On Point With: Bri Joy

A new arrival to the Brooklyn scene, the Haus of Quench’s Bri Joy is rapidly making his mark as a drag performer to watch, while also becoming an event producer on the rise. [Cover Photo: Carmen Grace DeCristo]

Thotyssey: Hello Bro, thanks for chatting today! As we’re already approaching Spooky Season rapidly, how did your summer go?

Bri Joy: Summer was incredible! This was my first summer as a drag performer, let alone in NYC… so it was a big big shift from what I’m used to!

What made you want to do drag, and how did you discover it?

I’ve loved drag since I was a kid in middle Georgia watching–you guessed it–RuPaul’s Drag Race! I loved the way that people were able to express themselves in so many different ways, and craved the day that I could be a part of it. I thought it was magical.

When I moved to North Georgia and started going to Atlanta and seeing drag shows in real life, my obsession grew. When I finally moved to New York and found myself on the scene more frequently than ever, I just had to try!

Was there ever a thought that “drag is only for this type of person, so I can’t do it?”

Oh definitely! I hesitated on trying to give shows for a few years having been *gags* assigned female at birth. But I talked to drag performers in the Atlanta scene just before moving here, to be sure. I remember Taylor Alxndr in particular told me “drag is about entertainment; as long as you’re entertaining and can pull a look, there’s a place in drag for you.” Having been an actor for a decade at that point, I knew it was all up to me to push myself onto a stage.

How would you describe the “type” of drag you do today, as far as looks and numbers and overall vibe?

Joyful, to put it simply. For the most part, my numbers are about taking songs that I love and telling a story while creating a fun and exciting environment for those watching. Often my drag is cathartic… if the song I’m doing is about falling in love, then I’m probably falling in love. If it’s angry, then I am usually working through some complex emotions. My looks are built off the tracks, and what’s most financially feasible at the time. All of my looks are thrifted or handed down to me by my house (the Haus of Quench). I like to make fun of the silly things that happen in my life.

And what’s the story behind your drag name?

My drag name is my name! When I first started drag, I went with the name Bri Duh Bull (hehe)… but over time it felt inauthentic. There’s so much of myself in my work that separating it didn’t feel right, so I just went with my name: Bri Joy.

How did you come to discover the Haus of Quench?

I found the Quenchies kind of by chance. I was obsessed with Brooklyn drag when I first got here, and was vying to see any and all shows I could! In late October of last year, I heard that a drag haus was hosting a show on the L train— which was something I had never experienced before. So I went! And I saw Silly Brown, Cuntyham, Sterling Tull, Juniper Juicy, Julie J and Paris L’Hommie give shows for the first time. I fell in love! I really enjoyed the idea of taking drag and putting it in environments that weren’t made for it. The very next day, the Haus hosted a drag brunch and I knew I had to go. During the brunch and the afters that followed, I met everyone and spoke with Haus father Archie [Cuntyham] over some drinks and cigs; he put me in the Haus, like, off rip. It was bizarre and quick, but it felt right. And here we are!

And now you also have an event brand of your own: Pride & Joy!

Being in the Haus and creating such close connections with producers I looked up to empowered me to start acting on my own ideas. So the Quench founder Sp3cial K and I started working on “Black Velvet,” mine and their monthly at C’mon Everybody, which highlights Black trans performers. Most recently, new member Purp and I have started our bi-weekly brunch program called Casa Quench at Casa Maya, which is bi-weekly and gives a daytime stage to the Haus.

When can we see the next installments of these shows?

[The next brunch is] in two weeks! Saturday, October 8th. And Black Velvet’s 6th installment is on October 5th!

This Friday also brings “Full Bush” to The Deep End, care of the iconic Michael Cavadias, yourself and many more! This is a Kate Bush tribute party and show. What more can you tell us about the night?

I’m so excited for this Friday because I love Kate Bush, but also because I get to perform with the biggest Kate Bush fan I know: my drag dad, Cuntyham. It’s going to be a show featuring our personal takes on our favorite songs of hers. This is one of those shows that’s more for the cast than anyone, and will in turn be more enjoyable as a result. It’s going to be a Kate Bush party with shows from what I can tell! I’m jazzed.

Looking ahead, on October 15 at Purgatory you will be one of the titular ghouls for “Night of 1000 Samaras,” care of Nancy NoGood and The Nobodies!

Yes, I’m so excited to give tribute to The Ring with such good judies of mine, the Nobodies and Nancy! I first worked with them in June, and am so excited to collaborate again.

Is there anything else at all you want to mention?

I just want to shout out my Haus, my family and my home, the Haus of Quench for inspiring me and giving me stages to stand on. I’m so grateful for this community here in Brooklyn for welcoming me into the fold.

Finally, what are you gonna be for Halloween?!

I’m planning on being the Whip It Girl as a fun, gaggy joke!

Perfection! Thanks, Bri!

[Photo: @frantheyco

Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Bri Joy’s upcoming appearances, and follow him on Instagram.

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