Check out a double feature on Saturday from this Long Island Wild Woman, Stella Virgin!
Thotyssey: Hello Stella, happy August! Let’s start with the question of the hour: how are you feeling regarding Jinkx Monsoon’s recent Drag Race All Stars 7 win, and do you have thoughts on the whole season in general?
Stella Virgin: Honestly, I’m stoked for her. In realness though, I don’t actually watch Drag Race (Drag Gods, don’t smite me).
What a shocking confession, let me sit down for a sec, lol! Does Drag Race not appeal to you, or do you just not have the time?
I used to be really into it, and then I got busy with school. Then I tried getting back into it, then got busy with being an adult (or semi-functioning adult)… then Covid happened. Now, trying to get back into it, but I just don’t feel attached to it. I won’t lie, I do very much participate in the meme-ery, but I haven’t seen a full episode since Trixie won All Stars.
Well, that was a high note to check out, at least!
Sure? I’m not sure; it gives me a touch of FOMO with anything past then, but c’est la vie!
So how is Long Island Drag these days? It seems that the queens there have been Hot Girl Summering these past few months, finding more and more venues to turn it out all over the Island!
Long Island Drag these days… it’s wild! Everyone is up and about, doing their things. It seems like every time we start a new show, four new venues ask us to start shows. It’s so different from a few (pre-Covid) years ago. It’s a little overwhelming, but entirely amazing.
Before we continue to discuss the the present and future states of LI drag, we’d best cover your origin story! Are you a native Long Islander?
Kind of! I was born in New Hampshire, raised on Long Island, came into my own adulthood in Buffalo, then moved back. If any of that makes sense.
Sure! And how did drag start for you?
My drag really originated in theater. My junior year of high school, we were doing excerpts from Our Town, and whoever was in charge of directing a specific scene needed a Mrs. Soames. I gladly offered to sit in and do it for a few classes… then it became a thing. My beginnings in drag are pretty much just portraying weird characters in theater, and writing scenes poking fun at teachers.
How did your funny / punny name come to you?
Haha, the name! Well, you’re one of the first few that get the name at the drop of a hat. The name really came from a joke between a close college friend and I; at the time, I was still a virgin. In order to get into the frat houses for free, I’d go in drag and have to give some sort of female name, so we took my virginity and made a pun. Really, nothing too special… other than a solid attempt at totally “legal” drinking.
That’s why many girls became queens in the Olden Days! How might you describe the sort of queen Stella is today, as far as looks, numbers, etc.?
I like to say that she / me / I / we are / is the eclectic queen of art and performance. My looks and numbers are very varied. There are shows where I do characters, there are shows where I just revive old pageant numbers. I really, in all honesty, try to just do things that I will have fun doing. I want the crowd to have fun, so I have to have fun to bring them into the fun. I try to bring music people know, but also mix in a number that someone wouldn’t expect.
Who would you say are coming out to these Long Island shows that you and your fellow queens do: thrill-seeking straight folks, local queer people who don’t want to commute to NYC, etc?
On Long Island, it’s a mixed bag and it depends on the show and space. Last night with Toni Homeperm at The Shabby Tabby Cat Cafe, we saw a lot of women. At LaBelle and Bella Niche’s brunch at The Warehouse, we see bachelorettes, some queer folk, some straight guys. At NuBar, I think most of our crowd is queer folk; but I don’t want to assume… people can be whoever they want, whenever. At BTW, I’ve seen a good lot of everything. So, it really truly depends on how the show is marketed, what the show is, and the location.
You’re gonna bring them all out with a double feature this Saturday, August 6th!
Oh, I hope I bring it all out! I told Toni last night that I hadn’t planned anything yet for the two shows, but I had ideas.
Pine Grove Inn is really a unique experience; I was introduced to the space pre-Covid. It’s a beautiful space right on the water, tucked away in Patchogue. This will be the second luau event Toni has asked me to be a part of at the Pine Grove Inn. All I can think about is how sweltering it will be performing outside, then running to NuBar right after!
Nubar is where the three of you will be later that night (9:30pm), this time joined by Jasmine GString, for that gay-owned venue’s anniversary!
That show, I’m actually very excited for! Indoors, air conditioning, the works! NuBar will be celebrating their 6th anniversary, which is wild. It’s one of the only queer spaces left here on the island, and that in and of itself deserves a celebration. And with Jasmine too… I love working with her! We’ve been doing drag for probably the same amount of time, she makes me laugh so hard.
What else is coming I for you… and might we see you turn it in NYC anytime soon?
Y’know, I hope I have a comeback in NYC; when I moved back here, I did a few shows at Offside Tavern with Jayse Vegas. I went with Makon Mayhem to some Club Cumming events, but took a step back from NYC for a bit once I started working my day job more.
As for what’s coming next with my drag, I will be in the Nassau County premiere of Kinky Boots at Cultural Arts Playhouse in Syosset. Other than that, I’m honestly not sure. I try to keep a happy medium of Drag and Not Drag time, but it’s really all up in the air… and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Balance is key! Thanks, Stella!