Meet The Bob Ross of Drag Queens- Gina Tonic
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 Gina Tonic.
Describe your look.
I described myself recently, to somebody on a dating app, as a young Bette Midler meets a young Goldie Hawn wrapped up in a Lisa Frank picture.
Is it hard to date as a drag queen?
It’s nearly impossible. Drag has become a fun, popular part of culture now. I think people are really excited about it and really interested in it. However, once they realize exactly how much work it takes for me and how much of my time it takes up then I think that scares them away. In a way I’m sort of dating myself. It’s Gina and the person behind Gina. Sometimes that relationship is enough for me and to add a third person to that is too much.
Have you ever met someone who wanted to hook up with you as Gina?
I personally don’t find people like that but they are out there. There’s a guy on Grindr in my neighborhood whose profile says he is only looking for drag queens and cross dressers. I have friends who’ve talked to him but I don’t attract that. I don’t bring that energy into my life.
Why do you call yourself the Bob Ross of drag?
I’ve been teaching one of those Drink ‘n Paint classes in drag. It’s at a wine shop and you get a painting class, a drag show and a couple of glasses of wine for a great price. It’s a lot of fun. There’s times when the paint needs to dry and everyone’s just sitting there so I perform songs and after we finish I do a mini drag show.
Do you drink wine while you teach?
Oh yes. The last class I started to get buzzed halfway through. I happen to be a mean, angry drunk which, when you’re in drag, is really great and really funny for the audience. I get a little Elaine Stritch on the kids, it’s fun.
What’s a Gina Tonic show like?
I am the classic camp comedy queen. You will not be seeing me doing splits, lip synching to Rihanna or doing death drops. It’s a lot more slapstick comedy. I’m just like a really stupid bitch. I sing live. I do stand up comedy.
What’s been your worst night in drag?
I’ve had nights where creepy men have tried to follow me home. I’ve met guys in bars who were hitting on me, I’m in full drag I look like a clown lady, and I leave the bar and they follow me out. I’ve had to hide to get away from them. There’s been some really scary nights like that. If someone is following me home I will get on Facebook Live or video chat with someone.
What inspires you?
How I do my makeup and my hair is inspired by the Barbie’s I used to steal from my sister when I was nine years old. I think Barbie’s were perfectly dressed and perfectly accessorized. They could be whoever they wanted depending on what they wore. You put Barbie in a lab coat and she’s a doctor, you put her in a pilot costume and she’s flying planes. That’s kind of what drag is like.