Boasting some powerful pipes, this Long Island-born queen has become a favorite guest performer of Fire Island drag. And now with all drag digital, Saline Dijon is finally taking her rightful place in the livestream spotlight.
Thotyssey: Hello Saline! Happy Pride month! This is definitely been one for the books so far, hasn’t it?
Saline Dijon: Happy Pride month! I could never have imagined a Pride month without much celebration, but I see people doing as much as they possibly can to make the best out of it!
People are definitely doing what they can. Well, at least the Supreme Court was on our side this week! Can you believe, though, that we are still in a place where our basic rights are being challenged?
I am actually appalled at the state we are still in when it comes to equal rights and protections for the LGBTQ+ community here in the United States. The fact that it was a 6-3 majority in our favor is fantastic, but also jarring that it still isn’t unanimous. Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh voted against, but then tried to smoke screen his beliefs by saying that he thought this should have gone to congress for a vote. Instead of just doing the right thing, he thought it appropriate to try and shove it off to a place where he’s well aware that it would be a losing fight on the part of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s disheartening, to say the least.
Indeed… and we can only look forward to a lot more of him and new appointees like him if Trump gets a second term. Meanwhile, the city is still struggling with Covid quarantine amidst mass global protesting of police brutality and systemic racism. What has been your experience through all of this?
Well, I was a nervous wreck for the better part of the last three and a half months. The only time I was leaving my apartment was to go grocery shopping. I am now finally comfortable to go out for walks and try to get some fresh air.
When it comes to the protests, I am both sad and proud at the same time. It breaks my heart that these protests have to even happen in the first place. Like, what year are we in!? But it seems that voices are being heard, and actions are being taken. There’s unfortunately still a lot of fight to be had, as there are so many people who are ignorant as to why all of this is happening. I’ve been debating quite a bit with people–and while it’s exhausting to try and be heard by deaf ears, it’s also been good to also find people on the same page as me, so we can back each other up.
Through chaos we find unity! Many know you as a Fire Island queen. There’s obviously been a lot of disruption there so far this season, but people are still pouring in to experience that FI magic! Will you be returning there soon?
I love Fire Island so much. I have been guest performing every year since 2014, and it’s been tough not being able to be there this season. I am hoping that with social distancing and people following guidelines that we’ll all be able to be back out there, twirling around the pool for you all soon! If not, I definitely hope to get out there for a few visits. I do miss my Cherry Grove friends and family!
Hopefully soon! So where are you from, and how did you begin in the performing arts?
I am originally from Long Island, born and raised! I have been singing since I was three years old. The first song I ever knew all the lyrics to was “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston. From there, my diva obsession started. Celine Dion and Cher eventually topped my list of favorites; I guess you could say they inadvertently taught me how to sing!
The first time I was on stage as a solo performer, I was 12 years old. It was our district talent show in 1999, and I had chosen to sing Cher’s “Believe” simply because I enjoyed imitating her voice. At my mom’s suggestion and encouragement, I ended up in drag! Wig, midriff, shiny spandex leggings, red pumps. I was hesitant at first, but then figured I’d do anything for a laugh… and ended up having a blast!
It wasn’t until 2012 that Saline Dijon was born, though. I was asked by a friend to do a spot in her show on Long Island. A RuPaul queen was supposed to guest in the show, and canceled for whatever reason six hours prior. So, my friend wouldn’t let up–she kept asking and asking until I agreed. I did the show, again had a great time, and here I am… over eight years later, and still loving it. I never ever wanted to do drag, but I am so glad I took the plunge!
How might you describe the Saline Dijon experience today, for future fans?
Well, they can expect a lot of singing. My repertoire has predominantly been throwbacks, but I do love to mix some current Top 40 here and there. I very much love talking, especially as I get deeper and deeper into a bottle of vodka! I love interacting with people, and making jokes… sometimes at my own expense. I have done a couple of Facebook Live videos, where I’m just enjoying some cocktails and talking to whoever comes in and comments. The more buzzed I get, the more entertaining, I guess!
Well… lol! I loved the performance space. It was very much a lounge, and I really enjoy singing in that atmosphere. I met some wonderful queens, who I still keep in contact with today. It was definitely a learning experience, and it was nice to compete in the company of some fabulous talent.
