NYC Drag Queen Of The Week – Ari KiKi
There is no shortage of drag queens in NYC. You can’t throw a rock without hitting some twink in a dress thinking he’s got what it takes to shantay down the runway just because he’s seen every season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race while practicing YouTube makeup tutorials. There’s a difference, though, between learning how to just paint your face and turning that face into a work of fucking art. This weekly series highlights the queens who stand out from the crowd and rock those heels til they bleed.
Meet Ari KiKi.
What does your family think of you doing drag?
Most of the family is supportive. My mom has come to my shows in the past and her biggest thing is, “Can you just look a little prettier?”
You call yourself ‘The Latina Hot Mess’, has your look evolved from when you started?
When I first started out with the character, a little over 8 years ago, it was more genderfuck than anything else. I wouldn’t wear wigs, I wouldn’t wear a bra and then slowly but surely the wigs showed up, I shaved more often, and the lopsided lips appeared and those became my signature.
What’s been your best night in drag?
Last year I won best comedic performer at the Slammy Awards and it really caught me off guard. I didn’t expect to win that award. I went in just expecting to have a good time and I was literally in the back of the room, not really paying attention when they said my name. I screamed at the top of my lungs, threw my purse at the stage and started running like a bat out of hell.
What’s the competition like in the NYC drag scene?
I see that baby queens, that’s what we like to call new queens, tend to be favored more. They’ll take a gig for less money than a more established queen will take. And, because of so much over population of drag queens in the New York gay scene I’m starting to see a lot of queens venture out into straight venues and doing gigs at straight restaurants and straight bars. It’s so saturated that the only thing we can go is venture out.
I’ve seen a photo of you standing naked on the street in front of The Stonewall Inn. Tell me about that.
I had been working at the Stonewall and the Stonewall nurtured my love for Madonna. I decided to do a photo shoot and I remembered seeing a very iconic photo of Madonna hitchhiking naked. That was the inspiration for the photo. It was 7 o’clock in the afternoon on a Thursday, because you never forget when you’re naked in public. I was fully naked except for a pair of heels and a wig. The dick was tucked between the thighs though. I ran around with my knees locked together so nothing fell out.
What can people expect at an Ari show?
I want to make people laugh and forget their cares for an hour or two. I live strongly by the mantra that a day without laughter is a day wasted. If I can make you forget your worries and forget your cares for a little bit, then I feel like I’ve done my job.
You can see her perform every 1st and 3rd Saturday at Phoenix Bar from 10pm – 3am for ‘1st and 3rd Saturdays We Rampage’ with Alotta McGriddles and every 2nd Saturday at The Stonewall Inn from 10pm – 4am for ‘Riot! Drag Show & Dance Party’