He takes beautiful pics, serves sexy moves… and bakes, too!? Don’t try to make sense of it, just enjoy this chat with the one and only Adam Ross, aka Gaystrychef! [Cover photo: Warren Piece]
Thotyssey: Hello Gaystrychef! We’re approaching the spooky season… are you getting your pumpkin spice on?
Gaystrychef: Oh, I’m fully a basic pumpkin spice bitch; it’s shameful how much I enjoy it!
I’m in that club, too. It’s also great to see nightlife more or less back in full swing… this time last year, we were all still homebound. Have you been fully enjoying the reopened scene?
I have, definitely! It’s been really exciting seeing new parties start and clubs open; it feels very much like people are more appreciative of our queer spaces, and the DJs and drag artists have really stepped up their games.
Absolutely! So, if you were to meet, say, cute trade who asked you what you did in nightlife or in general, how might you describe your duties?
Cute trade, you say? Depends on the night they catch me out! Most weekends I’m gogo-ing, so if trade wants to find me they should just come to The Q! If I’m at a drag show, odds are good I’m shooting it… so just look for the camera by the stage.
Where are you from originally… and how did you ultimately enter the world of NYC nightlife?
Born and raised in Miami, moved to the Boston area for college and stuck around there for a while. Long story short, I lived in Provincetown for a few years before making the move to New York in September 2018, which is where I really felt surrounded by queer community for the first time in my life.
Were you always interested in photography?
I always loved it, and did it as a hobby. I started shooting the queens who would come through Ptown, and knew I wanted to do the same in NY. I had moved to Bushwick, and quickly fell in love with the drag scene there.
Really, I just started bringing my camera with me every time I’d go out! For all that I’m involved in nightlife, I’m not inherently super chatty or social… so having the camera was a really good way for me to meet people and get to know them, without giving me anxiety or feeling awkward.
[Photos by Gaystrychef]
Some people would be surprised that a person with social anxiety would also gogo dance, given all the exposure that entails! But I guess that line of work is also about having something to do instead of directly socializing?
Oh, absolutely! It’s controlled interaction, and as the dancer you are the one controlling it. Gogo for me checks a lot of boxes: you get out and get to have a twirl for yourself, you get to be a part of nightlife, you make coin, you get to feel sexy, and you have fun doing it.
Why do we call you “Gaystrychef,” by the way?
I was actually a pastry chef for a long time… before Covid! I had a whole career in Boston and Ptown, and was baking here as well until the pandemic hit. Back when I first made the handle, I thought I was being very clever, as in “gay pastry chef,” and the name stuck. So that cute trade from earlier should know… I can cook. Just saying.
Warren Piece recently posted some great shots of you, that can be found on yours and his Instagrams. Does modeling for other photographers inform your own shooting at all?
For sure it does. I always learn something by watching other photographers and shooting with them. It’s informed a lot of how I’ve come to shoot–both in the way I feel more confident directing a shot, and in how I use the camera itself. Warren is an amazing photographer, his portraits are so vivid and alive… I adore his work.
And those were gorgeous shots you took of the Bushwig gurlz!
Thank you! They’re all so beautiful and talented, they make it easy to make them look good!
Do you think there are any specific trademarks or cues in your photos that keep coming out?
I like to think that my photos have a certain quality to them that makes them stand out, but all I’m really ever trying to do is capture the special small moments in a performance where the artist is really just into it, and feeling themselves and the number they’re doing.
[Photo: Warren Piece]
Folks can catch you gogo dancing at 3 Dollar Bill on Thursday for Wolfpup’s “Jockstrap”… alongside the amazing Boy Radio, no less! Plus there are lots of top DJs taking their turn at the booth, and Nick Gaga will be turning out numbers. How amazing will this be!?
I can’t wait! I love Wolfpup so much… I gogo’d with them over the summer in Fire Island, and had such a great time! Boy Radio is also family to me, so we’re both very excited about getting to dance together. And the talent behind the DJ booth is crazy; the shows are gonna be great. Definitely a night not to miss!
Anything to add?
I’m always looking for new people and performers to shoot; anyone who wants to, let’s connect and make some magic happen! Otherwise, come say Hi at Wolfpup this week, or at The Q… and let’s get dancey and sexy!
Heard! Okay, in closing… what will you be for Halloween!?
I have an idea in mind but I’m not giving that away just yet! In case anyone wants to take it, though… my idea for Carnival in Ptown this past year (the theme was “Over the Rainbow”) was to be Glinda in a bubble, and walk around in one of those giant inflatable bubbles you can get inside of. I didn’t get the chance to do that Covid-friendly look, so it’s up for grabs if anyone wants it!
Thank you, Gaystry!