As Trent, he’s a dynamic performer who takes acting and stagecraft to the extreme. So there’s no reason why his lady persona, the delightfully batshit Miss Ogeny, shouldn’t do the same with drag brunch! Thotyssey’s gets the full Story of Miss O.
Miss Ogeny, hello! Thanks for chatting with us! So, Tuesday night I popped into karaoke at Pieces and you were filling in for Rosé as host. How did the rest of the night go?
It was a really fun night! Rosé and [karaoke co-host] Lagoona Bloo are really good Judys of mine, so I was thrilled to step in. Although I’m not much of a karaoke singer, I love the reckless abandoned mentality of folks who go to karaoke. It’s just a bunch of people, ready and willing. And that’s sorta what you need when you watch drag, too.
Absolutely! Your style of drag breaks a lot of “rules,” especially in regards to the show queens who normally perform in Manhattan. Was that a conscious, “punk rock” choice?
I love this history of drag and everything that encompasses it, and how drag has evolved. I wouldn’t say that my aesthetic is intentionally punk rock, but I’m not shying away from that. I love the basis of old school music and the innuendos of those times, and then mixing in the harshly sexual music of today. So, taking something classic and then turning it upside down. Because for me, being in drag is about making sure everyone is having a good time. I love making people laugh as my “brother” Trent, so drag is just an extension of myself. Just louder, prettier, and typically 6 inches taller.
Where are you from?
New Hampshire. I lived there for 16 years before moving to Florida.
You have an extensive history with being a stage performer and artist prior to drag… what’s the history of all that, and how did you evolve over time artistically?
So, I was obsessed with theatre since I was 5 years old, and saw a community production of Into The Woods and went around singing those three words for months. My parents then got me Cats on VHS, and I destroyed two of them because I watched it so many times. So when I started doing theatre at an older age, my mom insisted that I also help with the technical aspects–costumes, props, set. It ignited a big passion for creating in general.
I studied musical theatre in college, but was taken in by the costume designer and helped make a lot of garments. After college, I was hired to be the creative director of a theatre based out of NYC and Vermont. So, it’s been a long history of me building things from the ground up. As a performer, I’ve gone from musical theatre and plays, to now working in immersive theatre and drag!
That’s great that your mother insisted that you learn other aspects of the craft. Did she just want you to have a more diverse skill set?
Yes, that’s it. But also she wanted me to have a true understanding of what the people behind the scenes do. Mind you, she only did a couple of shows in high school, but her whole life was: if you’re investing in something, you should know what goes into allowing you be able to do the thing you do. Does that make sense?
Absolutely, and that’s very good advice!
So I take it you ultimately came to NYC for theater.
Yeah, and I still do it. The fact that my main form of theatre–immersive performance–is still fairly niche, has allowed me to explore this found passion in drag!
What drew you to that particular style of theatre?
So, it started with me being hired by this company. They had a long, almost hot dog-style black box, which was very challenging and exciting to work with. So most of our shows were designed that the audience was engaged in the performance. And after a couple shows, I suggested we try doing immersive / site specific work, and it felt amazing.
It’s truly the next evolution of theatre. Much like technology evolves, so did theatre. And, credit where credit is due, Emursive and Third Rail opened a lot of new doors in this city. And people are very responsive because it’s so close. It’s some of the most intimate things you can feel while being removed from reality.
Is Miss Ogeny a product of immersive theatre?
Yeah, I’d say she’s definitely in that wheelhouse. But mainly, she comes from all the Judy Garland, Peggy Lee,Shirley Ellis etc. mixed with seeing To Wong Foo. and The Birdcage at probably way too young of an age.
Your drag premiere was the weekly Lady Liberty competition at the Ace Hotel last year, where you showed up with these ornate handmade costumes made from unconventional materials like newspaper and cardboard, and these hyper-crazy, funny numbers you performed. It all worked amazingly well… a superb debut!
Oh, I absolutely LOVE unconventional material challenges in any reality show I watch (I was also super scrapped for cash, hahaha). I’d continue to pull off these looks if it was more sustainable for reuse, but most of the time they are one-time-wear garments. As for the numbers, my mind is a whirlwind of media spinning at all times, so making mixes comes pretty naturally. I was super inspired by Brita Filter and Jasmine Rice and Miz Cracker when I’d see their shows previously, and they had these incredible mixes that send out so much energy! I hardly do a song straight through… but when I do, it’s along the lines of “9 to 5″ by Dolly Parton, and I perform it in the style of a sex worker.
How did you enjoy that whole competition experience?
Lady Liberty was an amazing platform. I made quite a few good friends, and love seeing where all of these talented queens are. Rosé and Lagoona were actually in the same season as me, and now they’re two of my closest queens.
And how was co-hosting the last night of Tantrum at Therapy with Brita this past Thursday?
Firstly, it was an honor to be there to close that chapter with Brita, and she’s got an incredible one following every week with Rosé and Lagoona. Secondly, it was a blast! Which is to be expected when you’re with Brita. She’s one of the kindest, most encouraging queens. Thirdly, it was an honor to perform with Brita (twice in seven days) because she’s one of my favorite queens. And that’s across the board. Not just NYC, but the whole gamut.
I hear that! So you’ve had a weekly gig of your own for some time now, hosting the Sunday bingo brunch called Grabbin’ Balls at the hipper-than-Hell Narcbar at The Standard. How did that gig come about, and how would you describe it to the uninitiated?
It’s by far my favorite day of the week. It was all “right place at the right time.” The Standard is a really fun, progressive hospitality company. They love a little obscure, a little strange, and a whole lot of fun. And that’s pretty much what the gig is! It’s open to any age (but it’s drag, so…unless you’re the cool mom, 6 year olds should maybe stay home), and it’s a great menu. I EAT every week, plus there’s rosé on tap. I have a different guest every week with me, we play a few rounds of bingo, some other games, and give plenty of shows! Folks can either reserve a table, or first-come-first-served walk-ins are always welcome.
Has it proven challenging to keep up with Miss Ogeny while you are so involved with your theater work?
Oh, not at all! I’m constantly wanting more Miss Ogeny!
Werk. Where else can we find you?
Best thing to do is follow me on Instagram! I’ll always post my stupid face and my dope gigs.
Nice! Okay, last question: despite your wide array of looks, you will always be recognized from a glance as Miss Ogeny due to that trademark mustache. Will you keep it forever and ever?
I get asked this frequently! I do not see it going away anytime soon. I love it, and it goes right along with my drag–just a little off-kilter. So, for now, the stache is here to stay!
Wisdom! Thanks, Miss Ogeny!
Miss Ogeny hosts Sunday drag bingo brunch at Narcbar at the Cooper Square Standard (noon). Check Thotyssey’s calendar for all her upcoming gigs, and follow her on Instagram.