Murder, mayhem and vampirism are the calling cards of this Every Day Is Halloween AFAB Queen, so it’s no surprise that she’s in store for a busy October. We need Amanda Massacre!
Thotyssey: Hi Amanda! So, on a scale of 1 to 10, how Halloween are you feeling today?
Amanda Massacre: Honestly, a solid 10 today… and every day, really. I just finished recording some Halloween content last night, and it’s got me feeling inspired!
Do you have any single horror movie, creature, killer, etc. that really inspires your own aesthetic?
I really am enamored with vampires–they’re dark and wicked, yet romantic and sexy… which really is what I aspire to be as a drag artist. They also represent all things goth and opulent, which really speaks to me.
This is gonna be a busy month for you… so before we chat about your events, let’s get some background on you! Where’s your hometown, and what were your earliest creative pursuits?
I was born, raised, and still am living in Jackson Heights, Queens–right here in NY. I’m very proud to be a local. From a young age, I always took to art. One of my earliest memories is sitting in my childhood home, painting on a piece of cereal box cardboard. I was also always doodling clothing designs, which led me to pursue a career in fashion design.
How did you discover drag?
I’ve been obsessed with drag culture since college, when I actually was in the city and more immersed in queer community events and going to bars. I had a gender studies professor, Prof. Simmonds (he has since passed) who was gay (a big ol’ bear), and we’d chat about stuff. He actually was the one that told me about RuPaul’s Drag Race: it was 2009, and he stopped me in the middle of the hallway and said “did you see that new show with that RuPaul?!” Between all that and watching this new program, I was hooked… and made sure everyone I knew knew about it. I even wrote a lot of essays in college about drag, did fashion assignments where I designed for Ru… which is interesting, because I didn’t actually start drag until January 2019.
Did you need any sort of specific realization that an AFAB woman could be a queen?
I never actually thought about what it meant for me as a biological woman to pursue drag. It wasn’t until recently that I actually would hear some opinions on the matter (or maybe that’s because I’m actually paying attention now).
AFAB queens do not always have the same opportunities as AMABs.
You know, for the longest time, I wasn’t actually concerned about booking gigs myself. My muggle career kept me extraordinarily busy for nightlife, so I was just happy to do even one open stage number when given the chance. However, as my drag career has progressed, I’ve definitely noticed (and ranted about) the transgressions of the drag community. I’ve seen my amazingly talented drag friends be rejected and criticized for not fitting the traditional cis AMAB model of drag. I’ve seen a lot of people sleep on BIPOC, as well as trans performers. I’ve had moments where I wasn’t being taken seriously and just plain asked, “hey, do you consider yourself a drag queen?” when I was in drag.
Right now, given what’s going on in the world, I’m really looking to share as much diversity in the community as I can. I really want to show off the underrated talents of the drag world on a global scale; there’s really so much more than the drag we already know. You have a show like Drag Race that’s introduced so many of us to drag, but it’s refreshing to see more facets of drag besides what is advertised constantly: a thin, white, cis male beauty queen.
Besides the drag community, the entire world is now getting a chance to see–and in many cases demand–all forms of LGBTQIA+ represented in shows and competitions where it’s all under the umbrella of drag. No more “drag kings,” “hyper / cyber / faux queens,” and whatnot labels. We’re moving away from social constructs, and it’s all “drag,” and all drag is valid. I’m just glad to be part of that movement in any capacity.
How would you describe Amanda’s aesthetic and performing style to the uninitiated?
I’ve been tapping into a softer, more colorful, Latina side this quarantine. But my favorite looks are the spooky, gory ones. A dark palette anchored by black and red, blood, and a hint of serial killer really are the Amanda Massacre signature looks.
In terms of performing, I really try to be as visceral as possible… and just be at my most uninhibited. I love performing a lot of emo, pop-punk songs, and it’s really about that repressed teenage angst and being unapologetically in the moment–even if it’s messy. I’m trying to use less props and just be more theatrical on my own, but stage blood and a fire flasher always make an appearance at some point. It’s the killer and pyromaniac in me!
A perfect palette for the spooky season! In fact, you have a number of horrific digital shows coming up. Let’s start with: Elation on Friday, October 23rd!
One of the most gratifying feelings is having a fellow drag performer or producer associate me with Halloween… so to have been invited to join this phenomenal group is really special to me. That already tells me I’m going to have a great night! Haireola Grande and Michael Block have had this Zoom party going since the pandemic started, and it’s still around for a reason–everyone is in for a fun time!
Next up: Show Ghouls on Wed the 28th, via YouTube… you are producing that! That’s another great spooky cast; you must be really excited about this one!
You have no idea how thrilled I am about this. Since March, I had been contemplating producing a show and was a bit intimidated about it. I had to somehow become a videographer, cinematographer, and video editor… without knowing the first thing about these programs. After realizing that this new digital drag stage is very forgiving–and just plain experimenting with content for IG and my own YouTube channel–I decided to take the leap and do this.
Digital drag has also proven to be a way to expand audiences and casts, so it was very important to me to create a diverse, all-inclusive, international stage. We have some local favorites, and I’m proud to introduce some ghouls hailing from the UK and my ancestral land, Colombia. I feel privileged to have this chance to promote unique, alternative drag and share this cast’s talents to a broader audience.
Please join us and support promoting diversity and culture in queer art and productions. A portion of the cover proceeds ($6 USD) goes towards two amazing trans organisations, For The Gworls and Red Comunitaria Trans. So I hope you all tune in!
Amazing! That brings us to Halloween night, where one of your Show Ghouls castmembers, Shay They, presents a digital revue of their own. You’ll be part of that show as well!
When Shay They asks you to be in a show, you do it. They’re such an inspiring performer, and so talented and unique. What they’ve done and are doing for the community is so important to making drag bigger and better, so I’m honored to be a part of their cast. It’s also being done on a new platform for me, Lemonade Social, so I’m excited to explore that!
It’s great that you’re really embracing this moment of virtual shows.
In spite of everything going on this year, I’m really excited to see how this new concept of digital drag evolves. So many new drag performers have been born, and we’ve seen new levels of talent from those performers we already knew. Just looking at everyone’s Halloween content has me floored!
It is truly surreal, the impact and reach digital drag has had: physical borders have been blurred, and there are no boundaries now… just different time zones. Now really is the time for newness, and I encourage everyone and anyone who wants to try getting into drag to take advantage of this platform and just do it. I’ve interacted with so many different people on social media who keep saying “Should I?” and yes, you should. You want to get into drag? Do it. You want to produce your own show? Do. It.
Love it, and profoundly said! Which means we have to end on a light note: what’s your favorite Halloween candy?
A Kit Kat. I’m not a candy person, but it’s hitting the spot right now.