Aw, ain’t she cute!? Well, they’re a lot more than that, and the digital stage has shown us many different aspects of Brooklyn drag artist I’m Baby! [Cover photo: Jay Kay]
Thotyssey: Hello Baby! How are you this month?
I’m Baby: Hey! I’m doing pretty great, I would say. The warmer weather always puts me in high spirits, and I enjoy seeing everything blossom again. I’ve also been a busy bee making videos for upcoming shows! it’s been exhilarating to create so much.
Live bar shows are definitely reopening again and that’s great, but it would be a shame if that happened totally at the expense of this new digital programming–it’s become a pretty interesting platform for different types of drag performing.
Oh, I agree! I know viewership for digital shows at this point can be tricky, but I love the opportunity for artists all over the world to work together. I also think it’s a great way for people who can’t go to bars to enjoy drag; be it viewing it or creating it. It’s been such an incredible way to adapt, and I would love a drive-in drag night where we watch projected videos and have snacks! maybe throw in some live stuff too, because why not!? I also love that it’s given so many people the opportunity to start drag or try drag for the first time in a comfortable setting.
Have you had a favorite digital number that you’ve done so far?
Ahh, it’s hard to choose a favorite, but my number for In Living Color’s [upcoming] Tranniversary show is probably the most personal number and video I’ve ever created… and I’m excited to present a vulnerable side of myself. I also enjoyed the Instagram Live shows early on. I got to perform “Out Tonight” on my staircase, and was fully living my Mimi Marquez fantasy.
Where are you from?
My family is from the Bronx, but they raised me in Middletown, NY which is definitely…not NYC, lol. A lot of people from the city had moved to that area at the time, but when I turned out to be an artistic kid, my mom always regretted not staying in the city.
And what was I’m Baby like when she was I’m Child?
Haha, I’m Child! When I was very young you could always catch me reading, or trying to make a little garden. My mom said I had a green thumb, but I think it also speaks to the way I’ve actually always found myself as a caretaker. Being Baby is my way of saying, I need to be cared for!
That’s deep! How exactly did Baby come about?
The exact moment I’m Baby was born was one night at The Rosemont (naturally), after meeting Kat Wilderness and chatting about how I had been tossing around the idea of doing drag. She encouraged me to give it a go–and of course as first time drags go, it was nowhere near perfect. But when I stepped into the bar, it felt like I was being seen for the first time. People were just so sweet and complimenting me and it just felt like warm light was shining out of me.
I didn’t do my first performance until a few months later, but I loved going out in drag and watching shows. My love of drag probably began with To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (one of my mom’s favorite movies), and then stumbling upon Drag Race as a teenager. But what sealed the deal of “wow, maybe I could do this,” was about a year before I started drag at Nightgowns–seeing Creme Fatale perform. At the time I identified as cis, but drag also helped me figure out and embrace my non-binary identity amongst other things.
That’s wonderful! How would you describe your particular style of drag today?
I met someone before I started drag who said to me, “that’s your thing, huh? Being cute.” And at the time I resented that comment, but once I started drag I was like “oh lol, I guess that kinda is my thing!” Hence the name (which is also inspired by a meme)–but being cute wasn’t all I wanted to be. So from then until now, I would say my drag style is “like flirty cherub!” My goal when I go out or perform is for people to be charmed by cuteness, and then flustered when I turn the heat up on them. My long term goal is to lean into being even more ethereal, adorable, and sexy.
OMG… we were supposed to have our birthday show together since our birthdays are a day apart, but she was under the weather–so unfortunately, we haven’t worked together. But yes, people have gotten a little mixed up before… which is insanely flattering to me, but also makes me giggle because Baby Love is much taller! I’m only five feet, lol!
You may be small in size you will be the huge star of several upcoming digital shows! First up is Monday’s “Vinyl Fantasy” tribute to Chromatica featuring Vegas Valentine and Marcel with Honey Davenport, Mr Ms Adrien, Nick Gaga, Dezi 5, Madame Vivien V, yourself and more. Gaga’s Chromatica turned out to be the oddly perfect quarantine album!
Yes! I’ve definitely had it on “Replay,” lol! A year ago I performed in a release party show the day after the album came out, which was so much fun! It really feels full circle to be a part of this now! After this month, I’ll have performed four songs off the album… which has me wondering if one day I’ll conquer them all.
Then next Friday (April 30th), you’ll be part of Louisianna Purchase’s virtual Sailor Moon show! That cast will also include Miss Toto, Crimson Kitty, Gothess Jasmine, Iodine Quartz and more! Were you a big fan of that show growing up?
When I was like 3 or 4, I would wake up at 5am every day when my dad was getting ready for work just to lay on the couch and watch Sailor Moon. I remember seeing The Promise of the Rose movie and feeling like it changed my life! It definitely inspired my love for the moon and magic… and beautiful transformations.
Oh my gosh, it’s going to be a blast! It’s funny that it’s the last in the lineup, when it actually was the show that kick-started my busy month of filming! I am so deeply honored to be working alongside so many artists who bare their heart so openly in their performances. The cast of In Living Color (Junior Mintt, Juniper Juicy, and June) have always made me feel encouraged and inspired and seen–not only as a performer, but as a person. It means an incredible amount to me to work alongside them, and all the other performers I get the pleasure of having the company of this month!
Have great shows! By the way, did you see the recent Drag Race finale yet?
I didn’t watch the finale because I’ve been prepping to film this weekend, but I heard Kandy was in the Top 2 and Symone won! I’m so proud to see Kandy go so far in the competition, and I think Symone is incredible! I’ll probably watch the finale Sunday! From what I saw on Twitter, the looks were stunning.
They were! Anything else to mention?
Just that I’m looking forward to the first chance I get to do some outdoor drag this spring and summer! I’ll be working on looks, and trying to learn to sew in the meantime!
Sounds like a good opportunity then for us to close with: what is your single favorite piece of drag wardrobe that you own?
Ooh… at the moment, it’s probably the pink pigtail wig that Essence styled for me on my drag birthday photoshoot! She did such a beautiful job on it… it’s perfect!
Thank you, Baby!