A glamorous Jersey Girl named after an iconic supermodel, Twiggy Malone has been entertaining the children on either side of the river for a minute now. And not even lockdown will keep her away from live performance this week, as she prepares to bring it (in a socially distanced way, of course) in Brooklyn!
Thotyssey: Hello Twiggy! Thanks for chatting today! Our crazy quarantine summer is nearly over already… how did you hold up?
Twiggy Malone: It’s been a crazy ride. During this quarantine I lost my jobs, moved to a new apartment, and bought a dog! So there’s definitely been hard times and a lot of challenges. But thankfully, I have a great support system and I’ve been trying to stay creative, active, and positive.
That’s all any of us can do! The last time I saw you out and about was at the opening of The Playhouse in the West Village… but that seems like a lifetime ago!
Oh my gosh, that does feel forever ago! I definitely miss being out and in front of a live audience. I picked up a few virtual gigs, and I’m looking forward to upcoming shows.
Where are you from originally, and what do you think were your early interests that ultimately translated to drag?
I’m originally from New Jersey, then I came to New York for high school and attended Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan. I had done community theater as a kid, which led me on that way. But after attending a conservatory program, I discovered that as much as I love musical theater… something just wasn’t clicking. I then went on to cosmetology school, which ended up in the same result as theater. All during these years, I found drag and combined my theater and cosmetology training and… bam! Here I am! I entered my first pageant and won. Then I said to myself “this fits, this feels right.” I then did drag out in New Jersey for many years.
Tell us about the Jersey venues you were performing in early on, and how the drag scene has changed there over the years.
Oh my gosh! My first performance ever was at a club called The Colosseum in Sayreville, NJ. I wore a terrible curly orange wig (given to me by another girl who said she’d hook it up), a pink thong over black jeans and did “Slave For You” by Britney Spears. I looked rough! But I learned and grew.
The Jersey queens are definitely known for the fishy esthetic! The more like a woman you looked, the more the crowd lived for you. Girl, we thought we were real cute wearing no padding and wearing entirely too much bronzer. But both Jersey and I have stepped up our game. The fishy queen and dancing queens are still the favorites, but we’ve definitely leveled up. New Jersey is also known for its pageant girls. And they do not play around, especially at the Miss Paradise pageant where I actually choreographed five winning talents!
Wow! Was that the pageant that you won back in your debut?
No, I actually won Miss Den. Unfortunately the Den nightclub closed down a few years ago.
More recently, you became a Lips girl!
Yasss! My first ever drag mother Empress Vizcaya got me the job. Lips is intense! I’ve bartended there, served there, hosted while doing the lights with quick changes and performances in between. It is not for the faint of heart, to say the least. But Lips has taught me so much about multi-tasking, and the timing of my makeup. Lips is a true definition of hard work.
Is if very different performing for a room that’s largely straight ladies, as opposed to a queer space?
It is very different… but the great thing about it is that these ladies are coming to see a drag show; they know what they’re in for, and are extremely excited! So the energy in the room is infectious. They’re also probably the best tippers around… no shade!
Yazzz! What is a Twiggy Malone experience like today.. meaning, performance style and aesthetic?
I definitely take on my Jersey background, as far as esthetic–I love to be fishy and polished. And if you know Twiggy, you know she’s a choreography queen who is not shy to slay the night with some backup dancers! But I have definitely spent my time in Brooklyn–where I live now–and the scene here has pushed me to try new, edgier, grungy, yet still polished lewks. In reference to the RuPaul girls… if Blair St. Clair and Adore Delano had a baby, it’d be me! I’m a direct mix of my polished pageant girls and my Brooklyn club kids.
Speaking of Brooklyn, folks should message you or your co-hosts Rify Royalty, Janelle No. 5, Jasmine Rice, Neon Calypso or Zavaleta to get the exact location for an amazing show you’ll be doing in that borough on Tuesday night!
Yes! I’m so excited and honored to be a guest on this show. Rify Royalty and Janelle No. 5 are the hosts, and I’ve had the pleasure of going and watching their weekly show. Not only are they hilarious, but they’re real and always friendly. It’s always a fun, judgement free space that has saved me from my quarantine lockdown. Message any one of us for a link to the show!
What else might be coming for you?
For myself, I am eagerly awaiting getting back to my Lips cast and crew! I want to start using more of my theatrical background to bring more character work to my drag, as well as continuing to slay creative content on my social media. And who knows .. maybe a pageant is coming soon!
All amazing! So my last question is… what’s your best advice for a brand new queen on the scene (when that’s a thing again!) who wants to make her mark on the city, and maybe the world?
My biggest advice for young queens just starting out in NYC is be seen! Any chance you have to go out and perform, take it! And support fellow drag queens and local drag shows! Even if you’re not performing, go get dressed up just to go support! Get dolled up and show New York what you’ve got! Also, if your looking for some stage experience and feedback, you most certainly want to enter Shequida Hall’s “Drag Wars” at Pieces Bar and “Polish the Queen” at the Stonewall Inn. Both of these are great competitions in which you can be seen and get constructive criticism!
Good advice for all! Thanks Twiggy, hope to see you soon!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Twiggy Malone’s upcoming appearances, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.