Emerging as a drag queen in pandemic-era NYC, Macedonian born singer Ronda Vu quickly tried out for a bar pageant post lockdown and wound up co-hosting a show that’s about to celebrate it’s first anniversary.
Thotyssey: Hello Ronda! Thanks for chatting with us today!
Ronda Vu: Hello darling, it is a pleasure to talk to you, thank you for having me.
So, did you happen to catch the Drag Race season finale last night?
After my dance class I tuned in to catch the performances, and I must say I am very pleased with the winner of this season, Willow Pill. It was Drag Race that inspired me to start drag.
This was a long season, but a fun finale! So, you’re taking dance classes?
Since I started doing drag I was inspired by the dance performances, and I started taking some dancing classes. I am taking social dance classes, and learning Argentinian Tango.
Love that! By the way, I see you just won “Star Search” at Barracuda on Thursday… congratulations!
Thank you so much, it was a celebratory evening. I love Star Search, and [host] Kizha Carr is an amazing host.
Can you tell us a bit about where you’re from originally?
I moved to the US in 2010 from North Macedonia–for those who don’t know where that is, it is in Eastern Europe (once it was a part of the Ex-Yugoslav Republics).
What was life there like, if I may ask?
Life in Macedonia is very different than the life here: the culture, the people, the personalities. It has beautiful architecture, amazing food, and great nightlife. However,
the country struggles with acknowledging the LGBTQ+ community.
This June will be the third time they have Skopje Pride–Skopje is the capitol city in Macedonia. Ronda Vu will be participating in their Pride this year, so I am very excited and nervous about that. I must say, there are only six drag queens including myself in Macedonia.
Wow… true heroes!
So what brought you to our area, and what made you want to try drag?
Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to live in America. I was inspired by American life through movies, songs and art. I had the opportunity to come as a work and travel student, and that experience allowed me to explore different states: I lived in Washington DC, Virginia, New Hampshire, and ended up in New Jersey which has a large Macedonian community.
I was introduced to drag five years ago by watching Drag Race, and I didn’t really understand it and appreciate the art of it until my partner introduced me in how to be flamboyant and embrace it. We went to Puerto Rico with Linda Simpson just before lockdown, and I got inspired by her.
Ronda Vu was born during quarantine; she is a quarantine queen. My first live performance in front of a crowd was at Headroom Lounge in Jersey. That happened when they started opening the restaurants and bars.
You had a good run in the Miss Rockbar competition last year. How did you enjoy doing that?
The Miss Rockbar experience brought me so much joy; it helped me grow as a performer. I didn’t end up with the finalists, but I was made stronger as a performer, and introduced to so many wonderful drag queens and new friendships. “Losing is the new winning!”
Lol! You made a strong enough impression to get a monthly Rockbar show of your own, co-hosted by fellow contestant Lucie Screws! “Screwball” is a monthly Tuesday affair there… what can you tell us about it?
Screwball is a hell of a show; Lucie Screws and I have a lot of fun collaborating. We have a different theme every show, and invite special guests to join us each month. One of my favorite themes was The Talent Show in February; I had the opportunity to showcase my flower arrangement skills in a three minute challenge!
Our next show is this Tuesday the 26th (10pm), and we are celebrating the one year anniversary of Screwball. Its gonna be a fun show–our special guest is Sitanya Face, and we are very excited to have her. If you come a little early next Tuesday you can catch the burlesque boys from “Rock Solid.”
Another upcoming Rockbar event you’ll be hosting is with local group EurovisioNYC!
I am a big fan of Eurovision; it is a part of my culture. Through this collaboration with EurovisioNYC, I am given a platform to represent Macedonia. The next Eurovision party I am hosting is next Sunday, May 1st (6pm) at Rockbar. If you come next week, you will see my performance art piece to a Eurovision song.
Have great shows! To close, we’re already nearly onto the next chapter of Drag Race All-Stars! Who’s team are you on?
Thank you for asking this question! And I am gonna answer you with no hesitation: I am team Jinkx Monsoon.