King MAUVE reigns in Brooklyn while slaying his way through a major competition, being part of a drag power couple and blazing a path towards citizenship! [Cover photo: AJ Jordan]
MAUVE: OMG yes, I had a very big night. You know, nights like that don’t happen all the time for me! But of course when I have two gigs in a month, they’re gonna be back to back. Both shows went super well.
When it rains! You were also recently hosting a Dragula: Titans viewing party. How did that go, and what were your thoughts on the season?
The viewing party was great. I hosted it with my wife Evangeline and Etta Puss. We did it at Dromedary Bar, which is one of our favourite spots in Brooklyn. It was great to introduce people who knew nothing about drag to the show and to us. We gained some great new fans and friends.
This season of Dragula was great! I think all the contestants are extremely talented at drag. I definitely got tired of the drama and the editing though, lol!
Ain’t that always the case! Actually, the latest Drag Race season just premiered, and despite my fatigue for the franchise I actually found myself enjoying the shorter run time and faster pace, with just the right amount of drama!
Oh yes, I’ve not been keeping up with Drag Race much the past few years. But I watched this premiere and really enjoyed it! I’m hooked for the first time in awhile.
So onto the King of the Hour: MAUVE! Actually, let’s start with that… do you identify as a Drag King, Queen, Thing, or just “Performer?”
I do consider myself a drag king; being in New York has exposed me to so many different kinds of drag kings that all take on different archetypes of men or masculinity. We have men who are very feminine, glam rock boys like ShowPonii. We have boys who are goofy and gross like Sweaty Eddie. And I am this, like, archetype of a cis twink who really really believes that he looks just like Ariana Grande. He listens to Lana Del Rey’s music and thinks that it’s about him.
I feel this to the core, lol! So where are you from originally, and were art and performing always a part of your identity?
I’m Filipino from Canada. I’m working on my immigration right now, so that I can live in this country. I have a GoFundMe, if anyone wants to help me out. But yeah, Canada is where I started doing drag, and I come from a fine art background (*derogatory*). I feel like people who have seen me perform probably can tell (*derogatory*). I am a chronic overthinker because I’m used to being in critiques in art school, but it also makes me a really, really smart drag performer (*derogatory*).
I did a lot of video work in art school, and I also grew up as a dancer. I got to flex some of my video skills at the A24 show (hosted by Cain), where I did my Everything Everywhere All At Once number with this video projection of me as different versions of myself throughout the multiverse. Then at BitchFest, I really get to show off my sewing skills on the runway and just perform and dance. Everything that I care about works perfectly for drag, and it’s been the stuff that I’ve cared about ever since I was a child.
And what’s the origin of “MAUVE” as a name?
I knew I wanted to go by just one name. Shades of purple–like lilac or lavender–have been used throughout history as a secret indicator of queer identity, so MAUVE is my version of that. It’s the name that really works for me, and I go by it in and out of drag.
How did you come to first find yourself amongst the Brooklyn queerdos, and how did you first meet Evangeline?
I came to the United States on a exchange for school actually to Philadelphia, and I was travelling to Brooklyn all of the time because I love Brooklyn drag. I met Evangeline at a show that we both did; it was Switch n’ Play’s “Moxie” show in 2019 at Branded Saloon. It was love at first sight, and she introduced me to her whole drag family which includes a lot of people that are still my closest friends. My close circle of drag performers really inspire me, and I make a lot of my art in my fine arts practice about them.
How might you describe the MAUVE onstage experience today, and what sort of things inspire your elaborate looks and numbers?
The MAUVE onstage experiences come with a lot of different things. One thing that you always get is me giving good face. I’m very emotive; guaranteed there will be some ass shaking. You know my insurance paid $100,000 for my chest, so I like to show off my body. I just love performing, it’s my favorite part of doing drag. I love being present in the space, I love feeling the audience there with me whether I’m trying to make them laugh, whether I I’m trying to make them horny, or I’m trying to make them feel something. The looks are so fun to put together… but for me it’s really it’s about the performance.
I am always really inspired by the other performers I admire: my wife Evangeline, ShowPonii, Venus. Eva and I collaborate a lot in the brainstorming process. I often come up with number ideas based on experiences that I’ve had, and then I find a sort of metaphorical way to portray them. Eva really helps me with the conceptual stuff; then I build the visuals through the costume, the makeup, and how I’m going to tell the story through performance.
Besides the GoFundMe you mentioned earlier, there will be a benefit for your green card pursuits at Dromedary on January 21 featuring Venus, Sweaty Eddie, Richard, Martyr, Jay Kay, Dawn and DJ Accident Report. Tell us a bit about what this show’s gonna be like, and how important it is!
It’s called “Mauve-A-Mia” because my favorite movie is Mamma Mia. I expect that there will be lots of ABBA music, and just generally people performing the kinds of things that I like: Lady Gaga, Shakira, etc.. It’s a very special event to me. A lot of amazing performers in the community are donating their time and their art to help me with this really big step in my life. I think we have even more cast members than we have on the flyer: Maxxx Pleasure is gonna be there, ShowPonii’s gonna be there, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if a few more sign on before the show, it’s truly a star-studded cast.
Eva and I have been married for a couple of years but the immigration process is far from clear cut. We’ve had times in our relationship where we were forced to be separated, and we just really want to make sure that can’t happen anymore. I’ve already felt so much support from the community, and it means more to me than anyone can even know.
Meanwhile your cycle of the “BitchFest” competition continues throughout January, Sundays at C’mon. What’s it like competing against these fierce performers, under the watch of hostess La Zavaleta?
Yeah, “BitchFest” is so fun. Like I said, I’m not a huge competition person; I get a lot of anxiety when I’m under pressure. But I feel like this is the right time for me to take on a challenge. I’m at my best when I am not in my head, and the spontaneity of the competition requires me to stay out of it. I’m feeling so much creative drive to make new things, and I’m trying to consistently outdo myself.
The other competitors are so great; I’m getting close with all of them already. There’s such a variety, and what each of us does and working with La Zavaleta is great. I think there’s a lot that I can learn from her, and she really inspires me as a performer. And she is a bitch.
What else is coming up for you?
[A show featuring me in] Dromedary happens every month, and hopefully you’ll be seeing more of me and Eva around at lots of different venues.
Werk! So last question: Have you seen, or will you see, M3GAN?
Oh my God, of course I am going to see M3GAN! I have not seen it yet, but my favorite genre of horror is campy horror… although I’m already expecting to have to watch one million M3GAN drag numbers in the next year. We’ll see if I get tired of it by then.
Lol, thanks MAUVE!