This Jersey girl with a saintly day job serves joy and fierceness across her home state, and these days is keeping it cute in uptown NYC as well. Thotyssey explores the Suite Life of Divinity Banks!
Thotyssey: Hello Divinity, Happy March! This is probably the perfect drag weather.
Divinity Banks: Yes! It is not too hot, not too cold.
Well, you are keeping it super hot at Suite Bar these days… but you are also a well-known, longtime New Jersey queen. Are you a Jersey native?
Yes I am! Jersey City.
Before drag, were you always into dance and fashion? Did you study them in school?
Yes I’ve always been into dance and fashion. but unfortunately I didn’t go to school for it. I couldn’t afford it, lol! I studied fashion through social media and other drag inspirations.
How and when did Divinity make her debut?
This October, 11 years ago…. OMG I’m old! I did Princess Janae’s Diva Search at Escuelita Nightclub, and stuck my toe in the drag water and never turned back. After the feeling I got from being on the stage, it was evidence that was where I am suppose to be.
Sadly we have since lost both Janae and Escualita… but what an extraordinary history! How else have you seen the world of drag change since you started?
Drag has become more mainstream, and is accepted more these days. Though we still have a lot of work to do, it is no long a hidden environment. It has become a platform for not only the gay community to see the talent, but for everyone: young, old, green, blue, gay, or straight.
I remember trying to make sure after a show that I got all my makeup off before going to my day job, so I wouldn’t be judged. But now if I still have eyeliner on from the night before… tough, lol! With drag being more mainstream, I feel more accepted in my everyday life. I’m a drag performer and I’m proud.
But do you ever feel sometimes that there are just too many drag queens nowadays? Or is there just no such thing as too much drag?
No such thing! I would be a hypocrite if I said there were too many drag queens or too much drag. Drag is an art, and other drag queens are expressing themselves and showing their talent just like I am. “Life is a drag,” in the famous words of RuPaul herself!
How would you describe the Divinity Banks experience to anyone who hasn’t seen you yet?
Lots of energy, a bit of comedy. I’m known for my flips, kicks, and splits… it’s like going to a Beyonce concert. As far as work ethic, I do whatever it takes to entertain the audience. I have performed for so many different types of events, from private parties in living rooms to Royal Caribbean cruise ships. You never know what you’re gonna get, but rest assured you will always be entertained.
You frequently gig in Jersey, but that seems very challenging to me… venues are spread out quite far, in very diverse neighborhoods, and there’s a lot of competition for slots there. Is it a difficult scene for you?
I am referred to [for gigs] by people that have experienced me performing, as well as by friends and my drag mother Harmonica Sunbeam. That keeps me working. It is challenging, but God makes a way for me to have a slot.
And for the past year or so, you’ve been serving the New York children at Suite Bar every week. Originally hosting a Tuesday show, you’ve since moved to early Friday nights (8pm).
The show is a good ol’ time; just me cutting up, being myself, showing my many talents including my dancing and my lip sync. And I’ve recently introduced my ability to actually sing. It’s a talent I’ve hidden from others for some time now, so I’m super excited to let the world know that, yes bitch, I can carry a note too! I’m excited to share it.
You’re also hosting the Drag Race viewing party on that night… cute first episode, right? Nicky Minaj was a great judge and mentor to the girls!
She slayed on the judging panel. She gave the best feedback thus far in Drag Race history, in my opinion.
Indeed! And it should be a good season overall. Do you know any of the contestants? Of course, a few seasons ago your Suite sister Miz Cracker became a fan favorite!
I don’t know anyone personally, but I am a fan of Brita Filter, Widow Von’Du, and Gigi Goode so far. And Jaida Essence Hall is gorgeous, OMG!
And I see this coming Sunday you’ll be a Jersey Gurl again, for Ritmo Latino at Club Mandala! Have you done that party before?
Yes I have! It’s so fun with my Latinos!
Another regular spot for you is Georgie’s Bar in Asbury Park.
I’m there every last Thursday of the month hosting The Glitter and Glam drag competition.
Georgies is super cute! On April 26th you’ll actually be taking part in an Autism Awareness fundraiser there.
Yes, I work in the field. I am a group home manager for people living with developmental disabilities. I’ve been working in the field for 10 years, so autism hits home for me because it is near and dear to my heart.
You’re a Godsend! anything else coming up?
I am working with the Trans Youth Forum in Princeton on May 9th to bring awareness to transgender youth, and to create a safe place where LGBTQ+ youth can come and discuss everyday life struggles and get to know about the world of drag.
Wonderful! Okay, a final question: Gaga’s “Stupid Love” song and video! Love it, or Stupid?
It’s “stupidly lovable,” lol!
Ha! Great answer! Thanks, Divinity!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Divinity Banks’ upcoming appearances, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.