Polish the Queen’s latest cycle winner has got a new weekly experience to share with you, care of Playhouse, Phil Chanel & Thotyssey NYC… get ready for A’Nylah “The Doll” Va’ton Bonét Andrews to be one of your favorite Playthingz!
Thotyssey: Hello A’Nylah, thanks for chatting today! How are you enjoying this unseasonably delightful weather?
A’Nylah the Doll: Hello! It’s my pleasure hunny, and I’m enjoying the weather so far!
By the way, belated congratulations on winning Season 9 of Polish the Queen at Playhouse Bar! Tell us about that whole Polish journey, and how you enjoyed that experience.
With me moving to New Jersey from Mississippi and entering the New York drag world in December of 2021, it truly has been the source of many eye-openers as far as different types of drag. And with the help of my close drag friends / sisters, Sheneeda Dickson and Lanyé Armön and also many of my drag family here and back in Mississippi, I’ve been able to explore different avenues to take for my own creativity.
Sheneeda, being last season’s winner, has definitely taken me under her wing in polishing me for “Polish The Queen,” as well as so many others. Polish has shown me nothing but love and growth within myself and my drag. From the judges critiques to the warmth and words of encouragement I’ve received since I started doing Polish, I’ve just been embracing and taking in every moment. It has truly been fulfilling!
What inspired you to take up drag in the first place?
After I graduated high school in 2012, I started to really embrace my femininity… something I tried my best to hide throughout high school. Like so many others, I went through many trials and tribulations, hunny!
I relocated from my hometown, and met a group of people who expressed and celebrated who they were through the art of drag. All I could see were glamorous and glowing human beings pouring their hearts out on a stage for a crowd to see and it. It reminded me of that feeling I got from when I did theatre in high school–that feeling of relief that I’ve somehow let go of anything I’m struggling with mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually by emptying my big bag of feelings on stage in front of firsthand witnesses!
The drag family I joined is extremely large! And I have seen true family traits and characteristics shared among them and to me. So if it was not for them, I would have never figured out the key to doing good drag–which, in my opinion, is expressing how you feel through the music that speaks to you, but still having fun while doing it.
Is there a story behind your name?
My full name is A’Nylah Va’ton Bonét Andrews, aka A’Nylah The Doll. My first Gay Mom is the one who named me A’Nylah, and the last names came from my Gay Dad who also does female impersonations, and my other Drag Mom who performs as well.
Keeping in mind that you are certainly still in a work in progress, how might you describe your performing style and looks to folks today?
My performing style is electric, hunny! Emotional, energetic, and charismatic. I would consider my aesthetic sexy, glamorous–pure and simple southern beauty child!
Do you have a favorite number to do these days?
My favorite number to perform is “Baby I’m a Star” by Tina Turner; it definitely leaves me out of breath, but it surely states who and what I feel I am, and what I dream to become.
So exciting news… you’re going to be part of an all-new revue at Playhouse Bar called “Playthingz” starting November 13th! It’ll be every Sunday from 3-7pm, featuring music by VJ OhRicky and performances throughout the day from a cast of queens including Lana Del Trey, Milan Garçon, Taraye and yourself! Pietra Parker will be the regular host, but Victoria Holiday fills in for the premiere. Polish the Queen’s producer Phil Chanel and myself will be producing! This is gonna so amazing and exciting!
I am beyond excited! Since I have started my journey in New York, it always looked and seemed so difficult to get to where I am today. Through my journey, I have met these lovely queens and cannot wait to kiki with them! I do feel like my chemistry with each of them is fluid, so I know the show will be fun and refreshing. I can not thank Phil, Playhouse, and you guys enough for giving me an opportunity like this. And a special thanks to my drag sisters and family, near and far, blood or no blood for support and love!
You also have another fun gig coming up: “Throw It Back” at 3 Dollar Bill on November 18th! This is another large cast of queens, taking us back to the day with some retro numbers. Tell us more!
Well, I have never been to 3 Dollar Bill but I have only heard great things. The young and talented Cinét Jacksöne has gotten together a group of queens–including me–to be a part of her Janet Jackson tribute and 90s throwback show. I’m definitely excited! She’s such a inspiration to watch, and I am more than elated to join her. She is a Janet Jackson stan, and I guarantee she knows every Janet dance move, hunny! I have met and witnessed a couple of the queens performing, so you do not want to miss it. It is going to be full of good entertainment, and hits from the 90s!
Anything else coming up for you?
I do plan on hitting the pageant world soon, but that is definitely in due time.
We will keep our eyes open for that! Okay lastly: what’s the most important thing you learned about drag since you started?
Drag has taught me how to love who and what I am without any conditions… because you never know who you will inspire and help to heal.
Thanks A’Nylah, see you Sunday!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for A’Nylah the Doll’s upcoming appearances, and follow her on Instagram.