Last month’s “Bitchfest” (co-)winner has proven she’s got real comedy comedy queerdo chops on top of dynamic drag looks… say hello to MissMa’amShe! [Cover Photo: Anthony Leo]
Thotyssey: Happy May, MissMa’amShe! How was your April?
MissMa’amShe: Hello! Thank you for having me. Happy May! My April was lovely; I’ve been on hiatus from drag, so I’ve just been taking time for myself.
You certainly put a lot into March, which ended with you as the winner of that month’s “Bitch Fest” at C’mon Everybody hosted by Zavaleta! That means you get to move on the finals in the summer, which is awesome!
Thank you! Technically I’m a T(winner) with ShowPonii; he was giving me a run for my money every week!
Congrats to you both! I see that on one of the nights, you just did straight improv standup for the first time… what inspired that, and how scary was that experience for you?
I went into “Bitch Fest” with two goals: the first being that I was going to use the competition to reflect on and improve myself as a drag performer, and secondly to either win or come in close second. I’ve never been a competitive person, but I wanted to prove to myself that I had something special to offer.
Now, the comedy challenge was wild. The prompt was five minutes of comedy, which had everyone really stressed. Standup comedy really is a hard hit or miss, and I knew going into it I was either going to rise to the occasion or it was going to crush me. I consider myself a pretty funny person, but I’ve never written or rehearsed set jokes before… and when I was trying to practice, I hated it so much. I felt myself becoming unfunny.
So I decided three days before the competition that I wasn’t going to prepare anything, and just talk and see where it takes me. And when the moment came, everything just came together and it felt so natural, that I didn’t even realize I had been on for ten minutes–I thought at most, it was like seven. I ended up winning that challenge, which felt really rewarding because I’d never considered having actual comedy as part of my drag, which I’m excited to start exploring more. I have to give a huge thank you to Zava, because I left the competition feeling so much more secure about my abilities as a drag performer. I know it’s called “Bitch Fest,” but it’s such a loving atmosphere… everyone really does care for each other.
There’s much to look forward to from you, but before we get to the future let’s explore the past! Tell us a bit about your background: where are you from originally, and what were your beginnings as a queer creative person?
I am actually a native New Yorker, born and raised in Queens. I’d say my beginnings started in high school, I guess. I dabbled in theater a bit, but I preferred working tech, lol. I didn’t really explore my creativity until I was in college; by then I was out and making content.
What sort of content?
I made three short comedic films: two independent, and one collaborative. I studied film in college, and I used my films as my creative outlet for all of the silly little jokes in my mind.
Did anything you did in those films influence your future drag persona at all?
I’m not really sure, to be honest. I’d probably say they showed how silly and goofy I can be. More so, it’s given me a better business mindset in navigating the drag scene.
How exactly did MissMa’amShe get born?
So the name “MissMa’amShe” was born before I ever even considered doing drag. I’m usually mistaken for a cis woman–which I’ve never really minded–but one day in college, my friend misgendered me in front of a group of people. I got really frustrated… not because I was misgendered, but because her reaction to misgendering me was so extra that people began staring at me. In that moment while she kept blurting “I’m so sorry,” I just stopped her without thinking and I said “why don’t you just call me Miss Ma’am She.” The moment it came out of my mouth I was like, wow, that’s a really good drag name.
Now MissMa’amShe herself was born probably a year later. Iodine Quartz (my bestie) was the one who convinced me to do drag. Iodine and I went to college together, and were friends before either of us started doing drag. So when she started, I would go out to almost every show and support her. We had this unspoken routine where we’d go to “Open Call” at The Ritz and I’d watch her compete, and then we’d go to Mickey’s right afterwards for drinks to end the night.
One day she was like, “let me paint you,” and after she painted me I felt so powerful, and she looked at me and was like, “you should start doing drag, and I’ll be your mother.” And I guess the rest is history! Iodine is the reason I am the performer / person I am today. As my mother and best friend, she has guided me so much to excel and thrive in this community. When I say I am the daughter of Iodine Quartz, I mean it; I really am her offspring. I love her so much, she’s my family.
This is a broad question, but what are your thoughts on the state of drag today? Is it diverse enough, interesting enough, respected enough, in danger of oversaturation, etc?
I’m glad you asked. I think the state of drag right now is a kind of a mess. I remember the drag scene pre-pandemic, and looking at it now… everything is all over the place. Granted, I can’t speak for everything that’s happening, only what’s I’ve witnessed myself.
Firstly, drag is getting too serious, and no one wants to really ki and have fun anymore. A lot of people are either competing with each other, or they’ve decided to remain stagnant and complain about how nothing is changing for them.
Secondly, more producers need to start paying their performers. I’m so tired of producers either trying to “love bomb” you into doing something for just tips, or haggle your booking fee. It disgusts me how some people will try to make the fee you set feel like a personal attack on them for trying to book you. The worst part is that the baby queens who are now producing are copying this type of business behavior. Like, we can’t keep sending each other the same $3 for community support because we’re working for free. Drag costs money, and we need to be getting paid.
Thirdly, drag is getting a lot better… but still isn’t diverse enough. We need more POC performers to be regularly showcased, we need more plus-size performers to be showcased, and we need more drag kings and things to get the spotlight. A lot of shows use diversity as a time-sensitive issue, like “we wanna book *insert certain group* but only for this specific type of show.” Like are y’all serious right now!? It’s so obvious that a lot of bookings aren’t made off of talent, but rather desirability. I have more thoughts, but I don’t want to ramble, lol!
Well said! You do have some fun things coming up. First, there’s “She Not Porto Rikan?” with Freeda Kulo along with Chicky Gorgina, Privilege and Sasha VanGuard.
Yes! I have a very packed month coming up; [that show will] be at The Slipper Room on Tuesday.
Then House of Yes on Wednesday, as the special guest for [Zalika Parson’s drag competition] “Hot Mess“…
And Thursday I’ll be at “Werk Night” [hosted by Bea Belize] at C’mon Everybody. I’ll also be in LA for DragCon helping my friend Acacia Forgot with her booth for Forgot’s Locks. I have a lot more announcements coming out later in the month, so watch out for that!
And in June, you’ll be throwing your hat into another competition: Mx Nobody! You’ll be competing in the third preliminary round at Purgatory on the 12th.
Yes, I’m really excited to compete for the title! My mother competed, so I knew I wanted to do it as well.
Anything to add?
Follow my drag daughter Career Doll on Instagram and on Twitter!
She looks like she’s going places! Okay lastly, whose team are you on for All-Stars 7?
I’m Team Ma’amShe.
Same! Thanks, MissMa’amShe!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for MissMa’amShe’s upcoming appearances, and follow her on Instagram and Twitter.