This quick-witted dancing showgirl is Chicago-born and a Miss Rockbar finalist, and in February she’s gearing up to virtually Elate us! Voulez vous Ratchét Marseilles? Oui! [Cover Photo: Chris Milette]
Thotyssey: Bonjour, Ratchét! How did you survive the Pandemic Snowpocalypse?
Ratchét Marseilles: I was cuddling with my heater and a bottle of Riesling on Monday, lol!
That sounds right as rain to me! I guess a snowstorm this year was a lot less disruptive then it would have been in years past.
For sure! I’m super lucky to be working from home, so there was no need to bundle up and brave the elements.
But I bet you miss doing drag in person.
Oh yeah, I miss performing live so much! There’s just an energy you immediately receive and can give back to the crowd that makes live performances so magical. Also, virtual drag is a lot more involved, in my opinion.
As per tradition, it’s time for the origin story! Where are you from originally, and what were the pastimes you were into while growing up that led to drag?
I’m from the northwest Chicago suburbs, originally. I used to only swim competitively, until I started dancing a little in high school. Once I got to college in Boston, I ended up dropping swimming and danced a whole bunch. I moved to New York City in 2016, and it was only a few months until I tried to do a cute face and go onstage to perform!
How did your name come to you?
Like many of my best ideas, I was drunk in the back of a taxi! I knew the last name would be “Marseilles” ’cause that was the street I grew up on, and that’s how I heard you make your “Sasha Fierce” performer name. And I knew I wanted my drag to be a mix of classiness and ratchetry, and someone said “OMG, Ratchét.” It’s been the same ever since!
And do you recall what and where your first number was?
I distinctly remember doing “Shut Up and Drive” like the same week Alyssa Edwards and Tatianna did it on Drag Race! It was at Bizarre out in Brooklyn.
How might you describe the Ratchét experience today, as far as the looks and numbers you serve?
I think while the budget and taste level have (thankfully) improved, stylistically I still love to serve looks that are opulent and stoned the house down… but still a bit ratchet. In terms of numbers, I love performing anything I can dance to–whether it’s a high energy number with a couple dips and attempted duck walks, or a slower, more sensual, sultry moment.
You were a Miss Rockbar finalist in 2019! How did you enjoy that experience?
OMG, I really loved it! I’m pretty competitive, so to be able to channel energy into creating and upgrading looks, choreographing numbers, and learning how to handle myself in a competition was fun to me! Also, getting to kiki with friends and meet new queens who are now friends was great!
Might pageantry be in your future again someday?
Absolutely! I have had so many ideas for big pageant numbers and looks since Miss Rockbar that I’m super excited to see flourish and become real. Maybe not a national level one because that seems slightly terrifying, but for sure at more bars… and definitely at Rockbar this year, hopefully!
And speaking of pageants, we must discuss the biggest one: RuPaul’s Drag Race! This season mined NYC for an interesting mix of queens, from the campy veteran Tina Burner to the very new prodigy Olivia Lux! Are you making moves yet to start auditioning for the show?
I’ve yet to apply, because the process for it is a bit daunting. Also, I don’t feel like I’m at a level where I’d be ready to perform the way I’d want to and win (’cause if they let me in, I’m winning, lol). But I’m also terrified of going through that gauntlet of Drag Race, because I think I would be so stressed and freaking out the whole time.
The stress is real! Do you feel any sort of way regarding the now infamous battle between Kandy Muse and Tamisha Iman? It seems all of queerdom has thoughts on this!
My friends and I have argued about it several times! Basically, I think they both said things that weren’t necessary–and anywhere from shady to straight up rude. Kandy couldn’t take the shade and popped off, so that was a bit hypocritical of her. That said, I am enjoying both of their runs for the crown… and it made for amazing reality TV, so go off I guess!
Digital drag is the way to go these days, and we can next see you on our screens this Saturday (February 6th at 7pm) for the latest edition of Michael Block and Haireola Grande’s monthly Zoom party, Elation! This month will be Broadway-themed. Are you excited?
Yes, yes, yes! It was so fun to plan a number for this party, and even more fun to film it. I was able to go back to my fave pole studio, IncrediPole, and do my number there… so there maybe a pole involved!
That’s one pole we can all trust!
Anything else coming up?
I have a few things brewing, but nothing concrete… so people will just have to keep an eye out!
We will stay glued to your socials! Lastly: the Super Bowl is actually this weekend, and The Weekn’d is performing halftime! Will you be tuning in to any of that?
Yes! My pod and I will be drinking heavily, and regretting our decision come Monday morning! I just hope he changed out of that outfit from the VMAs, finally.
Here’s hoping! Thanks, Ratchét!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Ratchét Marseilles’ upcoming appearances, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.