From the Hudson Valley’s Haus of Peculiar to a new era of Brooklyn drag, Evangeline’s about to throw an epic birthday kiki… in the name of capitalism!
Thotyssey: Hello Evangeline… happy almost birthday! I was browsing your Instagram and saw a recent throwback post of you wearing this train set look, and the train was moving around the tracks… amazing!
Evangeline: Yes, that train is fully functional and passenger ready. My Drag Spawn Ythene aka Phenomenon 0110-C constructed it, and was kind enough to let me borrow it for the shoot.
Phenomenal indeed! By the way, you used to go by the drag name Strawberry. What inspired the change?
Originally I thought it was to remove the separation between my in-drag and out-of-drag self, but I think it was actually for the opposite purpose. So you know how in 30 Rock, Tracy Morgan plays a character named Tracy Jordan who’s like, this exaggerated reflection of his real experiences? After coming out as trans and choosing the name Eva, that’s what I wanted for my drag. I was basically going by the name Strawberry full time before I came out, and big surprise… living full time as Mr. Hyde isn’t very good for Dr. Jeckel. So I decided to kill Strawberry, the twisted amalgam of person and character, to make room for Eva the person and Evangeline the character.
How might you describe your drag to the uninitiated?
Evangeline is a mess… but not in the, like, smeared makeup / throwing food all over the stage / 2017 Bizarre Bushwick kind of way. Like, more that the character Evangeline is a woman who’s life is constantly spiraling out of control, but stays runway ready through the trauma. Gwyneth Paltrow in The Royal Tenenbaums was a formative moment for me.
Whatever disastrous life situation I decide to put her through is almost always some twisted reflection of my own problems, so right now she’s the avatar for the late capitalist “live the brand” type attitude I have to play up at my day job.
What is that day job, if I may ask?
I work as a receptionist for the European Wax Center in Chelsea. Every day I have to answer the phone with “It’s a Gorgeous Day at the European Wax Center in Chelsea, this is Eva speaking, how may I help you?”
So can you tell us a bit of your origin story: where are you from, what were your early creative pursuits, and how did you ultimately become a New York City drag performer?
So I was born and raised in New Paltz, NY, a little hippie college town two hours upstate from the city. My mom was an actor turned fourth grade teacher (she’s an actor again… keep an eye out for her in the background if you watch Halston) and my dad is a musician and music writer; they were very good to me despite me being a textbook troubled child, so there was no way I wasn’t gonna end up an artist. I basically devoted my entire teenage years to this, like, super hippie experimental theater/ LARP camp, so the drag community has ended up feeling like one of the least fringe pursuits of my life.
I ended up starting drag right when I turned 18, joined up with some of the local divas like Victoria Precise, Katarina Mirage, Venus Peculiar, Valkyrie Hail, and later ShowPonii and Andramada and formed what would eventually be the Haus of Peculiar. In 2018 I moved down to Brooklyn for the first time, made a few friends and trolled some Rosemont open sets, but got priced out. I ended up meeting the love of my life in the basement of a Switch n’ Play show, got married in the cuntiest possible fashion, got separated by a border for a year now–he goes to Parsons for grad school–and I’m back. But now I’m trolling weekly pageants at C’mon Everybody.
That’s quite a journey! Brooklyn drag has changed a lot throughout that whole time. Is there any specific way you might describe what that scene is like now, to an outsider?
I was just talking to Mauve about that… like, wow, it has changed so much since I’ve been gone. It’s crazy to see some of the people I came up with on the open set circuit build such names for themselves; I’m so proud, and only a little bitter.
I think now, people are a lot more conscious about the financial side of drag. Like, I rarely ever saw bars being called out publicly for underpaying talent during my first run here, but now I think people are a lot better at stating their worth and being aware of when they’re being exploited. Also, wow… the “hairy messy artsy” stereotype of Brooklyn drag just no longer applies, like, at all now. It’s all Fenty models and human units.
That hairy messiness is still there to some degree, thanks to outfits like the Haus of Quench and newer venues like All Night Skate! Are you an honorary Quencher, or are you too busy with your own Haus of Peculiar?
I was given the invite, but I think I’m flying solo for now. I love the Haus of Quench, and of course the Peculiars will always be family for me… but I don’t think I want the responsibility of representing for any one group of people at this moment in my career. That being said, we have the Quench Father theirself, Cuntyham, at my birthday show this Friday; they’re one of my absolute favorites in the scene right now; I can’t wait to see what they do.
That birthday show will be at Dromedary Bar!
It sure will! The show is called “Brand Central” and it’s basically one big lampoon of hyper capitalism. Expect lots of product placement.
What else might be coming up for you?
My weekends are looking a bit barren in April, but in May I’m doing a pageant for the first time since Mx Nobody in 2019… so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, I just went viral on TikTok literally two hours ago… so follow me there at for some free associative cultural commentary.
Excellent! Okay so in closing… now that Pete Davidson isn’t going to space anymore, would you take his place if offered?
Anything to put that twink in his place.