From Virginia to Purchase to Brooklyn, queen Lindsay Blowhan’s unique brand of drag makes quite an impression wherever she goes. And now that she’s taking part in one of New York’s most demanding and dynamic drag competitions, be prepared to get blown away! [Cover photo: AJ Jordan]
Thotyssey: Hello Lindsay, thanks for chatting with us! So recently you were part of the November cycle premiere of Zavaleta’s “BitchFest” competition… how did it go?
Lindsay Blowhan: Well, seeing as I made it into the Top 2 lip sync last night, I’d say it went all according to plan! Making it to Top 2 in the “Mime” challenge–when two of my fellow competitors are some of Brooklyn’s most recognizable clown / mime-esque drag performers–felt like a high honor!
It’s early in the process, but do you feel like your particular drag POV is served well by the merits of this competition? Like, is this an ideal platform for what you already do?
This is hilarious because I saw my promo photo compared to all the promo looks of my fellow competitors and I said to myself. “am I the Melissa Befierce of the season? Am I the stunningly gorgeous villain!?”
Anyway, I’m sure some would say no, because they see Zava and they think you, like, have to be the most Dragula you can be… or you really have to “break out of what you normally do.” But I knew this competition was for me the second I went to my first BitchFest as a patron back in February! I saw this space Zava was making for Brooklyn (and beyond) artists to give themselves fully to the art form. To fly and to fail and to grow, but like, most importantly… to be unapologetically you.
I’m also coming off a three fourths of a year performing hiatus, and I knew the scene had all but turned over. I was starting from the ground up, even though I had originally started performing in Brooklyn here and there around 2017. The gag is I have all these tricks up my sleeves that no one thinks I’m capable of (because they don’t know or remember me), and I’m incredibly excited to show everyone what I have in store for them! I don’t need to “break out of what I normally do,” because I know that what I do is inherently BitchFest.
Tell us a bit of your origin story, if you will! Where is your original hometown, and what were your interests growing up that may have put you on the Drag Path?
I am originally from The Pits of Hell… kidding (kinda), I’m actually originally from Richmond Virginia, born and raised. I was immediately very different from most “boys my age” because I was sensitive and artsy and theatrical and… a flaming homosexual (I was in the closet for a lot of it, but that closet was clearly on fire, ya know?).
I was really interested in theatre. But not really the musical kind (don’t tell the musical theatre gays I said that. Also if anyone sees me doing “Sonya Alone” from the smash hit Broadway musical Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812… well, you’re welcome). I remember being in theatre class and having to play the “boy” roles while doing scene work… and I was always so frustrated with them, to the point where no one thought I could “act” because I was never connecting with the roles. I was uncomfortable in them; I wanted to play the ladies! The fun, sometimes crazy, but always compelling female character journeys. Even my teacher knew I’d be better in the female roles, but for her job security we had to be subtle. I got to do some drag-ish things, but never the Full Monty.
But because my acting skills were not taking me anywhere in the boring male roles that were my only option, I quickly pivoted to playwriting. I read every play I could get my hand on from my teachers shelf until I knew how to write a play myself. And then finally, I could create the complex female and male and on-gendered characters that I wanted to see (and would want to play).
It got me to SUNY Purchase, where I studied playwriting and screenwriting… and by happenstance met the premiere SUNY Purchase drag queen at the time. Her name is Sherry Poppins. I vividly remember meeting her at her illegal Fall Ball (the school’s yearly drag competition) after party. I called her “Cher” because she had a dark wig on, and she did not like that.
A week later she invited a friend of mine to her place, and I got dragged along with!
By the end of the night she had painted my face for the very first time, and from then on it’s been history! I wasn’t Sherry’s first drag daughter… but I’m the only one that survived the SUNY Purchase days, and I am now the oldest daughter in the Haus. She was my biggest supporter from Day One in drag. She kept my fire going when I moved back to Virginia after college and went on a huge (essentially forced) drag hiatus.
We now live together in Astoria along with my partner, Mac. We quite literally turned the Haus of Poppins into a physical space, something we’ve kinda dreamed of for years. I love her endlessly, and I wouldn’t be the queen I am without her (and my drag auntie Qhrist Almighty’s) kindness, generosity, and belief in me as a performer.
Is there anything you want to say about why you took that break from drag while in Virginia, or is it a private matter?
It’s not really private… just not as interesting, I guess! The Richmond scene can be very toxic when it comes to performers like me (someone who from the beginning was baptized in full-on weirdo Brooklyn drag). Everyone there was trying to “change” me in ways that were not serving what my drag is to me, and how I wanted to do it. So I knew the entire time I was there that I wasn’t really going to be able to perform.
I worked at a thrift store for a lot of that time, though! I used that time wisely to stock up on really cool garments, and to grow my drag aesthetically. Some of the garments I got then are getting their first wears in this competition, which is exciting and fulfilling and kinda full circle!
Explain to us, if you can, what exactly the Lindsay Blowhan experience is today as far as the types of numbers you like to do and the looks you serve.
Well, I was “raised” to appreciate all kinds of drag… and so in ways, I think that’s exactly what you get from me. If I want to do it, I’m more-likely-than-not gonna do it. I guess the easiest way to put it is: If you think I’m conceptual, I am. If you think I’m artsy, I am. If you think I’m serving c*nt, I am. If you think I’m giving fashion, I am. If you think I’m trash, I am. And if you think there is something I can’t do? I can’t wait to see your jaw on the floor when I do it. In the words of Mia Goth as Pearl, “I’M A STARRR!”
I would be remiss if I didn’t use this section to credit the artists that inspire me and remind me to always keep going and be unapologetically myself with their own art. Drag performers like: Untitled Queen, Patti Spliff, Charlene, Lucy Balls, Ragamuffin, Miz Jade, Sherry Poppins, Qhrist Almighty, Devo Monique, Heaven Ender, Essence, ShowPonii and so many more!
This Saturday you’ll be at C’mon Everybody, stepping in to co-produce the long-running “STR8 to DVD” drag revue alongside Sherry, Qhrist and DJ Sam “Ten Yards” Branman!
Super excited to be back at home with my drag family for their six year long running monthly Brooklyn drag party! This month you can expect: corn-on-the-cob, collard greens, mashed potatoes (mashing not included), some gravy-stained special guests, enough of Sherry Poppin’s signature Long Island Iced Tea to kill a small elephant–and hey, if we’re lucky, Sam might even fist the turkey!
And then BitchFest is every Sunday at C’mon until the End of November finale… are you in it to win it?
Oh, baby, I’ve already won it!
What else is coming up for you?
Who knows!! But I would keep my eyes peeled for a little mother-daughter-mayhem some time in the near future!
Yay! Lastly: as we approach the next big Holiday, your namesake inspo Lindsay Lohan has re-recorded her Mean Girls Christmas anthem and will soon appear in a Christmas movie. Should Mariah feel threatened by these movements, or is there room for multiple Christmas queens?
It’s funny you mention that! My runway for next week’s BitchFest may be plucking some inspiration from this! Look, Mariah and Ms. Lohan are bringing the Christmas joy for sure… this season and every season! But there is one true Christmas queen who reigns supreme in my heart, and that queen …is Audrey Phoenix!
No lies! Thanks, Lindsay!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Lindsay Blowhan’s upcoming appearances, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.