Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ari Ola: Not Just Another Pretty Face

Ari Ola is a queen from Rhode Island who loves talking to her admirers and is set out to make a difference. With her drag, she wants to reach out and help fight society's injustices and she wants to be that voice that some people don't have. She is obviously not even close to finishing leaving her mark on this world yet and it's so refreshing to see someone who wants to reach out to the younger generation and guide them. 

1. Who is Ari Ola?

Ari Ola is a model, a spokesperson, an advocate, she's really crazy and she just wants to make everyone really happy.

2. Where did your drag name originate from?

So my drag mom is Anaol Fetale, and I knew her about 2 years before I started drag. I originally met her on Grindr which is really funny. She lived a little bit north of Providence. Not many people used Grindr because it was still new. I lived in Connecticut at the time so the drive from my house to her house was about an hour. I didn't want to drive an hour to see her and we kind of stopped talking but we were still friends on Facebook. So I would see her pictures on my Facebook all the time and I would always like them. When I moved closer to where she lived we became best friends. She introduced me to drag. I was driving her back to her house from one of her performances one day and we were talking about if I were a drag queen what my drag name would be. We were going back and forth and I wanted to make it similar to her name because we decided I would be her drag daughter. When I was growing up, my favorite movie was "Not Another Teen Movie" and the naked foreign exchange student's name in that movie was Areola and she was naked and she had really big boobs. So I went to Anaol and said "what about Areola?" And she said "no what about Ari Ola?" So it just stuck with me. I didn't actually become a drag queen until 2 years after that happened. 

3. Do you have a drag family?

It's just me and Anaol. I think Anaol has another drag daughter but I think I only met her one time and I'm not sure if she even does drag anymore. I have drag "sisters" but I wouldn't call them my family, they're just my really good drag friends which I only have one or two of. It's really just me and Anaol and we've been each other's support. I don't want to take on a drag daughter unless I get on Rupaul's Drag Race and I can afford one because I would want them to come with me to all my shows. 

4. What is the best piece of advice you've gotten regarding your drag career?

When I first started drag, I was the spooky queen. My inspiration was Sharon Needles. I wanted to be this very spooky, dark, gothic, bloody queen. So I would always do a lot of scary looks. I would do a lot of demon looks. I would paint my whole body black and I would have gold contacts and gold highlights and it was really cool. But my friend Lilly one day pulled me aside and said "girl you have such a beautiful face that if you would do more fishy looks and you were a more fishy queen, nothing would ever get in your way and no one would ever be able to stop you." So after that night I stopped doing scary looks and started doing more fishy looks. At first I had a really harsh nose contour and a harsh cheek contour. I was looking pretty but I was also looking really harsh. But over time it's become my new drag style to be fishy. I don't think I would've ever gone in that direction if it had not been for Lilly. 

5. Who is your biggest inspiration?

Well when I first started drag it was definitely Sharon Needles. But I think Anaol has been a huge inspiration for me because every time I go over to her house she is always working on something and she has a drag workshop and she literally is sewing wigs in one corner and she's seeing an outfit in another corner and she's teasing a wig in another corner. She always has everything so planned out. Every time I spend time at her house I always come back home and start working on my own drag projects. I also look at myself as a drag inspiration. I drive myself really hard. I always end up whipping my ass into shape if I ever stop working. 

6. If you could work with anyone, who would you choose and why?

The one person I would want to work with more than anyone else in the world is Sarah Michelle Gellar. When I was 5 years old I started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I had the biggest crush on her. Like if anyone has ever had a crush on anything in the world...and so I just love her. She's such a great actress. I would definitely do anything to meet that girl and if I ever got to work with her I would probably puke. 

7. What is your favorite song to perform to? 

I would have to say that the song I get the most pleasure out of performing is "Cannibal" by Ke$ha. It's such a stupid song but every time I perform it I always do a really bloody and disgusting number to it. I usually do soft performances but last Halloween I did "Cannibal" by Ke$ha and I ate a real cows heart onstage. I dance really well to that song but it's about eating real people alive so it's just a great song to perform. 

8. What does the idea of drag mean to you?

I can't really define drag. I don't think I ever could. I guess to me, drag is a really beautiful art form that allows people to break these barriers that society kind of set upon them. It's something where people can come out and be whatever their darkest and most beautiful fantasies are and they can be themselves and make themselves feel really good in their skin. I don't think society really lets people do that. So I think drag is something really powerful that can be a really beautiful escape for a lot of people. 

