2021’s final “Polish the Queen” champion is getting a showcase of their very own this weekend… enjoy your special time of the month with Maxi Padding! [Cover photo: Dom Martello]
Thotyssey: Hello Maxi, thanks for chatting with us today! How was your New Years weekend?
Maxi Padding: Thanks for having me! It was very chill, but I think that’s exactly what I needed to ring in the New Year.
I hear that. This Omicron stuff is nuts!
It certainly is! I’m glad to see most everyone is getting boosted and regularly tested as we all try to navigate this as safely as possible.
So where are you from originally, and what were your earliest creative interests?
I’m from Royal Oak, Michigan which is right outside of Detroit. And I’ve been performing most of my life! I was in the local high school production of Pippin when I was 5-6 years old, and that led to years of performing with different choirs, bands, and theaters.
Do you had a favorite role from that time?
It’s a little strange, but I’ve actually played Mr. Collins in two separate versions of Pride and Prejudice — and both times I had the most fun playing him!
He’s the best!
He is; it’s always the most fun to play the creeps and weirdos!
How and where did you discover drag, and ultimately become Maxi?
I started getting into drag in college, after an assignment in my stage makeup class where I attempted drag makeup for the first time. And then I started experimenting more, and going out in drag. But I didn’t really start taking it seriously until February of 2020 (very convenient timing on my part). I had been in the city for a couple years auditioning, but I was finding it very difficult to find my place as a non-binary actor– even in auditions specially casting queer characters, I would often feel alienated. Drag lets me be whoever I want, and I’m finding it much easier to find a place where I fit!
Do you have a drag mom?
Nope! There are a lot of drag performers I consider my siblings, but I’m not a part of any “official” drag family…yet!
What would you say the Maxi Padding onstage experience is like for the initiated, and how might you describe your aesthetic?
I strive to look stunning and act stupid! But there’s always a clever wit to a Maxi performance; I love to make people laugh and smile, and I think there’s an art to making a mix that keeps people’s attention and lands a good joke! I wouldn’t say I have a specific aesthetic I’m going for, but I always try to look polished. I love to experiment with looks inspired by all sorts of designers, decades, and anything that grabs my attention.
I saw you slay at “Lady Liberty” one week, and you’ve done many of the other weekly competition shows. How do you you like engaging in that scene? Are you “in it to win it,” or is it more about networking and trying stuff out, and getting stage time for you?
I’m very grateful for all the different competitions in the city! They are a great way for drag performers, myself included, to start to get their name out there. When I started in the scene, it was definitely all about networking and just getting the chance to perform. But I can’t lie… I’m a pretty competitive person, and once I started winning it was hard not to strive for the crown every time.
I did! It was really amazing! The competition was fierce, and the judges were all nightlife personnel that I look up to and respect. But I’m most proud because that package I made entirely myself! The wigs, the outfits, the mix… everything except the shoes were all me, and that made the victory that much sweeter!
Congratulations! And now you’re getting a onetime Playhouse showcase of your own as part of your prize package. On Saturday, you’ll serve us “Code Red” at 5pm with special guests Valedictorian and Sitanya Face!
Yes! I’m excited to get to host and share what Maxi is all about! We’re putting together a great show celebrating the hard work we all put into the “Polish the Queen” finale, and into our drag the last year! Sitanya and Valedictorian are great performers and artists, so the show should be unique and a lot of fun!
Anything else coming up for you?
Nothing at the moment… I’ve got some things in the works for 2022, and you can always keep up with what I’m doing by following my socials everywhere!
And finally… Drag Race Season 14 premieres this weekend! Whose team are you on!?
Well, I’m always on team NYC and I love Jasmine… so I’m definitely rooting for her! And this year I get to root for my home state, Michigan, for the first time with Orion Story. But I think my number one is definitely Kornbread!