Originally from Ohio, here’s a local comedy queen on the rise: New York City needs Amanda Pörq! [Cover photo: David Serrano]
Thotyssey: Hello Ms. Pörq! Are you successfully hiding from the coronavirus?
Amanda Porq: Luckily, I am! Nothing a little Germ-X and celibacy can’t prevent!
Everyone has basically lost their minds at this point.
Oh, it’s completely bonkers. I hope everyone keeps up with their health and doesn’t let this hold them back from living their lives!
In general, New York living is a crazy thing. How long have you been here, and where are you from originally?
I’ve been here for just a tickle over a year! I’m from Zanesville, Ohio originally. You might’ve heard the name when RuPaul was referencing the middle of nowhere in the Columbus episode of AJ and the Queen (RIP).
Was that a fair assessment?
It’s totally accurate. We truly only have auto repair shops, a Steak ‘n’ Shake, and two Walmarts. Walmart is a sacred place in rural America.
Did you come to NYC to pursue Broadway?
I went to school for stage management and arts administration at Otterbein University, which is Pixie Aventura’s and Bootsie LeFaris’ alma mater as well! I came here with the idea that I’d be a freelance stage manager, likely settling down in the admin side of theatre eventually, and doing drag on occasion for fun! But that has definitely shifted a bit!
So you had already discovered drag before you came here.
I did a drag show fundraiser each year of college for our theatre department that Pixie and Bootsie actually founded! It was a fun way to get a taste of what performing in drag is like. While I’ve had a drag persona for four years, I’ve really only been taking myself seriously as a performer for a little under a year.
You did a cycle of the Ultimate Drag Pageant at The West End! Was that a good experience?
My cycle was jam packed with great talent, and we were all neck and neck throughout the whole competition. Truly any one of us had the chops to come up with a cute show. That being said, I’m a very competitive person… so I pushed myself to be the best I could be, and tried things I wasn’t used to. Being around such a diverse, incredible group of people has changed my outlook on performance in many ways.
What’s the Amanda Pörq Experience today, as far as your aesthetic and performing styles go?
I grew up a dancer, so that definitely plays a major part in my performance. I have a very dry humor, and I like to come up with these ridiculous mixes that incorporate queer references, memes, and pop songs that I enhance with movement. That’s the goal, at least! As far as aesthetic goes, I typically wear costumes and hair that I can easily move in, but I do absolutely love an excuse to get all up in a pageant look. As long as I’m pretty, I’m happy!
Then you’re always happy!
Aw, you’re too sweet!
Do you do the weekly competition circuit? That scene can get savage.
I don’t do much of the weekly competitions these days. I’m pretty much on the guest grind. I’ve decided to only surround myself with people who I adore who are going to lift me up and get me coins, so there’s not too much savagery to be had. Luckily, it’s been working out! However, I am starting Therapy’s new Tuesday night competition called Quest for Queens! It’s a 10-week competition / audition for a weekly host slot in their lineup. I’m thrilled to get into that space.
I’m built for daytime drag. I know that 75% of drag / getting booked is going to other shows and supporting friends… but I LOVE sleeping. So it’s been tricky to balance nightlife while also getting the rest that my baby blues desperately need. So brunch is prime Pörqing time!
There must be a million great ways to work “Pörq” into a brunch show title.
Ideally I’d do a “Pörq and Beans” brunch show, and we’re actually all just gathered in a backyard having a cookout like real Midwesterners!
Later that night at the Peoples’ Improv Theater NYC, you and a crew of funny queens (Chola Spears, Aria Derci, Miz Diamond Wigfall, Michele Shocked and Sequoia) will perform the latest in series of improv shows you’ve been putting on there, “Yas And!” How fun (and crazy) have these shows been?
It’s been an absolute blast. We all have such great chemistry with one another. I have the opportunity to be the lead producer / show director on it, and it’s been such a learning experience putting it together from the ground up, creating new games, and really just seamlessly merging improv and drag together. They really are one in the same! Also, Aria Derci is a master improv coach, and has held us together when it comes to the basics of improv training and landing jokes. It’s definitely a show some venues are gonna wanna get their hands on, we just gotta get some eyes on it! We could be relocating soon, so stay tuned.
And I see that on March 26th, you’ll be at 3 Dollar Bill competing in the $1000 grand prize-winning Read My Lips lip sync battle, the Charli XCX edition! The girls competing for that will not come to play… it’s a $1000 cash prize!
Yes, I’m so stoked to have a go at Read My Lips! I have some stiff competition, but I’m really excited for everyone to see my package. And Charli is a gay boy’s icon. so I had no choice but to weasel my way into the bracket.
Oh, I’ll always take an opportunity to plug! Y’all can catch me every second Saturday at La Pulperia UES, and every Tuesday through May 2020 at Therapy! I also have a birthday show at the West End Lounge on March 29th! Just follow all my social media to stay updated! Getcha some pig!
Okay, last question: Drag Race Season 12! We all know who, um, isn’t going to win… but who would you like to see ultimately get the crown?
I think that Jackie Cox is the past, present, and future of drag, and I’d love for her to bring the crown home to NYC!