Saturday, September 20, 2014

Chasing Dreams: Queen Annecy

Upon falling deeper and deeper into the ocean of the drag community, one of my first drag queen loves was Sharon Needles. While being a fan of Sharon, I noticed this girl named Annecy started being part of the picture and eventually she was in a theater production with Peaches Christ and Sharon Needles and I became even more fascinated with her. After this show, Annecy has truly started to leave her mark on the drag community and I'm so proud of her for working so hard and accomplishing her dreams, which is why I asked if I could feature her on this page. She may not be a drag queen but she truly understands the art more than anyone else I know and she is extremely talented. 

1. How long have you been part of the drag community?

My whole life I've admired over-the-top glamorous artists and scenes and films and art of all kinds that my parents raised me on - David Bowie, Nina Hagen, Alice Cooper, Boy George, Rocky Horror...of course those aren't exactly "the drag scene" but I feel like they guided me towards the light that is drag. I discovered club kids when I was 10 which lead me to various drag phenomenons such as Wigstock, but drag didn't stick with me at first. I would watch drag race here and there in middle school as well, but when I found myself overwhelmed with depression in the beginning of eighth grade, I started watching it religiously. It became one of the few things that could make me smile at the time...So to sum that all up, I suppose I officially was engrossed by the drag community by the time I was 13!

2. What does drag mean to you?

It probably means as much to me as religions do to religious people - is that offensive? I've always questioned my love for drag because it's so hard to explain it. I feel like there's something magical about drag queens and the performance artists like them. They're a complete illusion of somebody completely different to the person wearing the makeup and costumes. As an actress, when I play characters I can feel like I'm escaping my identity and reality, and when I look at these performers I get a similar feeling even though it's not me on stage. They're all inspiring in different ways and they're definitely to blame for why I am who I am today. 

3. How did you and Sharon Needles become friends?

Long story short(ish): I won a contest to go on Drag Stars at Sea. Soon after, I managed to get Sharon to follow me on vine. When we finally met we ended up spending so much time together and I guess I was able to help make her happy because she was going through some rough times as you can imagine. The way she treated me that week was so special and I'm immensely grateful for it. The last night when I had to go to bed, we both fell into each other's arms and bawled. She thanked me for making her so happy that week. Then she said if I ever need her I can always not call her. Except a week later she told me to call her and she slowly started calling me more and more then started facetiming me! Her FaceTime stopped working so now we can't do that and I miss it a lot but I wanna give her as much space as possible... As much as I probably bug her she's seriously one of my closest friends!

4. What was it like working with Sharon Needles and Peaches Christ for The Wizard Of Odd?

A dream come true. Literally. Two years ago I couldn't sleep one night so I created an entire plot thingy in my head of a Peaches Christ production of The Wizard of Oz. Obviously Sharon was the witch, but I was Dorothy and Peaches was either the Wizard or Glinda. I got obsessed with Peaches when Sharon did Silence of the Trans and it became a huge goal of mine to be in one of her plays, preferably The Wizard of Oz with Sharon. Of course, I thought that was a complete fantasy and the chances of it happening would be when Sharon and Peaches were elderly. Yet next thing I knew, Peaches called me in response to an 8 paragraph letter I wrote to her and asked if I wanted to play Toto!

 When the week finally came where I would be going to San Francisco to rehearse and then be in the play, everything turned into parallels of the actual Wizard of Oz story. I was Dorothy. The first planes were the tornado. The first day of rehearsals when we filmed the opening and closing sequences, Sharon - whose persona is a dead witch - bought me cheeseburger shoes! There are plenty more but I'll explain in my novel that I write about that week in like 30 years. After the show, Peaches kept me onstage with Sharon and Sharon's real mother and told the audience my story. The 1400 people in the house gave me a standing ovation and I began to cry so hard. She recently did an interview with Feast of Fun and talked about that moment and her realization that I was Dorothy and it made me cry again. I'll never be able to thank Peaches enough for that whole experience.

5. How long have you been studying theater?

I've been acting my whole life but I started doing plays when I was eight and started actually studying theater in theater classes when I was 11. I took theater classes everyday in middle school, and when I started high school they put me in the honors theater class which is intended for seniors and juniors only - I was the youngest and only freshman in my class that first year! Now I'm at a different high school thingy where I'm taking a college theater class.

6. Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
I have so many that it's probably unhealthy! I think my mom is actually my biggest inspiration...she's incredibly embarrassing but she's been there for me every moment of my life and has gone out of her way so many times to make me happy. She's one of those cool moms ya know...but like she's really cool actually. Back in the olden days she was a dj and interviewed a lot of famous musicians and has tons of really major pals. My dad Bill is hip and funky as well but he's grumpy at me for having an A IN MY HISTORY CLASS!!! (It's probably going to end up a B soon oops) I love my parents so much equally though and this year I've realized a lot more how thankful I am for them.

Besides that cliche "my parents" answer, Sharon's my biggest inspiration but that takes too long to explain so maybe one day I'll release my journals from when I was in the hospital when I was 14 and wrote several creepy pages gushing over her.

