So that sweet as candy, lovely lady from Season 5 who can sing like an angel and sew like a Bianca del Rio also juggles and eats some “em effin” fire? I found this out when I attended the Logo TV NYC Pride show. In a lineup of stars from various Drag Race seasons, Ivy rocked it and was, to me, one of the most memorable performers of the night! Ockurrr – bring it Ivy Winters, with your new nose piercing and your mad circus skills!
Deborah: Girl you were fierce as eff at that Logo Pride show but I have to ask you about the Drag Race reunion. It was so great seeing you on there but I was worried about you on those stilts!
Ivy: Yeah those particular stilts that I have, the really tall ones, they’re peg stilts – so I’m basically balancing on two poles. You can’t stand still on them, you have to kind of bounce back and forth from pole to pole in order to balance yourself, so people always think I’m going to fall!
D: I had no idea you could do all that. Was it your idea to walk on them or was someone at Logo like “Hey Ivy, here’s an idea…”
I: (laughs) Oh no. Growing up I loved theater and the circus – I saw a clown juggling and thought ‘I have to do that!’ I started practicing my clowning techniques, learning how to unicycle, juggle, it all came together and my mom was like ‘why don’t you be a clown and entertain people and get paid for it?’ I said, ‘that is a brilliant idea!’ So I did that for eight and a half years.
D: How is circus performing similar to drag performance?
I: I just love putting out a fun, good show. I love seeing people smile, it’s just such an amazing feeling being able to do that. Also, growing up, I loved prosthetic makeup and disguises, and I was always locking myself in the bathroom and putting on fake noses and just making myself look like a different person.
D: Are you a Milk fan then?
I: (laughs) I love Milk’s aesthetic and craziness, it’s refreshing and fun to see.
D: There are so many great one woman/person shows that play here in New York, where you live. I would love to see an “All Ivy” show at the Laurie Beechman Theatre or someplace like it.
I: I’ve been thinking of a show that I want to do. I have a friend who is a magician as well. We have been thinking of doing kind of like a circus vaudeville-like “freak show” with singing and theater. With a storyline where we’ll incorporate the audience and have tricks and illusions. I think it would be really badass because I’ve never really seen any drag queens do “drag magic shows” or “drag circus shows.”
D: Well, you’ve already sold one ticket because I want to go now!
I: Yay! (laughs)
D: Since you live in New York, have you pursued any entertainment opportunities outside the world of drag?
I: Yeah, to be honest, normally when I’m not doing drag I have a small costume business here in my apartment. As far as acting I’ve been in theater and singing. A lot of times my booking manager gets audition calls looking for a guy who can do drag or someone who can sing. If it works out I’ll audition and go through that process.
D: Well you’re good looking so you can just go out there as a man, you don’t have to go out in drag!
I: Well thank you (laughs)
D: You’ve got a great singing voice as I can recall!
I: Thank you, yeah! Songs and me singing in drag is something I’m working on. I grew up singing in my community – a small town in Michigan. Drag queens singing wasn’t really done – it broke the illusion a bit. Ever since moving to New York I’ve noticed a lot of queens singing live and I thought ‘wow this is interesting!’ – like a whole different drag world! Being on Drag Race and winning the singing challenge also kind of opened my eyes a bit. It’s something that I’m working on so hopefully within a year you’ll hear something out there of mine!
D: This year it seems like this season on Drag Race they took the “singing challenge” idea from season 5 and thought ‘okay this is a great idea, now let’s really do it!’
I: Yeah exactly, and there were a lot of good singers on Season 6 so it was definitely a good idea. On All Stars, if I get on and they have a singing challenge, I’ll be really excited about it.
D: It sounds like All Stars is it something that you would like to pursue.
I: Oh totally, it’s all a matter of them asking me! (laughs) But, oh my gosh I would love to be back there. It was an amazing experience being there the first time around, and being given the opportunity to come back and kind of win the title a second time around is just amazing. So yeah I’ve been sewing and getting some looks together and just kind of mentally preparing myself for it. So, yeah, if they ask me I’m on board!
D: Are you doing the work to get yourself cast? Some of those girls are really tweeting about it all of the time. What’s your plan?
I: Well, interviews like this where I’m saying ‘I WANT TO BE ON ALL STARS’ (laughs) you know, I’ve seen other girls pushing for it on social media and I think that’s wonderful, but personally you know I don’t beg for it! I do, however, definitely want it to be known that I would love the opportunity to do the show.
