One of Jersey’s fiercest and best known queens paved her own path to success. All hail queen Ariel Versace!
Thotyssey: Ariel, hello and thanks so much for talking to us this not-too-disgusting summer Saturday! So where are you right now?
Ariel Versace: Just relaxing! Pool day for this Jersey girl. We just bought a house last year and put a blow-up pool on the top deck of our backyard.
And day drinking… but I figured that’s assumed. Living a fantasy, haha!
How long have you been a Jersey queen now? Back in the day you were a Philly girl, weren’t you?
I’ve always lived in Jersey, but there was more of a scene in Philly, and [I performed there] to get my name out there. But I kind of started my own little thing in Jersey! Been doing drag for about 5+ years now!
You’ve certainly made your mark! What neighborhood are you originally from?
I was born in Cherry Hill, NJ! So honestly I’ve kind of lived around the same area my whole life.
When did you discover drag?
Honestly, my first experience with drag was catching old episodes of [RuPaul’s Drag Race] Season 4 (I think it was in Season 5) at the time on a laptop, with my ex-boyfriend while he was in the hospital.
Wow! What about, like, theater and music? Did you have a background in that at all?
I did! I was super involved with the musical theater and theater program in middle / high school! I went to college for two years for Musical Theater and Graphic Design. I left to obtain a Cosmetology License from Cos. School, though.
You’ve become such a makeup icon over to time, producing countless pristine looks. How did your aesthetic develop over time?
You know, as I kept playing in drag, I really got into color. It was always very safe neutral looks at first, but I started to get bored. The second I started dipping into that color, honey, that’s when the Bratz Doll started coming to life! Now I’m so bored by the neutrals. I can’t leave the house in a brown neutral eye!
Always impeccable! Dragging in Jersey seems challenging: venues are scattered across the state, and queens can be very competitive for gigs… how did you make your mark so strongly on the scene?
I separated myself from everyone’s BS. It’s all competition shows, like everywhere. Even the seasoned girls. All the girls are always fighting for the spotlight. So I made my own spotlight on my own area.
And how would you describe your performing style?
I kind of like to keep my drag more light and airy, to be honest. She’s a little pop star, at least in her mind.
You’ve had long running shows at the VERA, in Cherry Hill. What’s that venue like?
It’s like a combination night club / restaurant! The bottom floor show has more of a dinner theater show feel, and the top floor is the more lights, loud, music, drinks vibe! Very Jersey, haha! We’ve had the show there for about three years! Two shows a month: one night show and one brunch.
Last question: you and Chasity St. Cartier are the cutest drag couple that ever happened. What’s the secret to making a relationship work in this crazy business?
We really just balance off of each other well and learn from each other. Our passion for what we do keeps us going!