On Point With: Warhola Pop

This gorgeous and multi-faceted artist, model and drag queen just won the crown for the epic “Are You the Ultimate Diva” pageant in Brooklyn. Warhola Pop chats with Thotyssey about what it took for her to win, how her heritage, Brooklyn and Andy Warhol helped shape her own vision, and how a fellow Puerto Rican queen was totally robbed on “Drag Race” this season! [Cover photo: @jeffrebelle]

Thotyssey: Hello Warhola, thanks so much for talking with us today! So you just won a major pageant that Janelle No. 5 hosts at Aura Cocina in Brooklyn. Congratulations on your Ultimate Divadom!

Warhola Pop: Thank you so much for being interested in my story, and thanks for the congrats!

Where’s your crown now?

It’s in the living room of my place.

I saw a clip of your talent; it was very pageant-perfect with dancers and huge fans and gown gorgeousness! Can you describe the number for us?

For starters, I always had this idea to create a show where I could do tribute to one of my [favorite] performance artists and singers, La Lupe. Second, I born and raised in Puerto Rico and for a long time there the drag scene was dominated by drag pageant style. I grew up watching this, and that is what we show in the contest: my knowledge and my culture.

Did you become a drag queen yourself back in Puerto Rico, or here in NYC?

Well… I describe my drag as two steps: one, Warhola in Puerto Rico, and another in New York. I started in Puerto Rico, but with a team who helped me to be polished. When I moved to New York my team stayed behind, and I had to start everything by my own.

Were you a fan of Andy Warhol?

My name took life when I was in college in art history class; it was there when I started understanding Andy Warhol’s art. He showed me US and New York culture, and the consumerism. It was then when I understood drag art is part of that. So, at some point I dreamed about being part of the pop art and campy scene. I can say, I’m a fan of Warhol’s work and was shown the world, and I’m living pop art.

There are a few other queens from Puerto Rico in town about your age, like Vena Cava and your former Bizarre Bushwick brunch co-host Victoria Holiday! Did any of you know each other in PR?

Interesting question! Yes, we’ve known each other for a long time. Victoria and I have been doing shows together for a couple years, from Puerto Rico to New York. My story with Vena Cava is complicated, but now the three of us consider each other diaspora sisters, and we going to do and help each other like the family we are.

How would you describe the type of drag you usually do today?

It’s really difficult for me to pigeonhole my type of drag. After all, we are entertainers. So every time I’m going to a gig, I will try to study the place and the public and see what they like; we are there to entertain them. So I describe my drag like a “constant adaptation to the present.” Obviously, I have boundaries and limits. After all we, latina drags are careful with the details, and how we look.

At the Glam Awards in January, many Brooklyn people and places were nominees and winners. “Ultimate Diva” hostess Janelle even won Entertainer of the Year! Do you think this is an exciting time for Brooklyn nightlife?

I’m definitely sure Brooklyn is the Moment; we have many different types of talent and performers. Remember the Manhattan golden years of Studio 54, Warhol, Haring, Grace Jones, Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith, Basquiat, etc. etc. I believe that drag is the new art movement, and the best ones of New York are in Brooklyn.

So what’s coming up for you in drag, or in modeling, or the other artistic media you put out there?

Winning this title and crown gives back to me the opportunity to believe more in my talent, and increase my purpose of creativity. As mentioned above, I don’t pigeonhole my drag–and that includes my performance as an artist. I’m a showgirl, a model, performer and entertainer.

[Photo: Thomas Olsen]

We look forward to seeing more Warhola! So, let’s close with Drag Race! First of all, who are you rooting for?

I’m definitely rooting for Willow–she is so talented, and love the looks.

And finally… how lame was it that the amazing Puerto Rican queen Alyssa Hunter was eliminated so early, and frankly unfairly, from the competition?

Oh my gaga! Alyssa! It was definitely a shame she had to go home so early. I knew Alyssa from back in Puerto Rico, and she is one of the more delivering drags I’ve ever known with her work. That’s the problem for us, to be a colony of USA: we are part of this country, but we have a different culture and “ways.” It’s so difficult for a latina who was born out of the States to deliver good performances, in a program which is adapted
to a culture we are not familiar. I’m pretty sure the show’s production [team] is regretting every time she posts the weekly looks.

Such gorgeousness! Thanks, Warhola, and congratulations again!

Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Warhola Pop’s upcoming appearances, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

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