Drag hostess Vanity Q is continuing to “Light Up The Night” with exciting, big production events as the NYC nightlife rebirth persists. [Cover photo: Grace Chu]
Thotyssey: Hiya, Vanity! April is already coming to an end, almost. How did it treat you?
Vanity Q: The month has been crazy, but a blessing! Been in rehearsals for my upcoming show while juggling full-time school and full-time work. Can’t complain, though!
Rehearsals! Not everyone in nightlife does those.
Well, my shows are different from the usual nightlife entertainment. I put on full productions with my backup dancers, who work so very hard for me! They make my shows stand out and be memorable for our audiences. I’ve been a dancer and performing artist since I was four, and brought that aspect of my life into my drag world. I have two choreographers and visual directors–Julian [Austin] Wicks and Natalia Garcia–who whip me into shape to perform at my fullest. I like to put on a show people will remember: VMA-type of shows, where people feel inspired to work. It fills my spirit to perform and work with my team.
Where are you from originally, and how did you begin as an entertainer?
I am from Sunset Park in Brooklyn, but lived in Staten Island since middle school. The after-school program in my elementary school started me off with heavy dance training and musical productions. I was the star in most of them, and never stopped.
As Vanity Q, what made you decide to go the route of producing and headlining these big showcases instead of being a more “traditional” bar queen?
No shade to the bar queens, but I just want to leave a different impact. I want my audience to be excited to see what I have going on next, and anticipate my next show. The bar queens work super hard every night getting them gigs, but I just like to present my art differently. I also like to give other drag queens and LGBT artists the platform to perform for huge audiences in venues with beautiful stages and lighting, so they can feel what I feel. My events have made all of us feel the love and appreciation for what we do. It’s been an amazing experience!
Werq! You’ve certainly done a number of larger scale shows like your signature “Light Up the Night” in big venues such as Mercury Lounge.
Yes! I have worked at Mercury Lounge, DROM, and a few other places in the LES. [And I’ve been] changing their audience as well, bringing an LGBT night to a venue that is typically hetero. It has been great to make connections with venue owners to bring them something different. We are back at Mercury this fall!
You must keep a pretty wide net for your show casts–always in search of new talent while retaining the services of great recurring performers.
Yes! Its so amazing to find new talent and hungry artists who want to do the work! They call me the Kris Jenner of NYC because I love to give people opportunity to do what they love!
Two drag queens you often work with are Yasmin Delano and Egypt. They were really fun in Tina Burner’s music video that aired on the recent Drag Race Season 13 reunion ep!
They looked so good in Tina’s video! Yasmin Delano is one of the closest people I work with, and one of my best friends! She is our host for Light Up The Night, and is amazing! Egypt is a superstar, and we have something planned for you guys pretty soon… can’t say what, though! Both of them are amazing performers with excellent work ethic. Its a pleasure to work with them always!
Right now, Brooklyn’s 3 Dollar Bill is a pretty perfect venue for the kind of nights you like to produce.
It’s an amazing performing space! I did my first show there in December 2019, an hour and half straight show called “On The Run.” I fell in love with that experience, and will definitely continue to work there. They’re lighting is excellent, and our lighting guy is outstanding with lighting cues!
Tell us a bit about your upcoming socially distanced Sunday night event there: Oasis! Egypt and Yasmin will be onstage there, as well as Beaujangless, Jaemy Paris and Evy Sings.
Oasis is an extension of Light Up The Night–similar experience, but different layout–that will be kept at 3DB. Oasis is a showcase highlighting LGBT performing artists in many aspects. My co-Director Julian is releasing his debut music as an artist, which is exciting! This lineup is full of high quality entertainers who live in their art. Me and Julian’s dancers have been working endlessly in the dance studio to get ready for Sunday. Our performances are going to be next level; it’s better than anything we’ve ever done before! We can’t wait to launch this event… this is our first Oasis event!
So, what else might be in the works for you in the near future?
Well, pre-Covid I was working on putting together an outdoor music festival for LGBT artists, like Coachella or ULTRA in Miami. That is the next move!
Def something to look out for! Okay, last question: what’s your best advice for a queen or any entertainer who might want to break into nightlife in NYC?
Do your art the way you want to do it! Don’t feel pressured on what every other queen says what’s the right way to do drag. Your drag is valid, your drag is enough! Do what ignites your spirit, and go in full force! You got this!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Vanity Q’s upcoming appearances, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, plus her stage show Light up The Night on Instagram.