On Point With: Tess Tickles

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One of the fierce tribe of Westchester drag queens keeping the county’s scene alive despite the odds, Tess Tickles is keeping it real and making things happen.


Thotyssey: Tess, hello! Thanks for talking to us today! I caught you Friday performing at Maddelynn Hatter’s new drag competition Open Call at the Ritz! You were her guest, since you won the week before. 

Tess Tickles:  Yes! Maddelynn’s show is so different from the regular drag competitions in NYC, so it was fun! And I’m excited to perform again, and hopefully make it to the finals in a few months to snatch that prize!

Hope to see you there! Whenever you revisit these competitions, is it always shocking to see how many more new drag queens there seem to be, like, every month?

Not shocking at all! I kinda always expect to meet new queens whenever I’m out in the city, and I’m always very excited! Whether they are local queens or queens just visiting, it’s always nice seeing a new face.

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Spoken like a true queen! You’ve been doing your thing in NYC for a minute now, but you’re also a Westchester County gal. Is that where you’re originally from?

Yes, born and raised!

How did you discover drag?

I use to sneak into a gay bar here in Westchester when I was underage to watch the local queens perform on Thursday nights, and after, like, two years of watching them I decided to give it a try. And now I’m one of the local clowns!

There used to be a number of gay / drag bars in Westchester, and now there are none! WTF happened, do you think?

Well, to keep a gay bar open your local community has to support it…  and that usually is not the case here in Westchester. A new gay bar is in the works currently, so hopefully people will be more mindful and support it. I know with the growing LGBTQQIA population in Westchester, we could make it happen again.

You and Rhoda Rollins Stone had a long-running show called Gagged Thursdays at a straight pub in Yonkers, Ireland’s 32, that ended not long ago. Was that conclusion a super-crushing experience?

Aw, yes! Mainly because that was the first show I ever hosted, and learned so much about my drag just by doing that weekly show.

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How would you describe your own style of drag, and performing?

Just a regular daytime slut mom who likes to incorporate a lot of comical things into her performances to always keep her audience excited for more.

By the way, I feel so dumb… it took me months to get the pun in your name, and I can’t imagine why it took that long!

Hahaha, good! I think drag names are funnier when you don’t get it the first time, and then realize two months later what her name really means when you’re, like, doing laundry alone or something!

Yes totally! So Amber Guesa is your new partner-in-crime… how did you meet her?

She messaged me once letting me know that she was free to come and perform with us whenever we wanted, and I thought she lived in Albany… and she literally lived five minutes from my house, haha! So I snatched her up and made her a part of us Westchester drag gals! I love her… she’s wild! And we’re the same age, so we get along perfectly.

We’re gonna see you two in Westchester for a pop-up show at Eclipse Bar & Lounge on Thursday’s LGBT night in Yonkers. 

YES!!! I’m so excited, it’s such a cute bar with great music and good drinks, and I always see new faces when I’m there. So I’m excited to finally perform there!

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And then Friday, you and Amber will do a new show, Fierce Fridays at Mount Vernon’s The Alamo

Yes! The Alamo is cute! And with rotating hosts every other week, everyone gets to see all the Westchester girls out again!

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That’s the best news–have great shows! So, will we see you at DragCon?

Yes, 100 percent! I broke my ankle a month before I was suppose to leave to DragCon LA with all the Westchester girls, so I’m excited to be able to make it to the NYC one!

Tread carefully this time! Okay, last question… what will Tess be for Halloween?

If you know me you know I AM HALLOWEEN!!! So you’ll just have to wait and see!

Spooktacular! Thanks, Tess!


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