Get To Know The Bearded Vampire Drag Queen of Brooklyn
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 Ms. Ter.
You’re from California. Why did you move to New York City?
Boredom. I grew up in L.A. and went to school in Northern California. I was just so over what I was doing there. I was really restless. I was thinking “I need to experience something else”.
You went to a Christian high school. Were you out then?
Not really. I didn’t come out to myself until halfway through high school. By the time senior year rolled around I knew I was gay and my closer friends knew but it wasn’t an out thing in the school. Also, I would wear argyles to school so I wasn’t necessarily hiding anything but I also wasn’t waving a rainbow flag.
What do you think your christian teachers would think of you doing drag?
Honestly, I think most of my teachers from high school would absolutely forget that I was even in the class. I was a pretty big wallflower and didn’t make that much of an impression. Over the years I have had teachers reach out to me over social media to express some form of approval. I think they are just happy that I have grown and am expressing myself. They probably wish I was still going to church though.
Tell me about your job of being a counselor at an HIV testing program.
It was a great experience doing it. I got to run the program my final year of college. I learned so much and I got to give so much information to people. I got to connect with people and talk them through hard times. The people who were coming in were miseducated and it was all about correcting information and giving them information that they didn’t have.
Was it hard talking to someone who found out they were HIV positive?
Yes it was, but you would rather have someone know then not know.
Describe your look.
I’m the bearded vampire of Brooklyn.
Have you ever felt pressure to shave your beard and present a more traditional drag look?
I have felt pressure to shave my beard, and it’s something that fluctuates on a daily basis. It’s so much a part of the Ms. Ter character that it’s hard to see myself without it, but at the same time I’m not defined by my facial hair. On one hand I think the beard gives me an edge and makes me stand out and can make an observer somewhat question gender. On the other hand it does limit some opportunities. Although the drag scene has been very accepting of bearded queens, I think everyday there is more bearded drag being brought the the foreground of our community, there is still a sense of bearded drag being niche.
Is it hard to date when you’re a drag queen?
I would say it’s hard because of time, it’s not something you have a lot of. I work a part time job and I do drag. Between those two things I barely have time to do laundry, how would I date someone? That being said it’s not completely impossible. It takes the right person to make the effort. With Drag Race people are less afraid to date a drag queen. They see the man behind the facade.
You can see Ms. Ter on Thursdays for Drag Race at The Vault as well as the second and last Wednesday of the month also at The Vault and the second Saturday and the last Thursday of the month at Macri Park for Spare Change and Ghoul School.