This sexy, smart dancing queen made made herself known via the city’s weekly drag competitions. But now, the pussy is stepped All the Way Up as she slays this year’s Miss Barracuda pageant. It’s Contestant Numbah One, hailing from Da Bronx: Yasmin Delano!
Thotyssey: Yasmin, hello! Are you busy fine-tuning your pageant presentation for this week’s Miss Barracuda finale, or is everything as ready as it can be?
Yasmin Delano: Thank you for asking me to do this! Well, with it being the finale week I’m not too stressed out, but definitely putting final touches on a few things. I wanted to work on things as the weeks went by, to be able to incorporate criticism from the judges each week.
Have you found the judges’ criticisms to be helpful so far?
Of course! And I think I’ve tried to incorporate it while still staying true to my aesthetic. And the fact that I’ve made everything myself thus far is something I’m really proud of, too.
As well you should be! How are all the contestants getting along? It’s really closed quarters for such a huge pageant in that tiny bar–you have basically no space on site to get ready. It means you’re all squeezed together a lot!
Surprisingly, all of the girls but Egypt and I have come dressed. So per usual, it’s just us two squeezed in there all nigh,t speeding to get it together, haha!
OMG! Hahaha, I was saying after that wall change, it affirmed it’s the small things in life that make you happy. It’s still in our dressing rooms, though!
At least there’s that! So, I saw your look for the kid’s breakfast-themed swimsuit in the first week of the challenge. It was a halter strewn with draping strands of Fruit Loops! It was gorgeous, but it must’ve taken you hours and hours to make.
Oh, that week was a nightmare! With my day job, it took forever to, like, pretty much “hand-bead” it with two boxes of Fruit Loops. I wanted something simple, because I knew other girls would do over-the-top things. And my original hair fell apart backstage, which was an orange juice bottle with my hair pouring out of it into a cup. Luckily, from doing this for so long, I’ve learned to carry backups… and that was the pink hair I ended up wearing that night.
It was a great match! And I missed this past week, but I saw a video of you in your Betty Boop inspired gown (the theme was “cartoon character”). Is Betty an idol of yours?
I wouldn’t say an idol, but her aesthetic was definitely part of the inspiration that created “Yasmin Delano,” and also the Bratz dolls. So I thought she’d be fitting to serve a level of glamour people don’t get to usually see me in.
What’s the origin of your drag name?
Yasmin comes from the Bratz dolls. She was the only Latina out of the original four or five released. So she was always a favorite growing up. And “Delano” is obviously a nod to Adore–someone I’ve been friends with since he was on American Idol, and was also part of the jump start into drag.
I didn’t know you actually knew her!
Oh, we go back to doing Stickam live shows! She definitely has always been an inspiration for me to pursue my dreams. And I actually used to sing live a lot too, when I started, because of her.
And what’s the “usual” Yasmin Delano brand, would you say? Certainly you’re a dancing queen.
Haha, definitely! So I always keep that in mind when working on my costumes. But I like to say my brand is very “street hooker with sugar daddy money.”
Are you a native New Yorker?
Oh yes, henny. Born and raised in the Bronx.
Were you always dancing and turning lewks before you went Full Queen?
Surprisingly, no. I was a theater kid; I went to Fordham University. So when I turned 21 and started going out, I met people like Bianca Del Rio and Tina Burner. Watching them every week was subconsciously inspiring me–because one day it just clicked that they did everything I studied in school, but on their own schedule, to their own beat, with their own character. And it started from that, really.
Amazing! Where did Yasmin debut?
My first performance was actually at one of Miz Cracker’s old Tuesday shows at Barracuda. She randomly DM’ed me one day asking to book me, and I started working a lot after that. Then came Star Search, haha!
You and Egypt kinda turned up around the same time, right?
I was almost at my half-year mark when she popped up, which is probably why we clicked so easily. I was literally in her shoes just months before that, figuring it all out, too.
Both Egypt and you have won Star Search so many times by now. I thought it was funny when Egypt posted that you two got 10-99s from Barracuda, having won the prize money as often as you have there.
Hahah! I know, we were dying. I think it says a lot about our determination. We both have busted our asses to pay our dues, and work really hard to make a name. But I think that’s the beauty of our sisterhood: we always push each other to step our pussies up.
In a way, killing it in these weekly competitions like Star Search and Shequida’s Drag Wars at Pieces, while doing a few tips-only guest gigs on the side, is nearly as profitable as having a weekly show, isn’t it? It’s, like, another way of doings things in this very competitive industry.
I think it depends. Obviously for me, the end goal is to pull a Tina Burner and have eight shows a week. But for the time I have now, I can definitely agree with that! I think in terms of costuming and what you put back into shows, it’s definitely easier to do it two times a week versus seven times a week, and each one needing to be different.
I saw you compete for the The Miss Project Achieve / Columbia Research Unit Pageant in Therapy back in September. Was that your first larger-scale pageant competition?
Oh yes! For the HIV / AIDS foundation. That was my first ever pageant–and in comparison to what we’re doing now, I can’t believe I was even nervous for that!
Miss Barracuda is certainly demanding. And this year because of a weather delay, the traditionally four-week pageant at Barracuda was squeezed into three: was that a terrifying development for you?
I had anticipated that happening in the days leading up to it, so mentally I was prepared. But the last week of scrambling to put more than one thing together was terribly stressful.
This finale week is just “performance,” but last week was “gown” and “video” combined into one night.
That was the stressful part of last week: getting my video filmed and edited, while sewing my gown from scratch and working on the hair.
Describe your video!
The theme was to film a kids commercial. I did a very tongue-in-cheek commercial about guns for kids, using a spinoff of Kars for Kids. I wanted to channel my inner Tina, because she always puts that political twist on things in a funny way to make you think because it’s 100% real. I’ll definitely be posting the full length after finale night!
Good luck on the final night of the pageant, and congrats on how far you’ve come!
Thank you, I hope to see you there!
Quick: who’s gonna be this season’s winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race?
Possibly! Is there anything else coming up for you post-pageant?
Aside from finale night, I’m still at Barracuda for Star Search every Thursday at midnight. And the next few weeks I’ll more than likely be rollin’ with Tina Burner to Pieces every Friday for Trading Spaces at 8pm.
Okay, last question: what is the world’s greatest surprise trivia fact about Yasmin Delano?
That I actually went to college for a BFA in Performing Arts. We all have this joke to “stay in school or this could be you”… buttttt here I am, haha!
Take us all to school, Yasmin! Thank you!