Feature Interview - Crimson Kitty - NYC's Female-Female Impersonator/Drag Queen Phenomenon!
MB: Tell us about your upbringing and family.
CK: I was born and raised in New Jersey on the Northern part close to NYC. Both my mother and father's parents grew up in NYC and were raised in Hell's Kitchen and Astoria, Queens.
They later migrated to jersey after having children and wanting to raise them in a more suitable living environment. So essentially you have a bunch of obnoxious New YAWKers living in an even more obnoxious New Joisey! LOL While I grew up jersey and into a loving and stable home, I was constantly rebelling, dressing in all black and listening to a shit ton of metal and electronica, which by my living standards now in Brooklyn, nothing has really changed with the exception that I'm naked all the time while headbanging in my room with my cat!
I was your typical goth girl with long black hair and a penchant for getting into fights while hating the world with my teenage angst while being the captain of our jr. cheer-leading squad. The irony in that is of itself. I was active in my chorus and drama clubs and my drama club really started me thinking theatrically as I loved to dress up like a Type O Negative groupie. I later went on to art school and as I discovered myself through art, I began to feel more comfortable in my own skin. This would later unveil itself later in my life.
MB: Looking back at choices you made growing up are there any regrets?
CK: The ONE MAJOR THING that I always say is "HAVE NO REGRETS", however if I WERE to change ONE THING from my past, it would be to NOT GIVE A FLYING FUCK ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE THINK!. That would have saved me much time being on this planet. Once I stopped caring, I started building confidence and that is so much sexier that caring about mundane opinions of lesser life forms!
MB: How did you find your career path?
CK: Art became everything to me and I wanted more of it, as I graduated art school and as years went by, I began to do fetish modeling which led me to doing burlesque back in 2006.
It began to click for me. The adoration, the nudity, the crystals! Oh My! My performances at first were standard, nothing special at all to them and more reminiscent of the teachings that I studied rather than finding my own voice. I later began to experiment and hone in my style which at that time was a mystery.
I started utilizing the emotion of anger in my work and did crazy performance art spectacles that sometimes frightened my friends! While I was being rebirthed through the art of burlesque, my journey had no purpose and therefore left my audiences guessing, hating or confused. I began to hate performing for awhile frustrated at my own failures and at the time I started befriending many gay boys while quietly struggling with my own sexual orientation.
They introduced me into a whole new world of clubbing, drugs and DRAG QUEENS. I remember the first drag queen I ever met loved my Cabaret look, handed me a drink and started dancing with me. I was enamored and realized deep down that drag queens were the most beautiful creatures I ever laid eyes on and I wanted to be one of them!
MB: What led you to this particular career?
CK: I got back on the burlesque horse so to speak and started to slowly incorporate lip-sync into my burlesque performances which at the time was a HUGE NO-NO in the community as the general opinion was that it made the burlesque performance "Amateur". At this point, I had come out to my family, and became confident in my performances.
After performing in amateur drag competitions throughout NYC, the universe recognized my calling and I met a famous queen that would later go on to become my drag mother by the name of Rebecca Glasscock. She has been mentoring me for the last few years turning me into a killer resident performer at the world famous Stonewall Inn for her monthly INVASION drag revues. I now have transitioned from burlesque performer to full-time drag queen by night and makeup artist by day. Drag taught me everything I know on how to be a woman and how to be a FIERCE one at that!
MB: Where do you draw your inspiration from and/or who gives you the most to see your projects through?
CK: I draw my inspiration from either a song that I can’t get out of my head because I’m instantly figuring our choreography or by a random idea at 3 A.M. I love to run ideas by my drag mother because having a safe space to work out ideas without fear of someone stealing the idea is a blessing!!!! We feed off of each others creativity and have come up with amazing solutions if we are stuck on a concept or song. It’s great to not only have her in my life but the rest of my drag family to cheer me on and support me. Some of the best ideas and full concepts just come with talking with my peers and bouncing ideas off of one another.
MB: While most of us have been perfecting our craft, how did you meet with difficult challenges?
