It makes sense that there’s a “Job” in her name, cuz this queen is Working! Currently a digital darling, reality TV starlet and video vixen, the Minneapolis-raised burlesque clown gogo queen Glow Job can’t wait to get back to a real life stage… but until then, let’s get on point with this rising drag star.
Thotyssey: Yo, Glow! How is quarantine treating you on this beautiful day?
Glow Job: Hi! It really is a nice day out. At least we got that going for us! But, you know… Quarantine Life. Just when you think you’ve got some rhythm, things change up. I’ve somehow got a lot on my plate, all of a sudden!
Yes, I noticed! How are you liking the strange new world of digital drag?
At first I was really reluctant–mostly because I didn’t want to come across as sad or desperate, even though in the beginning I was. But after realizing there was a way to get in this space beyond just doing a number in my living room–and started thinking outside the box–I started getting into it. That’s not shade. I just saw everyone flood the market, and it was overwhelming. I definitely wasn’t “crushing quarantine” the way I saw others do, and wasn’t feeling inspired either. But the Met Gala got the juices flowing again, and then I just started to create. I did the online challenges, and had some real fun.
And now with Black Live Matter taking the forefront, I really have the time and energy to put my drag to good use and be a part of that movement, too. So, being a part of that and making my drag mean something more: from raising money in Zoom parties, to taking some leadership with online communities, to being out on the protest lines, to producing my own parties. Again, I feel like I have a place in this new world.
Indeed you do! I’ve also been enjoying a lot of the pre-recorded pieces many of the queens have been putting out there, including your clip for the Grace Jones showcase you were part of, where you performed “I’ve Seen That Face Before.” It was really polished, stylized and fun. But it must have been a huge effort putting that together, and shooting with limited access to resources in quarantine.
Well, my style is basically “I have an idea, and I’m gonna wait until the very last minute to do it all.” Seems to work for me! So for that number I figured out the storyline, sort of made a quick shotlist, got into drag and filmed and edited it all in one day, all by myself. I almost forgot I have a background in video editing, and I never had really used it in my drag before. So it was fun to incorporate that skill. But yeah, tripods and ring lights are my new best friends. Also, I already happened to have an accordion from the time five years ago when I thought I’d try to learn that! I have a lot of random stuff in my apartment that sees the light of day eventually.
That shoot was super fun! I love Rod and Bright Light Bright Lights music! I’ve been a fan for a while, and was kind of in awe and starstruck when he started DJing my Retro Factory parties. So I was honored to be in his music video, but also because it is exactly the message I want to spread with my drag. And it’s catchy as hell! We shot that all in one day, and just every hour went to a different location. It was a little party. It’s a little surreal to see it now, ’cause it was shot right before lockdown.
It’s a great video! And I see that you appeared in the third episode of a Bravo reality show, Camp Getaway! I’m not familiar with that yet; what’s it about, and how did you get involved?
It’s a show that basically follows a group of camp counselors–or social coordinators–at this camp in Kent, Connecticut which gets turned into an adult campground each weekend. I’m friends with Glen North, who is one of the featured counselors. He is the only queer cast member, and actually was integral in getting me and another drag queen, Sol, there for their LGBTQ weekend.
That particular weekend was especially cool, and for me personally it came right on the heels of me ending my marriage. You don’t get to see much of my story (and there were so many stories shared from other people that day too, like one guest who decided to live her life as a trans woman thereafter), but it was cool to be in the show and get featured regardless. There was even a contest with Carson Kressley judging… and I won’t give any spoilers, but let’s just say he gave me a real boost of confidence in the choices I was making in life.
I see that you were raised in Minneapolis, and and I’m guessing that growing up queer and Asian in that predominantly white, hetero-normative city was tough on you.
More than ever right now, I’m seeing how desperate I was trying to fit into a white supremacist normative that I was never going to fit into. All my friends were white. I’m actually half-white, but definitely look Asian. There was no way around that, no matter how much Abercrombie cologne I’d spray on. I think I suppressed so much of who I am, including being gay, that I didn’t truly explore those parts of myself. It wasn’t “tough” because I ignored it, and laughed off any micro-racism or homophobia I felt or saw.
So I overcompensated. I got everyone to like me; I became all the things in high school. But it wasn’t until I was in New York for college that I came out. And it was here, after college, that I started hanging with non-white people. It wasn’t until the last few years that I started exploring drag and gender expression. And it wasn’t really until this past month that I started breaking down how much I was subscribing to a system that wasn’t designed for a small, Asian, non-binary queerdo–and how I was then contributing to that culture. So fucked up. And it’s been tough hearing how silent it is now from my MN peers.
