Now also known as Elle No. 5, the drag daughter of Janelle No. 5 is a fiercely fashionable rising star of NYC who’s been killing recent guest spots across the city. Anyone can tell that the future is bright for Elle! [Cover photo: Dylan Thomas]
Thotyssey: Hello Elle! How is March treating you?
Elle: My March has been pretty damn cute so far. We’re only three days into the month, but it’s been action-packed already… so that’s been fun!
And there’s no signs of the momentum slowing down! Are you any closer to getting fully vaccinated?
Yes; thankfully I was able to get my first dose a few weeks back when restaurant workers were deemed eligible, and have an appointment for my second dose next week! I know finding appointments has been such a gamble, so I’m super thankful. I’d also recommend following TurboVax on Twitter for anyone that is still searching!
Since the city has started to gradually reopen, I see you’ve been doing a bunch of socially distant guest spots in shows across the boroughs. How do you feel about performing live in these albeit very controlled environments, with the virus still out there?
It’s been a scary year for us all, and so when things started to open back up I was definitely hesitant. However, the savings had dried up and the rent was still due, so I knew I had to get back to work. I had been working as a barista–but when the chance to get back on a stage was offered, I felt like the opportunity to do what I love and bring some joy back into people’s lives was impossible to pass on. I know it’s a tricky time for everyone and our comfortability levels with reopening are different, so I’ve just made it a personal point to do my best to follow guidelines and get tested regularly.
Let’s dive into the origin story… where are you from originally, and what were your interests growing up as far as art, fashion, music, performance, etc?
So I’m originally from Bumfuck, Nowhere… also known as Pittsboro, North Carolina. Super cute town to grow up in, and even more fun to leave! Growing up I was all over the place, but always had an interest in anything that would put me in the spotlight or on a stage. My mom has told me on many occasions how I would walk around the house singing, and telling her “I’m gonna be on TV one day!”
However, like a lot of queer kids in the south, I think my family didn’t know what to do with me; and so my creative inclinations weren’t adequately nurtured. I played a lot of sports growing up, but was absolutely always the kid picking flowers in the field. Definitely would’ve been better off in a dance class or singing lesson!
The kid picking flowers always has the best imagination powers, though!
You’re so right!
How and when did you find yourself as a NYC drag queen?
I started drag at the end of my college career in NC, and stuck around for two years after graduation to develop my aesthetic / skills in the local scene there… all the while admiring the NYC drag scene through a phone screen. I always knew that I wanted to be a part of the NYC scene. So after getting my drag to a point where I felt like I was ready to come storm the girls, I moved up in August of 2019! Little did I know what was in store for us all just a few months later…
How did your drag name come to you? Were you inspired by Elle Magazine, Elle Woods, Elle Macpherson…?
Lol, time to embarrass myself: it was Macpherson, initially! But the name came to be when I was 13 and getting my jush on IMVU (3D avatar-based chat rooms). Before catfishing had a name, I was posing as Elle online as an escape from my small town life. I was a part of a “modeling agency” that would organize themed shoots with our avatars, so looking back it’s pretty funny to see where my interest in the visual side of drag began.
How did you come to know your sis Janelle No. 5?
I met Janelle one night when I was doing a tipping spot at Oops! at the Rosement pre-pandemic, and we hit it off. So when she was booking for shows this past fall, she asked me to join last minute for a brunch with her and Digna, and the rest is history! I think we all have a common thread that runs through our styles of drag, so it’s been a lot of fun getting to work closely with them. After competing in Janelle’s competition, Are You The Next Diva, I really caught her eye… and am super excited to share that I’ll be joining her family as Elle No. 5!
That’s so cute and amazing, congrats!
How might you describe your drag looks and choice of stage numbers, for the uninitiated?
Pinpointing my style is always hard for me; I just know I like to look good, damnit! I keep it current and always fashion-forward, but with an elevated and personal touch. Looks are very important to my drag, but so is the performance. I love connecting with an audience and serving up a pretty even mix of sex and comedy. But I’m a clumsy bitch, so the comedy isn’t always intentional.
We’ve got the hottest lineup in Hell’s Kitchen… and with an episode like Snatch Game on, it’s sure to be a night to remember!
Anything else to report?
Just keep your eyes peeled for Elle! I’ve got some really fierceeee shoots and shows in the works that are going to fully gag the children, so get ready!
And of course it must be asked in conclusion: which RuGirl are you rooting for on Friday?
Whoever can make me fucking laugh! “Snatch Game” is my favorite episode, so I’m excited to see how these queens turn it out!