Good day to all of you beautiful people. I was recently reflecting on my drag career and am so proud of so many of the things I have done, but this is not going to be about that. I have also done some horribly cringe-worthy things over the years that I wish I could forget. But instead, I am going to embrace my ridiculousness — warts and all.
I am going to share a few things that I am truly embarrassed about or totally regret.
First off, when I was just starting off doing drag, I could not keep a wig on to save my life.
You know how two magnets will repel themselves if placed when you put them together with “like pole” sides facing each other? That is what my skull and my wigs would do. This is before I hung out with other drag queens or even had a single mentor. We didn’t have freaking YouTube to teach us how to do every little thing. It was all trial and error, and I had lots of errors.
I didn’t wear lashes for the first year I did drag. I thought my own lashes were so long and luxurious that I didn’t need them. I had no idea about pads or how to wear them. I was a skinny, flat-assed boy, and I was completely delusional about what my body looked like. I literally wore two powder puffs as hips and butt cheeks. It wasn’t until my best friend Lee started to date a guy that used to do drag that I was “educated” about proper padding.
By the way, this former drag queen went by the name Maddy Walker in her heyday and was a complete cunt to me. I later found out that she quit drag because she was arrested during a pageant, right after evening gown. Apparently, she stole a metal mesh gown out of a store window. I think it was Versace and cost thousands. Then that idiot had the nerve to wear it in pageant where a detective was waiting to arrest her. She must have looked sickening during her perp walk. Of course, this was all heard second-hand, so who knows the full truth? But I choose to believe it happened exactly that way.
After he made fun of me for my pads, my make-up and my hair, I decided to ask some drag friends for help. The great thing about the queens I looked up to was that they shared their knowledge so easily, and I am forever grateful. So, I guess, thanks Maddy Walker? You bitch.
One of my most regrettable moments happened in the old Rose Room. I decided I was going to make myself a costume for the show, so I went to Michael’s on Preston Road. They sold fabric, sequins, rhinestones and glue — just what I needed since I had no idea how to sew. I bought this lovely iridescent pink fabric and four packs of matching big sequins (I think they are called paillettes). I already had a pair of those little titty inserts that I bought at Walgreens, back when it was downtown and sold just about everything. I glued the sequins in a fish scale pattern onto each titty. Then I folded the pink fabric and made a very basic skirt that was pinned with a lovely pink rhinestone broach that I found on sale.
That night, I was so excited for the show. I couldn’t wait to show off my new “costume.” I was also excited because I learned a new song just for that outfit: “You Gotta Be” by Des’ree. In my head it made sense.
I duct taped the individual titties to my chest, one over each nipple. I put on my jerry-rigged skirt and used the rest of the fabric as a cover up. I didn’t want anyone to see how fabulous and goddess-like I was going to look until I had my reveal.
In the old Rose Room, you had to walk through the crowd to get to the stage. As I am strutting to the stage, my music starts. As I am standing there with my back to the audience about to do my big reveal, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. It all hit me at once: I looked ridiculous.
But there was no turning back now. I turn around as the lyrics started, then when the song says “Ya gotta be bad, Ya gotta be bold” I dropped the fabric and — Boom! What I thought was gonna be a gasp because of my sickening body, my titty contour and incredible concept was instead a slight giggle followed by full-on laughter.
It was one of the stupidest things I have ever done in drag, and I once duct-taped my dick back without shaving anything, so I am well versed in stupid. Now, every time I hear that song I cringe.
That day taught me a valuable lesson: Don’t be delusional. For the record, I am still somewhat delusional but within reason. Now I make it a point to actually think about what I am putting out in the world and not just out draggin’ all willy-nilly.
Another time in the old Rose Room, I had an idea that I loved. I wanted to do the song “Dreams” by Grace Slick as a jack-in-the-box. With the help of a friend of mine — Deborah, surprisingly not a lesbian — I built a huge box that I could pop out of and perform my song.
I was a little ambitious with the concept though: I wanted the box to already be sitting on the stage when the crowd came in. Then when the music started, I would turn the handle from the inside and pop out of the top and slay my lip sync.
And that is exactly how it happened … kinda.
I got ready early and set up the box on the stage and got inside before folks were let into the Rose Room. I sat in that hot-ass box for over an hour waiting, for the show to start, making sure I didn’t move or make any noise so that the reveal would be exciting for everyone. I just knew the folks were gonna be gobsmacked by the fact I was already in the box.
Unfortunately, I did not think of how hot it would get in that box. So by the time I popped out of the box, I looked a mess. I had sweated my lashes off; my wig was sliding all over my head, and the response was very meh.
Hours of creating and painting a giant jack-in-the-box, hiding inside for over an hour and the most I got out of it was a few bucks and some light applause. Lesson learned. I learned that not every idea you have is worth bringing to fruition. Sometimes it’s okay to say, “Reel it in, ho.”
Remember to always love more, bitch less and be absolutely fabulous! XOXO, Cassie Nova