Given that she’s boasting some of the most dynamic makeup and costume looks in the business–and a killer showmanship on top of it all–NYC is blessed to have Rochester’s finest come through as often as she does. This week leading up to Bushwig, there will be many chances to catch this bona fide star. Named after the iconic goth girl and the punk fashion legend, make way for the one and only Wednesday Westwood!
Thotyssey: Greetings! Thanks for talking with us today! I understand you are on your way to a camping trip now. I didn’t know drag queens actually camped in the literal sense!
Wednesday Westwood: It’s called Jones Pond, and it’s actually a mens’ only (gay) campground! Sometimes we actually perform out there. Aggy Dune is the queen there, and invited me to perform this past 4th of July weekend. And I’m quite butch, so camping is totally my thing, lol!
Yasss Butch Queen! Well, have fun… and don’t attract any wolves. So, you’re Rochester-based.
What’s the drag scene like there?
It’s actually really great. We’ve got the drag legends: Aggy Dune, Kasha Davis, Darienne Lake, Ambrosia Salad, a hand full of middle-aged queens that have been doing it for a while (me being one of them), and a bunch of talented new queens that have started within the past four years. We all really support each other and always work together. Rochester loves drag. It’s a liberal city that really supports the arts.
That’s lovely! Is that where you’re originally from?
No I grew up in Jefferson County, northern NY. Watertown, basically… until I was 18.
You are known for glamorous, baroque horror in your drag looks and wardrobe designs. Was that always a part of your aesthetic wheelhouse?
Totally. I was obsessed with Madonna at, like, 4 years-old. And Tim Burton had a huge impact on me, especially from Batman Returns and Nightmare Before Christmas.
What artistic medium started it all for for you?
Drawing and painting came first. My subjects were almost always feminine figures, often on the darker, “creepy” side.
Then I started experimenting with special effects makeup–zombie gore and such–which segued into feminine and pretty looks… which then led to drag.
Also in my late teens, I went to a lot of punk shows and YEARNED to be on stage, but that never really materialized until I found drag.
Siouxsie Sioux must’ve been an idol of yours.
Absafuckinglutley! I fell in love with her in high school!
What was your drag debut like?
I was 19, and did an amateur drag night at this club I was barbacking at in Syracuse called Red Light Lounge. I didn’t have a drag name, so they called me Dewey Paige because i had on a Bettie Paige wig from a Halloween store–and because my boy name is Dewey. I did one number: “It’s Been So Long“ by Horrorpops.
What can be expected from a typical Wednesday Westwood performance nowadays?
I like to to do a variety of things: metal, pop, some hip hop. I love creating mixes with a cohesive theme that includes dialogue. I have this one I love doing that’s Reba’s “Fancy” with dialogue from Tammy from Vine scattered throughout it. It cracks people up. I love doing humorous numbers as well.
I also love doing numbers with a guitar solo, and I bring out an actual guitar and “guitar sync.” I do that to In This Moments’ cover of “Call Me” by Blondie. And of course I love a good spooky / scary performance!
I think lots of drag queens are afraid to go out of the Britney Box because they think gay audiences will automatically tune out… but if you do it right, being different helps on stage, right?
Oh absolutely! Any song can be a crowd pleaser if you know to werk it! You shouldn’t always rely on people knowing the song to make for a good performance. And it’s always cool to hear people say “I never heard that song until you performed it, and now I can’t stop listening to it.”
Totally! So the last time I saw you, it was at the Alotta Stuff auction at Metropolitan Bar back in May, which also served as Thorgy’s birthday party. You sold some really amazing stuff… Drag Race All-Star Tatianna suddenly appeared out of thin air and bought this huge headpiece of yours for, like, $200!
It was for $150, I believe. That was a really fun night!
And in general, you’ve been gracing NYC venues a lot this past year–especially Brooklyn. Was that always the case for you?
No, that’s a newer thing. I was in the city for DragCon last year. My friend Lucy Stoole was there and staying and working in the city for 3 weeks, and I was like, SHIT WHY DON’T I DO THAT!? So since January, I have been coming up to the city to work a week at a time about every other month. I love the Brooklyn girls so much. They’ve always been so welcoming of me. Some of the Manhattan girls as well, of course. But the Brooklyn drag scene has felt like family to me the most.
I’ve done her show twice, and it’s a lot of fun!
Yes! I did this party once before in January, the night of that shitty blizzard!
It’ll be my first time doing that!
Then Sunday, a double header–first, you are one of the many dozens of amazing performers at the Bushwig festival! You are slated to go on around 8pm. That is going to be extraordinary!
I’ve done The Rosemont once before… one of my favorite bars. I do it with Mini Horrorwitz, whom I consider my favorite drag sister.
And now tell us about what’s coming up for you when you get home to Rochester.
Right when I get back, I start my viewing party for American Horror Story at the Bachelors Forum. Then the following Friday is my monthly show WHAT THE FROCK?! Fridays at Lux Lounge, with Brooklyn’s very own Untitled Queen as our special guest!
Amazing! Do you have high hopes for AHS this season?
Yes I do! I think its gonna be their epic comeback from last year’s shitty season.
Here’s hoping! By the way, to state the obvious: you’d be a perfect Drag Race contestant, and as you’ve said earlier Rochester has put out some pretty great ones. Do you have aspirations for the show?
Yes I do! And that’s all I’ll say about that, lol!
Okay, final question: as the Season of the Witch approaches… who or what is the all-time greatest horror movie monster?
Id have to say Nosferatu! Creepy as FUCK even today! A TIMELESS classic.
As is Wednesday Westwood!