A New York Gay Men’s Chorus tenor by night and a delightful drag diva by… other nights, Gigi St. Croix wants to know your sign!
Thotyssey: Hello Gigi! How’s March treating you so far?
Gigi St. Croix: March is good! It’s a busy month for me since I’m part of the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus and we have our concert next weekend… so, busy with that. And I’m putting together my monthly drag show, on top of all of my other grown up duties. But I like keeping myself busy. I’ve learned that I’m not good at sitting down.
Lots to talk about… but first off, any thoughts on the last episode of Drag Race if you saw it? The comedy from the duo challenges was mostly cringy across the board… but that last lip sync was exciting, right?
In a twist of fate, I ended up at Albatross to watch the episode because my internet went out. I’m so glad that happened though, because you want to be in a bar for a lip sync like that. People lost their minds! It was an honest battle right up there with Brooke Lynn/Yvie, Tatianna/Alyssa, and Sasha/Anetra. Marcia put up a fight, but Anetra won. But, yeah, the comedy challenge wasn’t what I’d deem a roaring success.
Totes! Have you tried to throw your wig into auditions for the show yet?
Yes, but not seriously, lol! I have an entrance and elimination line prepared.
If you will, tell us a bit about where you’re from. And have you always been a performer of some sort?
Of course. I’m originally from Colorado, and have lived in NYC for 14 years now. I’ve been performing my whole life. I’ve got that Musical Theatre BFA–like half this town, lol! But performing for an audience is just one of the greatest thrills to me. There’s nothing like making a room full of people laugh. Its addictive.
How did you discover the NYC Gay Men’s Chorus?
I’m not sure, to be honest! I definitely remember the classic Will & Grace episode, but I feel like I had known about gay choruses in general. Denver has one as well, and I think I just thought every city had one (and most do). I joined back in 2015, and I’m glad I did. It’s a remarkable group.
The chorus is a truly massive group of singers! It must be a challenge to conduct you all, and for all of you to get to know each other.
Not gonna lie–my first rehearsal was quite intimidating. The reality is, everyone wants to make a friend; a connection. [That would make] striking up conversations easier; people want to get to know each other. I’ve been in leadership there (I’ve directed shows for them and was the Chorus Queen during Covid), and it’s certainly an opinionated and passionate group of folks. But that’s the beautiful thing about the Chorus: we come from many different backgrounds, identities, etc., and we’re able to come together to make something beautiful… and there’s poetry in that. We have a new Artistic Director, Johnny Atorino, and he’s doing a very tough job very well.
Do you have a certain voice type / range, and do you get to do solos in the Chorus?
I’m a Tenor. I have had a couple solos in my time, most notably in our Stonewall 50th anniversary concert at Carnegie Hall in 2019. I got to sing an original song by Ann Hampton Callaway for a sold out audience at Carnegie. Lorna Luft talked to me after. It was a pinch me moment! I don’t have any solos in this [upcoming] concert, but our soloists are exceptional. There is an immense amount of talent in that group!
Traditionally, veteran Chorus member Lily Putian has been responsible for “creating” drag queens in the chorus! Is that how Gigi got born?
Wow, you certainly know your chorus lore! That is not actually my story, however. The idea of me doing drag [came on] Halloween, back in college. I wanted to be a Cagelle from La Cage, so I ran to Hot Topic, got a corset and a wig, used my stage makeup kit… and a queen was born. I was a hit, and did it one other time later in college–but ended up getting rid of it all, and didn’t think I’d ever pick it back up.
Cut to a few years ago, my friend Sutton Lee Seymour (we go way back–she was there when Gigi was born) was doing a “drag virgin” show [at Albatross] and was like, “Why don’t you bring Gigi back out?” At first I was hesitant, so I used it as an opportunity to fundraise for the Chorus by basically making a bet that if I could reach a certain threshold, I’d do it. I hit the goal in 24 hours! I had a lot of fun, and decided to try to keep it going.
The Chorus, as you know, has a strong drag history within it–and I continued to grow and evolve there. In 2020, I was elected the Chorus Queen (essentially the social chair, finding opportunities for members to connect) and stayed in the role until 2022 because of Covid. When I handed over my crown, I wanted to find a way to keep Gigi alive. Not too long thereafter, I came up with the idea for my monthly show, “ZODIAQ.”
Tell us about ZODIAQ! That’s a monthly Tuesday affair you host at Albatross, which returns this week.
Yes! I just had this thought about a monthly drag show based on the Zodiac. I’ve always been fascinated with Astrology which is very queer and spiritual. I pitched the idea to Albatross and they loved it, so we’ve been going since Virgo back in September.
I also partner with my friend Paul Flanagan, who is an incredible astrologer and tarot reader. He also happens to be a performer as well, so we both do some numbers and have a guest drag artist each month who represents that sign. This month, for Pisces, we have Lena Horné… who I’m super excited about.
I pull inspiration based on who is of that sign (like doing Beyoncé for Virgo, of course) or something that represents the season. I also love to bake, so I make cupcakes each month–because it’s also a birthday celebration, right?
It’s just a evening of joy, celebration–and sometimes the astrological stuff gets deep. The whole room ends up with a deep spiritual connection by the end of the night. People tell me they feel a little healed when they go. It’s absolutely surpassed my expectations of what it could be.
My next show is this Tuesday, March 14. I’m also donating all of my tips to the ACLU, to help combat all of the anti-LGBTQ legislation happening across America. It’s honestly terrifying, and I want to do anything I can to help.
An amazing show for a wonderful cause! And the Chorus returns to NYU’s Skirball Center on March 17-19 for their new showcase: “Gay Cruise!” What can we expect this time around?
Well, “Cruise” is, of course, a double entendre. It’s all about the joys and trials of sailing, cruising, sex and dating in the gay world. We’re singing music from Lizzo, Beyoncé, Macy Gray, Robbie Williams, and even Rodgers and Hammerstein. It’s sexy. It’s funny. And it hits close to home in some beautiful ways. I can’t wait to share it with our audiences.
Anything else on the horizon?
Right now just focused on Chorus and ZODIAQ! I am cooking up something for later on in May, which I’ll be able to announce soon.
Can’t wait! Okay, to close: what’s your favorite thing about drag… and what’s your least favorite?
Oh gosh. Great question. I’d say my favorite thing about drag is that everyone gets to make it what they want it to be. Drag allows us to express a fantasy of ourselves, and as an audience we’re seeing the performer reveal that. Least favorite: the corsets and all the underpinnings!! Sometimes I’d rather just wear a smock and call it a day. But pain is beauty!
Ain’t that the truth! Thank you, Gigi!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Gigi St. Croix’s upcoming appearances, and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.