It’s been nearly two years since Trixie Mattel graced the TV stage of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and it’s time that she’s made the most of. Since her initial appearance, elimination, re-appearance, and re-elimination from RuPaul’s queen-making machine, she’s become a YouTube celebrity, both solo and in partnership with her best squirrel-friend Katya, toured with her own live stage show, and even made a guest appearance on the most recent season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story.
To Trixie, it’s how she’s spent her time after the show that’s really made a difference in her career.
“A lot of the fans I have now are because of what I did after Drag Race,” she explains. “People like me now for my YouTube series, or for my shows, or whatever. After a couple of years of touring the world and getting to drill what Trixie Mattel is, I feel a lot more confident now.”
Her one-woman show brings Trixie back to Seattle this weekend, although she’s been here before. She’ll be performing, and staying in Seattle, over three days this Friday through Sunday, Jan 20-22. It’ll be a new experience for her, since she’s never really had the time to enjoy our Emerald City before.
“Usually I like to go out with Robbie Turner,” she confides, “and watch her eat dinner or lunch with gloves on. She wears acrylic nails full time as a boy, and during the daytime she wears these leather gloves so people don’t look at her weird. Well, you’re eating soup with driving gloves on. You look like a murderer. People are still looking at you weird.”
Doing a show like this is a nice change of pace for Trixie, who likes to do more than simple lip syncs at club gigs.
“Mostly,” she says, “I just show up, shave, hug people I don’t know at the club, and leave.”
This show is more than just a drag queen standing on stage pretending to sing.
“My show is 95% standup comedy,” she confirms. “But I’m also an artist with multi-level tiers of talent so I also do some singing. I play my guitar. I do some tap dancing.”
“It’s really fun,” she adds. “People love it.”
According to Trixie, she’s a performer first and drag queen second. A student of musical theater in college, she brings that mindset with her onstage. The makeup, the wigs, and the costumes are there to build her character, to help make it real.
They also help her tell some really funny jokes.
“I’ve always kind of felt like a visitor in drag,” she admits. “I mean, I don’t look, or act, or perform like any other drag queen because I’m a performer who happens to be in drag. I designed the look to support the type of comedy I do. So in the show, when I talk about rimming my dad, it’s a little more ok to laugh at it when it’s coming out of a barbie doll. It softens the blow.”
Although her primary schtick is comedy, she stills takes her drag very seriously. To her, you’ve got to bring more to the game than a wig and a dress.
“Getting in drag is easy,” she tells me. “21 year old drag queens are literally celebrating their birthdays in perfect drag at a club. We also live in a culture now where people want to do drag and they don’t ask themselves: Am I a singer, actor, dancer, comedian? Can I sew, can I do makeup, can I do hair? A lot of times that answer’s no. But they’re like: I’m gonna do drag. That’s fine, but the audience deserves some developed discipline and some skills. They’re coming to your show. You can’t just pretend to sing music. What is that?”
“It’s not even interesting for a person to just stand there and actually sing music,” she adds. “So why would it be interesting to watch you pretend to sing music.”
It’s not that Trixie isn’t a fan of drag, of course. She just sets the bar high for herself, and she expects the same of other queens, too.
“I have a high threshold for what I like in drag. I would say one out of every hundred I like. Seattle’s actually the home to three of my favorites: BenDeLaCreme, Jinkx, and Dina Martina, who I’m obsessed with. She kills me, she kills me dead.”
One of my favorite things to come out of Trixie’s Drag Race season, though, is the amazing relationship she seems to have with Katya. The two together are like a comedy gold mine. You never know what’s going to come out of their mouths. In some ways, they’re like the younger, funnier answer to Raja and Raven.
“I don’t think Raja and Raven are really trying to be funny,” she counters. “They’re serious. She’s not gonna wear lashes or nails, but she’s serious. Or a wig. Raja doesn’t wear a wig anymore either. Werk. Ok.”
Between their YouTube series, their random Snapchat stories, or their appearances on tour, though, you’re always guaranteed at least one spit take moment when they’re together. Watching them read Trixie/Katya slash fan fic aloud makes my sides hurt.
“She’s so funny,” says Trixie of her partner in crime Katya. “And it’s a weird thing were one plus one equals three. There’s something about the way we work together. We compound interest in our senses of humor, it just gets so out of control. We have to stop talking in those episodes. It’s the poor editors, Chris and Ron, who really make that show amazing.”
Check out their World of Wonder web series if you don’t believe me, and you’ll see.
“At World of Wonder, I feel like we just had to get them to trust us,” confesses Trixie. “They were like: You can’t call a show UNHhhhh. That’s not a real name. No one’s gonna be able to search for it. And then, two weeks later, I was like: Really? Because it has more views than Untucked. Maybe we should talk about the name of Untucked.”
But you really want to experience Trixie live. If you’re quick, you can pick up one of the remaining tickets to her final show this Sunday, January 22 at Re-bar. Friday and Saturday are already sold out. You’ll laugh your ass off if you go. Just don’t ask Trixie for a hug when it’s over.