A fierce newcomer to the drag stage who serves savvy geekiness and savage showgirlship, Yaga Tigerlily’s giving us a bunch of shows this month.
Thotyssey: Hello Yaga! Happy Day After Mother’s Day… and what a lovely day it is! How are you?
Yaga Tigerlily: Hey Hey! Happy post-Mother’s Day to you too, I’m doing pretty good so far. OMG, the weather is in that perfect spring sweat spot.
Things seem to be finally taking a turn for the–knock on wood–better, as far as Covid rates and protocols go! Are you fully excited about nightlife atmospheres gradually becoming more crowded and carefree again, or maybe a little anxious?
I’m extremely excited about things opening up. Like, hopefully we aren’t jumping the gun, but I’m so over performing with a face mask.
I hear you! You are one of those young queens who really came into their own during the pandemic, doing guest spots for outdoor and socially distant shows. Did you also do a lot of digital drag?
Actually, I’ve only done two digital performances. I’ve never been a big fan of doing digital drag; it’s not quite the same as having the energy of a live audience.
So where are you from originally, and what were your early interests and obsessions growing up that might’ve put you on the Drag Path?
I’m originally from here in New York, born in Brooklyn–raised in Queens. I’ve lived in every borough except Manhattan. Early on, I’ve always been one to put on a show; when I was, like, 7 or 8 at barbeques, I would gather my cousins to rush together an hour of choreography and go out to put on a little show for the family. Anytime I saw people dancing on TV, I would have it taped and would rewind it over and over just to learn the dances or make up my own. Like, Chicago played non-stop on the TV, alongside the Janet Jackson concert we had on DVD. I would also do all this with a t-shirt on my head as a wig, because I simply couldn’t be more extra.
Ha! How did Yaga Tigerlily come about, both as a queen and as a name?
So the name originally was just “Yaga,” which comes from a really stupid trend on Vine where someone would pull on a girl’s ponytail (occasionally snatching it off) and say “YAGA!” It started to become a joke I made a lot with my friends, and eventually it became my drag name. I added on “Tigerlily” when I was adopted by my drag mom Jessica Rose, because we both thought it was super cute if I had a floral last name, too… and tiger lilies are my favorite flower.
I first dabbled in drag for FlameCon which is like gay ComicCon; I dressed up as a drag version of Waluigi. The first time I’ve ever performed was at a small drag competition in Long Island called Drag Factor. I was only 20 at the time, so I never got to perform much outside of that competition… but I was hooked, and came back every time I had the chance.
So, you’re kind of a Nerd Queen!
Oh absoultely! A lot of my favorite mixes have some relic of internet humor, gamer references, anime nonsense. Like, when I’m not in drag, I’m probably just playing video games or watching anime.
Are you fully a Tik Tok queen yet?
I haven’t made a video yet, but I do scroll through Tik Tok for hours. I love how it somehow knows exactly what I wanna see… which is mostly cute guys and anime.
Same! Actually, how might you overall describe your budding aesthetic and performing style to the uninitiated?
I always go for something that is a lil’ sexy, a lil’ edgy, and cute–but like, in a mischievous way. And every once in a while, a few pieces of cosplay thrown in there. She’s always gunna serve up something fun and high energy, with a few jokes here and there. Like, when Yaga hits the stage, you know it’s gonna be a good time.
This Tuesday, you’re set to compete in what’s turning out to be Brooklyn’s hottest new drag competition, “Are You The Next Diva,” hosted by Janelle No. 5 at Aura Cocina!
I’m so excited! I’m lowkey super competitive, so I always love to do a good competition. The only downside to them is learning that sometimes doing a Britney Spears song is more well-received than making a niche joke that only four people in the audience will get.
Lol, the tragic unfairness of it all!
Then on Sunday the 16th, you’ll be with AriaJae for her brunch at John Doe in the Flatiron District, also featuring Ruby Slay Monroe and Robin Rose Quartz. Brunches are fun!
Oh yes! Especially when I get to perform with some of my favorite girls in the scene. I always say brunches are my favorite gigs to do: the bottomless mimosas, food that isn’t government mandated hot dogs… and there’s something about being called cute in broad daylight that really boosts the ego.
And speaking earlier of digital drag, on May 24th you’ll be at it once again as part of the cast of May’s edition of “Vinyl Fantasy” on Honey Davenport’s Twitch. This month is dedicated to Gwen Stefani’s seminal album Love Angel Music Baby! Was that record a bop for you?
Oh, that was my intro Gwen Stefani. Like everyone goes bananas for “Hollaback Girl,” but my personal favorite was “What You Waiting For!” The whole album was full bangers, though. Like, I feel like I’m a lil’ young to be saying this, but… I miss early 2000s pop.
Any other alerts for the children?
The only other project I’m working on is streaming video games on Twitch.
We’ll come play! Final question: what is your favorite go-to makeup product?
KimChi Chic Drama Queen highlighter palette… and a little bit of glitter. It’s just the perfect glow!
Thank you, Yaga!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Yaga Tigerlily’s upcoming appearances, and follow her on Instagram and Twitch.