This fashionista (also known as designer / podcaster Ronie Reives) has proven recently that she is as funny as she is fierce, both on the stage and over the digital airwaves. Behold the voluptuous villainy of Viki Villainess!
Viki Villainess: Thanks Jim, hey gurl hey!
And you’ve released a lot of episodes already. When during the week do you usually record?
We usually record our show on Fridays after the week of drama and sensationalism is done… and both Ari and I have already seen our therapists.
What made you want to start podcasting?
We started the podcast because we felt like we had a lot to say about… well, everything. I felt like we should add our QPOC voices to the conversation. And besides, Joan Rivers is dead and Wendy Williams got fired, so now it’s all up to us!
Carry on with the Carry!
So you’re a Busy B, being a broadcaster, performing as Viki… and you’re also a designer!
Yeah, I design and create custom pieces for men, women and drag queens, which keeps me pretty busy. I also just started my Etsy shop where I sell made-to-order T-shirts and soon other pieces.
Werk. So would you say you are primarily a designer, and everything else you do comes after?
I like to think of myself as just a designer, but because everything I do requires my attention all the time it’s hard to say I’m just one thing. The word “versatile” comes to mind, though.
I read that about you in a bathroom stall somewhere! So, where is your hometown?
Were you always into designing and the performing arts growing up?
Actually I was. All I’ve ever done is perform and make stuff. As a kid, I was involved with after school and weekend art classes, enrolled in theater and sleepaway camps until I went to the Baltimore School for the Arts, then into college at the Art institute of Philly, then into FIT for fashion. I’m that cautionary tale parents tell their kids to avoid a life in the arts. So obviously I literally have no real life skills.
Who needs those!?
How was your time in FIT?
I love FIT! I learned so much about my craft, and it has this unique vibe. The campus is filled with all these artsy, fashionable, smart people who are coming together because we all love to make pretty things. I met so many cool people, and it’s crazy to see everyone do so many awesome things after we left school. Aaaaaaaannnnddd it’s where I won my first (only) pageant, so that’s something.
Is that where Viki was born?
What was she like then?
A Mess. A hot, messy mess. She was loud, crass, cursed too much, drank too much, chased all the boys and looked like she put her makeup on with her toes. As I’ve done the character more, I’ve learned to polish her slightly. At least she’s interesting to look at.
Did you come to base her look on anything or anyone specific?
In the beginning I wanted to resemble the loosely-hinged Stacey Dash or stunning Rihanna; although the look has evolved and wonders into special effects makeup sometimes. Now I just do whatever I want.
Can you believe what has become of our adorable Stacey Dash?
Fuck Stacey Dash!
So is Saliva where you met Ari?
Actually, Ari and I met a few months before, on a popular gay dating site. After we met in person for the first time we’ve been sistahs for life. I actually had to drag Ari to Saliva the first time we went. She doesn’t like to try new things, so I forced her!
So you’re to blame!
Yeah, that was my fault. Sorry about that one.
You’ve been Ari’s guest performer for her Boots & Saddle show, and hosted a few of your own shows there. What do you think about Boots’ sudden closing, and the news that it will be reborn as a new venue under the Pieces owners?
I had a lot of feelings when I heard Boots & Saddle was closing. We’ve watched so many queens come into their own there, and it sucks this platform is no longer on the New York stage. Hopefully when it reopens under Pieces management, we’ll still have that space for drag. But it is their brand now, so they can do whatever they want with it.
So, Drag Race All-Stars 3 is about to end. Kind of a weird Season, wouldn’t you say?
It’s such a strange season. From the weirdly conceived challenges, to the very brief moments with Ru in the work room. And with the untimely self-sacrifice of the omnipresent and benevolent #BenDeLaChrist, this is literally anyone’s game.
I would’ve appreciated a little moment to breathe and absorb all the weirdness, but it looks like we’re not getting that!
Oh! I know, right? Ru is giving us two new reigning queens this season!
Who are you looking forward to seeing on Season 10?
I’m literally rooting for everyone from NY. On some level I’ve interacted or worked with every last one of these girls, and I can’t wait to watch NY represent.
Werk, we’ll see you on Season 11! Who will your Snatch Game celebrity be then?
Eartha Kitt, Cardi B or Maxine Waters. Or Maury Povich, if we’re still allowed to do men.
One thing you started doing this past year in drag is standup, touring with comedian Ike Avelli around the Tri-State area. You’re a natural!
Oh wow, thank you!.
But it must’ve been terrifying to try that in the beginning.
I wasn’t terrified the first time I got up to do the standup tour. Speaking in front of people is kinda easy for me, so I knew I could do that part. What really scared TF out of me was the fear of not being funny. We were going into these legit straight comedy clubs with the exposed brick wall and a mic. I’m usually the only drag queen for miles, and as my dad used to say, there’s nothing worse than an unfunny f*g. Yuck yuck tuck
How were you received in a lot of those straight rooms?
Oh, they loved it! There were a few shows where you could feel the tension rise from the audience as I approached the stage, especially in some of the more conservative cities. But once I opened the mic, I had instant fans in the most unlikely places. Wives would come up to me after the show and tell me how much their husbands enjoyed it. Which is a nice change–after a guy enjoys me, I usually never get to meet their wives.
Well, you might not have to worry about wives so much when you and Ike debut the four-week run of your new variety show, “UNTalented Tuesdays,” at the Duplex this week! Tell us about what this show is gonna be like.
I’m so excited to have the chance to perform at The Duplex! Ike and I want to do things a little different for our show. There’s drag, dramatic numbers, bitchy banter, comedy…. and Ike is there too, lol! We’ll have a guest every week, and we’re kicking off our first show with the one and only Ari Kiki.
Sounds like the perfect evening! And I see on April 28thl, you’ll be back at the Duplex guest performing for the showcase Ike Avelli’s Day Off!
Oh yeah, that’s right: his crazy 80’s idea.
And in closing: what is the world’s most amazing trivia fact the world show know right now about Ronie / Viki?
I’m wracking my brain! Um… I have a dog named Yoshi, because he eats anything!
Viki and Yoshi will devour 2018! Thanks for chatting with us, gurl!