CK: My BIGGEST challenge is MYSELF. I am constantly critical of how I move on stage or how I treat the concept. My biggest fear is that the audience won’t understand the message that I am trying to convey but thankfully now with my drag years ahead of me on my journey, that hasn’t been the case. I am always pushing myself to constantly improve and the drive that backs up my work is very tangible and passionate. The minute I stop pushing myself is the moment that I stop performing for good.
MB: Was there ever a time you thought about giving up and why?
CK: I wanted to give up every other month while I was doing burlesque. The scene had become too saturated and I’m currently not sleeping with any producers so work for me was and still is hard to find. I occasionally do a burlesque show because I enjoy performing the art and bringing my own drag based performances and pair it off with pasties, but I am not fond of the community and have been frustrated with it’s opinions and male-driven productions that made burlesque and woman seem like the passenger rather than the driver.
Every time I wanted to call it quits, a new show would appear that would want me. Honestly this has been going for the 8 year span that I have been performing so at this point I just gave up my frustration and started making more acts when the time for me to be booked came.
MB: Why should everyone accomplish their desires and goals. What have you learned from not giving up?
CK: I learned never to say no to a performance opportunity. If I gave up, I wouldn’t have been able to tour the country and perform and meet so many amazing people around our sexy nation we live in. If I gave up, I would have never rebuilt many of my original ideas into festival-ready performances that people still talk about. If I gave up, my vagina act wouldn’t have been the talk of every town I performed it in. Did I mention I have a giant vagina….act?
MB: Is there any one in your life that suggests you pursue something different? Your response?
CK: No, they pretty much all know I’m a giant diva QUEEN and they wouldn’t have it any other way! Who else will read them til the library closes….and the library NEVER closes hunty!
MB: Who have you collaborated with in the past or present that made you feel you shined more and your work showed that? Who would you like to see yourself collaborating with next?
CK: I co-founded and co-produced a lovely queer burlesque show called Hypergender Burlesque. While I am no longer producing, my other co-founder JZ Bich still runs the show and I highly recommend it to performers that want to do “out of the box” type performances because full nudity is allowed in the theatre space it is held. We have collaborated in the past on many projects but our Ariel/Ursula burlesque debut still reigns as one of my best collaborations in my performance career. My shining solo moment came when I got to go on tour and do drag and burlesque every night for close to 5 weeks. That experience truly shaped me as a performer and made my skill set elevated.
MB: We are all judgmental of ourselves. With that being said what has been your best work and what would you change about any work you've done in the past to make it better?
CK: I am INCREDIBLY judgemental of myself and am my own worst critic!!! A lot of my older work actually has been transformed into newer drag acts or old concepts worked into brand new acts. I have a lot of themes that I overlay into many acts such as wearing masks or yet ANOTHER gaga impersonation. I recycle my best ideas until it fits into a project that it was made for.
MB: How receptive have been your fans?
CK: I LOVE LOVE LOVE my fans!!! My fan-base is still growing but in the past year and a half my name has gotten around. Most can’t recognize me out of makeup to be honest and a lot of fans don’t realize I am a bio-woman until they get to know me. A lot of fans have become friends which is always a great thing because it allows me for forge friendships and network my ass off at the same time. I give my fans whatever they want and am always happy to oblige them with any act they request!
MB: Can you share with us what future projects (or shows) you're working on and launch date?
CK: I am currently building new acts for the fall and here are my upcoming shows thus far! I’m always taking on bookings and my calendar always updates with new projects.
September 26th – The Twilight Zone Show at Coney Island Sideshow
September 27th – Switch N Play’s OPEN DRAG NIGHT at Outpost Lounge
October 23rd – Circus Of Dreams at Bizarre in Bushwick
October 27th – A Very Spooky GLASSCOCK Invasion Drag Show at The World Famous Stonewall Inn
November 1st - Switch N Play’s OPEN DRAG NIGHT at Outpost Lounge
Featured in the Women Who Shine Issue in 2013