A Tri-State queen for over two decades, this glittery, glamorous goddess has been entertaining the masses in bars, club and pageants for some time. And now that she is bona fine drag royalty, the shows just keep coming… and she’s HOSTING the pageants now! Thotyssey presents a reading from the book of Paige Monroe.
Thotyssey: Greetings, Paige! Thanks for talking to us today! So, you recently hosted the very first Miss Six26 pageant in Jersey City… how did it go?
Paige Monroe: It was an amazing event with such a diverse, supportive community, more than any bar I have experienced. And we crowned the first Miss Six26: Aaliyah Martinez.
She’s a crown slayer who’s going places! You’re no stranger to pageantry yourself.
I am a pageant girl. I competed for Miss Stonewall in 2018, after a long stint of not competing. I am looking to go more on a national level.
In every pageant, there’s always some backlash. I think people need to realize that the reality is, only one girl is gonna win. Doing a pageant teaches you a lot on how to prepare and manage your time. I use pageants as a stepping stone, and for promoting myself, more so than for a crown.
So, you’re a New Jersey lady!
Yes, I am originally a Jersey Gurl and competed for years in New Jersey and Pennsylvania at venues that no longer exist: The Den, The Cartwheel, The Colosseum, etc. And, I am a former Miss Paradise from 2002.
What first inspired you to do drag?
A legend that is no longer with us: Monica Rey, who was the host from Monday Nights at the Cartwheel and started the Drag Attack at The Colosseum. She was captivating and funny, and had a way of making you feel her energy. She made the audience a part of her performances.
Today, Jersey drag is challenging. Like you said, many of the major venues have closed and what remains is scattered all over the state. Competition for gigs can get a bit cutthroat. As someone who still performs there but also increasingly in New York, what’s your take on the current state of the Jersey scene?
I think the most important thing is that venue owners there need to understand how drag shows work. With Drag Race so popular, the expectations are so high… and they don’t allow the night to build and grow. They need to understand that they need to be involved with promoting and marketing, as well as being flexible with talent.
That’s absolutely true! Drag queens can’t do everything, especially at the rate some of these venues are paying. You were hosting a Drag Race viewing party at Empanada Mama in Hell’s Kitchen for Season 11 (that starred fellow Jersey Gurl Ariel Versace). How’d you like that season, and the viewing party hosting experience in general?
I loved hosting the viewing party. It’s a great way to engage with fans of the show, as well as supporting the local queens. I felt this season was meh. It’s a great platform for us performers. I myself have auditioned, but as Lady Bunny stated, to be star nowadays you need to be a train wreck.
I was taken to [their annual gala event] Night of a Thousand Gowns back in 2003 by Rob Hunter DeWoof, and then last year I saw a posting [that said] he was the Emperor. So I went to a show to see him since it’s been so long, and he introduced us to Coco LaChine who stated that I would be performing at her Broadway show next month… and the rest is history.
“Gowns” is always a fabulous night! What Imperial Court event might we see you at next?
Me & Zelina are co-producing Imperial Fairy Tales, hosted by Lady Egyptt LaBeija and Lord Jose Extravaganza, benefiting Princess Janae Place in the Bronx. That will be at Industry on September 15th. [Princess Janae was] another legend who I knew from The Colosseum when she took over after Monica Rey passed away.
You and Zelina make a great hosting pair. But you’ve also done fun shows with Dreama Belle, a queen whose been commuting here from Virginia and will soon be a resident. How did you first come in contact with her?
She actually found me on Facebook and wanted to include Court members at [her show at] The Phoenix, and generously asked me to co-host her Sunday show.
On DragCon Weekend, we’ll be seeing a lot of you two! First off, on September 7th, Dreama and I are co-hosting “A Southern Affair” at Rockbar, which features three southern RuGirls–Trinity K. Bonet, Jaidynn Diore Fierce and Nicole Paige Brooks–and several other visiting and local queens such as yourself and Zelina! How fun will that night be?
I am extremely excited to share the stage with an amazing cast that Dreama has put together of local girls and RuGirls. It’s definitely gonna be a show you don’t wanna miss, with all us queens and shenanigans.
Then the very next night, we will all be at Club Cumming for the Big Girl Revue, starring some fabulously thick queens! You, Zelina and I will be judging an open stage segment for the night… what should we be looking out for as judges?
What I look for is originality and lip sync–to me, those are so important as a entertainer. Bringing your authentic self to the stage is the best reward for the audience and the entertainer.
Anything else we should mention?
The Court has a lot of amazing events leading up to Night of A Thousand Gowns next year; check out the website to see where you can find us spreading love and awareness to our community… especially in these difficult times. Spread love, not hate. Let’s join our community together to protect our future generations.
Well said! And finally: what’s the worst and best thing about being a drag queen in 2019?
Th best: performing for 23 years now, I am more active in my community now than ever. I am fortunate to be performing in the best city ever; it keeps me on my toes. The worst is that we in our own community don’t respect each other, and we have divided ourselves into smaller groups rather than realizing we are a community. We need to stand together, side by side protecting each other, so we may survive and thrive and leave behind a legacy to never be forgotten.
Thank you, Paige!