A genuine “thesis queen,” Florida-born drag performer Lala Wiggy is gagging all the children with her luscious live vocals and fabulous fashions. With a popular weekly and a bunch of new showcases on the way after just half a year of being a New Yorker, we will all be Getting Wiggy With It pretty soon! [Cover photo: LouGo Photography]
Thotyssey: Hola, Lala! How’s April treating you?
Lala Wiggy: Really well so far; I’ve been so busy. I didn’t even realize that May is already right around the corner!
Same! I really enjoyed your live singing performances in the “Lady Liberty” competition at The Q this past season.
Thank you! Lady Liberty was an amazing experience. I have to admit that my first time doing the competition, I was extremely intimidated because I look at Lady Liberty as the Drag Race of the club competition scene; only the best of the best can be found there. So going in, I wore all my good shit and sang my best, most rehearsed song, lol! I’m mainly a live singing queen, so I’m glad I chose to stay true to that for the competition.
And it actually paid off in more ways than just the win that night (even though I didn’t win, and was honestly stunned to make Top 3). I was chosen by [host] Brita to be in the wildcard show, which was such a breath of fresh air. I respect Brita a lot; her career is vast, whether with or without Drag Race. So to be chosen by her for the wildcard show meant a lot.
Where are you from, and were you always a performer of some sort?
Well, I am originally from Pembroke Pines, which is a small suburb outside of Fort Lauderdale. But I spent a lot of my time in Miami, so I just tell everyone I am a Miami Girl! I’ve always been a performer and actually attended New World School of the Arts in Miami, where I got my Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Musical Theater. Somehow, the dancing portion of that education is hanging on by a thread, lol!
Tell us how Lala came to be.
Drag really started for me when I got my car in high school, and was out at midnight every other Saturday of the month for the Rocky Horror Picture Show, lol. But Lala specifically was actually born out of my thesis in college. Our final (and biggest) assignment was to write, produce, direct, and costume our own 20 minute one person show. So I decided to write about the biggest struggle I’ve faced with my identity. Times are moving toward a more “progressive” direction, but when I was younger I got a lot of hate for being gay. Then as times went on and I was in high school and especially in college, the issue was no longer that I was gay, it was that I was too gay. I’m too feminine, or too into Lady Gaga, lol!
So I wrote a one person show about Miss Lala Wiggy (of course I got the name from my grandmother telling all her grandchildren that girls have Lalas and boys have Wiggys), a drag queen who was at a show and walking home from her gig when she was sexually harassed on the sidewalk and beat up. The play begins as she walks in, but by the end, her solution is to just run for Mayor of NYC!
Drag was a way of no longer getting the critique from my professors that I am too gay onstage, but rather to get some actual feedback based on the quality of work I put on.
What brought you to NYC?
Trying to make it on Broadway, of course! In the middle of a global pandemic…
Miss Rona, destroyer of dreams and bestower of strange opportunities! Tell us a bit about the divas, music and styles that inspire your drag today. And are you a 100% live singing queen, or do you have lip syncs too?
I do have some lip syncs, and they will be on full display this Sunday at my Stonewall Invasion! Actually, this show will be mainly lip syncs with just some live songs.
The main inspiration for my drag is, and always will be, “The Fame Monster Ball” era Lady Gaga. That concert changed my life. Honestly, everything about her fandom at that time changed my life! As far as vocal inspirations go, I was classically trained. But I love to reject the teachings, so Amy Winehouse is my number one voice inspiration. But at heart, Lala is a rock and roll girl.
You’ve been hosting karaoke at Ñaño Ecuadorian Kitchen in Hell’s Kitchen, more or less since lockdown ended.
Yes! The gig came about because I was Chicky Gorgina’s guest on Halloween at her “Gorg Brunch” there I met the owner of the restaurant Abel Castro, and I just dropped the idea for a karaoke night in his lap. Then a few days later he called me and went through with the gig! I love performing there, honestly–it’s an intimate space, but the vibe is excellent. Plus, I am able to really connect with my audience that way. Karaoke is my way of basically hanging out with my friends and my audience, and getting to know them… especially since there is no stage separating me from them, lol!
Do you have a favorite song to sing there, or anywhere?
My favorite song will always be “The Man that Got Away” by Judy Garland, but I do the Billy Porter version from POSE. It lets me show off, but in my own way… and Lala likes to show off, lol!
And as you’ve mentioned, you’re making your Invasion headliner debut at Stonewall this Sunday night, joined by guest Leroy Taylor. Tell us what we have in store!
Come one come all to Lala Wiggy’s Stonewall Invasion–Sunday, April 24 at 9pm. It is going to be a night of lighthearted comedy, a lot of banter on the microphone by yours truly, and–you guessed it–lip syncs! Also featuring some live sung songs. Basically, I’m treating this show as a culmination of all of that my drag has to offer, from my first six months doing this craft professionally in the city.
You’re also partaking in another competition show now, this time at Stonewall.
Tuesday nights, I’m currently competing in Miss Clarice Hart’s “NYC Next Cabaret Star,” a singing competition upstairs, as the only drag queen contestant. It’s been great so far! This past Tuesday was Week 2. I’m Loving meeting new people in the scene as often as I can. Plus, this is a chance to sing with a live pianist, which is a dream.
And this is exciting: in May, you will be starring in your very own stage show at The Triad Theater called Killer Queen! Leroy will be with you there as well!
This is actually the third installment of my live cabaret series at the Triad. I produce and headline the show, so it’s become my love child. Saturday, May 7th! Doors at 9pm, showtime at 9:30! Official after party at Ñaño!
Anything else coming up for you?
Also at Stonewall, Saturday nights during the spring and summer I will be their Door Goddess! This Saturday is my first night, so I am looking forward to that!
Good luck and have fun with it all! Lastly: the All-Winners cast of Drag Race All-Stars has recently been announced… who are you rooting for?
Jinkx, of course! Not only is Season 5 my favorite season (Season 3 being a close second), but she is a Broadway trained singer like myself. So, it has to be her!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Lala Wiggy’s upcoming appearances, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.