An Ultimate Drag Pageant alum, this queen recently had a radical look change while still serving the children digital drag finery… it’s THE Fancy Drew!
Thotyssey: Hey there, Fancy! How is March treating you so far?
Fancy Drew: Hey hey hey! Thanks for having me. March has been a roller coaster so far! Things are re-opening left and right, and I’m trying to find my footing as a functional adult human person out in public again. It’s just like the good ole days!
Lol, I hear that! What venues are you most looking forward to returning to, as a patron or otherwise?
Hardware has been home base for me ever since I started going out with my Judys in the city. I’m imagining–one day in the near future, I hope–me making my triumphant return to the pulsing crowds of sweaty men whose names I’ve suddenly forgotten to the tune of “As If We Never Said Goodbye,” or something. That will be a good day.
More on the future in a bit, but first… the origin story! Where are you from, and what were your early interests as far as music, performing, fashion, etc?
I’m originally from the sticks out in Ohio–a little one-stoplight town called Thornville. Growing up, I did all the typical gay kid stuff: show choir, band, theatre. Since there wasn’t much variety in the talent pool in the neighborhood at the time, I was kind of the star of everything, lol! Once I discovered how warm and cozy it was under that spotlight, I decided never to leave it.
How and when did you become a New York queen?
Well, I knew right away that the country life was not for me (although I do look great in a bolo tie), so I grabbed myself a quick little BFA in theatre performance and moved to NYC the day after I graduated. At that point we were three seasons deep into Drag Race and I was fully invested, so by the time we got to Season 4 I was like, “this makes sense for me. I can finally put all of my skills to use at once, and sometimes people will give me money about it!” I would watch queens like Sharon Needles and Willam out here literally breaking the rules, and I feel like it gave me permission to start exploring the kind of drag that I’m doing now.
Do you remember where you first performed as Fancy, and what the number was?
Of course! I got to do a guest spot in the “Late Late Late Late Late Show” with Marti Gould Cummings at Hardware for my birthday in 2017. Naturally being the Sagittarius that I am, I performed a mix that I had made about it being my birthday; it was very Super Sweet 16 meets Melanie Martinez. I passed out party hats and noise makers during the performance, and we all threw confetti at the end. By far one of the best birthday parties I’ve ever thrown for myself, in the company of unsuspecting strangers at 1am on a Sunday in Hell’s Kitchen.
Aw, I know! I spent so many nights in that basement over a very short period of time right before the city shut down, so we grew close to one another rather quickly… which makes the loss sting that much more. But I’m so grateful for the time that I got to be up on that stage during UDP! It was invigorating to scramble together a new idea every week, and then produce a new mix and make a new outfit, and sometimes even do a little choreo. I really got to challenge and stretch myself, and it feels really special to have shared that experience with an audience. Even though I didn’t take home any crowns (shoutout to the actual winner, my sister Lexington Banks), I’ll never forget all of the people who were there rooting for me week after week. And you know what? If there’s ever a UDP: All Stars, count me all the way in!
I see your look has changed a lot since UDP/ For one thing, you’re recently clean shaven… from the neck up, at least! Did something specific prompt that change?
One thing that I love about drag in general is how wide the gamut of what is considered “drag” can truly be. Of course I enjoy being gorgeous and feminine, but I’m also an entire ass man… and it’s not a secret either. So in a way, me being a hairy queen is sort of a wink wink nudge nudge, like, we’re all in on the joke. I’ve received some resistance and confusion when it comes to my mustache in particular in the past few years, which can be discouraging at times–but it also made me want to stick to my guns and stay true to myself. I wasn’t gonna change my appearance just because people couldn’t see my talent and beauty past some facial hair, so for a little while there it was kind of a “fuck you” to all of them.
And then the world shut down. 2020 really harshed on our vibes, and by the time the election rolled up, I decided to get rid of the stache on a whim. Just to see what would happen. And guess what, nothing changed! Haha.
Gorg is gorg, with or without a stache!
That’s exactly how I feel! Some of the most beautiful women I know have mustaches. One of ‘em even has chest hair!
How have you been enjoying digital drag this far, both as a spectator and performer?
As a spectator, I’m definitely eating up all of this digital drag content. I love that we’re finding new ways to connect with the community all around the world, and I hope that that never slows down. I for one feel like I thrive in a digital format–when I have the opportunity to produce a video project start to finish–because I love telling stories through my art.
When that first stimmy hit last year, I got myself some real cute studio lighting, camera equipment and green screen situations, and I decided to study up on all the ins and outs of being behind the camera. I spent the summer working on projects with other artists and friends of mine that I’m really proud to have been a part of, in addition to a few projects of my own. As much as I love that spotlight, my brain and skill set really lend themselves to a lot of the work that has to happen off-screen as well.
This Saturday you’ll be part of the large cast for a new digital revue care of Vanna Deux called The X-Perience! That’s a tribute to the X-Men, and every good gay nerd knows that the best X-Men are women, right?
OMG YES. I’m so excited for this show! It’s my first event with Vanna, and I can tell you from the cast alone that it’s going to be bonkers. And I fully agree with you… which is why my interpretation of Cyclops comes with a few twists! She’s gonna be serving you special effects, fight choreo, and brief nudity, mama. You won’t wanna miss it!
Anything else coming up to plug or discuss?
I’m perpetually scheming up new stories to tell, and designing new looks these days… so keep an eye out for me on the internet at all times. Teaching is also a big part of what I do (in and out of drag), so there may be a workshop or two in the future that everybody can look forward to. And if you want to see me performing live in NYC, just tell your favorite bar to hire me and then I’ll perform there! (rimshot) In the meantime, everybody can come out and help me support my sisters at their weekly gigs! Local drag is back, bb! Mask up and be gay!
Amen! Okay, in closing: what’s a song that came out this past year that you can’t wait to perform live?
Oooh, that’s a tough one. The pop divas kept us fed all year, so there’s a lot I could choose from there! However, I do tend to lean towards the unexpected and give it a little twist, so I’d have to say something like “Who Is She” by Qveen Herby or “Simmer” by Hayley Williams. Honestly though, all I need is the energy of the space and a couple tequila sodas, and I will gladly throw on a wig and mash my lips around to any song from the past year! Bring it on, 2021!
Thank you, Fancy!