NYC Drag Queen Of The Week- FiFi DuBois
There is no shortage of drag queens in NYC. You can’t throw a rock without hitting some twink in a dress who thinks 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 interview series highlights the New York queens that stand out from the crowd, work their assess off and rock those heels til they bleed.
Meet FiFi DuBois
The cast of the next season of Drag Race has been announced and, like in previous seasons, there are several NYC queens competing. Why do you think so many queens from the city end up on the show?
Everyone says New York is the best city for drag but I think it’s one of the hardest to make it as a drag queen. There are a lot of people that do it and even if they do it well they only do it for a short period of time. It’s a really tough city to make a success out of yourself. The reason they keep taking Drag Race girls from New York is because if you can make it here, to be cheesy, you can make it anywhere.
What’s your secret to being a success in New York?
My career has fluctuated. I’ve gone from having eight shows a week to one show a week to five shows a week. It goes up and down. Sometimes you have to reinvent yourself. I’ve evolved, I’ve grown. I just recently started teaching drag dance classes on top of doing shows. When you can’t find work you have to create your own work.
Tell me about your drag queen dance class.
It’s kind of for anybody but the main focus of the course is for drag queens that aren’t necessarily dancers just to give them the fundamentals to up their performances. Not everybody can make good money just standing in one spot lip synching to a song. You have to have some sort of rhythm, some sort of dance ability especially if you’re going to be a lip sync artist.
Does Drag Race create unrealistic expectations for new drag queens?
I think people don’t know what to expect going into it. They see one thing on TV and a lot of times people pick and choose what they look at. I’ve heard a lot of girls say ‘Oh, I’m going to start doing drag’ and their focus is on looking like a woman. Some people come out and they look stunning but their performances are shit. If you don’t know how to perform and also engage an audience then it’s not going to create a dynamic performance. It takes time to grow and figure out what’s going to create a successful drag persona.
Describe your look.
It’s semi-camp. I don’t go full clown. It’s a little bit glamour. It’s a little bit tongue in cheek. I like to say that I look like a woman from about 50 feet away.
What’s a FiFi show like?
One of the things I’m very well known for is telling terrible jokes. Some people call them dad jokes but I just call them bad jokes because I’m nobody’s daddy.
What’s been your worst night in drag?
I had done a fundraiser and I had some drinks with friends and as I’m walking home, in full drag, I had had too many drinks and a cold breeze drifts by and I ended up pissing myself. I had to soak my pads in the bathtub because they were filled with urine. It was one of my lesser moments.
What’s something you’ve seen another queen do in their act that you would never do in yours?
I saw someone, literally, shit an apple out on stage. She was performing and wearing a jockstrap and during the first three minutes of this performance she had this apple sitting up in her ass and then she squatted and pushed the apple out. That is something I wouldn’t do mostly because I’m not a very good bottom.
Have you ever experienced a fan becoming inappropriate?
I’ve been touched inappropriately. It’s something that happens. I’ve grown a thick skin. I used to be a gogo boy before I was a drag queen so I’ve encountered that. I even get it from women. Drunk women sometimes don’t understand. Would you want me to come up and grab your breasts? No, so why would you do it to me? The biggest fascination with women or straight men is “Where do you put your penis?” When they go to grab you it’s uncomfortable. It happens but it shouldn’t. Speaking up and telling people ‘no’ is the best thing you can do. Bottling it up and walking away isn’t always the best answer because you’re not educating that person and letting them know that what they’re doing is wrong.
What advice would you give to your younger drag queen self?
You don’t have to be messy to be funny. Just throwing yourself around or getting belligerently drunk is not a good way to build a reputation as an entertainer. That’s something I’ve seen a lot of girls do and lose shows, lose jobs because of that. That’s something that I teetered on the line of and I learned a lot from that. Being polite and kind to others will get you a lot further than being rude and nasty.
Catch FiFI every Tuesday 10 pm at The Stonewall Inn for Polish The Queen. Saturdays you can catch her at Copa Cabana for Diva Royale.