D: Well we are gonna put that out there for you!!
I: Wonderful! Thank you.
D: You and BenDeLaCreme both won Ms. Congeniality but Ben commented to me in an interview that when you’re nice and not reading people all the time, you don’t get as much camera time. How does that work against you?
I: Yeah it was really hard being there on Season 5, knowing that I hate confrontation. All the girls were arguing about petty things. I like to have a read there every now and then, if it’s all in good fun – like Bianca – but it was harder on Drag Race, because if you don’t want to be a part of those negative conversations, you won’t get as much airtime. You sacrifice the airtime but you also don’t want sacrifice your sanity while you’re on the show. I don’t want to be on RuPaul’s Drag Race and be a catty bitch, you know what I mean? But it all worked out, just like with Ben, we both got Ms. Congeniality and I wouldn’t sacrifice anything for that.
D: You were so drama free on the show, but is there any unfinished business from your season that you want to get off your chest?
I: Umm, no not really. Everyone that was kind of arguing and fighting and I just kind of let them do their own thing! If you watch ‘Untucked,’ out of the eight episodes I was on you maybe heard me say like four sentences. I was watching and was like, ‘Should I even watch ‘Untucked’?, I won’t be saying anything! On All Stars I would probably speak up more and voice my opinion if I think it mattered or if I felt the conversation was important.
D: Who else would you like to see on All Stars? Who are you afraid of seeing?
I: I would love to see Detox. She’s a hoot-and-a-half and I just love being around her, but I’d also be a bit afraid of her because she’s such a strong competitor so, it’s kind of a double-whammy with her. I would love to see Jiggly Caliente. We both live here in New York and we always have the pleasure of seeing each other out and about. She’s just so funny and (dramatic) and has such a fun character. Alaska I would be afraid of (laughs) – let’s not pick Alaska!
D: Anyone from Season 6?
I: April Carrion! He’s a cutie (laughs) and super gorgeous (in drag) she’s a looker! I would love to see Ben, I love his aesthetic, I love his vintage, his whole character in drag is just funny. I was watching him rehearse for the reunion show, and him just walking down the runway, he was out of drag but he has his whole drag persona just shooting out of his face and this funny walk, it was really funny seeing him out of drag.
D: What have you been working on so that you will “bring it” to All Stars?
I: Definitely doing stand-up comedy, being quick and witty. That’s always something I’ve worked on, especially since being on Drag Race. Yeah I did theater, but getting in front of large audiences and having to kind of “talk” or host a large event has always been really nerve-racking for me. Ever since Drag Race I’ve been travelling a lot and doing different gigs, which has really helped me a lot. But these challenges that you see now where they have to do an eight minute comedy sketch – it’s like “Woah!” That’s so stressful for me! Even on my season when we had to roast RuPaul – oh my god, I had no fingernails. They were all chewed off. Michelle walks over to me and is like “You’ve got zero jokes written down!” And I said “I know. I keep writing them and they’re awful and then I throw them out!” (laughs) So that’s probably the biggest thing that I’ve been working on.
D: What was it like being around RuPaul? I’ve interviewed Michelle but I’ve never met Ru.
I: It was such an amazing experience, seeing him for the first time. I was just like ‘wow’ anytime he opened his mouth. He’s very inspirational and a very good role model. He’s got the whole package! He’s funny and incredibly helpful. I’m so blessed to even have been on the show because now I have a voice in the world of drag, I owe him a lot.
D: Aside from the circus gigs and being a professional drag queen, have you had any “ordinary” jobs?
I: I used to work as a flight attendant for Piedmont airlines, the US Airways Express. I did that for about five and a half years.
D: Tell me a funny story from your flight attendant days!
I: It was a lot of fun, and the people were a lot of fun. The customers were a lot of businessmen – it was a very small plane, with only about 37 passengers. I was the only flight attendant. We just flew along the East Coast, to a lot of small airports. I love turbulence and roller coasters so it was perfect!
I had one flight – we were flying to South Carolina and we went through a huge thunder and hail storm for like an hour. This wasn’t like regular “bumpy,” this was like ‘Oh my gosh we’re dropping a hundred feet at a time!’ I had nine people throw up on that flight and was just like ‘please land soon!’
D: Your family seems very close. I remember your mom tweeting to me how she wanted you to visit!
I: Yep she lives in Michigan, my entire family (except my sister—she lives in Arkansas) live there. I have an older brother and a younger sister and both are gay so we have a very happy family! I’m the only drag queen though.
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