Amanda Palmer is a huge inspiration for me as an artist and musician. Jinkx has had a monumental influence on me as an actress. Katy Perry is an embarrassing idol I've carried with me since I was 10 who honestly has inspired me a lot to follow my dreams which is incredibly cheesy but I have to give her credit. Judy Garland has been the reason I've wanted to be a performer since I was a fetus.

7. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Either living in my parents house eating macaroni and cheese and sobbing over what could've been or hopefully living the fantasies I created a long time ago...I want to be famous - and I want to die for art...when I'm really old. I hope I'm out there helping people in someway and making people happy at the least.

8. What is your biggest insecurity/fear?

I guess my biggest insecurity is just the fact I'm paranoid of people secretly disliking me or something. I am really outgoing and I love people, but at the same time I'm incredibly shy and can be very quiet because I'm scared of bothering people. I hate this because I want to be friends with so many people but it's so easy for me to just hide and so hard to approach people. One of the reasons I want to be famous - preferably for good reasons - is because I feel like I wouldn't need to be so scared of other people.
My biggest fear is death, which is ironic because I went through about 4 years of going in and out of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts. I love living. But I'm prone to being eaten alive by depression. I'm more scared of others around me dying. I've been through so much death in the past few years that I can get so easily overwhelmed. I still cry all the time over the people and things I've lost even years ago...I get really sensitive to death related things - I can't stand it when someone tells me or somebody else to kill themselves. I can't even kill bugs because it makes me sad!

9. What do you like to do in your free time?

I am usually laying on the floor doing nothing or on my computer not being productive, or I'm trying to create things. I'm a self-taught pianist with basic skills so of course I'm always learning new material, I struggle to sing and attempt to improve my voice all the time, I make collages, I make strange photoshop creations that sometimes end up in my redbubble store, I play with my puppy until he starts eating every inch of my body, I stare at my hamster, I read and write every now and then, I watch too many movies, I create and edit dumb videos, I stuff my face with processed snacks, I dance around my house and act out the entirety of The Wizard of Oz or Rocky Horror or pretend I'm a drag queen, I dress up all weird and take selfies...I'm always busy doing something!

10. What is your favorite quality about yourself?

I'm honestly very self conscious and insecure which a lot of people don't realize because I keep those feelings quiet these days, but I've found more and more things to appreciate about myself. I think overall my imagination is my most prized possession. Without it, I'm nothing. It's what let's me create, dream and love. I can entertain myself in a plethora of ways because I have so much creativity driven by my imagination. I have so many fantasies and aspirations that I keep believing in until they're actually reality. I have the mindset of a six year old so I'm overwhelmed with curiosity. Having the ability to imagine allows me to have such a spirit and so much love for people and cultures and art and the whole universe. That was probably the cheesiest thing I've ever written.  

11. Do you regret anything you've done in the past?

There are so many things I regret - I've honestly hurt some people in the past, and I wish I could've held myself back. But you can't please everyone and lately I've been focusing on blocking out negativity and trying to be more sensible and stay out of conflict, as well as move on from these regrets of the past. Other than that, I don't regret anything no matter how much it affected me because we wouldn't be who we are without a history of good and bad.

12. What is your most embarrassing moment?

Everything I do embarrasses me in someway. I think being on stage with Katy Perry and meeting her was the most embarrassing moment of my life. While that was definitely one of the greatest moments of my life, following Katy Perry around on stage while sporting glasses, a big gap in my teeth, a starstruck expression, a pink skirt sliding off my butt revealing a pair of blue shorts, three gigantic bags, an untied shoe, then proceeding to wobble while my idol held my hands until she told me to jump so I awkwardly hopped in place in front of more than TEN THOUSAND PEOPLE is a rather haunting experience. 

13. Out of all the projects you've worked on, which one is your favorite and why?
The Wizard of Odd. See question 4.

14. What is your advice for kids who don't feel accepted by anyone?

Speak out to those people and let them know how you feel. Many people don't have open minds or hearts and if you can't find anyone who does, either go somewhere else or sit and dream without giving up so when the time comes, you'll still be yourself and can move on and find people who will accept you. Life is hard but it's fragile and delicate and should never be wasted. Love yourself. Embrace what's inside of you. Build an imagination. Create things, explore your mind. Eat lots of low sodium macaroni and cheese. Watch Drag Race and listen to Rupaul and find queens and other people to inspire you...but most importantly find inspiration through yourself.

15. What is the biggest lesson you've learned over the past few years?

"Don't dream it, be it" and "if you can't love yourself, how the hell you gon love somebody else can I get an amen up in here." I've learned not to give up on myself, not to take things for granted, privacy is a delicacy, and patience and determination will get you everywhere.

16. How do you stay positive?

I look for little things that will reinforce the fact that even when life seems boring, it still has meaning. If I can make someone happy, make my parents proud of me, or just realize how much beauty exists in everything, I get a very happy feeling where my throat gets all tickly and I can't stop smiling. I also look back on memories of the major things I've accomplished and realize how gracious I am for those experiences. I can also find happiness by playing with my hamster and puppy, watching precious animal videos, and losing my head while admiring drag queens in various ways.

17. If you were on a deserted island and you could only bring one item with you...what would you choose?

A boat.

Find Annecy Here:
Twitter: @queenannecy
Instagram: @queenannecy

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