Monday, July 24, 2017

Fox E Kim: Chicago's Strange Doll Haus Cosplay Queen

The Chicago based cosplay queen named Fox E Kim started off doing drag during a marathon and hasn’t put her brushes down yet. If you haven’t been able to catch her at her many booked gigs including Geekhaus at Berlin and LiquidBrunch at Scarlet Bar, you’re missing an unique performer who can lip sync in a wide variety of languages and with six alter egos to boot.




 1. Who is Fox E. Kim?

The ruiner of days, the harbinger of sorrow, it's Fox E. Kim! But seriously, I'm a party girl who enjoys anime, manga, and a lot of final fantasy.



2. When and why did you begin doing drag?

I started doing drag about four years ago. One day, a good friend of mine asked me to get up on stage during the Chicago marathon and dress like a bridesmaid to support marriage equality (it wasn't legal in Illinois at the time) so I did and loved it and it's sort of been a giant party ever since.


3. How did you come up with your drag name?

My drag name is actually a sort of anagram/rearrangement of my actual name. So, Michael Foxworth is my first and middle name and for the most part people were calling me Foxy/FoxyMike for the longest time. I'm also a linguist by day so I wanted my name to be somewhat clever. The E. Kim in Fox E. Kim spells Mike backwards so Fox E. Kim turns into Fox MikE. or FoxyMike. Get it? Clever, right!



4. Where does your inspiration come from?

I describe my look as a party girl ready to fucking GO. Like, I'm really into showing off my naturally big Sicilian thighs. A lot of my non-cosplay drag comes from It's interesting however, because I do a lot of cosplay, which doesn't allow me to go too far off the beaten path. With cosplay, if you aren't recognizable, you're sort of missing the mark. The balance between the two is probably the most challenging aspect of my drag but also what drives me to constantly improve.


5. What would you say is the most unique thing you have to offer?

I crochet. No, actually, I would say my ability to lip sync in a variety of languages (Japanese, Romanian, French, Spanish, some Afrikaans) opens a lot of unique doors for me and removes a lot of limitations for my performances. It also allows me to pull in original material (for example, anime looks/performances) that may not always be available to some performers.


6. What is a big future goal you've set for yourself?

I want to bring my cosplay to Japan. I love visiting there and to be able to showcase some of the anime inspired looks I've created based on Japanese culture would be amazing.



7. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about drag?

My favorite thing about drag is the transformation. It's really an escape from reality and going from frump to fab makes my day. Sometimes, I'm not feeling my fantasy but it is a fantasy that I created and at the end of the day, I'm proud of it. My least favorite thing about drag is how much 'regular' performers, hosts, etc. get compared to Ru girls. Drag race has become an end all be all for some girls and that saddens me. It's a perfectly good goal to have, but there is more to drag than just ONE TV show.


8. What does drag mean to you?

Drag is transformation. It is going from one persona to another. I'm really obsessed with the idea of having multiple alter egos (I have 6) and what it means to fully realize each one. Drag is a beautiful way of completing an alter ego that can readily be showcased to the world.


9. What is your advice for younger performers who are just starting drag?

You don't get what you don't ask for. Seriously. You're never going to get through life with just having things handed to you. Also, if you aren't being told 'no' you probably aren't asking for things big enough! Take risks and be unapologetically you. If you aren't you, people will catch on. It's just drag--have fun with it!



10. Where do you see yourself in a few years regarding your drag?

I'd like to be touring a bit more with my 'haus'es. Right now I'm doing *a lot* but I think I can reduce the total number of gigs but improve the quality and performances over all.


11. In your drag journey, what are some obstacles you’ve faced? How have you overcome them?

I've been somewhat of a lone wolf in the Chicago drag scene. I love my sisters but at the end of the day, I've always done me. This has probably caused me to miss some opportunities. I also feel like I started the game late, which has forced me to be in a constant state of playing catch up in the drag scene. To think where I would be if I started drag when I was 20 or 21! I would be so much further along my journey.


12. How long does it take you to get in drag and what all goes into your preparation?

If I oversleep, I can wear a wig with a heavy bang and paint my face in about 45-60 minutes. Usually I give up to 2 hours for makeup and 30 minutes for changing. I think it's a super valuable skill to get your 'go to' face down to about 1.5 hours. If I'm doing something more complicated (Marie Antoinette face, Goldar, prosthetics, etc.) I budget up to 3 hours. My glitter shapes also take about 90 minutes to apply so I don't always do them.



13. If you got on RPDR, who would you play for snatch game?

Easily Mary Kate Olsen. Have you watched Very Mary Kate? It's genius. I've never identified with a character so much.


