One of the faces of the Chicago drag scene, Trannika Rex, has climbed her way to the top with a microphone and a love for making people laugh until they cry. Everything that comes out of her mouth is comedy gold and she doesn't plan on being part of Rupaul's Drag Race, but I'm sure most people would agree she wouldn't really need the show because she's quite brilliant on her own.
1. Who is Trannika Rex?
An awful drunk white woman with a microphone who wanders through Chicago making Jewish jokes and pounding shots of Fireball. It's really quite gross.
2. Where did you get your drag name?
I came up with it my first time in drag when I was a block away from the bar. I didn't really think it out. The base joke was originally about being a train wreck but became a dinosaur pun unintentionally. It was either this or Paris Texas & Trannika won by a hair.
3. When and why did you begin doing drag?
Four years ago I met a queen named Roberta Cleveland (now Whitney Davey) and begged her to put me in drag, she said no, I did it anyway and showed up to the club looking like a swollen muskrat, so then she basically said "Fine, come here because you look like shit and it's embarrassing for everyone." I discovered the drag show at Berlin soon after that and started going religiously. There was a drought in performers back then so they let me do a show. I was really ugly and a terrible performer so it wasn't too hard to convince them to let me host instead of subjecting the audience to my unorganized, knock-kneed renditions of Yeah Yeah Yeahs songs and I've been ripping apart bachelorette parties on the mic ever since.
4. Who has been your favorite queen to book for your show and why?
Well I gotta shout out to my ride or die chicks Kim Chi, Shea Coulee, Valentine, Trixie Mattel, Kahmora Hall, Sara Andrews, Nico, Lucy Stoole, the Princess, and Ivory. I wouldn't be where I am without these girls. I'm only as good as my cast and these are the queens who come early, stay late, & do their homework. There's a ton of other amazing Chicago queens but this is my squad and I love them dearly. As for visiting queens... Nicole Paige Brooks is my favorite hurricane to bring to Chicago. That human is a mystery to me. I can't stop watching.
5. Who is your biggest inspiration?
My grandfather lived next door to me as a child and he taught me at a very young age that our bodies are only vessels for our souls and that if you carry a message and pass on positivity, that your soul will live on for a very long time. Also: he was a Buddhist who listened to Snoop Dogg and his favorite movie was Pootie Tang so that has a lot to do with the path I chose. The take away is basically that you can be a real sarcastic, obnoxious son of a bitch and still come from a place of love.
6. Where do you draw inspiration from?
Lately I've been really into Amy Schumer and Bo Burnham. When I watch their stage shows I legit cry tears of happiness. Sometimes when I see someone really in their element on stage just blowing my mind... I can't help but feel proud of them and I break down into tears like a mom at a dance recital. I don't know why it happens to me. I feel like they have a great message and that they're packaged up as shitheads so their messages are more easily consumed. Now is really the time to be a young, loud, ass kicking, feminist, asshole with a microphone. It's ok to be a fucked up if you have a message. Make people laugh but also make them think about why they're laughing. And also just like get drunk and have fun because why the fuck not?
7. How long have you been living in Chicago?
Seven beautiful years as of last week.
8. If you could have any superpower for 24 hours, what would you want to have an why?
I would want to fly but like if the weather wasn't good that day I would just wanna be able to see through hot dudes' clothes or whatever.
9. What is something not many people know about you?
Both my legs are wooden.
10. What is something you wish you could change about the world?
I wish my legs weren't wooden.
Would you ever audition for Rupaul's Drag Race and if you made it who would you be for snatch game?
I think my rocket is gonna come in some other form. The things I'm good at aren't really showcased on the show. If the challenge was to pull a crowd to the bar during a blizzard on a Monday in January then I can win... But if you need me to make an outfit out of wrapping paper in an hour while blindfolded then it's probably just going to be disappointing for both of us. I would do Long Island Medium for Snatch Game.
Why are you so fucking pretty?
Uncle Jeff I know you wrote this! Leave me alone and take my nudes off your blog!
Who is your favorite serial killer?
What is your favorite color?
What sort of drag jewelry do you go for and why?
I'm partial to gold and AB stones because it looks the best on stage. I stack jewelry in the rule of ones and threes because it's just proven to be more aesthetically pleasing. That's all Kim Chi's influence by the way.
What's the best opportunity/favorite moment you've had through doing drag?
I got to host the Dance Pavilion at Milwaukee Pride this year with Trixie Mattel who's one of my good gal pals. For three days, 21 hours we just partied on stage and did whatever we could to make people laugh. Trixie was on roller blades at one point. I kept trying to get my leg over my head. We have a really good comedy rhythm together. We know each other's beats and how to build on them. She is also prepared to be the butt of any joke which is a great quality to have. With comedy, it's very rare that you find a match, someone that can give as much as they take, and she is a perfect puzzle piece for me. She really is a national treasure.
Watching Milton Berle on tv as a kid and Lou Reed's reference to Candy Darling is the extent of my drag history knowledge. I want to learn more about this amazing art. Any recommendations for this new fan?
Go to your local drag shows! Watch Paris is Burning! Watch Wig Stock!
Who is your favorite introverted wallflower? Choose wisely.
Do you have tattoos?
No but I'm about to get a couple. I haven't decided which to get first... My grandfather's third grade school picture or a screen shot from King of the Hill where Bobby is saying "it's Louis Vuitton and it's unisex!"
How did your relationship with Dexter start?
Dexter is my roommate's cat and he weighs between one million and two million pounds. He's bae.
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