9. Have you ever experienced a time where you completely doubted yourself? How did you overcome it?

I was actually going to quit drag a couple months ago and this is actually a really funny story. St Patrick's Day 2014, I was in Newport, Rhode Island and me and my boyfriend decided to do mushrooms. If you've ever been to the St Patrick's Day celebration there it is literally the craziest thing you could ever see. There's a bunch of Irish people and they're drunk. There's a bunch of 14 year old kids and they're drunk. I remember these packs of little 14 year old girls with halter tops on and they were taking selfies and it was a gang of these girls in all green. So Newport is a really beautiful town and there's giant mansions and it's right on the ocean and it's just a beautiful and very rich town. So to see these huge groups of people in a sea of green in this beautiful town is very disorienting on its own. To top it off, this St Patrick's Day was so wild that people were literally going into stranger's houses. Me and my boyfriend were in some strange person's house that we didn't know and people were just chilling out and drinking alcohol and everyone was drunk and it was the craziest thing ever. So we left and we broke away from this giant mass of crazed people. We went up on this hill, and when we got to the hill the mushrooms start kicking in and the world just becomes the most beautiful place that I've ever seen. It was really like an Alice in Wonderland world that I had seen on St Patrick's Day. I saw this gorgeous story with these mansions and the mansions were these beautiful creatures to me and I saw this crazy story play out in front of me and it was so cool. So at the end of St Patrick's Day, we were driving home and we saw the ocean. The ocean on mushrooms is beautiful and it looked like this crazy and giant universe and it was really crazy. So I got home and I went to sleep and I woke up and I'm kind of remembering the world as what I saw it as. I was really bummed that the world wasn't as beautiful as I thought it was when I was on mushrooms. So I got really depressed that day and I started thinking that my drag was horrible and that I would never be able to fulfill these beautiful fantasies because I didn't have the money to put into these beautiful performances and these beautiful visions I had in my head. On top of it people were being really bitchy to me that day and I decided that I was going to quit drag. I posted on Facebook that I was quitting drag and that I was selling my stuff and I posted pictures of all of it. It was the craziest thing that I had this really big outpouring of people all over my Facebook and I had hundreds of messages and everyone was telling me that I couldn't quit drag and that I was such a good performer. I had people posting on my wall. I had so many people just reaching out to me because I was going to quit drag and I realized that I actually touched people that much that they cards that much about me quitting drag. I decided I just couldn't let that many people down. I also have a lot of young people messaging me saying that I'm their inspiration because I talk to a lot of my fans and I just couldn't let those people down. So I just got over my pathetic sadness that I created for myself and here I am today. 

10. What is your biggest fear?

I think my biggest fear is being restricted and having restrictions put on me and adhering myself to a normal life. Whenever I think about working a 9 to 5 job and buying house with a white picket fence and working my ass off just to make ends meet...it just gives me the biggest anxiety ever. Sometimes I cry thinking if that's my life that it's just horrible and I can't. So I guess my biggest fear is not making it with my art. If I don't somehow get recognized or get on TV that it would have to mean that I would have to live this normal life and it's scary for me to think about. 

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I hope to be part of some organization where I can help people end the social injustices of the world because there's a lot of them. I think that LGBTQ youth is a very big problem in this country like they're facing a lot of problems. I also think there's a lot of ther social injustices like I think racism is still a very big thing. There's so much wrong with this society that I just have so many issues with so I just want to speak out and educate people about them. And if that then some type of politics so that I will at least have some kind of platform to educate people about the shit that's going on in the world. It's just crazy to me how this society is working right now and I just want to tell people about it so bad. 

12. What is your biggest accomplishment?

I guess my biggest accomplishment is just getting this far in my drag. I just feel like I'm in a really good place on where I brought myself because I didn't have a lot of help with my drag. Also where I am in my life right now is a big accomplishment for me because I'm on my own and I live on my own and I'm really happy and I have a great job and I'm just doing really great with my drag career. A lot of people think I'm going to be on Season 8 of Drag Race. I'm just in a really good place and I'm really happy.

13. If you could change one thing about the drag community, what would it be and why?

I would change the bitchiness. Not even the bitchiness but the pure ignorance because there's so many ignorant queens and there's so many people that don't realize the opportunities that we have. Drag queens are such a hot thing right now and we have so many eyes on us at the moment that we didn't have before. Rupaul's Drag Race has really brought drag into the mainstream and so many queens don't understand the power that comes with it. We have at least some kind of a platform and we can really do a lot more with our drag. I feel like a lot of drag queens could really take advantage of their drag a lot more and it's just a very ignorant community. There's obviously a lot of really intelligent queens but I see a lot of queens just be really ignorant. 

14. If you could have any super power, which would you pick and why?

Oh my gosh! You don't know how many times I've thought about this! I think about this all the time which is why I can't really have an answer for you. I can tell you that if I was a super villain, I would want to be able to control parasites. Mainly because I would be able to reach so much goddamn havoc on the world because I would kind of be murderous. But I would also infect some people with the virus that gave them elephantitus. I would infect some people with ringworm. I would just go around and fuck with people. It wouldn't be trackable. Do you know how many parasites there are? There's like a trillion parasites on this earth. So if I did that I would be very powerful. But if I was a good person and I was a superhero, my super power would have to be the ability to grant wishes...but only for me. If I had the ability to grant wishes for myself then I could wish that I had the ability to fly and I would be able to fly. I could wish that I was the most beautiful person on earth. I could wish that I could make people fall in love with me...the possibilities are endless if all my wishes could come true. 

15. What do you think about the Facebook Real Name policy and have you been affected by it at all?

I think it's crazy. I was affected by this, girl. So I had my personal Facebook page. I had one page as my boy account and one for Ari Ola. I had this goddamn drag page since I became a drag queen and I made that page in December of 2012. I built this page from the ground up and I eventually had 4,700 friends in a year and a half. I really didn't request that many people but they all requested me. So I logged into Facebook one day and they told me I had to change my name to my real name. I started freaking out because that page was my everything and I was livid. So I tried to contact Facebook, I tried searching for a number to call and it's automated and I literally went crazy. I literally went on my page and I turned off advertising and I eventually turned my name to "Ari Hola". I tried as hard as I could but I couldn't get my name back so I converted my Facebook page into a fan page and it converted all my friends to likes. It was really inconvenient and there's no way for me to get it back. They took all of my photos so I had to take all my photos and save them to my computer because once you convert your page, Facebook deletes all your photos except for your cover photo and your profile photo. I literally lost everything. I lost hundreds of photos. And my photos on my fan page don't get as many likes because Facebook makes you pay money to get seen in the newsfeed. 

Find Ari Ola here:
Twitter: @AriOlaDrag
Instagram: @AriOlaDrag

The Drag Enthusiast
Twitter: @DragEnthusiast
Tumblr: dragenthusiast.tumblr.com
Instagram: @ragingdragaholic

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