NYC scene queen turned “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 6 star Milk caught viewers’ attention with her sharply quirky approach to her craft and her stunning looks in and out of drag. After a successful run as a fashion model and ice skating queen, she returned to the franchise for an All-Stars season, and that went… differently! Now wiser and no less fascinating and creative, Milk is ready to spill on us again… for an all new recurring Brooklyn show!
Thotyssey: Milk, hello! Thanks so much for chatting with us today! How has the young year been treating you so far, and where are you right now?
Milk: Thank you for the interview! My year is fab, and personally eventful so far. The thrills of starting a new drag show have been intermixed with the stresses of moving. Happy to still be a resident of Brooklyn!
As a model and former Marc Jacobs associate, were you per chance involved in the recent New York Fashion Week?
I actually like to always plan a midwinter escape from NYC to escape the cold. So for New York Fashion Week, I went to Miami, lol!
2023’s winter weather has been pretty weird (at least on the East Coast). As a former competitive figure skater who’s incorporated skating into a lot of unique gigs, were you able to do much of that this year?
As each winter season leaves and returns, more drag and skating opportunities appear… and I am thankful because performing on ice is a stellar feeling!
I feel like your own drag career and style were maybe ahead of their time, and perhaps inspired how this newest generation of performers do things: being gorgeous, fashion forward, media savvy with a touch of club flavor and eccentricity. Do you see yourself in a lot of these new queens?
I honestly don’t see myself in these new queens, which is neither here nor there I guess. Some must be inspired by me, as I am inspired by others. Yet we do a good job repackaging and masking different aesthetics to carve out our individuality.
I remember when New Yorker Nicky Doll got cast in Drag Race Season 12, a lot of local queens didn’t know her because she was a Susanne Bartsch party “look queen” who wasn’t doing much bar drag. That was kind of a similar situation with you. You were largely a scene queen new to NYC nightlife when you were cast in Season 6 back in 2014, right?
Susanne is Mother to me, and my early NYC nightlife magic moments were with her and her Bartschland babes.
I still think that in the runway challenge on your original Drag Race season (6), where the girls had to do RuPaul-inspired looks and they were all trying to recreate these glitzy gowns from her red carpet moments, but you came out in that “Backstage Ru” tailored suit and bald cap… that was one of the most slaying meta moments in the show ever. Do you remember feeling nervous about how that particular risk-taking look was going to be received?
Individual perceptions of how one must feel or must act on Drag Race hadn’t yet kicked in during those seasons…. at least not for me. I loved to stand out in NYC nightlife, so that wasn’t going to change when I was in a lineup of glamorous [recreated] gowns on Season 6.
You were a fan favorite in that season, and easily someone who we wanted to see again for an All-Stars appearance. But when you finally did return for All-Stars 3 in 2018, you were given something of a “villain edit.” Did that surprise or disappoint you when you saw what happened?
I was definitely taken aback and struck down professionally and emotionally during those years. I only urge people to remember that it’s just a TV show, and we are on it, and they produce it to entertain you. It’s so simple.
Do you still communicate with cast members from that All-Stars season, and do you have any ill will towards Kennedy Davenport who unleashed the lipstick with your name on it and sent you home?
While making iconic television after quickly announcing my lipstick, Kennedy will always be an icon to me and friend!
Have you been watching any of the latest Season 15 of Drag Race?
I love the delusion of the season, obvs! A talented cast and entertaining to watch as a spectator. I love the short episodes also.
Has the Drag Race fandom become too toxic in your opinion, or do you think maybe sometimes the cast members engage too much and too openly with the fans on social media for their own good?
Each contestant is able to take their new journey however they like, yet I would love them to not feel it necessary to defend each of their actions on every episode of Drag Race. As desperately as we try to grasp it, pleasing every single person will constantly stay out of our (hopefully) fingernailed fingertips.
Queer persecution around the world is sadly on the rise, and weirdly enough drag “grooming” is currently a major Right Wing talking point. Bills are popping up everywhere that limits public drag, and these policies will inevitably affect trans people’s lives negatively as well. What do you think we should all be doing to fight this?
Burn it down, and abolish the systems that allow for hatred and persecution to fester and grow.
You’ve appeared as an out-of-drag fashion model in several gorgeous editorials. Are people almost as likely to recognize you on the street from one of those campaigns as they are from Drag Race these days?
It’s always nice to say hi to someone who comes up to say hi!
By the way, the hilariously torturous “Plastic Bag” re-structuring of Katy Perry’s “Fireworks” you’ve done in several live shows is still being done by New York queens every damn week! Did you know that would be so popular… and should you be getting royalties, lol?
A dear friend initially shared that mix with me, and I’ll always be thankful for that. A truly maddening song that should be performed and shared by everyone!
You’re a native of Syracuse, but you’ve been a NYC girl for several years now. How do you think the City’s nightlife scene has been holding up since the end of lockdown?
The scene is definitely energized. Time away allowed the creation of new ideas, nights, and shows!
Do you have any favorite NYC queens you enjoy twirling with, or watching them perform?
There are truly so many, and so many whose names I don’t know… so I won’t name any. But know if you’ve seen me see you, I’m thinking of you!
How would you describe the “type” of performer you are now, after years of doing it onstage and being on TV? Like, what kind of numbers and looks and energy do you like to serve today?
Milk does glamour, and lives happily in that world these days. Of course I still do it my way… but gosh damn, I love being that femme girly. And I think I was afraid of falling into that feeling in the past.
We can’t wait to see you launch what may be your first recurring local drag show in March! “MEGA” premieres at C’mon Everybody on Wednesday, March 1st–that’s the Brooklyn Bar of the Moment, where many Drag Race alums are starting to do stuff. You will be co-hosting MEGA with another gorgeous local Racer, Olivia Lux, every first and third Wednesday! How did this union come to be?
Olivia and I have been able to grow closer over the past year working on a music project, and got together one night to see Janelle and Beau on a Monday at Pieces. During the show we turned to each other and both said we wanted to do this in Brooklyn… and we got to brainstorming. Happy to be premiering our residency from now through the summer!
Should be amazing, all most go and see for themselves! Finally: as a performer and fashionista yourself, what were your own thoughts on Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime show?
I love her so much. “Firebomb” is her best song. No T.
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Milk’s upcoming local appearances, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and her website.