It must be very surreal and upsetting for you to see how things have unfolded in Minneapolis.
Seeing how people are reacting is making it super clear that it isn’t a surprise that that stuff is happening there. So many people just live, acting like it isn’t their problem. It’s super upsetting. I have a couple friends who have really stood up as allies though, and I know a couple are looking to me for guidance and support. So I try to offer that now, at the least.
You said you didn’t create Glow Job until recently… what were the exact circumstances of how she got born?
The first time I took my drag to the streets was the Women’s March in DC. It was incredibly powerful showing up in the biggest, loudest, queerest way I could imagine. Then the first time “Glow Job” was fully realized was when I did my first show put on at Bar 9 for an amateur showcase, featuring drag queens and comedians from the NYC gay dodgeball league Big Apple Dodgeball. There were, like, seven of us that wanted to do drag, and Jose Paz / Miss Ogyny just decided to create her own show from scratch. Since then that group has expanded, and I had been going back every so often to perform.
But truly, my drag came from the realization that drag can be whatever I want it to be, and it combines many of the things I am already good at! And now it incorporates my love of circus, gogo-ing, pole dance, painting, photography, video editing, costume design, set design, etc. I have a background in ceramics, so that’s gotta be incorporated next somehow too!
I’m actually just super excited about my drag right now, and where it’s going, and how it’s finding new life (especially when I thought Glow had died this March once Covid hit), so I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m bragging! I just love it so much!
Brag away, it’s well-deserved! How did you come up with that four-“pronged,” butterfly-shaped signature lip that you often have? It’s striking! The only other queen I’ve seen sport something like that is Sandy Devastation.
Love Sandy! Madame Viv once told me I looked like her… just less devastating, lol! I dunno, I just didn’t like how painting my regular lips looked. And I wasn’t looking pretty like I had hoped when I started, so I definitely veered into a more clown aesthetic. I was sort of doing clown work, so it came from that… and it just stuck. It was one of the first decisions I made [for Glow’s look], and the only real original signature aspect I kept. I love them, too; they go well with the name.
You’ve done Viv’s “Hot Mess” drag competition at House of Yes a bunch of times. Do you consider yourself a Brooklyn girl?
House Of Yes is a bit of a home base for me. I had been working the line entertaining people as they waited to get in, and also gave the consent speech for them in my own way. I also did set design, and ushered for them, too. My style, I suppose, is more Brooklyn Drag? Or maybe it’s Sunnyside, Queens drag!
But I’m kind of all over, and doing my own thing. I’m the resident burlesque drag queen with Siren Pack; we performed at Madame X in the Village. I hosted [the party] Ultramaroon at Blue Midtown. And I recently got in Susanne Bartsch’s crew!
Your last digital show with the POC Drag Art Collective (headed by Thee Suburbia) was that Grace Jones tribute, but now when you all return to our screens for a new show on Wednesday, June 24th (on Zoom, with proceeds going towards the Black Trans Protesters Emergency Fund) it’ll be the Solange songbook that gets the star treatment! What an interesting choice! Do you have an idea what you’ll be doing for that?
I have an idea… but knowing me, it could end up being anything. It’s gonna be meaningful, though! Know that!
Yasss! Love that! It’ll be super fun, turning a look and giving some energy and moves. Being a professional hype-person is my most natural state. And it’s for a good cause. So yes, very happy to be in this show.
As far as the Bartschland crew goes, you were just part of her BLM fundraiser that earned a whopping $32,000 in donations. And now comes “Pride On Top of the World” on Sunday the 28th, once more care of Zoom! Several Drag Race faves will be in virtual attendance including Latrice Royale, Laganja Estranja, Scarlet Envy and Aquaria. And of course, the large cast of beautiful Bartschies!
I’m so excited! I’ve been going to Susanne Bartsch parties forever, and always just showed up in typical club kid fashion. She’s nightlife royalty. I can’t wait to be in this one, too! I gotta figure out my look; I feel like nothing is too big with On Top!
Anything else coming up for you?
I’ll be out protesting again on Juneteenth, but on the 20th after more protesting some of us are gonna put up an outdoor show in front of the Barclays at 7pm. And then I’ll be on the front lines again in drag the following weekend with the Bushwig crew, starting at 5:30 in Maria Hernandez Park.
Fight the good fight! So, to end on a light note: whose team are you on for All-Stars 5?
Thank you, Glow!