14. Marry, Kill, Kai Kai, Kiss: Strange Dollhaus edition. Lexi Pro, Electra Cute, Mikki Miraj

ohhhh nooooooooooo. Okay. Kill Mikki. Marry Lexi. Kiss Electra. I'm not Kai-kai'ing with any of them ha!


15. What is your favorite part of doing charity/benefit shows?

I host Proud to Run yearly and they raise thousands of dollars for local LGBT charities. Like, this is THE reason I think people should do drag--for the community. It brings me such joy to see organizations receive the help they need and deserve to do better in the world.


16. Favorite Cosplay to date and why?

My favorite cosplay is my Yuna series from Final Fantasy. I do a reveal from FFX to FFX-2 mid performance and it wows the audience every time. To see people's faces and smiles during it reminds me why I do drag.


17. What are some future goals that you’ve set for yourself?

Stone at least a fourth of my wardrobe. Also apparently I should get a gas mask for the E6000 fumes. I know it seems like a silly goal, but it's important to freshen up your wardrobe every now and then. Also, I'd like to do ONE international performance in the next year even if it means Canada! That counts, right?


18. Dream cosplay/performance venue?

I would love to do a huge Final Fantasy show in the Akihabara district (anime area) of Tokyo. The energy, the community, everything would just be so perfect. It would truly be a dream come true.



19. What is your favorite part of being in a drag haus?

We truly do support each other even if we don't act like it. I'm an only child in real life so I haven't really had siblings before. It's been interesting being the 'oldest' daughter because I've had to set a lot of examples while still making sure to support my sisters. Despite what it may look like I do have everyone's best interests in mind, even Mikki's :-P


20. How has having a drag haus changed things for you?

It's created some amazing opportunities for me that would not be available on my own. We've started several shows in some venues around Chicago and have gotten out of town gigs together and now tour regularly. It's been an amazing journey that I wouldn't have been able to do on my own.


Follow Fox E Kim
Instagram: @foxekim
Facebook: facebook.com/foxe.kim

All photos used were captured by Joe Lewis Creative:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joelewiscreative/

Strange Doll Haus Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StrangeDollHaus/


Interview Done By Eich Ivy

Twitter: @ambretrishawna
Instagram: @ambretrishawna
 
 
The Drag Enthusiast
Twitter: @DragEnthusiast
Instagram: @DragEnthusiast
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dragenthusiast

Friday, July 14, 2017

Chicago's Strange Doll Haus Harajuku Fairy Mikki Minaj

This tiny Harajuku Fairy will captivate your heart and put a spell on you. Mikki Miraj is taking Chicago by storm. This beautiful theater loving queen takes her love of video games and burlesque and incorporates it in her shows. With her own new show Dream House she's casting a spell all over Chicago and soon the world.

                                                  
                                                               Photo by Jason Kaplan

1. Who is Mikki Miraj?

Mikki Miraj is the local Harajuku Fairy Princess Doll of Chicago!

2. When and why did you begin doing drag?

I started drag May 1st of last year-- I fell into it through a musical theater job I had the previous winter. In the show I was playing a drag queen and I took my character research pretty seriously. I brushed up on my drag herstory and started watching Drag Race. The first time I put on a face and hair and looked in the mirror my breath was snatched away! I saw myself and I literally thought "DAMN. I am pretty! There's a future for me here." I then made the decision that drag was the element that had been missing from my act as a performer all along.

3. How did you come up with your drag name?

So my name is sorrrrrt of misleading. The obvious pun is on Nicki Minaj. BUT. My middle name is "McKenzie" and my online persona/handle has always been Mikki-- so I knew that that HAD to be my first name. I needed a last name and Miraj popped into my head right away! It's campy and cute, a little funny, and my fantasy illusion is my whole brand so it stuck.

                                                 
                                                               Photo by Dutchesz Gemini

4. Where does your inspiration come from?

I'm inspired by so many sources! Video Games and the Metaphysical are what drive the core of my character--with fashion/aesthetic inspired by anime, Harajuku, and my own wild imagination. Topping all of that off is my love for musical theater and storytelling through music/performance and you have my recipe card in full.

5. What would you say is the most unique thing you have to offer?

I think my versatility is probably the most unique thing I have to offer. My commitment to the many different masks I wear is the strongest part of my drag. One night I may be a sex bomb woman stomping the house down to a club banger, and the next I may be a Fairy Priestess weaving a spell of unity. Either way, you can always expect the unexpected with my act!