I met Ariel Sinclair around 2013, about a year after I moved to the city. I would see her once in awhile at Stonewall. She has become one of my dearest and closest friends over the last seven years. In 2014, Ariel asked me to go out to Cherry Grove and guest spot in the first [Ice Palace] pool show of the season, which I believe was Mothers Day Weekend. This was the first time that I met Logan Hardcore and Brenda Darling. I felt welcomed and had a great time. Brenda and I actually ended up wearing the same shoes that day, and we’ve dubbed each other “sole” sisters. She’s been a good sister of mine ever since.
Logan actually gave me my first NYC guest spot at Stonewall, after that first Fire Island season in one of her Sunday Invasion shows. That was a huge deal to me, and I will be forever grateful to her for that.
I met AndrogyNY just last year, actually. She’s a good queen, always supportive of other queens, and just an all around nice person. It’s nice to connect with other queens who believe in you and your talent, and to be able to have sisters to call family in the crazy world of drag.
A great group of gals! Have you ever wanted to host your own weekly or monthly show in the City, or Fire Island?
I would love to have my own show in either location! I love a live performance. I adore a crowd and the energy they give. It fuels me up to be able to give my energy, plus theirs right back to them! It would be fun to host a show with another queen who has a great sense of humor. I think I work best when I have someone to bounce jokes and one liners off of. But I think I can do that on my own with a good crowd as well.
You’d also make a great cabaret queen, with one of those scripted, intimate musical revues.
That would be a lot of fun! A script tailored to your persona is a dream for any performer. And then to add music to complement…oh my god. Yes. Please. I’m ready for whoever wants to help me make this happen, lol!
Universe, heed this call! Regarding your namesake, I understand you were in the house at Lips Restaurant when Celine Dion’s latest record release party went down there back in November. Did you get to see her when she made that brief surprise appearance onstage?
I sure did! [Here’s a shot of] Celine grabbing my hand…
That must’ve been an amazing moment for a superfan such as yourself!
It was incredible. I’ve seen Celine 13 times live, I’ve met her twice… and then this hand grab, so technically three times! It was an intimate invite only event. To experience that with my boyfriend and a couple of close friends who are also big fans was magical. I’m glad I got that hand hold in before Covid hit!
It was fantastic! I was quite nervous, as I hadn’t hosted a show in about a year. I had been wanting to do a show since quarantine started, and was trying to figure out exactly how I wanted to execute it. A few weeks ago, I had actually done an accidental live show, which I dubbed “Sunrise With Saline.” I had to record two videos for other projects, and by the time I was finished it was close to 5am. I was a few glasses of wine in, and decided to get on Facebook Live and see if anyone was around to chat. I ended up with 20 to 30 people watching, and just went with it. Then I did an intentional edition of “Sunrise…” and added a weather report and some horoscopes, and I was again getting more sassy with every sip. I had another good turnout and am trying to do that monthly.
But, I wanted to do a show where I could sing, and still talk to people. So, I came up with “Sunset With Saline.” It’s a little different in the fact that I start the show before I have anything to drink! I do a few numbers, and then I get festive and start pouring myself a few. I interact with my viewers, which ended up being more than double of “Sunrise…” and it felt good! I can’t wait to do it again this week!
Sounds like a super fun way to get us through the rest of our quarantine! So these days are kind of plug-proof, but is there anything else coming up from you that the children should be on the lookout for?
Well, speaking of children… I had it in the back of my mind to possibly do a drag story hour online. I think that would be fun. I have a lot of friends with kids, and a couple of them I’ve actually invited into my live shows, and they’re adorable.
As far as what the adult children should be looking out for, of course “Sunset with Saline” on Thursdays. I’m hoping for Fire Island to be able to start up this summer, even if for a little while. And I’d like to brainstorm and figure out a way to perform live out in the world, while maintaining social distancing until we can all really be together again!
All things to look forward to! Okay, in closing: who are you rooting for on Drag Race All-Stars 5?
Jujubee! I think it’s her time. I’ve adored her for years, and I’d love to see her leave with that crown on her head.
Thank you, Saline!