On Point With: Atomic Annie

Beginning as a Covid queen and quickly become a “BitchFest” winner, Atomic Annie is currently enjoying her explosion onto the Brooklyn scene. [Cover photo: Bryan Clavel]

Thotyssey: Hello Annie, thanks for chatting on this beautiful April day! How’s the month treating you so far?

Atomic Annie: Hi! Amazing! It’s been nice seeing venues open up a bit more; everyone just seems like they’re in a better mood overall, too! Spring is honestly one of my favorite parts of living in Brooklyn.

And it’s perfect drag weather! Where are you favorite places in the neighborhood to go hang out while off duty, or to see a show?

I think in terms of drag, 3 Dollar Bill and C‘mon Everybody are usually my go-tos. I think especially in spring / summer it’s where there’s just sort of the biggest range of shows happening. I’m in Bushwick, so off duty I spend a ton of my time at Maria Hernandez Park just sort of people watching. I also tend to go thrifting at Urban Jungle, as an excuse to do something other than just sit on a park bench listening to music!

As far as your drag goes, how do you usually get your looks together? Do you sew, shop, work with designers, or all of the above?

It’s usually a combination for me! I always design everything I wear–after that I’ll either make it, or work with designers who have very clear visions with their work that I feel align with mine. But typically, all my stuff is either custom or customized in one way or another. My hair is almost always done by my drag mother, Nxthing, for sure though–she’s definitely gotten me together on that front!

[Photo: Eric Magnussen]

Tell us a bit of your origin story, if you will… where are you from originally, and were fashion, art, performance, etc. always a part of your life?

I’m from San Francisco originally, and was raised in a family of sorta free-love Jewish hippies. I came out at a super young age and was always encouraged to make outfits and art out of trash, and whatever I could find… so creativity was definitely a huge piece of my upbringing. It’s cheesy but I feel like drag was sort of inevitable in a way. I’m 21, and so coming from high school kind of post-Covid into design school in NYC was definitely kind of a trip.

But the short answer is that fashion and visual storytelling have definitely always been at the forefront of what my drag is about, for sure! I think an appreciation for performance and storytelling in that way has been something that Brooklyn drag has really brought out in me, and has quickly become more of what I’m about as I’ve earned more and more stripes.

How and where and when did you start coming out as Annie… and what inspired your name?

Atomic Annie was sort of a product of quarantine; I started experimenting with makeup in mid-2019, and by the time Covid hit I’d definitely become set on starting drag as soon as I was back on the East Coast. I first performed in October of 2021, and sort of hit the ground running since then!

The name comes from my love of the women in Bond movies and ‘80s music: the “Annie” is after Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics, and “Atomic” comes from the Charlize Theron movie Atomic Blonde. When I googled it and found out Atomic Annie was the name of a military weapon, I figured it worked and gave off the vibe I was going for… and it’s stuck since then!

[Photo: Jesse Herndon]

You won a season of Zavaleta’s BitchFest” last year–congrats!–and also did Merrie Cherry’s “Dragnet.” How do you enjoy the competition scene?

I’m on hiatus from competing at the moment, but am definitely open to doing something bigger–like local pageants–if I feel like they’re worth the energy. But yeah, Dragnet was just an incredible opportunity early on last year to connect with legends like Merrie, and really get an understanding of how my work comes off to other people.

In terms of BitchFest, winning felt like this stamp of approval that I was finally starting to make a name for myself in Brooklyn; we have such a legendary scene, and so it’s hard to feel like you belong. Winning BitchFest, and just the whole experience in general, really affirmed a lot of what I was doing–and really allowed me to connect with the community, and feel like I was indeed doing something special and unique.

[Photo: AJ Jordan]

How would you describe what your numbers and looks are today, for those who haven’t seen you?

In terms of my looks, I find my drag usually existing at this intersection of runway references–particularly my love of Vivienne Westwood–and underground street style. Basically at this point, the vibe I always try to go for is just “cooler than everyone else,” lol!

With my numbers, I’ve definitely made a name for myself based on the ways I’m able to emote and tell stories. But I feel like even then, the reaction I always try to elicit is some combination of tears, finger wagging, and hoping that people remember my performances–whether the goal is to serve cunt, or make people feel a certain way. With my drag, I find that the most powerful skill I have is to make a lasting impression.

You’re launching a new venture on Sunday, April 23: “Girls Who Brunch” at Sally Roots, along with your mom Nxthing and Mr. E. Minx!

It’s very exciting! Nxthing and I are extremely close, and Mr. E and I have become kiki sisters. We have been sort of officially and unofficially working as a little trio for months. I think we wanted to produce a show that gave us a change to really show off some elevated drag (which we pride ourselves on), use our close relationship to our advantage in a hosting setting, and to just work with a really incredible local business! It’s gonna be something special, for sure.

What is your go-to brunch meal?

Oh, I’m definitely a “drink first, eat after the show” kind of girl. But definitely an avocado toast and mimosa will take me there. Also, French toast.

You’re also going to be part of the large cast of Nicky O’sNight of 1000 Taylors” at 3 Dollar Bill on April 27th… those “1000s” shows of Nicky’s are always epic!

Oh I’m so excited! I have so much love for Nicky, and just how much of a workhorse that woman is. I know my number is gonna be something very exciting, but I can’t wait to see what the other divas do. If it’s a Nicky O production, you’re guaranteed a show.

What else is coming up for you?

Other than shows I currently have in the works for May / Pride season, I’m definitely excited to be working with some super sickening designers on some really incredible projects coming up! I have a couple of editorials and write-ups (in the works) as well! It’s definitely gonna be a really exciting couple of months coming up!

Werk! Okay, last question, and it’s very important: do you think Kim Kardashian will win an Emmy for her work in the next season of American Horror Story?

No… but I do think Ryan Murphy deserves jail time!

Lol, thanks Annie!

[Photo: Anthony Leo]

Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Atomic Annie’s upcoming appearances, and follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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