6. What is your most embarrassing moment?

Oh my goodness. Well, the drag I do can sometimes be high risk high reward given how skimpy my outfits usually are. Early on in my career I was still learning through trial and error and I remember I planned this great burlesque act with chair work. The wig came off, the tuck was out, and all I was wearing was a string thong at the end and I felt like such an idiot. The trade didn't seem to mind though.
         
                                    
                                                        Photo by Eric Michael Kommer


7. Who is Strange Doll Haus and what makes them unique?

Strange Doll Haus is a collection of dolls both campy and glamorous-- and always with an off the beaten path edge. I think we all have a similar commitment to appearing as both a beautiful toy and an edgy question begging to be answered at once. We're all known for our high energy no apologies performances and loud personalities!


8. If your drag persona was a superhero, what super power would you have?

Mikki Miraj is a Fairy, so her power is the manipulation of perceived reality. In layman's terms she can weave illusions. What you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel are never what you might expect in her presence. Now as for superHERO in the first place I'm not so sure-- I prefer to remain much more morally gray. (Perhaps she can fill the antihero role better?)



9. If you got on RPDR, who would you play for snatch game?

I'd to be someone totally unexpected like Kristen Chenoweth! She has such a bubbly, over the top personality and shes a theater icon! My backups would be someone equally outrageous like Glozelle Green.

                                     
Photo by Erik Michael Kommer 


10. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about drag?

My favorite thing about Drag is crafting a new story to tell every night. Every song I choose is there for a reason, and the look, down to the makeup is usually telling a new story. The thing about drag that I liked the least is navigating Social Media Land. I think social media narrows the extent we can have conversations quite a lot-and ends up being more harmful than good in a lot of discussions. Plus theres a good amount of Queens (though this isn't necessarily linked soley to drag) that LOVE to stir the pot to keep themselves relevant. I just disagree with that approach to lite--it bugs me espeically when you see talented people succumb to this urge. It's more rewarding in my opinion to rise up based on your own work and merit than by internet gimmicks.


11. What is the biggest misconception about drag in your opinion?

I think the biggest misconception about drag is that in order to be a "good drag queen" you must be EVERYTHING all at once. You must sew, and be a comedian, and be naturally beautiful, and dance, and death drop, and be out every night, and be a twitter master, and etc. etc. etc. The thing that makes us unique as individuals is the sum of our parts-- both our strengths and our weaknesses. That doesn't disappear when you are done with drag.



12. What makes the Chicago drag scene different then other places like Los Angeles or Atlanta?

I think what makes Chicago drag so amazing is all of the avenues for queens to come up and express themselves, and the abundant opportunities to create your own space out here. Competition is natural for the drag scene, but there are SO MANY well-respected ways to get your act on stage as a new queen-- and there are plenty of ways to carve out space for your art if you're a go-getter. In my first year I've started a monthly show I host so I can practice and learn, you don't get that experience everywhere! Also, no shade but bitches really are the whole package out here-- and still know how to get down and not take themselves so seriously when its time to party ;)

                                                   
                                                                     Photo by Jose A. Rios


13. Marry, Kill, Kai Kai: Lexi, Fox E Kim, Electra

Omigod I have no idea... Erm, Kai Kai with Lexi because she's as big a slut as I am... Maybe Marry Electra because she'd take care of me best as my husband-wife... And Kill Fox E?  No but I don't want any of them gone because they're my favorite people in the city to pester!


14. What is a big future goal you've set for yourself?

I want to develop merch and take myself to that next level of promotion! My next big goal in drag is to make an appearance at DragConNYC and promote myself on that platform. I really want to show up and turn it out and spread a little #Fairydrag in the city that never sleeps.
 

15. Where do you see Strange Doll Haus in the next few years?

Lowkey on a trahsy reality TV spot living our best queenly lives.


                                              
                                                                Photo by Mars Cumpian


Follow Mikki Miraj
Instagram: @mikkimiraj
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jacob.m.gilchrist

Follow The Strange Doll Haus:
Instagram: @strange_doll_haus
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StrangeDollHaus/ 

The Drag Enthusiast
Twitter: @DragEnthusiast
Instagram: @DragEnthusiast
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dragenthusiast 

Interview done by Kory Lyn
Twitter: @oxkoryxo
Instagram: @oxkoryxo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oxkoryxo

Friday, July 7, 2017

Chicago's Strange Doll Haus' Very Own Lexi Pro Cute

Thursday, June 8, 2017

C'est Kevvie: Drag History & "Food Horny"




 Photo by Joe Lewis

Reigning the Chicago drag scene, C'est Kevvie has always wanted to inspire others to love themselves. She is very well known and respected as someone who is always pushing self awareness and body positivity and does even more than just that--she also is known for always recognizing other talent as well. She has an instagram account with the handle @ChicagoDragLegacy where she recognizes drag influencers in Chicago's past, present, and future. Taking inspiration from artists such as Divine, she works incredibly hard to be a conceptual drag performer and she always leaves everyone wondering what she's going to pull out of her bag of tricks next.

