A busy makeup artist by day, this Jersey Girl is about to do her Florida drag family proud by entering one of her own state’s most popular pageants. All eyes are on Crystal Envy!
Thotyssey: Hello Ms. Crystal, thanks for chatting with us today!
Crystal Envy: Hey Thotyssey, of course! I’m super exited for this!
Same! These must be crazy times, what with Miss Paradise right around the corner.
I just had rehearsal last night, and let me tell you… I can’t feel my feet! We’re coming up slowly on the finish line.
Very exciting! And besides this pageant and some other drag gigs, you’re also a makeup artist by day. That must be a demanding enterprise.
Yes! I run my own full-time business, Christopher Cianci Artistry LLC. I mainly specialize in bridal and celebrity work! It’s very demanding, and also sometimes tricky to balance both… being they’re both weekend-driven, and one is late nights and one is early mornings! You can only imagine how tired I am sometimes.
So, let’s discuss your origin story. Where are you from originally?
I was born on the lovely dump that’s called Staten Island. My parents moved to a small town in central Jersey when I was 7, and I’ve been here since!
Was it an interest makeup that got you into drag, or was it more about the performative stuff?
I originally was into hair before I got into makeup, but it didn’t really stick. So once I started playing with makeup, I just fell in love. I started using makeup when I was 14! I’m 25 now, so 11 years… oof.
I’ve always been an “entertainer,” and always liked having the spotlight on me. Anytime “Toxic” by Britney Spears came on at a family function, I immediately was doing the choreo and was the center of attention.
How did drag come into the picture?
I did drag in high school for a few years, but once I turned 18 Crystal took a long but needed nap… and I pursued my makeup artist career / business. Fast forward to 2020 and being bored at home during COVID, I started to dabble back into drag. And since then, it has just completely been insane!
You have a connection to the Florida drag scene as well.
I met my [Florida based] drag mother on Tumblr back in 2011, and constantly asked her questions about drag. After a few months of online mentoring, she asked if I wanted to be her daughter! Of course at the time, I was ecstatic and said yes… and couldn’t have been happier. Now I have four other sisters, and even though I’m the only one in a different state I never feel left out or not a part of the family.
What’s a Crystal Envy performance generally like, nowadays?
If I had to describe a performance in one word, it would be “production.” I always like to give some sort of production value when I’m on stage; I find just dancing around to a Top 40 [track] to be boring. Listen, sometimes that’s what the crowd calls for. However, I do like to step out of the box and heighten my numbers with some extra oomf.
By the way, is it ever confusing to shift gears from giving your bridal clients Soft Pretty Face to a more pronounced drag beat?
Sometimes yes… especially when clients want very minimal makeup, and in my head I always think “more is more, and less is less.” We all need more!
Let’s talk about the very specific experience of Jersey drag. There aren’t tons of venues for it, yet there are so many fierce queens on the scene!
Yes! There are so many fierce entertainers, and nowhere for us to go. It feels like my two “home” locations are Vera located in Cherry Hill and Paradise in Asbury Park.
Is Miss Paradise gonna be your first pageant?
My second! My first was Miss Glamorous Newcomer in Orlando, Florida! So I’m much more excited for this one, having done one previous.
The Miss Paradise contestants have been performing every Friday at Paradise for several weeks now, and you’ll be back there this Friday. What have those experiences been like?
Great! I’ve been performing at Paradise for the last year and a half and I love it, especially meeting so many new queens and becoming close friends with so many performers there. It feels like a sisterhood, for sure.
Does anyone ever ask if you’re “related” to local RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Star Scarlet Envy?
All the time! Even though, I think technically I’d probably be her drag mother since I chose my drag name when I was 14!
Lol! Actually, Miss Paradise and Drag Race have recently had intertwining histories. Two recent Miss Paradise winners, Honey Davenport (Season 11) and Olivia Lux (Season 13), barely got to enjoy a minute of their reign before getting cast on their respective seasons!
I know! They won and then got whisked away to secrecy. Who knows, maybe third time’s the charm?
It’s quite possible! So Miss Paradise is finally this Sunday; any spoilers regarding your presentation?
Let’s just say I plan on entering with a crown, and leaving with a new one!
You also perform a lot with another Jersey RuGirl, Ariel Versace! You’ll be back together for a brunch at Vera on Sunday, February 27th.
Ariel is great! I competed in her first cycle of “The Queen,” which was an eight week competition… and I won, of course! Vera is one of my favorite locations to perform at; our brunches are a blast. We have some really cool shows coming up, like our Wizard of Oz show (April 30th at Kathedral Event Center) where I’ll be playing the wizard! We also have our Disney brunch on March 13th, our Alice in Wonderland interactive show on April 24th, and our “Mean Queens” show, a live viewing and recreation of Mean Girls on Mother’s Day!
Anything else coming up for you?
I’ll also be competing for Miss Glamorous Newcomer again this year in July, which I am super excited for being in as my entire drag family is in the Tampa / Orlando area, and I love getting to see them.
Okay, in closing…. who are you rooting for in Drag Race Season 14?
I have to root for my girl Jasmine; I love working with her at Paradise, and she’s very fun to hang out with. But I’m also rooting for little Willow Pill; I think her take on drag is so cool, and definitely different then what we have seen.
Thanks, Crystal! Break a leg at Miss Paradise!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Crystal Envy’s upcoming appearances, and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.