Marketing guru, motivational speaker, author, talent manager, activist, drag superfan, Pennsylvania native and former Texan Jackie Huba has had a busy and storied career even long before she became a New Yorker this year. Nowadays she’s managing some of nightlife’s biggest names, registering queer voters, and co-producing this coming January’s GLAM Awards show… and here she gives an exclusive announcement about two brand new awards categories!
Thotyssey: Jackie, hello! Thanks for talking to us at this very busy time! How are things going?
Jackie Huba: Great to be chatting with you! It’s been so exciting co-producing the GLAM Awards with Cherry Jubilee. The planning process has been going smoothly, and we have some amazing things in the works. Right now, it’s all systems go for the event in January.
You often speak about how you’re inspired to be powerful and self-confident by drag queens. Can you tell us a bit about this inspiration, and how you’ve come to know so many amazing queens over the years?
I had long known about drag and RuPaul, but when Season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race aired in 2012, it really fueled my drag obsession. I loved seeing behind the scenes of how these queens created confident and fierce drag personas. As a women in my 40s, I still felt that I wasn’t as confident as I should be.
I started going to all of the local drag shows in Austin (where I lived) and San Antonio, meeting the local queens and the Drag Racers who came to perform. I even started doing drag as the fabulous Lady Trinity. I decided to write a book about how people, especially women, could build a confident and fierce persona for use in everyday life, based on the psychology of how drag queens do it. The book is called Fiercely You: Be Confident and Fabulous By Thinking Like a Drag Queen and came out in 2016. I interviewed 17 legendary queens of Drag Race for the book including Trixie Mattel, Katya, Shangela, Jujubee, Phi Phi O’Hara, Latrice Royale, Adore Delano, Laganja Estranja, Raven, Chad Michaels and more. RuPaul has been very supportive of the book, and gave us a quote for the cover.
Is there something you’ve witnessed a particular queen do or say that still occupies a lot of rent free real estate in your brain?
I’ve seen so many amazing live drag performances around the country in the last nine years. Since moving to NYC in May 2021, I’ve been blown away by the drag scene here and understand why many regard it as the best city for drag in the country. One recent performance that sticks in my mind was a performance that Sierra Misst did for the finale of Lady Liberty’s Halloween competition this past October. She created an eight-minute Carrie-themed production number with multiple scenes including a prom with three couples, and an epic reveal. Incredible!
You’re president of Fiercely You Entertainment, which sees you managing entertainers including big name drag queens. What are some traits or criteria you look for when taking on a client?
I’m so honored to be working with some of New York’s finest–Brita Filter, Lagoona Bloo, Novaczar–as well as Cynthia Lee Fontaine, and queens from the new Queen Of The Universe television show including breakout American Idol star Ada Vox. For my roster, I’m looking for well-rounded talented artists who are the full package. Many of my artists are also singers and songwriters who write and record their own music.
Drag Out the Vote is another organization you manage, which promotes voter registration and awareness of voter’s rights across the country using drag queens as messengers and educators. Care of your group, local drag queens and RuGirls from across the country are leading the initiative! What made you want to start DOTV?
Most of my life, I have never been politically active aside from voting every four years. But after the 2016 election, when I realized that 100 million people didn’t vote and one out of five LGBTQ+ people were not registered to vote, I knew I had to get active and try to do something big to change this.
And why do drag queens make such strong messengers?
Drag has always been political. It was trans women of color and drag queens who led the fight at Stonewall, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence who organized and educated the queer community during the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s. But there had never been a national organization centered around drag artists aimed at registering and turning out voters. So I started Drag Out The Vote in late 2019. And in 2020, even with the pandemic happening, we recruited 303 drag artist ambassadors in 43 states, contacted over half a million voters through our digital drag text banks, and created over one billion online impressions about voting with our digital events and activations.
Brita Filter, one of New York’s most beloved queens, is both a Fiercely You client and a very visible Drag Out the Vote ambassador. How great is it to work with her, and to have seen her grow into what she is today?
It is such an honor to get to work with Brita! Besides being insanely talented, she is one of the kindest, most generous people I know. She co-hosted our big Drag Out The Vote fundraiser in Minneapolis in January 2020. I met her for the first time at the event, and she told me she wanted to make voting part of her platform while appearing on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 12. She shortly thereafter became one of our three National Co-chairs for Drag Out The Vote along side Marti G. Cummings and Jaremi Carey (formerly Phi Phi O’Hara). Throughout 2020, Brita hosted our corporate digital fundraisers, DJ’ed and performed at our digital drag text banks, and recorded countless PSA videos throughout the year. I am so proud of the incredible activist she has become!
As we mentioned above, you’re now also joining forces with Cherry Jubilee to produce the 23rd annual GLAM Awards (January 30st at Sony Hall, hosted by Bob the Drag Queen), which honors the best of New York City nightlife every year. How did you come to know Cherry and get involved in the GLAMs?
I got introduced to Cherry through my client Lagoona Bloo when Cherry was looking for help to co-produce the event; my company Fiercely You Entertainment also does event production. I have known about the GLAM Awards as both Brita and Lagoona have both won multiple awards over the years. I’ve never been to the GLAM Awards in person having lived in Austin for the past fourteen years, but I think I’ve watched every video of past GLAM Awards that exists on the Internet!
There probably isn’t much you can give us by way of spoilers or teasers for January’s presentation, but I understand that there will be two very important, brand new GLAM categories that will honor humanitarian excellence in nightlife. What can you tell us about these new awards?
We are so excited to introduce these two new awards this year! The Advocacy Event of the Year Award recognizes an in-person or virtual event that supported a social, political or economic cause central to the community, and the Marsha P. Johnson Award recognizes a member of the entertainment community who has used their platform and marshalled resources over the past year to advocate for social, political or economic causes. Both of these awards are made possible by our title sponsor, Impulse Group NYC, and we thank them so much for their support.
Looking forward to seeing who wins these groundsbreaking honors! Final question: do you have any New Years Resolutions?
To not get Covid! LOL.
Happy holidays, Jackie!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Jackie Huba’s upcoming appearances, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Follow Fiercely You Entertainment on Instagram and their website, and also visit Drag Out the Vote’s website. Tickets for the GLAM Awards are available here.