On Point With: Lanyé Armön

When a young drag performer is winning or placing in every competition out there, it’s time take note of a true queen on the rise. And this Bronx-born dancing glamazon and new crown winner is definitely proving to be one to watch, with an excellent attitude to boot: the lovely Lanyé Armön!

Thotyssey: Hello Lanyé! Thanks for finding time to chat with us… we know that this has been a busy month for you so far! How’s May treating you now?

Lanyé Armön: Amazing! It’s been showering me with multiple opportunities that I can’t be more grateful for. It may get hectic at times, but it’s all worth it!

Hectic indeed! Congrats on recently being crowned Miss Mundo Latina New York Newcomer 2022. Tell us a bit about that experience!

So this is my third pageant in total, but my first title win. I’ve done Miss Hornitos in C’mon Everybody in Brooklyn, and was third runner up; then I did The Ultimate Diva Pageant in Brooklyn hosted by Janelle No. 5, and placed first runner up; and last Sunday, I finally gained victory! I competed in prelims, only doing a number and Q&A portion, and swept the competition against four other talented, fabulous divas. Now I’m heading to nationals in November… I’m super excited. And I’m preparing for the DragNet finale and Polish the Queen finale in the same time frame of preparing for this pageant.

You’re a favorite presence of many in the competition scene, both as a fierce performer and a gracious competitor. I even saw DJ Nicky Boom Box post recently about how you sat out the much-discussed “Drag Wars” season premiere so that other girls could get a chance to compete / win!

Yes, I adore the “Drag Wars” family! I believe if you’re hungry for this life we call drag, then you should have a chance at the stage and spotlight! Also, the sign-up is closed by 8:04pm and sign-up opens at 8pm. So yes, if I have a spot, I’ll always give it to a new queen… especially if it’s a drag debut! The more the merrier. Competitions truly aren’t about the winnings or the battle between sisters, but a time to build lifelong friends and drag sisters that’ll be with you forever.

You have the absolute best attitude for a long career in this biz!

Thank you so much!

Where are you from originally, and what were your earliest creative ventures and interests?

I’m from the Bronx, and I have been dancing commercially for 16-plus years in music videos, street festivals, and dance company tours. I got tired of being the background dancer, and wanted to be the main… and drag happened to be just the perfect way to do so! My early ventures in drag started back in March 2020 on an app called BIGO after the world shut down; I had no competition to attend, so I went on this app where you get paid to livestream. I met some great friends and drag queens who helped me with makeup skills, and conveying my emotions and skill of lip sync.

Who or what inspired your drag name?

Originally I went by Shibinto Hellenback (“she been to hell and back”) — ’cause I have been! But I was working with Morgan Royel at The Ritz for “Do The Right Thing Thursdays,” and she said “Niecey, that name doesn’t fit your brand! You not doing a comedy number or nothing funny! You come in here every week and you dance, so you need a new name. I’m not saying that on the mic!” So we sat upstairs and I said, “why not use my real name, Lanyé?” And that how it came about. So now I tell people I’m “Lanyé: like ‘Kanyé,’ but I’m less controversial!”

For those who haven’t seen you perform yet, they should know they gonna get a house down dance performance with fierce looks! Do you make your own drag outfits, or do you just have a keen sense of what works for you?

Ooh, they call me “The Bodysuit and Pump Queen” ’cause it’s just what works for me and my padded little figure, lol! But more recently–especially for this Polish finale–I’ve been working with a very close designer / drag queen bestie Adrena Lynn. She knows what works for me, so I follow in her lead on all my latest looks. She’s truly an amazing seamstress, and fashion genius.

You’re one of the few queens who started in digital lockdown-era drag that’s really making her mark onstage today. I’m guessing that performing in front of so many live audiences in a week is quite different then livestreaming on BIGO!

Performing in person is so much harder, honestly. Gays have the attention span of fish, so you have to keep them entertained. But the beauty of it is connecting with people, and making them feel whatever you may be performing! Online, you must never forget that though it’s maybe two dimensional, you still have to perform as if they’re in front of you… so they can become infatuated with your art.

There are so many post-lockdown drag performers in New York (and everywhere else) today. Do you ever worry that there are too many, or do you think there’s room for everyone who wants to do it?

The more the merrier! We all have different styles, and different stories to tell. No one person’s message is bigger or better than the other… so I truly feel we can all succeed at drag, if we put our minds to it! But I’d also like to say that drag’s like college: not all the people you entered with will be at graduation!

True that! As we’ve mentioned, you are quite busy this month. For one thing, Lori Lu and yourself are hosting a weekly brunch show at Fusion HK,”Das Locas Brunch!” How’s that going?

We love Fusion HK! From our guests that we like to call our “repeat offenders” to the food, it’s always a good time! Lori Lu is an amazing co-host to work with, and one of my best friends. The people read our energy, and love what we do! Very thankful for Lori Lu, my little imported good!

Wednesday brings us a fun 80s show you’ll be a part of called “Ladies Who Mean Business” at Nicky’s Unisex in Brooklyn! Are you down with an 80s vibe?

Oh, I love the 80s! I think the first time you saw me perform at XOXO Bar was to Taylor Dayne’s “Tell It To My Heart.” It’s the music my mom played to clean… it’s all I know!

Yes, I remember that performance! Aw, RIP XOXO, LOL (that’s a lot of capital letters)!

Ha! Good Times!

And you mentioned that you’ll be competing in the 10th anniversary edition of Merrie Cherry’s “DragNet” competition at Metropolitan in Brooklyn this Thursday, May 19th. That should be epic!

Yes, I have some amazing things planned… super excited! The venue is perfect, and so intimate for what I’m going to do for this finale. Also, who doesn’t love a good night with Merrie Cherry on the mic?

And when is the Polish the Queen finale again?

May 25th! [Show producer] Phil Chanel and the Polish family have truly set the tone, and are bringing it to this finale… so they asked the same of us! The theme is “Thought Provoking Pieces,” so expect the unexpected.

And I’m thinking you might be partaking in the “Lady Liberty” competition at The Q, which I co-judge? That is, if we get our shit together for the expected new season launch at the end of the month, lol!

Yes! I was supposed to do the Cinco De Mayo May Queen special [that got cancelled due to the venue’s technical issues]. But I know Lady Liberty is the competition of competitions; I’ve seen big queens like Lady Celestina and Victoria Williams doing these comps, so I know I have to bring my A-game and then some!

Looking forward to it! Anything else coming up for you?

I’m working on building a new drag house / collective with some other newbies! It’s in the works–it’s going to be epic, but just know that you’ll have the first exclusive on who exactly, and what our name will be!

That’s gonna be an exciting reveal! So here’s my last question for all the girls this month: Drag Race All Stars 7! Who’s team are you on for the win?

I’m Team Monet! She’s my biggest inspiration. Her drag is the epitome of where I want to be: looks, face, humor.

You’re already there! Thanks, Lanyé!

Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Lanyé Armön’s upcoming appearances, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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