After living in fear for her life in Russia and developing a love for makeup from eating her mother’s cosmetics, this new makeup artist and shotgirl at the Ritz has very quickly caught the attention of NYC Nightlifers In The Know. With an uncanny Lady Gaga illusion repertoire and a budding career as a full service drag queen underway, the sky is the limit forNick Dzogiy, aka NickDZART!
Thotyssey: Nick, hello and thanks for talking to us!
NickDZART: Hello hello! And thank you for this experience.
There are some things we need to discuss right away, starting with: last night’s premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars 3! What did you think? Surprises, delights, disappointments, etc.?
I definitely loved it! The challenge was exactly what I wanted to see from the first episode. What surprised me? I would say that I wasn’t expecting Morgan to leave that soon. Aja! Yas baby! Love, love, love her! I’ve recently met Shangela, the nicest person, also tons of love to her!
The season’s off to a great start!
Next up: the GLAMs at the Public Hotel this past Sunday! I know you were there, but it was so crowded I couldn’t actually find you!
It was my first [GLAMs] ever! Amazing performances, cutest hostesses and ridiculous mic problems! And to be honest, I knew that it will be fun from the moment I walked in. Surrounded by kind and beautiful people, most importantly–my new friends. I enjoyed my time there, even though that I had to leave right after the last performer.
P.S.: Brita Filter… girl! She brought the real show last night!
There were a lot of great performances, but yeah I gotta give it to Brita as always for bringing the house down! Do you find that most of the faces in the room were familiar to you, or are you still constantly meeting new people in the biz?
I am still VERY new in the biz! Last night I was surrounded by a lot of my friends, like my best friend Harrison (Miss Kimmi Moore) who performed with Jayse Vegas, the lovely Sherry Pie, Maddelynn Hatter and Anthony Paparelli. However, I meet new people every night while working at the Ritz. A LOT of new people!
You’ve already made quite a name for yourself in your young career, but where’s your hometown?
“The scariest place in the world.” That’s how I usually answer that question.
Originally I’m from Moscow, Russia. I was growing up in Savannah, GA with my mom, and we were traveling back and forth almost my whole life. In December 2016, I finally made it here, NYC, to stay for good.
What was living as a young queer person in Russia like?
I had the worst four years of my life when I was stuck there from 2012 to 2016.
Got three times almost killed, and that’s why I’m here now on a political asylum.
I still had some fun with my friends and at my work that I loved, but it wasn’t enough.
Where’s your mom now?
She’s traveling around the world a lot, but lives mostly in Savannah.
Well I’m glad that you’re both safe! So, was art always in your life?
Oh yeah. My mom is a painter, so my artistic side comes from her. Destroying walls with paints in every place I lived, cutting my moms dresses to create something, and even eating her lipsticks. I think that was the time I felt in love with makeup!
You are what you eat!
What really drew you to makeup in the beginning, and what were the earliest looks you were trying to create?
I started doing makeup while I was studying in theatrical college, back in Russia. We were playing with prosthetics and special effects makeup, so all of my early looks were from the theater I used to work at. And then I got into professional makeup, I started working at MAC, which was also back in Russia.
[Makeup] was the only way for me to escape my life in Russia. That’s why I came to MAC (the only gay friendly company there). And currently right now, it is the only way for me to be the actor I want to be in the future. Like me being Gaga, or a crazy clubkid. On the other side, I love doing makeup not just for myself but for others, models, drag queens and my friends.
[above: an early look from Nick’s theater days.]
How did you get to NYC and discover nightlife here?
I turned 21 in 2016. So I said to myself, that’s it! I’d better change my life before I literally die. I was always dreaming to see New York, so that was my only choice to go. I fell in love immediately.
I went out to discover the city next day. Found an ad on Facebook about the Ritz, and it was my first nightlife experience here. I met Kimmi Moore there, and she introduced me to everyone. Everyone was very welcoming and so special. I just felt safe, finally.
Kimmi was the weekend hostess there, and after she went to Fire Island this past summer you took over… and there you remain!
Oh yeah, you know the story.
How do you enjoy being a host there?
Technically I’m just a shot girl here, however I like to call myself a host. I love it here. I feel it’s a great place for the beginners like me. As I said, meeting a lot of new people, especially on weekends!
The place can get get so crowded on weekends, though!
I love when it’s crowded, to be honest. It feels like I can express myself more in front of that crowd.
Your Gaga illusions have become quite well known. You’ve even been showcased as a Gaga impersonator at Lucky Cheng’s for a few dates recently. Has she always been a muse for you?
I became a true “Little Monster” after I met her in person (she took me backstage during her Born This Way Ball Tour in Moscow in 2012). Before that, I was just enjoying her music. After we met, a lot has changed. I’d like to think that I survived thanks to her ARTPOP album that she released during the darkest times of my life. And now she gives me inspiration every day, and pushes me to do what I do.
Do you have any plans for future showcases of your Gaga interpretation?
Not really. I’m just searching through her old looks every day and thinking what I can bring to life. But for the next week, I’m thinking to do more “Telephone” looks.
Tina Burner recently credited you as her makeup artist for what I think was an old lady look she was doing for some sort of appearance. Are you regularly painting other queens now?
Yeah, that Queen Elizabeth makeup was for Watch What Happens Live show.
I’m actually not doing it very often. My first time was doing it for Kimmi; I was just showing her some makeup tricks. And now I’m doing it for Tina sometimes, also mostly for fun and showing her some makeup tricks and hacks also. So I’m just letting every queen I know, that I’m always happy to share makeup tricks. Not just for queens, actually; I’m still giving makeup lessons for other people.
I’ve competed there three times already, and won two!
Are you trying to become more of a performing drag queen in the traditional sense?
Well, I’ve started my Gaga impersonations not just with pretty makeup. I’m a dancer, and I know a lot of her choreo. Even at the Ritz, I take a spot from our gogo dancers and jump on a box whenever Gaga is playing – or some of my other faves. So I’m definitely letting people know that I’m not just a “look queen.”
[photo: Stella D’oro]
What are your future plans for drag?
For now I’m just following the flow. I have no plans, to be hones,t and not even sure where this all will lead me to. For now my only “project” is to hit 10k followers on Instagram!
Follow this queen, children! Okay last question: when NickDZart gets a weekly show somewhere, what will it be called?
Oh lord! We all know the answer will be definitely connected with Gaga. Something like “Little Monsters Party!” But I’m pretty sure I have more than enough time to come up with a better name or idea!
I love it! Thanks, Nick!
NickDZART is the Ritz shotgirl and occasional performer at The Ritz on Friday and Saturday nights. Check Thotyssey’s calendar for scheduled appearances, and follow Nick on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.