This young drag queen has lived all over the country before inserting her unique flair for fashion and fun into our local and virtual scenes. Now as lockdown is apparently drawing to a close, we’re all gonna have to catch up to Chase Runaway as she makes things happen in Brooklyn and beyond!
Thotyssey: Hello Chase! Thanks for chatting with us today! So we’re meeting at an optimistic moment: the weather’s pretty nice, nightlife is reopening bit by bit, and New York’s Covid numbers are going down!
Chase Runaway: Hi babe! So so happy to be here. I’m so glad you feel optimistic, too! It feels like the whole world’s been sleeping for so long, and things are starting to finally wake up!
Have you made any progress in your vaccination journey yet?
I have! I’m an art teacher as my day job, so I was fortunate enough to qualify for it. So I’m waiting for my second dose at the end of March! Loving that #pfizerlife
So glad to hear it! We’re looking forward to the widespread return of live performing, but digital drag has been fascinating to watch throughout this lockdown.
Digital drag has been unbelievable. I swear to God, queer artists can do absolutely everything and anything when life tests us like Covid has. As for me, I had the time and resources to put together my own show! It’s called “The Runaways Digital Drag Show,” and it features the most amazing, diverse cast of performers. We’ve had three shows and you can watch them here!
Was it really challenging to figure out how to put that show together, and how to fine tune all those moving parts?
It was definitely challenging! I’m very much a do-it-yourself queen, so I wanted to figure out how to make the most beautiful, polished, professional show I could! And that meant making everything myself–from the poster we used to advertise, to the video transitions and sound effects in between the acts. It was all me, working long hours to get it just right. And I think when you watch it, you can feel that. When you see a drag show live, you feel every bit of the performer when you watch them… and I wanted that sensation even over the internet.
One very good thing about virtual drag this past year: it showcased different types of performers who don’t fit into that very visible mold of drag queen that most people have accepted as the norm from RuPaul’s Drag Race. And how cool is it that Tenderoni, a Chicago drag king, just won the Alaska-hosted pageant “Drag Queen of the Year?”
Let’s talk about Tenderoni! Like, are we surprised? No. They are absolutely incredible. I was living in Chicago when I was starting drag, and would see Tenderoni appear every so often in a show that was predominately queens. It was really them and maybe one other king who I saw performing at the time. But they can dance, they’re funny, and they’re stunning (I’m kind of obsessed with drag king-style makeup). I’m so happy Tenderoni is getting their well-deserved shine, as well as every performer who isn’t a cisgender queen. These spaces really should be for everyone.
So, is Chicago your native land?
It’s one of them! I’ve kind of been everywhere. I was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, and raised in San Diego and Idyllwild, California. Then I moved to Chicago for college, then moved to LA after that because I thought that’s where I was supposed to go next. But this year I moved to New York… and I think I’m here to stay!
A true Queen of the Road!
I’m part of my own traveling circus, honestly.
What drew you to drag initially?
I dabbled in drag for a long time before I finally realized that drag is everything I have ever loved to do rolled up into one delicious art form. It’s visual art and music and theatre, and everything in between. So it drew me in when I made that realization.
I notice you have very colorful, high fashion looks, and seem to often dabble in chest hair drag! How might you describe your aesthetic, as well as your overall performing style today?
Thank you for saying “high fashion!” I never consider myself high fashion, but I’m glad I’m selling that! As well as some chest hair–hey, sometimes I’m lazy. Sorry gal! But for aesthetic: I’m indecisive in life already, so it’s hard for me to stay attached to one aesthetic in drag. I’m super inspired by powerful women through the decades, particularly in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. As for my performing style, it’s so wide. I love to dance to a pop or disco song, but I will park-and-bark your favorite ballad or musical theatre song. I just want to do it all!
These days you’re serving the Brooklyn children at Pink Metal, which was a fairly new venue pre-lockdown. What are your thoughts on the venue and the whole Brooklyn “scene,” if you’ve even gotten the chance to properly experience that in these weird times?
One thing I’m sure about is that I haven’t been able to properly experience the drag scene in Brooklyn. I’ve seen the amazing bits and pieces that make this scene so legendary, but it’s so tough to do drag right now! Full faces of makeup with a mask on are not the tea. Not being able to see someone smiling back at you in the audience is not the tea. Feeling Covid looming over anything fun is just not the tea. But what I do know is the tenacity of the Brooklyn drag scene, and I’m so thrilled to be a part of it as it reemerges. Pink Metal has been really great with enforcing the Covid rules, so my co-host Lucia Fuchsia and I are able to put on a good show even with those rules in place.
Snatch Game is always my favorite episode of the season because I’m obsessed with a good impression or impersonation. Gottmik’s Paris fucking slayed. My background is in comedy and improv, and seeing someone be in character like that is so engaging and hypnotic… and it was fucking hilarious. The whole top row did really well.
As for Elliott, God bless her. What’s such a bummer is that it didn’t feel like she worked on it at all. That’s what’s so frustrating about watching the show, and the girls are like “I don’t know how to sew, I’ve never taken an improv class, I can’t do this or that.” I understand that no one’s perfect at absolutely everything, but I just want to see a prepared bitch on my screen. If not… Elliott, pack your bags. Also, what was that outfit?
It was certainly a curiosity, lol!
Some local folks best prepare themselves for a new competition in town: The Fabulous Mx Metal! That’s a new five week pageant / competition you and Lucia are hosting at Now & Then in Brooklyn starting Tuesday, March 16th (8pm).
Yes! It’s so exciting… I hope everyone comes! It’s a big space, and we’ll be able to have some fierce, social-distanced fun! And I hope you are ready for a show. We have five fierce competitors competing for a looooovely prize package Lucia and I have put together. Every week we have different themes and challenges for the queens, and Lucia and I–along with our extra special guest judges–will be guiding them through it. And at the end of the day, it’s a total celebration of these performers who have continued to create and inspire during this pandemic. And we’re so happy to provide a space for that.
Amazing, looking forward to interviewing the winner! Anything else coming up for you to report?
God, I wish I had more for you! I just hope everyone’s starting to feel a glimmer of hope. I sincerely think we’re getting towards the end of this pandemic, but that’s only going to happen if we want it to. So wear a mask. Social distance. Please get vaccinated if you can. I’ve been able to help a bunch of friends get vaccine appointments, so if anyone has any questions or needs help, please feel free to DM me.
Wonderful! Okay, last question: what’s a not-yet-announced country that you’d love to see a new Drag Race spin-off film in?
Oh maaaaaan. Most people have to say Brazil, right? Like, you always hear “Come to Brazil,” so I think it’s time for us all to go there. I looooved the French aspects of Canada’s Drag Race, and Nicky Doll is fabulous… so maybe Drag Race France? Oh my god, also Drag Race Japan–could you imagine the lewks? Keep them coming. I’m overwhelmed, but also intrigued.
Thank you, Chase!