1. Who is C'est Kevvie? 

C’est Kevvie is the body positive art hoe.  I show off my body even if it makes people uncomfortable because it will help normalize the idea of plus size bodies being beautiful.  I also call myself the Drag Docent because of my interest in art and museums.  Several people have described me as the “internet troll” of Chicago drag because of my dumb sense of humor.


2. When and why did you begin doing drag? 

My first time performing in drag was April 1st, 2015.  While I was a student at Valparaiso University I was part of Alliance, their queer organization.  One day another organization reached out to us and asked if we would co-sponsor a drag show, and since I was the only person in either org who knew anything about drag I was basically in charge of putting the whole thing together.  I had wanted to start performing for a while at this point, so I figured that would be my chance.  It was so much fun, and we had two hundred people in attendance!


3. How did you come up with your drag name? 

“C’est Kevvie” is French for “It’s Kevvie.”  I actually decided back in high school, way before I started doing drag, that my stage name would be “C’est Kevvie.”

Photo by Greg Scott

4. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about doing drag? 

I love drag because it is a creative outlet for me.  I have a very creative mind and drag gives me the ability to express myself rather than keeping all these weird ideas in my head.  I also love when people get my references.  Sometimes if I’m performing as a work of art or an obscure character, only a handful of people in the audience will appreciate it, but those people love it so much and it brings me joy to see their responses.
My least favorite part about doing drag is taking it off.  I don’t consider myself to be unattractive, but when I wipe off my drag face I think I look frightening.  I’d wear drag makeup all day everyday if I could, but I don’t have that much time or energy.


5. Who would you say is your biggest drag inspiration?

My biggest drag inspiration is art and museums.  I love to walk around art museums and imagine turning the works of art into conceptual, wearable objects.  My other biggest inspirations are Divine and Edith Massey.  These queens were vulgar and sexy as hell, embracing their size and showing off their beautiful bodies.  They helped me to see that my body is beautiful and should be celebrated.


6. What would you say sets you apart from other performers? 

I am a very conceptual performer.  I’ll usually start with a work of art or a horror movie that I like, and develop a look and a mix with that in mind.  My drag often tells a story.



 Photo by Jessie Gonzalez

7. What is your favorite thing about Chicago drag? 

My favorite thing about Chicago drag is that when you go to a show you never know what you’re going to see.  Chicago has such a large variety of entertainers with different backgrounds and ideas, so each performer beings something unique to the stage.  Nobody has to fit a certain mold in order to be accepted; you fit in by standing out.


8. What is something you would like to change about the drag community? 

One thing that irks me about the drag scene is that the way to get your foot in the door is through competition, yet the competitions are based on popularity rather than talent.  I don’t know how many times I’ve spent weeks preparing a routine, but then my friends bailed on me or the audience didn’t get the reference.  I’m familiar with the adage “don’t get bitter just get better,” but when I put in the work and still fail just because my friends didn’t show up to vote for me, I’m going to be salty.
Another disappointment I have with the drag community is that so many younger queens don’t know their history.  Knowing the queens who came before you used to be an important part of drag culture, but now few queens know their history beyond Drag Race.  Hopefully opening a drag museum will help revive people’s interest in the legacy they are a part of.


9. You recently stated that you wanted to eventually open up a drag museum. What exactly should people expect?

I am currently studying at UIC to get my Masters in Museum and Exhibition Studies.  After I graduate I will put all the gears in motion in order to bring the drag museum to life.   It will focus on the history of drag as well as the transformation process so that the institution will be accessible to performers, fans, and people outside of the drag community.  Since drag is a performance art, there must be a performance space in the museum as well.  The museum will host frequent shows where all varieties of drag artists could present their work in a non-competitive environment.

Photo by @certee (IG)

10. What would you like to tell people about your Instagram project (@chicagodraglegacy)? Why did you start it and what is it about?

@ChicagoDragLegacy began as a grad school project.  For one of my classes I had to curate a fictional exhibit and write wall labels, a press release, and a social media strategy.  I chose to make my exhibit about Chicago drag.  Since the assignment was limited to ten objects, my social media plan was to make an Instagram account where I could post about all of the great Chicago figures that didn’t make it into the exhibit.  After finishing the project it dawned on me that the Instagram idea could exist on its own, so I made a new account called @ChicagoDragLegacy.  I use this account to share stories about historical figures in Chicago’s drag history as well as people who I believe are currently having an important impact on the Chicago drag scene.


