Photo by Fausto Fernós
Starting her drag career in Milwaukee, WI during the summer of 2014, Toyota Corona quickly gained notoriety in the local drag scene and eventually started performing in Chicago. She was the winner of the first cycle of Crash Landing which is a drag competition held at Berlin Nightclub in Chicago every other Monday and is hosted by Trannika Rex and Nico. She recently moved to Chicago and plans to take the drag scene by storm.
1. Who is Toyota Corona as a performer?
Well first, you should put "performer" in quotes. Toyota is a nightlife personality, comedian, sometimes....unfortunately...a singer, a lip sync artist...kind of like the sandwich artist of drag. So she's kind of camp and sexy and "fish" but not like trout, more like beluga. Or mammals. Kind of like the half white half Mexican shark of Lake Michigan.
2. When and why did you begin doing drag?
I started the summer of 2014 which is when I started doing drag regularly. I got started because my friend was moving away to Chicago and having a party, and I dressed up like her for the party. It was my first time buying a wig and I went out in public. A little after that I started getting more makeup and going out more regularly in Milwaukee. As far as why I started to do drag, I think I've always wanted to do it and I was always in my mom's shit when I was a kid (and I still am today)...so I've always been fascinated by it.
3. Where did you get your drag name?
The parking lot at Denny's by the airport. I wanted my name to be funny and my real last name is Corona. It was just a random thing I thought of because I was doing karaoke that night and I needed a name to get announced. I thought it was a funny pun off of the car name "Toyota Corola" and my last name is Corona. Then I realized later that "Toyota Corona" is actually a car from the 1970s, so now people try to sell those cars to me on Instagram and Facebook and I have to tell them that I'm actually not a car person and that I'm actually just a drag queen. I'm thinking of changing my name soon though, I don't know for sure yet. It's not search engine optimized because if you type it into google, I won't show up. So I should really find a name that is not already out there in terms of brands. I don't want to get in trouble with taking the name of a brand. So if I somehow get to be popular (like ever) I don't want to have to do it later when I should just do it sooner. If in some way that I win the billion dollar lottery chance that I would ever be on Season 84 of a show called Rupaul's Drag Race, I don't think they would allow me to have 2 brands as my name. I think they would get in trouble for that.
4. How did you learn to do your makeup?
Hahaha! When?! You mean how will I learn? Because I'm still not anywhere where I should be yet. My makeup help has come from completely online...so mainly YouTube tutorials and looking at people's photos on Facebook and Instagram. I have also watched people paint. One time my friend Dita Von came over and we painted side by side and she gave me tips and stuff. Every time I watch people paint I always ask questions. I do a lot of experimenting. Nowadays I'm doing drag either to just go out or do a gig at least once or twice week so I get a lot of practice but I'm nowhere near where the pros are yet.
5. What do you think you will be able to bring to the Chicago drag scene?
Well I'm not bringing any new wigs, or outfits, or shoes, so we can get that out of the way now. I will bring in genuine humor and I will bring the big personality. Also being social and being the life of the party and showing the rest of the new girls how to do that. I'm not bragging but I'm more known for the humor and wit and a big personality. So I will be bringing that. I will be bringing more stand up comedy hopefully and I would love to have a stand up comedy show in the future. I would also love to have a drag choir and perform at shows with a small group...so I have a lot of ideas planned and a lot of fun stuff that I wanna do. I feel like a lot of people in Chicago are down for the same things I am so I'm excited.
6. Biggest inspirations?
Of course Rupaul, drag wise. When I got into drag, Rupaul was the beginning...like the call..like "hey girl come over here this is your family". My biggest inspirations are like big and/or funny. Like big personality wise. I would have to say that Latrice Royale is my all time favorite queen in terms of beauty and personality and showmanship and whatnot. Other inspirations are big comedy icons like Bianca Del Rio and Lady Bunny and Willam. Just the queens with big personalities and fun comedy are the ones who I draw inspiration from. Outside of drag would be like Chris Farley or Robin Williams who always have amped up comedy...that's kind of my personality with a wig on
7. Have you ever had a most embarrassing moment during a performance?
Have you ever seen me perform? Well a bit ago I performed in Crash Landing Cycle 2 as a special guest and I got a bit too carried away and I poured out a whole gallon ziplock bag of powdered sugar onto the crowd and the stage and it was on the ceiling and the walls and everything. Then, if that was not bad enough, I also sprayed a whole bottle of champagne into the air, onto the crowd, onto myself. So the whole first 2 rows at Berlin Nightclub just left and walked off and I was still performer and it was the messiest thing ever. And Trannika wasn't mad but she seemed really confused. It was just really embarrassing.
8. Favorite and least favorite thing about drag?
My favorite thing about drag is flirting and boys...duh...that's the best part of it. You get so much more attention when you go out in drag compared to when you're not in drag while you're out. Not just from men but from women as well. I don't really have a least favorite part about drag. I mean the shoes hurt your feet but it's still fun. Also drag is really expensive.
9. If you had your last performance tomorrow, which song would you choose to do and why?
It would have to be a megamix of some sort of all my favorite artists with like live singing and a bunch of props. Something spectacular. I would not go down without a couple animals and a buffet of sorts...with barnyard creatures. So I mean I don't even know.
10. If you could work with anyone in the near future, who would you choose and why?
Right now my drag inspirations in Chicago are Trannika Rex and Lucy Stoole. So if I could work with them on something that would be really cool. Like I've done shows for them but if I could actually work with them that would be great. On a bigger scale, I would of course love to work with Latrice, Alaska, and Willam. I would actually love to do like a drag comedy tv show in the future with some writers and a director but I don't know anyone yet so it won't be for a while.
11. If you were to try out for Drag Race, what person would you do for snatch game?
I'm actually gonna do Kim Chi. I'm gonna start my makeup now...like this year...I'm just kidding. I would probably do someone like Roseanne...but like older Roseanne from the 90s. It would probably be easy because all I would have to wear is a flannel shirt and a shitty wig and that's what I'm all about.
12. What is something you wish would change about the drag community?
Well I need to have more bookings. That's priority number one. Honestly though I'm just happy to be a part of it. If I could change anything really, it would be that Milwaukee would have different kinds of drag because right now it's close minded. So I would love to just bring different kinds of drag to Milwaukee.
13. What has been the biggest lesson you've learned pertaining to drag so far?
People can read sincerity. So I try to be as real as possible because people can usually see through it if you aren't sincere. Drag has allowed me to be who I am more personality wise and makes me more comfortable in my own skin. Be as real as you can because people dig it and if they don't dig it, you don't need to be associated with them.
14. What advice do you have for newer queens?
I don't think I'm at a position to be giving out advice but since you asked the question it kind of ties to the last answer. Be real and be who you are. Watch and observe everything and don't necessarily listen to everyone's opinions and take all of it in. I think it's very easy to get up your own ass about drag and I have been there and I've felt that already. There's always more to learn. There's always more to improve on. There's always going to be another show that you can do better working on. As long as you're real and as long as you're appreciative and as long as you're sincere and as long as you want it then you'll be okay.
15. Marry, Kai Kai, Kill: Trannika, Veronica Pop, Kim Chi
Trannika- Kill by giving her like 80 shots of fireball. (Just one more shot than usual.) I would be doing everyone a favor.
Veronica- Kai Kai because she won't remember in the morning and it will be less traumatic for the both of us
Kim Chi- Marry because she likes to eat and she's beautiful and gorgeous and everything
Stalk Toyota Corona:
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