Tuesday, February 3, 2015

James St James: "Keep Striving For More"

“If we're all going to hell in a handbasket, we might as well make it a party on the way down." 
-James St James

James St James is no stranger to life's ups and downs, but what makes him so fascinating is that even though he was told "no" or he went through tough times, he still got back up and continued walking the path of life. Not only did he just "walk the path of life", he used his life to truly inspire many others to accomplish their dreams and strive to change the world. 

1. Looking back on your life, what is the biggest lesson you've learned over the years?

Dive right in. Let the river current take you where it will. Don’t be ruled by fear. Say yes to everything. Don’t worry about embarrassing yourself. Keep putting yourself out there. Don’t get too comfortable. Keep reinventing yourself. Keep the bitterness in check. Accept change. Embrace getting older. Etc etc.

2. What inspired you to become part of the club kid scene in the 90s?

I actually set out in the ‘80s to be a Warhol superstar, Andy was still around, the NYC club culture was thriving, and that’s what I wanted to be a part of. I fell in with the Downtown crowd, became something of an “it-boy” — and eventually the club kid scene came up around me. I always felt that they joined me in what I was doing and not the other way around.

3. I know you're probably really tired of this question...but what are your feelings on Michael being released almost a year ago?

Michael remains one of my best friends. I’ve stood by him for almost 30 years, though drug addiction, fame, murder, prison… if our friendship can withstand all of that, I think it’s safe to say we’re BFFs for life. I feel compassion for the lives that he destroyed, the people that he hurt, and the pain he caused himself and so many others, but now he’s been given a second chance and I sincerely hope that he can come out of prison and lead a productive, fulfilling life again. I have a feeling that he's got a helluva 3rd act coming just around around the corner.

4. How do you feel when you look back on your club kid days? Any regrets or things you wish you did differently?

I wish I didn't do so many damn drugs. I see pics of myself and it LOOKS like I’m having fun. It LOOKS like a fun party, but I know that I had probably just come from doing drugs, or I was looking for more drugs, or looking for a place to do drugs… i was always fiending for more, more, more. I never really enjoyed what was going on around me. 

5. What inspired you to begin writing?

My earliest mentors in New York were Michael Musto (from The Village Voice) and Stephen Saban (from Details) – columnists who took me under their wings and showed me how intoxicating a writer’s life could be. I wrote for a gazillion bar rags and ‘zines – for free! – for years! – before I ever got the chance to write professionally. I did it because it was fun, it was a way to express myself, and it was a way to be a part of the scene.

6. Out of the books that you've written, do you have a favorite?

I've written two books that have been rejected by every publisher IN THE UNIVERSE. Some day they will see the light of day, I promise. 

7. So on the World of Wonder YouTube channel you work on a show called "James St James: Transformations". Do you have a favorite guest on the show that has painted your face?

I love different guests for different reasons. Sometimes the guest is just so fascinating that I almost don’t care what the look is. Sometimes the look is absolutely breathtaking, and just watching the guest do their thang is enough for me. All-time favorite episodes though include Mathu (of course), Squeaky Blonde, Oozing Gloop, Landon Cider, Nelly Rechia, Rainblo, Bianca Del Rio, Raja, John Stapleton, and MILK.

8. What is your secret to success?

I don’t think I’ve ever had any REAL success. Not mainstream anyway. I keep plugging away though. Maybe that’s it. Never be satisfied. Keep striving for more. Something better. But you just can't think of life in terms of "success" or "failure." 

9. Have you ever been star struck when meeting someone in particular?

I get star struck all the time. I was in an elevator the other day with Lisa Rinna, lol, and I just started babbling. She must have thought I was a raving lunatic. I think I scared her, poor thing. Oh, I’m terrible around famous people. 

10. What is your opinion on people thinking of you as a role model?

Well, I haven’t lived a perfect life. And I’m not a leader, I just do my own thing and if you want to come along, that’s great. But I have always been true to myself and try to champion the freaks, the rebels, the underdogs, and the outsiders. Maybe I’ll grow into the idea of being a role model. Who knows.

11. What is something that you really want to do that you haven't had the chance to do yet?

I’d like to learn to make jewelry. Big, barbaric stuff. Uncut jewels on cuffs and collars and skullcaps – things like that. Just for myself, mind you. I'm the only one who wound want to wear it, at any rate. 

12. What is a weird fact about yourself?

I collect vintage etiquette books? I’ve never had a pickle? I’m probably the best parallel parker IN THE WORLD? I’m a closet comic book geek? 

13. Do you have any advice for someone who wants to be successful in this particular community?

Everybody’s path is different. I can’t tell you how to find your way. Just put one foot in front of the other and start your journey.

14. You have interviewed people in the past. Do you have a favorite interview that you've done?

I once spent an afternoon interviewing Quentin Crisp that I will never forget. And my interviews with Holly Woodlawn and Joe Dellesandro stand out in my mind as bucket list items. 

15. What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?

Hmmm. I had explosive diarrhea all week. Some people might find that funny, I do not.

16. Ending this interview with a funny question. If you were on an island and you could only bring 3 things with you, what would you bring?

A pallet of Pop Tarts, Dylan O’Brien from Teen Wolf, and a trunk full of fabulous outfits to play with.

Thank you to James St James for taking the time to do this interview as it was truly an honor. :)

Follow James St James:
Twitter: @JSJdarling
Instagram: @jamesstjames1
World Of Wonder YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/WOWPresents

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

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