One of drag’s most far-traveling queens, Greek goddess Phaedra Phaded is descending onto the Jersey Shore this week! [Cover photo: John Gram]
Thotyssey: Hello Phaedra, thanks for chatting with us today! How is November treating you so far?
Phaedra Phaded: November, just like October, has been busy as can be! I’m here, there and everywhere, as per usual for me as a Northeastern traveling queen! How are you doing?
Also busy as a happy bee, thank you!
Buzz, buzz! Happy to hear that!
Yes indeedy! However, we have known one another for years, including Miss Neon. We started drag around the same time as one another back in Boston, MA. I’m always down to pop in as a guest spot in the city–nothing makes me happier than doing what I love to do all over the Tri-State area and beyond.
So you are a Boston native?
Allegedly! I was born in Boston, and raised in Greece until I was nine. When my family moved back to the states, they moved to a small New Hampshire town which I rotted in… ’til I grabbed everything and ran for Boston, picked up a pair of heels and started gogo dancing at a local 18-plus bar. Drag shortly followed after, and some fifteen years later I’m anywhere on any given day in Boston, Connecticut, NYC or even New Jersey and beyond. My ongoing joke is, home is wherever I step foot on the next stage.
Where are you currently located, if I may ask?
I’m currently residing in Providence, Rhode Island! But I’m talking to you all the way in beautiful Asbury Park, NJ.
So how do you think it came to be that you became such a traveling queen, instead of based in one city like most girls?
Thank God, because I know one day I’ll be a feeble hard-fronted queen in some raisin ranch (I hope) telling stories of my showgirl days like the two old biddies from Coraline. Honestly, this life found me some ten years ago when I wanted to branch out and not feel so stale in my life. I’m a creative through and through, and humbly can say I’m an entertainer; it’s in my blood. Don’t get me wrong–sometimes I’m traveling six hours to get to a gig. But I love it! I don’t know anyone who is crazy enough to just get in their car and say yes like I do… but I need new surroundings, or I get bored doing the same old same.
I often wonder what it’s like just to say “I have my weekly gig at the weekly bar down the road.” But my many years as an drag artist taught me to be confident in what I have to offer, and always say yes. It led me to my opportunities all over the Northeast as well as LA, Atlanta, Georgia and even Austin, Texas! Say yes to opportunities, ladies. Have faith that you’re the shit! It took me too long to learn that confidence.
How would you describe Phaedra as a queen today, as far as fashions and stage presence go?
Phaedra is definitely showing off body… in the most modest way, lol! I’m more so a full coverage queen to mask the Greek body hair that comes with the territory. I keep my wardrobe fashion forward, pretty streamline, and colorful! I use to paint high whore clown drag makeup… which I miss, and love still. But in the past two years, I have been trying to feel my full fantasy and try to give Greek Goddess.
Stage presence is interactive, sexy, sometimes camp and stunty. I love to throw my body around, but I’m not falling over and breaking or tearing limbs. She’s a professional diva!
Have you had a favorite moment or gig from your whole career?
I have had so many; I am truly blessed in that regard. But I’m always here for the next thing! That’s why I keep doing what I do: to make fantastic moments with my drag and the people I touch with it. But! The first time I ever performed, Alan Cumming was in the audience. He pulled me aside after my number, and he said I have long legs in this business if I ever stick with it… and handed me $5. I still have that $5 to this day!
So as a widely traveled performer, you probably know this better than anyone: there‘s so, so much drag out there! And to be sure, there’s a larger variety of drag and drag performers than ever before. But is that shear girth good for the genre, or is it oversaturation at this point?
Such a good question! To be blunt about it: some people have no business doing drag. I know too many whose motive is money-driven, or to be the next big thing. But that false confidence and vain drive isn’t what makes a good drag artist. It’s about fucking the system, being bold and unabashedly you… whatever your drag says for itself. Drag should be a love letter to your soul, not a way to sell it in order to get something else.
Drag is for everyone, but not everyone should be doing drag. You gotta build from the ground up. And I think–not all, but some–of the queens in the past few generations now think, “if I buy all the right things I’ll be like X, Y and Z” when they need to figure out who they are first.
Well the Jersey children will be the next lucky group to see a Phaedra show! You’ll be at Paradise this Thursday for “WEPA Latin Night,” alongside Amanduh and Roxie Chanel. You’ve done this party a bunch of times, what can we expect?
I love Jersey and Paradise; it’s become my home away from home! I’m even vying to be a contestant in the next Miss Paradise with my preliminary win back in August!
I have done WEPA before with both divas, whom I love dearly! Amanduh is hosting this time around; she brings the choreo (chair routines Mama, swear she was a pussy cat doll) and Miss Roxie is gonna serve the flavor we all know and love out of her–I just know it! It is what you can expect… a party! Jonny Castellanos, one of our fabulous bartenders, started this Latin as a place to bring all types of worldly talent together under one roof, to just have a blast and enjoy some cultural drag! As a melting pot myself, I’m planning to bring some Greek / Latin / Middle Eastern fusion, and to dance my padded ass off! It’s what you can typically find at any show I am a part of!
Anything else coming up for you?
Yes! Sunday, I am in Boston hosting my Greek brunch at Krasi on Gloucester Street off Newbury Street. And the following week I’ll be at “Anything But B9” bingo at Salty’s Beach Bar in Lake Como, NJ with host E. LicksHer joined by Nanci Boi, Savannah Georgia, Tastie and myself on Thanksgiving Eve!
Fun! Okay, lastly: Thanksgiving food! Yay or nay?
Hard pass. Thanksgiving in general is sullied with so much history of bloodshed, racism and unjust treatment of indigenous peoples that frankly the whole meal and day can go in the bin. Also, I’m celiac… so I can usually only have like two or three things at the table.
I do love a potato, though.