Violet Chachki has just been crowned the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Now she has COME THROUGH to London to judge Porn Idol at G-A-Y on July 2nd. Dylan Jones chatted to her about that, her new single ‘Bettie’ and the waistline that had everyone (including her) GAGGING.
You’re judging Porn Idol at G-A-Y. Are you looking forward to it?
I’m so excited! I’ve actually never been to the UK before!
The whirlwind after winning Drag Race must be mad, jetting around all over the place…
Oh my god. It’s a lot of pressure to be honest. It’s really surreal actually. I can’t even think about what I was doing a year ago. It was my birthday recently, so I was thinking about what I was doing on my last birthday, and I don’t think I was doing ANYTHING. It’s amazing to think I’m here right now. I feel so young.
One of the things you’re busy with is your new single ‘Bettie’! The music video is amazing (and hot).
Thank you! A lot of the inspiration came from the fetish community. The original inspiration for the song ‘Bettie’ came from Bettie Page. I wanted to play with gender norms and gender conformity, especially how it was seen in the fifties and sixties. And then fuck up gender norms, and fuck up gender conformity. I think that’s pretty evident in the video!
It reminded me of the video for ‘Disintegration’ that Monarchy did with Dita von Teese…
I LOVE that video! That wasn’t a direct inspiration but it was definitely in the back of my head and it kind of turned into that video a bit actually.
You do a bit of burlesque don’t you?
I love burlesque performance. I think it’s so beautiful. I do a lot of classic burlesque. There’s a whole subset of different styles of burlesque, but I’d definitely be classified as classic.
“I get more accepted as a drag queen in the burlesque community than I do in the drag community”
How does the burlesque community compare to the drag community? Do they merge at all?
There’s definitely some crossover that happens, especially with queer burlesque artists. There’s a lot of gender distortion and stuff. There have usually been a lot of queer people in the burlesque communities I’ve worked in. But the burlesque community is actually a lot more easy-going than the drag community! The drag world can be vicious sometimes. I think the burlesque community is a lot more inviting and accepting. Even performing as a drag queen, and doing a reveal where I have no boobs, everyone cheers as though I’m a biological woman. So I get more accepted as a drag queen in the burlesque community than I do in the drag community! That’s weird to think about!
[Laughs] I DO say it a lot don’t I? I kind of say it as an extension of the word ‘YAAAS’. Like ‘you go girl!’ My hometown is Atlanta, Georgia, and we would do drag balls. When a girl was really turning it we would just yell it out. Words and phrases like that evolve a lot when you’re at a drag show and you’re really feeling the energy and excitement. Where you’re performing on a bar floor, but everyone’s going crazy because you’re turning the party. That kind of thing. But that’s where I started using it. When a girl’s really turning it you yell ‘YAAAS COME THROUGH! SLAY MAMA!’
So, there was an audible gasp when you came out onto the runway with THAT waistline…have you had a lot of attention and questions about that?
At first I think people were kind of grossed out by it. They were concerned for my health. But I can assure you I’m super-healthy! I eat all the time! Which I don’t like to admit, but I do. The way you waist train is you kind of just eat a little bit. You eat small amounts throughout the day, so that you don’t have a huge meal sitting in your stomach. I also have a really long torso, so my waist is pretty small already. It’s just playing with the eye, it’s all an illusion. But yes I have waist training, and yes, it does hurt, and yes, it takes a lot of time and patience and practice. But it’s not as crazy as it looks. Like, that oxygen bottle I was carrying on the runway was just a coke bottle stuck together with duct tape…some people think I was actually using that to breathe I think!
So you were voted shadiest queen this season…
Am I the shadiest queen though? Maybe I was the most shaded queen. I was body-shamed, I was told I had no talent, I was told to put underwear on, I was compared to a horse’s face, I was called tacky, my drag style was questioned…so I don’t think I’M the shadiest! I felt like I was more shaded than shady. All the stuff that was said about me was said behind my back. I had to find it all out watching the show. When I was shady, I was super-direct. So I guess the question is…what’s more shady? Going behind someone’s back and talking shit about them, or just being direct and honest and up-front?
So you have an EP for ‘Bettie’ coming out yes?
Yeah, on the 31st, I’m really excited! It’s very dark, sexy, burlesque-y, industrial-ish. I’m just really excited to have a soundtrack to my visual. I’m kind of following in RuPaul’s footsteps. She has a total package presented to the public. She’s got all her cute merch, she’s got her t-shirts, she’s got the whole RuPaul experience. She’s got everything. I want that for myself as well.
Very ambitious! Well thanks for talking Violet. See you at Porn Idol!
I would love that. Are you gonna enter? I think you should. I’ve heard it’s a really good show. All the girls say it’s amazing.
Well, we’ll see.
Yes we will.
• Violet Chachki is judging G-A-Y Porn Idol @ Heaven (Under the Arches, Villiers Street, Charing Cross, WC2N 6NG) on Thursday 2nd July, 10:30pm – 5am. Free entry wristbands available at G-A-Y Bar.
• Photos: Miss Missy Photography