This young queen also happens to be “NYC’s burlesque bombshell,” and is leaving her sultry mark in venues across the city as the re-opening unfurls. Leave your umbrellas at home and feel the Rayne!
Thotyssey: Hello Rayne! Things are certainly looking like they’re going back to “normal” in NYC nightlife this month, don’t they?
Rayne: Hello my love! I think I speak for most queens when I say that I am so ready to reconnect with queer nightlife in person. Thankfully we have a vaccine available for us, and I’m ready to party, baby!
During this lockdown, you and your gurls dabbled in some digital drag. I love that you filmed your Kali Uchis tribute number at the Kew Motor Inn, which is a, um, famous hotel with *exotic* rooms and hourly rates in Queens! What was that filming experience like? PS: I’ve been dying to ask you that for weeks, lol!
Lol, OMG yes! My vision with the “Telepatia” music video was missing my special someone in a motel feeling sexy… and the Kew Motor Inn made that fantasy come true. Although, there was probably a crazy orgy going on in that room before I filmed because I saw handprints all over that mirror! The cool thing about it, though, was the different themed rooms. Definitely a place to check out!
Had you gotten a chance to perform much in New York before lockdown happened?
Oh, absolutely! I got my start at a competition over at Pieces Bar, and from there guested at several bars in Brooklyn and [Manhattan]. Right before lockdown. I was hosting drag brunch over at Toro Loco every other week.
Are you a native New Yorker, and were performing arts and fashion always interests of yours growing up?
Much like Wendy Williams sang, I am definitely a native New Yorker–born and raised in Richmond Hill, Queens. Fashion was definitely something that helped my growth in figuring out who I was inside. I never liked or identified with the typical cis male clothing; I always needed to add my own feminine flare to it to feel comfortable with what I was wearing. To me, my sense of style was an expression of myself that at the time I felt I wasn’t allowed to say out loud, but showed through my clothing. At 5 years old, I was singing “Oops I Did it Again” by Britney Spears on my sister’s karaoke machine! I remember being home alone a lot when I was younger, so I would always put my sister’s clothes and makeup on and learn Gaga’s choreo, and perform it in front of the mirror. She really thought she was that girl.
What actually motivated you to become a queen, and then choose your name?
My friend brought me to a drag show; I was way too scared to go to by myself, and I instantly fell in love. I saw myself doing it, and went right for it! I chose my name from this video game called “Blood Rayne,” [featuring a character] who is this vampire femme fatale out to stop her evil father. So I was able to relate!
Who are your drag sisters today? Do you have a mom?
My drag sisters are very special to me; we’ve created our own little family consisting of Blue, Roqué, Boyish Charm, Jubilee Rogue and Stasi! Over quarantine we worked together closely, and since then have tried to support each other as much as we can. As for a drag mother, I do not have one right now… but I have learned so much about this art form from my sisters.
What’s a Rayne experience like today, as far as the looks you serve and types of numbers you do?
I feel like I’m very versatile in terms of my looks; I take a lot of inspiration from 20s-50s fashion mixed with modern trends. If you’re ever at one of my shows, you will always experience a step into my fantasy of erotic glamour. I’ve gotten into doing burlesque in drag, and I love it! I’ve found burlesque to be so liberating, and it’s really shown me to appreciate and love my body.
So you’ve started a new event with Boyish at 3 Dollar Bill recently—the next installment of “The BFF Party” is Thursday, May 27th!
Oh yes! It’s a dance party thrown by our friends Alex and Danny, who are killer DJ’s! If you’re looking to dance to the latest and hottest pop music, then this is the party for you. Boyish and I give shows throughout the night and also host on the mic, always having the crowd cracking up at our silly banter. This Thursday, the crowd is actually allowed to get up from their chairs and dance on the dance floor… which is super exciting!
What else is coming up for you?
I’m very excited to announce that Blue, Roqué and I have a new show coming up on June 10th over at Astorias Secret! It’s a speakeasy bar in Astoria, Queens that looks like a lingerie shop on the outside, but once you walk in it’s a bar with super sexy décor. The name of the show is “Kama Sutra,” and we will be giving you a hybrid burlesque / drag show!! I’m so happy I was able to convince the girls to get into doing burlesque with me for this show, and I’m so excited for everybody to see what we bring.
That’s very exciting, have a great premiere! And finally: Miss Mexico just won Miss Universe! What are your thoughts?
I’m not too knowledgeable about Miss Universe, but I do know that Miss Mexico doesn’t usually win–it usually goes to Venezuela or Colombia. So that’s amazing she’s taken the win this year! I love to see Latinx representation.
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Rayne’s upcoming appearances, and follow her on Instagram. [All photos above by Stasi.]