Evan Wittstock was a musical theater star on the rise when the pandemic shutdown happened. But rather than wallow, he used his deft makeup skills and fabulously dramatic flair to become a bona fide TikTok star. And now that stages are at last reopening, Evan’s alter ego Sierra Misst is the tall drink of sugary goodness we’ve all been craving.
Thotyssey: Hello Sierra! Thanks for chatting today! How’s your week treating you so far?
Sierra Misst: It’s going good! Hanging in there and keeping busy.
That’s the best way to be! You’re a unique case because you have this strong social media presence that kept you on people’s radar during the pandemic, and now that lockdown has lifted you’re busy in the gigs! Do you enjoy live performing now, compared to what you were producing from home?
At my root, I am a performer. I love being on stage. Before the pandemic hit, I was a working musical theatre actor. The social media / TikTok take off was actually just a happy accident! I was getting so bored in quarantine, and so tired of not being creative, that I just decided to film a TikTok. The second video I posted went viral and got me about 10,000 followers… and the rest is history!
I love those drag queen transformation videos… isn’t it crazy and bizarre to get into full gorgeous drag, just to appear in those few seconds of video?
Yes, it’s a lot of work for only 60 seconds or less. Once I would finally finish filming a video, I’d walk downstairs, show my mom the final look… then get in the shower and go to bed!
That was also a great Cosmo Queens segment you appeared in… was that fun?
Oh, it was such a fun time. It’s a little nerve-wracking because you can only use a handheld mirror that’s kind of far from your face, and I can’t see very well without my glasses. I need to get contacts! My makeup looked kinda crunchy in some of those close shots, but I’m still so proud. It was such a cool opportunity!
So where are you from?
I’m originally from Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan. A suburb of Detroit.
Were you always a performer of sorts from day one?
I guess I kind of was, yes. My family has repeated many stories of me dancing around in my nana’s living room wrapped in silk scarves as a child. Later came the school show choir programs and musicals, which lead me to majoring in musical theatre once I got to college.
I see you worked on La Cage and Priscilla.
Yes! Priscilla has actually carried me through most of my professional theatre career. I was lucky enough to be cast in Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert on Norwegian Cruise Line shortly after graduating from college and have now done the contract four separate times; I love the show that much. I also did Priscilla in Auckland, NZ with the UK touring cast.
I hope to have more La Cage in my future. That was a short run in Virginia Beach… but boy, did we have a blast with the time we had.
What’s your opinion on Broadway’s current, in-progress return? Is this a very exciting and emotional time, or is it all a little nerve-wracking given that Covid is still out there, and some long-running problems with show business still haven’t been fully addressed?
I’m very excited for the return of Broadway; it’s a big step that I think we are ready for. There are still fine points in the industry that need to be addressed, but I’m grateful to have such a huge part of the livelihood of New York City be returning to us.
How did Sierra come to be?
Well, I’d always had a knack for drawing women’s clothes and costumes when I was younger, and Halloween got me playing in theatrical makeup as I went through middle school, high school and college. Doing Priscilla is what really pushed me into the deep end of doing drag. Sierra wasn’t born until a few years after I started with Priscilla.
What does she bring to your life that, say, a scripted stage role can’t?
That is a great question. Sierra has made me realize how much I appreciate material that’s provided and well-rehearsed! Club drag is obviously a bit different from scripted theatre, and Sierra has forced me out of my comfort zone. I never thought of myself as someone who excelled in improv or standup comedy, but Sierra has really pushed me to flex those muscles that I didn’t even know I had in me.
So you are, I believe, a fairly new edition to the Haus of Cumming. How did you meet Marti, and become her child?
I was actually the first of Marti’s daughters to be adopted! The day after Marti asked me to be their drag daughter, I had to leave the city for a Priscilla contract. So, much of Marti’s fanbase didn’t get to meet Sierra until way after the rest of the Haus of Cummings was established.
My first time ever performing as Sierra was actually in The Ultimate Drag Pageant hosted and judged by Marti themself! I was the second runner up. Not bad for a NY club debut, I’d say!
What are your performances and looks like now, generally?
Frequently inspired by Broadway or classic showgirls, with a slutty or comedic twist. I love performing numbers that I can act in a bit… not just twirl and lip sync.
It was such a blast! I’ve never had the chance to work with Chelsea before, but even after night one we both felt like we had a fantastic chemistry on stage and on mic. I can’t wait to see how the show grows. It’s an honor to work side by side with an absolute NY legend for my first ever weekly show. Come see me and Chelsea Piers every Sunday from 6-8pm at The Q… the Qabaret room on the main floor! No cover!
A true must-see for New York drag fans! And finally: Sierra Mist, the soda (“made with REAL sugar!”): do you find it delicious, or… otherwise?
HAHA! Soooo, when I chose the name I thought it was just recognizable, cute and splashy (pun intended). Perfect for a drag name! Then one day I walked into my bodega and grabbed one for fun. It was… um… I’ve had worse things in my mouth, let’s just say that. Don’t come for me, Pepsi!
Lol! Thank you, Sierra!