The American star on the rise of cis women joining the drag community, and why she’s standing in solidarity with her queer siblings.
Drag Race has inspired an entire new generation of qweens, and the drag scene is evolving and diversifying faster than ever before. We met with one of these up-and-coming performers on what makes her drag so different - and it’s not because she’s a cisgender woman.
For the past ten years drag has dramatically redefined a woman’s worth and Vicky DeVille hopes to up the ante. A newly emerging, self-identified “look queen,” Vicky is shaking things up in more ways than one.
For starters, unlike most drag queens the person inside of Vicky’s wigs and makeups was assigned female at birth – one of the rapidly growing numbers of cis women who occupy a newly found niche known as ‘hyper queens’.
Let’s start with something easy-ish, what’s your real name, age, and where were you born?
My real name is Victoria D’Aloia and I am 32 years old. I chose the drag name Vicky DeVille because it’s a more fabulous version of my birth name and also a good representation of my drag character. I was born and raised in Union, NJ, a suburb of NYC.
A suburb outside of NYC, that sounds so fake bougie. Looking back on your childhood, was there anything then that inspires what you do now?
When I was younger I would spend hours watching cartoons and drawing what I saw on TV. My parents thought I was strange for not wanting to go outside and play, but I really just loved getting lost in my imagination. I feel that my years of drawing cartoons has heavily influenced my drag painting technique. Now I like to tell people instead of drawing cartoon women on paper, I just draw them on my face.
I can tell from your Instagram that you are super artistic, the attention to detail is crazy...
As I got older I started doing musical theatre in middle school and high school, and that was where I learned how to be comfortable performing on a stage and exploring things like choreography, blocking and the importance of comedic timing. Still can’t sing to save my life though. I moved to NYC for college studied at FIT, I received my BFA in Fashion Design. Growing up doing musical theatre and then going to a fashion university most of my friends and mentors are gay men. They have always been and always will be one of the biest influences in my life. They were also my introduction into the drag community.
So you feel gay men have blessed your endeavor as a drag queen?
The LGBTQ community gave me a safe space to explore my identity as an entertainer and I will always be an activist for gay rights. I’m very fortunate that I have been able to perform regularly at New York’s historic landmark The Stonewall Inn. A lot of queens put on charity shows and events to benefit LGBTQ and LGBTQ youth. I would love to get to a place in my drag career to be able to organise these events myself. I have recently been involved in shows benefiting amazing non profits and youth organizations such as New Alternatives and Immigration Equality. I think it’s very important to donate and bring awareness to these issues even if it doesn’t directly affect you.
How many hours does it take to curate a look?
About 2 hours. 90 minutes to get in face and another 30 to get dressed and apply my wig.
Cool, now let’s check your privilege. What’s the average price tag for a head-to-toe Vicky DeVille look?
Most of my wigs can range between $50-$250 dollars depending on the style and brand. Makeup is also very expensive. I’m a bit of a makeup junkie so I really like to use the best of the best when It comes to products. The foundation I use is about $38 a bottle and my contour palette is about $50. The setting spray I use is also $38 a bottle but if I’m gonna take 90 minutes to do my makeup I want to make sure it lasts all night long.
Where you getting this coin, girl?
I have been working as a fashion designer by day for the last 10 years specialising in children’s apparel. Luckily I do know how to design, sew and construct garments myself, so I always have fresh looks without costing me an arm and a leg. Queens can pay anywhere from $200 for a custom bodysuit to thousands of dollars for a pageant gown. However, when I make my own costumes I still have to buy all of the fabrics, notions and trims for it.
How does your gender impact your drag?
I consider drag to be a performance of gender through the perspective of the artist. Growing up as a woman there is a lot of pressure to be attractive and feminine brought on by societal standards. As a drag queen, I feel like I’m taking my femininity and confidence and channeling it into my art rather than
taking it as something that is forced on me.
And your prism of femininity is Vicky?
I consider Vicky DeVille to be a caricature of a woman, however it’s not just for the sake of being fun or funny. Cis male drag queens perform being female for a few hours a night, but then when the makeup, wigs, costumes come off, they can go back to being their male gender. I still live my life everyday as a woman, and I feel as though this can offer the drag community some nuances and a different point of view.
Where do you see yourself in five years as a drag queen?
Wow. Five years from now I’ll be 37 so it’s really hard to tell. The message I’m trying to send out right now is that drag is for everyone. I would like to somehow make drag more accessible, whether that is through making more affordable drag products or creating more safe spaces for drag. Also in the future, I would like to see drag taken more seriously as an art form that goes beyond the context of one or two reality shows.
Speaking of safe spaces, as a hyper queen, what’s the rudest thing anyone’s ever said to you about doing drag? Don’t be afraid to dig deep.
I feel as though most of the people I’ve encountered in the community have been very supportive and encouraging. I recently had a Facebook video about my drag go viral and the response was overwhelming. Cis women doing drag is a very controversial topic right now and everyone has a strong opinion about it. I only read a few of the comments, but one insult that stood out to me was someone who said ‘She’s not a drag queen she’s just a performer who wears a lot of makeup’. That one just made my heart sink.
He basically negated all of my hard work and art while making me feel completely excluded within a matter of a few words... I think it’s easy for people to brush off cis queens or not take us seriously. But what kind of message is that sending to the younger generation of drag fans and aspiring queens? I try not to get discouraged by the negative comments, instead I use it as motivation to get better and keep going forward.