what was your gown like?
My gown’s name is Tiffany! She’s a sea foam blueish-green body-fitting gown created by Kendell Dempster and myself, accented with Swarovski crystals.
You’ve done pageants before, right?
Yes, I have done a few pageants. I’ve won some and lost some.
That’s a good spread! So okay, let’s get to your beginnings… where are you from, and what was it like to grow up there?
I am originally from Montclair, New Jersey. Growing up there, I was able to explore my creative side. I remember taking cooking, sewing, dance, and gymnastic classes. I was on the football team, and quit that to become a cheerleader. I was in AFJROTC (Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corp), so I was exposed to a lot of different things.
But dance has always been my number one favorite thing to do. I was taking dance lessons inside and outside of school. When I was younger, I was bullied because I was super-feminine. And although I wouldn’t say I’m extremely butch now, I’ve calmed down a bit and I know how to turn it on and off. I’ve taken what I’ve learned and applied that to my craft, and I let it all out on the stage!
When and how did you start performing in drag?
I had a boyfriend in high school that always told me I was gonna be a drag queen, and we still laugh about it to this day. On Sunday nights, a couple of friends and I would go to Escuelita and watch Harmonica Sunbeam, Sugga Pie Koko and Princess Janae. Then we’d leave there at 4am when the club closed, got to 42nd street and took the bus to school from the club.
One day, I was in dance class and one of my friends who was in dance with me came in “done up” (in drag makeup) and said he was going to do a competition after class. That’s when curiosity got the best of me, and I wanted to go – so I went, and I wanted to do the competition. The next week I went and did it. My first song I ever did in drag was Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together.” That was 2005.
Great start! Did you then get to perform at Escuelitas a lot before it closed?
Yes! I’ve gotten a couple of chances to get on that stage and cut up!
What’s the story behind your drag name?
It was given to me by my drag mother. My name was originally Octavia Anyae DuMure. I ended up dropping “DuMure.”
Who was your drag mother?
I knew that question was coming! Her name is Aaliyah Kiara DuMure. My current drag mother is Empress Vizcaya. And my Fairy God Dragmother is Juliza Alezae. You know what they say: “It take a village to raise a queen!”
That is a great pedigree! So you perform all over the Tri-State Area, but like Miss Latinissima you do lots of Jersey appearances. I imagine that it’s a challenge to be a working queen in Jersey: there aren’t a whole lot of venues and the ones that exist are far between, but there are tons of queens trying to get those gigs!
You are absolutely correct. I have done work in and out of the Tri-State Area. It’s hard work to stay afloat, because this business is a small pond with a bunch of fish!
And so many gorgeous fish at that! It’s interesting that the Jersey scene has birthed so many popular pageant queens.
Yes, Jersey is more of a fishy, polished pageant queen scene whereas New York has more of the “campy,” different looks kind of queen.
You’ve been the Saturday night hostess at Suite Bar uptown for… how long?
I’ve been there for seven years now.
Congratulations! I bet the scene has changed a lot since you started… the last time I was there it was all Columbia students!
Well, I bartend there as well, so I get to see the crowd change. Happy hour is from 5-10 seven days a week, so usually the older crowd comes there earlier in the day. About 7 or 8 they start to leave, and people who are out on dates start to come in. And then around 10, that’s when the party gets started. My show starts a 12!
What’s your favorite number to do these days?
That’s a good question! I’ve been trying to do different numbers to step outside my comfort zone, but my ultimate favorite song to do is Whitney Houston’s “It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay” remix.
Slay! So, Drag Race returns this week with All-Stars 3! Who are you excited to see, and who do you think might win?
Trixie, Aja, Shangela and Kennedy are my favorites. And I don’t know who is gonna win: everyone on the show is so talented, and they pull tricks from their sleeves. That’s s hard question to answer… I’d hate to be wrong!
Any thoughts on the Tenth Queen?
It’s me! No, I’m just kidding. I wish. One day! I’m speaking it into existence. I wouldn’t mine seeing Nina Flowers! Bring it way back to Season 1.
Anything else to report?
Ill just like to say I’m looking forward to putting myself out there more in New York. “Greatness does not come to those who wait for it, but to those who actively seek it.”
Werk! Okay, so then in closing: what is your best advice for a queen who is just starting out today and wants to be successful?
Wanna-Bes are Gonna-Bes. If you want something bad, you have to go after it. Before I learned to do my makeup, I would put it on, take it off and do it again until my skin was raw sometimes. Go after what you want. If you’re going to do it, be the best you can be. And lastly, always remain humble
Thanks Octavia, and congratulations again!
Octavia Anyae hosts the Saturday night show at Suite Bar (midnight). Check Thotyssey’s calendar for her all upcoming scheduled appearances, and follow Octavia on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.