Having been recently crowned in an important pageant, young queen Adrena Lin is ready to take on the hosting duties of one of Chelsea’s biggest nights.
Thotyssey: Hello Adrena! Thanks for chatting with us on this gorgeous May Day! Are you looking forward to summer drag moments?
Adrena Lin: Hi there! Thanks for hitting me up, happy to be speaking with you! I’m super excited for this summer–it’s my first summer working fully in nightlife, so I’m eager to see all the looks, performances and tanlines people bring!
Thank you so much! I’m very honored to be the current reigning Miss Clini-Trials (I have been going around telling people I’m “Miss Vaccine-O-Licious” though, because I just think it has a sexier ring to it). That night was so fun! I had found out that I was one of the selected contestants just a week prior, so I hustled like nobody’s business for seven days to get my package together… and it was very gratifying to bring it all to the stage. Meeting hyper intelligent HIV vaccine researchers and getting to perform alongside some of the premier, up and coming NYC drag performers? No complaints!
You came prepared–not just with looks and talent but also proof you did your homework about vaccines and HIV, as the pageant was a method to bring awareness to the issue! Isn’t it crazy, though, how much misinformation is still out there in the world about those things?
Well we certainly do live in unprecedented times, as everyone loved to say during Covid Lockdown #1. If there’s one thing that the general public is gonna do with an epidemic, they’re gonna sensationalize it and stigmatize the communities most impacted by it. That’s why we have to stay at the top of our game to defeat viruses and ignorance in equal measure!
So I’m assuming that prior to this pageant, you were doing the weekly competition circuit in our local bars as many young queens do.
Yes! The Vaccine-O-Licious moment was my first dip into a more pageant structure.
Do you have a preferred bar competition or two that you stick to?
Since I started performing in NYC in October, I’ve had the pleasure of participating in many of the weekly bar competitions. I have a big place in my heart for “Star Search” at Barracuda. Kizha Carr is my favorite drag queen, and getting to watch her perform and interact with her as a host is the exact kind of learning opportunity any rising drag queen needs. Furthermore, Barracuda provides a very laid back, friendly environment where performers can experiment, make mistakes, form connections, and learn how to slay on their own terms.
Where are you from originally, what have been your interests growing up that put you on the drag path, and how did you ultimately come to NYC?
I’m originally from a small conservative town in southern Colorado. As a kid, I was very into music, making funny videos where I dress up, and Lady Gaga… but somehow my ‘rents didn’t clock that I was gay. My freshman year of high school, I came out of the closet and immediately immersed myself in the internet drag scene, competing in digital drag competitions like Tumblr’s Drag Race and Reddit’s LSFYL. Acting as a drag queen in the nighttime kept me stable and confident through high school, and it led to me learning how to properly sew and assemble looks. It was a massive snowball from there–I ended up coming to NY to attend fashion school at FIT, and now I use my fashion expertise to supplement my drag and vice versa!
What was it like when you first started showing up in drag and performing in front of live audiences?
Oh, it was petrifying! Digital drag is one thing–you can always do another take, you control the lights and angles and editing, and you don’t have to wear pants or heels, for the most part! On stage, there’s so much more physicality and presence to think about. I still definitely have a lot to learn in regards to performing live, but I have gotten better in recent days about enjoying myself on stage and playing with the audience.
You’re still a young queen as you said, but how might you describe the Adrena Lin experience to the uninitiated? What are your numbers and looks generally like, etc.?
The Adrena Lin experience is chaotic first and foremost, and then a grab bag of energetic, poignant, and dumb as hell. I like to make mixes that are zeitgeisty and on point with current events, such as my Greta Thunberg mix or this one time I performed as the Sexy Green M&M. Basically I strive to be the drag embodiment of Stan Twitter, grabbing onto passing trends and manifesting them into immersive on-stage experiences.
One place that folks can see you soon is this Friday at your home base Barracuda for a new monthly dance party!
I am so excited to tell you about “Nouveau Disco!” It starts at 11 pm, after our RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars viewing party, and basically we’re gonna be invoking the spirit of Studio 54 in Barracuda! DJ Max Rodriguez will be spinning old and new disco hits all night, I will be doing sporadic pop up numbers throughout the bar, everybody is expected to turn out a groovy look, and we’re gonna create the ultimate immersive disco dance experience! It’s gonna be the ultimate Friday night. And there’s no cover, so there’s no excuse not to come, really!
So fun! Anything else coming up for you, or anything at all you wanna discuss or mention?
Thank you, first of all, for asking me and countless other up-and-coming drag performers to do this interview. Putting aspiring performers on a platform like this is super beneficial for all of us as we spread our wings in the NYC space.
And other than that, if anyone has outdoor gigs this summer and wants a rollerskating Sonic waitress of a drag queen, I am down to clown.
Thank you and Werk! I’ll end with this… after beholding that excellent All Star Snatch Game on Drag Race this week, which celeb might you impersonate if you were on that Panel?
Ooh, what a great question! Well I’m certainly no expert impressionist, but I’d definitely have to go with one of my fave reality TV legends: Gordon Ramsey!
Lol! Thanks, Adrena!