11. You identify as transgender. Have you faced any sort of discrimination or have you mostly been loved and accepted as you are? 

I haven’t had many issues within the drag community about being trans.  Chicago’s drag community is quite progressive.  I guess one issue I do have in the clubs is that out of drag I don’t “pass,” so frequently people don’t realize I’m transfemme. I get misgendered, even in queer spaces, painfully often.
While I love and accept myself for who I am, I feel like it’s harder to find love and acceptance from other people.  Being a fat woman on top of being a queer and trans woman, I often feel like I’m perceived as bottom of the barrel.  I’m 23 years old and I’ve never been on a date.  The only people who seem to be interested in me are either chasers who fetishize my size and gender, or people who are too drunk to care or remember.  Maybe I’m oblivious, or naïve for expecting people to express their feelings directly and openly, but as far as I’m aware I’ve yet to find someone who wanted a legitimate romantic connection with me.  It can get pretty lonely sometimes.


12. What are your favorite makeup products that you can't live without? 

I am obsessed with Sugarpill!  I guarantee that anytime you see me in drag I’m wearing at least two different Sugarpill eyeshadows, most often Bulletproof and Frostine, often paired with a Sugarpill liquid lip color.  I hope that if I wear them enough that someday they will send me free stuff, because if they sent me stuff I would promote the shit out of it!
Lately I have been really into turqoise lips. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is definitely the best shade I’ve found, so I wear it a lot, but I often feel pangs of guilt for wearing it because I do not like the person who makes it and do not want to endorse them.  I’m praying that Sugarpill will come out with a turquoise liquid lip soon, because obviously it will be a better product and I could wear it guilt free.
There is a pretty new makeup brand called Vaughn Michael Cosmetics that I also really love.  I always apply the Vaughn Michael primer before any drag look.  They have gorgeous glitters and loose eyeshadows; my favorites are Candy Blades, which is a glittery red eyeshadow that other queens always comment on when I wear it, and You & Me, an extremely fine blue glitter with a green iridescence that has excellent coverage.
One last thing! My favorite eyeliner is L’oreal Silkissime.  It’s a soft pencil that goes on very smooth and is incredibly pigmented.  I use the black one for drag, and for daytime beats I’ll wear the silver or gold ones.

 Photo by Colectivo Multipolar


13. What is one of your biggest goals for the future pertaining to your drag?

I really want to get some bookings outside of Chicago so that I can introduce myself to a wider audience.


14. If you ever auditioned for Rupaul's Drag Race and got on the show, who would you do for snatch game? 

Edith Massey!  She is my favorite ever.  She has some of the most memorable quotes of anyone in the John Waters films.  Her outfit in Female Trouble is fashion goals.


15. Marry, Kai Kai, Kill: Windy Breeze, Dixie Lynn Cartwright, Lucy Stoole 

I would marry Windy Breeze because she’s my sister and I love her.  I would kai kai with Lucy Stoole because she seems like a mama bear; she’d pound your ass to Mars and back and also be really nurturing.  I’d kill Dixie Lynn Cartwright.  I’d kai kai with her first because I’ve seen what she’s packing, and then I’d kill the bitch.



16. You recently released an original song titled “Food Horny.” What can you tell us about your debut single? How did the idea come about?

The idea for “Food Horny” came about one night when Estelle Shambles was driving my drunk ass home from a gig.  Sometimes on our way home we’ll stop at White Castle, but this night we didn’t.  Every food place we passed made me want to eat more and more, not because I was hungry, but because I wanted the pleasure of eating something delicious.  I described this feeling as “food horny” and Estelle said I had to turn it into a song. So here we are!
I recorded it a couple weeks later when Estelle was driving my drunk ass home from a gig.  We went through the White Castle drive through and I got my fave chicken breast sandwiches with cheese and the new mac n cheese bites.  We pulled over and I recorded myself eating, and used that as my vocals.  The song is produced by Ariel Zetina, who also produced Imp Queen’s new EP The Magenta Agenda.  The song and accompanying music video are sexy, funny, and mildly disturbing.  It’s a great representation of what I’m about!

Watch "FOOD HORNY" here:



Follow C'est Kevvie:
Twitter: @cestkevvie  
Instagram: @cestkevvie 
Official Website: https://www.cestkevvie.com/

The Drag Enthusiast:
Instagram: @dragenthusiast
Twitter: @DragEnthusiast

Interview done by Natalie
Instagram: @urjustadrag_
Twitter: @urjustadrag