On Point With: Whatevra

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This Dallas-born visual artist and hand-sewing seamstress has been turning some fascinating looks, set pieces and numbers in Brooklyn venues these past few years. But this week, it’s the West Village’s Rockbar where she’ll make her show hosting debut. Thotyssey worships Whatevra in her vert first nightlife interview!


Thotyssey: Whatevra, hello! how are things going?

I’m good!  My sis Poison Dart Frog was just here; we were planning for our show tomorrow!  My first hosting gig as well! It’s all happening so fast, LOLOL! (The LOLs are because I’ve actually been doing drag for over three years, but it’s been a slow rollout!)

Congratulations! That’s kinda normal now though, probably… there are so many queens in this city all vying for the same handful of gigs. If you stick around long enough and keep getting more amazing, you’re bound to get your break, eventually… right?

Yes!  And honestly, I just wanted to do drag just to do it at first, you know?  I started with turning looks, and it was a while before I felt like I could tackle performing. Unlike a lot of queens, I don’t come from a performance background at all!

Interesting! So it was always about design and looks for you in the beginning?

Yes. I’ve made art for many years–like, art that hangs on the wall–and always used textiles and hand-sewing. So it felt natural to extend that to reworking things I’d thrift by hand into looks.

And then you became the canvas! 

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Let’s just backtrack a little bit first… where’s your hometown?

I’m originally from Dallas, TX, but I’ve been in NYC for more time than I grew up there at this point. So I kind of think of here as my hometown now–no disrespect to Big D!

What brought you to NYC?

I went to college in Westchester and made a few friends from the city, and wound up moving in with them after graduating. My parents were teachers, so it was important to them that my sister and I go out of state to be “wel-rounded.” AKA, to get rid of us, lol!

Were you studying art?

A little bit, but my parents didn’t want me to go to art school–so, just a few classes.  After I graduated though, I wound up going to FIT to get another degree in sportswear, which I did for like five years before transitioning into graphics for a fashion company. Which is why I’m confused about why I won’t get back on the sewing machine–as of now, hand-sewing is just more fun for me.

Cool! I guess it’s therapeutic, and maybe a little more intimate?

Yes absolutely you nailed it! And I like a “homemade” touch.  As Adore Delano said, I’m polish remover! Although I have had a few glamorous moments, lol.

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At what point did you discover drag, and realize you could apply your art to that?

Well, so…I had always been aware of queens, and was super-intimidated and intrigued by them. I remember seeing Tandi Andrews in San Antonio in college, and just being floored. But it wasn’t a regular thing for me to go to drag shows.

But then RuPaul’s Drag Race happened, and I became obsessed. I was working in graphics at the time, and started following all these NYC queens on Insta and kept saying “if I just didn’t have this damn job, I’d totally be doing that!” to myself. And then I got laid off, lol! It was like life called my bluff.

Life can do that! I saw you perform several months ago at Bizarre with Chris of Hur’s show, PURSUNz. At first I mistook you for Hur, cuz you two had a similar color pallette.

That is not the first time I’ve heard the Chris of Hur comparison–and it’s always an honor, she is the best. I live my life for earth tones and so does she!

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That night you also had this sort of transparent uterus thing strapped on to you, that was filled with these tiny objects that eventually burst out… it was amazing!

OMG, thank you so much! Those were packing peanuts and confetti, by the way, lol!

Simple, yet so effective! Do you usually incorporate those elaborate prop pieces in your looks?

Yes, almost always! I’m doing one number tomorrow with zero props, and it’s the one I’m most nervous about. They can be so effective, but they can be a crutch too. So I’m still learning how to best employ them. I love making them so much, though!

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As far as your song or mix selections in your performances go, what generally inspires you?

I have always been obsessed with music, and belong to this total geek music forum where we dissect and rate pop music and treat it really seriously–which is so often not the case.  So, often I’ll try and sneak in a song I’m obsessed with by adding to it with props, or YouTube audio clips, or whatever helps sell it.  My favorite thing is if someone asks me, “what was that song?!?” after I perform. And when I find that the song lends itself to an issue or feeling I care about only as I’m making the mix, it is super awesome.

Something tells me you won’t be using that new Christina song any time soon. 

I haven’t heard it, which I’m totally ashamed of…did you remember that I actually used a Christina song in that PURSUNz performance you saw!? But I added this dance mix of chickens clucking in the middle, haha!

Yes! I do remember now… that’s probably what made me think of it! And PS, take your time listening to her new one, you ain’t missing much!

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So how did you enjoy participating in the Mr(s) BK pageant? It seems like emotions ran high with the climax of that one!

This year was a little rough for me, to be honest, but I am so so glad I did it again. Just to share the stage with so many amazing queens–and the judges are some of those legends I would follow on Iinsta before I’d ever seriously turned a look, much less performed.

I would love any tea about the climax, by the way! I honestly left before the winner was announced, because I had to be up early. I mean, of course I know who won, and figured she would. Emi was amazing!

For one thing, I heard Harajuku was given some resistance by the venue with the act she wanted to do.

Wow. I felt like Harajuku really pushed the boundaries of what you could do on that stage, and can only imagine how much more crazy it would have been!

Was an earlier Mr(s) BK pageant–formerly known as Ms. Williamsburg–your drag performing debut?

I did the last two years, but did [another major Brooklyn pageant] DRAGnet before that. It was the first performance I ever did, and I made the Top 3 (this was just the preliminary weekly competition), which was so encouraging.

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It seems you’ve mostly mixed it up in the Brooklyn venues, but you’ve done Manhattan as well! You were just in Rockbar recently for Precious Envy’s birthday show. How did that go?

Ugh! Precious is the best, I was so glad she asked me. And Coco, Carlos and Tiffany are my sissies now, and I finally got to meet Hazel in drag! It was amazing to perform alongside and with them. Honestly, one of the things I have most wanted from drag is a sisterhood.

And now you’ll be back at Rockbar on Tuesday with your first-ever hosted show, along with Poison Dart Frog and Diana Dash!

OMG, I can’t waaaaait!  Guess I don’t have to since it’s tomorrow! Rockbar is so amazing and hospitable, and the way I got clinked up with it is so random and in keeping with my life. I originally went to support Suburbia in the Miss Rockbar pageant preliminaries, and Angel Elektra and Shay D’Pines–who I knew from Look Queen–were there, and really pushed me into entering the next week. And I wound up making the finals!  Anyways, I’ve always wanted a public way to thank them, and Rockbar!

Poison Dart Frog is such an incredible performer, and I’m gagged to be sharing this night with her!

And I’m super excited my sis Diana Dash is able to join Poison and I tomorrow, because she is incredible, too!

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Okay, final question, inspired by this past week’s Drag Race episode… what would your runway mermaid look like?

I have thought about this, like every challenge of course. You know that spot in the ocean where all the plastic is congregating and it’s, like, the size of Texas now, or something? I’d want my mermaid to be trapped in the middle of all of it, and dragging it along with me. I’d want it to flow over the runway, and onto the judges’ table. Thank goddess this is a fantasy, and I don’t have to give you any exact construction details!

You can have those for the RePoint, lol! Thanks, Whatevra!


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Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Whatevra’s upcoming appearances, and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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