From a DC hostel to NYC nightlife, this young drag queen’s Insta boasts of gallery of phenomenally elevated makeup looks. Now competing in an online pageant, will the angelic Seraphim shine her heavenly light on our city’s venues once quarantine is over?
Thotyssey: Seraphim, hello! Thanks so much for chatting on this grossly hot evening! How is your Lost Summer treating you so far?
Seraphim: Honestly, it has been so much better than I thought it was gonna be. I’ve gotten to be so chill, and also managed to stay productive and get some shit done. And I don’t have to leave my apartment… which has always been my goal anyway!
There’s a lot a queen can do from her castle! What neighborhood do you live in? You’re not one of these Astoria troublemakers, are you!?
Haha, no no no. Thank God I don’t have to regularly deal with the Astoria trains. I’m actually in Bushwick, but somehow ended up involved with the Astoria [drag] crowd when I first moved here. Definitely been trying to do more Brooklyn shit, though! I’ve been in New York for two years at this point so I’ve had little one-off gigs at most bars. Nothing super regular, though.
So where are you from originally, and what were your early interests that ultimately paved the way for drag?
I’m originally from Nowhereville upstate near Rochester, but moved to DC in 2014. I started drag in 2017, and moved here in 2018. When I first moved to DC, I lived and worked in a hostel for 7 months and met my friend Jasmine Tea who would later become my drag mom. Her drag was just so cool and clean and polished and artsy… she really inspired me, and I hadn’t really seen drag like hers until that point.
Whoah, back up a sec! What’s hostel life like?
Oh, it’s exactly as awful as you’d expect. Me and my drag sister Bratworst both started working there pretty much at the same time and started drag together as well, and we always call our time there “the hardest winter.” We had to work like 30 hours at the hostel on top of another job, and we had no money or food or heat for a little while. But we were 21 at the time, so I think we had a higher tolerance of that kinda stuff then. On the flip side though, I did meet a ton of really cool people from all over the world.
That is certainly some life experience for you! “Seraphim” is a biblical tribe of angels… how did that come to be your drag name?
I was actually bartending at this coffee bar in DC, and there was this big fancy pour over machine that’s like $4000 we had called Seraphim, and I just thought it was the most gorgeous name. I didn’t really account for the fact that it’s impossible to hear clearly in a bar, though!
What brought you to NYC?
Where else is there to go after living in DC!? I really wanted to push my drag further, and I had lived in DC for four years… and I had gotten my fill for the time being. New York seemed like the obvious choice to make!
Your Insta is a pretty amazing gallery of high end, intricately editorial looks, ranging from angelic to demonic.
Thank you so much, that’s so nice to say! I pretty much just practice, practice, practice. And I try to do makeup lewks that’s aren’t too similar to each other, so I’m always trying new things in makeup. Even now, I’ll sit down and watch people’s makeup tutorials just to see how they do it, because every single person applies their makeup so differently; it’s wildly interesting to me.
Is it wrong to say that you’re more like a living installation, aka a “lewk queen,” than a frequent stage performer?
I’d probably consider myself more of a lewk queen, sure. I love performing, but I do think the lewk is my favorite part of it. I did [the Astoria drag competition] Iconic Season 2 and I made Top 3, but if there’s one thing I learned from that competition, it’s that I simply cannot dance to save my life. But I can turn out a stupid mix, for sure!
Do you have like a favorite number that you do now?
I used to love to do this one where I performed the entire “Big Eyes” song by Lana Del Rey with a veil over my face, and at the end of the song I’d take off the veil and reveal big googly eye glasses. I had to stop doing it tho because I was completely blind during it.
Right now, I think my favorite mix is my Edgar Allan Poe mix which ends with “Epic Rap Battles of History.” It’s honestly stupid, but I get so in character for that one.
Right now you’re part of a digital drag competition that looks like its bringing out some more creative looks on your part. Tell us more about Mx. Quarantine!
It’s hosted by Logan Stone from DC, and you basically just have to make little videos for all your lewks you do. It goes live (typically) on Thursdays at 8pm. I thought it would be so much easier than it has been since it’s just on my own time, and I can do it from my room… but honestly, it’s kicking my ass with how much work it is so far. I’m currently trying to make an ugly Christmas sweater from ugly Christmas stockings. Never a moments rest, haha!
Good luck with the pageant! What’s next for you?
Hmm… streaming Chromatica on Spotify?
Haha, you heard it here first, children! Okay, in closing: we’re almost at the end of Drag Race All-Stars 5… whose team are you on?
Ugh, why did you have to save the hardest question for last? I’m Team Shea, but I wouldn’t be mad at all if Jujubee won instead. She’s carried three seasons of Drag Race on her shoulders… she deserves a damn crown!
Thank you, Seraphim!