Fighting the good fight to keep Westchester queer and relevant, this queen has a weekly show going strong in that hood and a major showcase coming up in NYC. Thotyssey rocks out with Rhoda Rollins Stone!
Thotyssey: Rhoda, hello! Happy Day After Your Show! You probably missed the last episode of Drag Race, but now they’ve finally announced the Season 10 cast. Who shall slay the hardest?
Rhoda Rollins Stone: There’s the trick. though. I’ve seen these performers work their show on stage, lip syncing and dancing, with fierce head to toe looks, but I’ve never seen any of them do underwater modelling in a 20 foot tank.
That is the litmus test! Have you ever tried out for a season, or will you? I know not every queen likes to talk about that process.
It’s an amazing platform and the process is a lot, but I should give it a go.
In the meantime, you and your show sister Tess Tickles are tearing up Yonkers. Are you a native Westchesterian?
Yes, I live in White Plains. I’ve been doing shows up here for about 7 years.
Westchester County queer nightlife has had its up and downs over the years. B Lounge in Valhalla was a big deal, and you were a well-known performer there. Were you surprised when they closed down?
I was devastated when that went. That’s where the [Westchester] drag scene started. I wanted to still be performing there when I’m 60. Business started declining and they changed owners; it never recovered and eventually closed.
And then there was Ignite in White Plains, there and gone so quickly.
Yes, we opened with a drag brunch that had some success. My work schedule kept me from staying in the show.
From your observations, is there a strong enough queer presence in Westchester now to justify a nightlife there?
Lord have mercy, we’re keeping up the one night a week we have. That’s it. There are no gay bars. We do our show in a regular Irish bar that has a night.
It’s very different in Westchester, having a drag show up here–mind you, only a quick drive from the city. Being a Westchester Queen is nothing to be snuffed at. We’re doing what we do, where we’re not all that welcome.
Do you get negative pushback from the straight community there?
We do. I think most of it comes from negative stereotype, though. We have a mixed crowd each week, with people who love what we do and surprised locals who can’t believe that this gorgeous woman isn’t really a woman, lol.
How would you describe Gagged Thursdays, your weekly Thursday show with Tess at Ireland’s 32 in Yonkers, to the uninitiated? I guess you’ve been there about a year now.
It’s been a blast and a half! With our mix of style and theatrics, the crowd get a good taste of variety. We also welcome in our sisters to perform whenever they want, so you never know what you’re going to get. I always joke that it’s a controlled shit-show.
I read a great interview where you discuss how you came out in your late 20s, and therefore are a later-in-life drag queen (at least compared to the Insta-babies who paint in the womb). When you started drag, did you feel pressure to “catch up” with other queens?
Never! I have decades of media knowledge for material, and more life experience. I decided on my style early on. I love drag, and I get inspired by other queens. It’s important to keep learning, so I like to see what others are doing with makeup and costuming.
How would you describe your style of drag?
I’ve always embraced glamour, and putting a new twist on Old School Drag. I’m all about the shtick–I love throwing humor in my mixes whenever I can. Old Hollywood with a dash of modern bitch.
And what’s your favorite number to do right now?
It’s a mix entitled “Dick Pics for RoRo”. 80’s music with a girl sarcastically requesting dick pics. It’s silly.
The first time I saw you perform I think was about two years ago… you were a guest for Rebecca’ Glasscock’s Stonewall Invasion! I think you did a few of them with her.
Awwww, I miss those Invasions! We met through a mutual friend. She was putting together her cast for an Invasion and was looking for new talent. I was recruited soon after.
And now the full circle moment: after winning the latest round of the “So You Want an Invasion” drag competition, you’re headlining your very own Invasion at Stonewall this Sunday. That’s a prestigious gig! How psyched are you?
Very! I’ve been working on a fun opening, and I’m having all my Westchester girls in the show. Having an Invasion like this has been a long time coming.
New York City will soon know what Westchester is made of!
In closing: what’s a Fun Rhoda Fact the world should know?
Although Rhoda Rollins Stone is my drag name, I go by RoRo. It’s a nickname given by a friend of mine, and everyone started calling me that. My friends also refer to me as Ro. Cute, right?
You go, Ro!
Rhoda Rollins Stone co-hosts “Gagged Thursdays” weekly at Ireland’s 32 in Yonkers. Check Thotyssey’s calendar for all scheduled appearances, and follow Rhoda on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.