Photo by Jason Kaplan
1. Who is Mikki Miraj?
Mikki Miraj is the local Harajuku Fairy Princess Doll of Chicago!
2. When and why did you begin doing drag?
I started drag May 1st of last year-- I fell into it through a musical theater job I had the previous winter. In the show I was playing a drag queen and I took my character research pretty seriously. I brushed up on my drag herstory and started watching Drag Race. The first time I put on a face and hair and looked in the mirror my breath was snatched away! I saw myself and I literally thought "DAMN. I am pretty! There's a future for me here." I then made the decision that drag was the element that had been missing from my act as a performer all along.
3. How did you come up with your drag name?
So my name is sorrrrrt of misleading. The obvious pun is on Nicki Minaj. BUT. My middle name is "McKenzie" and my online persona/handle has always been Mikki-- so I knew that that HAD to be my first name. I needed a last name and Miraj popped into my head right away! It's campy and cute, a little funny, and my fantasy illusion is my whole brand so it stuck.
Photo by Dutchesz Gemini
4. Where does your inspiration come from?
I'm inspired by so many sources! Video Games and the Metaphysical are what drive the core of my character--with fashion/aesthetic inspired by anime, Harajuku, and my own wild imagination. Topping all of that off is my love for musical theater and storytelling through music/performance and you have my recipe card in full.
5. What would you say is the most unique thing you have to offer?
I think my versatility is probably the most unique thing I have to offer. My commitment to the many different masks I wear is the strongest part of my drag. One night I may be a sex bomb woman stomping the house down to a club banger, and the next I may be a Fairy Priestess weaving a spell of unity. Either way, you can always expect the unexpected with my act!
6. What is your most embarrassing moment?
Oh my goodness. Well, the drag I do can sometimes be high risk high reward given how skimpy my outfits usually are. Early on in my career I was still learning through trial and error and I remember I planned this great burlesque act with chair work. The wig came off, the tuck was out, and all I was wearing was a string thong at the end and I felt like such an idiot. The trade didn't seem to mind though.
Photo by Eric Michael Kommer
7. Who is Strange Doll Haus and what makes them unique?
Strange Doll Haus is a collection of dolls both campy and glamorous-- and always with an off the beaten path edge. I think we all have a similar commitment to appearing as both a beautiful toy and an edgy question begging to be answered at once. We're all known for our high energy no apologies performances and loud personalities!
8. If your drag persona was a superhero, what super power would you have?
Mikki Miraj is a Fairy, so her power is the manipulation of perceived reality. In layman's terms she can weave illusions. What you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel are never what you might expect in her presence. Now as for superHERO in the first place I'm not so sure-- I prefer to remain much more morally gray. (Perhaps she can fill the antihero role better?)
9. If you got on RPDR, who would you play for snatch game?
I'd to be someone totally unexpected like Kristen Chenoweth! She has such a bubbly, over the top personality and shes a theater icon! My backups would be someone equally outrageous like Glozelle Green.
Photo by Erik Michael Kommer
10. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about drag?
My favorite thing about Drag is crafting a new story to tell every night. Every song I choose is there for a reason, and the look, down to the makeup is usually telling a new story. The thing about drag that I liked the least is navigating Social Media Land. I think social media narrows the extent we can have conversations quite a lot-and ends up being more harmful than good in a lot of discussions. Plus theres a good amount of Queens (though this isn't necessarily linked soley to drag) that LOVE to stir the pot to keep themselves relevant. I just disagree with that approach to lite--it bugs me espeically when you see talented people succumb to this urge. It's more rewarding in my opinion to rise up based on your own work and merit than by internet gimmicks.
11. What is the biggest misconception about drag in your opinion?
I think the biggest misconception about drag is that in order to be a "good drag queen" you must be EVERYTHING all at once. You must sew, and be a comedian, and be naturally beautiful, and dance, and death drop, and be out every night, and be a twitter master, and etc. etc. etc. The thing that makes us unique as individuals is the sum of our parts-- both our strengths and our weaknesses. That doesn't disappear when you are done with drag.
12. What makes the Chicago drag scene different then other places like Los Angeles or Atlanta?
I think what makes Chicago drag so amazing is all of the avenues for queens to come up and express themselves, and the abundant opportunities to create your own space out here. Competition is natural for the drag scene, but there are SO MANY well-respected ways to get your act on stage as a new queen-- and there are plenty of ways to carve out space for your art if you're a go-getter. In my first year I've started a monthly show I host so I can practice and learn, you don't get that experience everywhere! Also, no shade but bitches really are the whole package out here-- and still know how to get down and not take themselves so seriously when its time to party ;)
Photo by Jose A. Rios
13. Marry, Kill, Kai Kai: Lexi, Fox E Kim, Electra
Omigod I have no idea... Erm, Kai Kai with Lexi because she's as big a slut as I am... Maybe Marry Electra because she'd take care of me best as my husband-wife... And Kill Fox E? No but I don't want any of them gone because they're my favorite people in the city to pester!
14. What is a big future goal you've set for yourself?
I want to develop merch and take myself to that next level of promotion! My next big goal in drag is to make an appearance at DragConNYC and promote myself on that platform. I really want to show up and turn it out and spread a little #Fairydrag in the city that never sleeps.
15. Where do you see Strange Doll Haus in the next few years?
Lowkey on a trahsy reality TV spot living our best queenly lives.
Photo by Mars Cumpian
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Interview done by Kory Lyn