She’s the toast of the West Coast but drag-queen monologist Miss Coco Peru grew up in the Bronx and got her start as a downtown darling in the New York cabaret scene.
Since then, Peru has garnered fans from her many live performances, as well as roles in movies like Girls Will Be Girls, Trick and To Wong Foo and TV shows Will and Grace and Arrested Development.
Before she returns to the Big Apple with her new show, Miss Coco Peru: There Comes A Time, we sat down with the ginger goddess to talk about her show, her career and the state of drag.
Tell us about your new one-woman show, There Comes a Time.
I’m very proud of it and the response it’s gotten from audiences around the country. I am celebrating twenty-years of doing Coco so it is even more special to be bringing this show back to the city where it all started, New York City—my hometown! And I’ve still got the Bronx accent to prove it.
After debuting in Los Angeles, you’ve taken the show all over. What have been some of your favorite stops and adventures?
I love Dallas, Provincetown, Rehoboth Beach and Seattle. Everyone shows up to my shows wanting to have a great time—they make it easy for me. I also think people really respect that I’ve been doing this for 20 years and that I am embracing my inner Coco cougar!
What do you pack when you’re on the road?
I have a whole list that I check off: boobs, bras, stockings, Styrofoam head… And then I have another whole list of my boy clothes. It’s not easy packing for two! But I’m sure the TSA security is entertained when they open my bag!
What should we expect if we’ve never been to a Miss Coco Peru show?
Like I said in one of my first shows all those years ago, it’s “like a group therapy session… but it’s my turn to talk”.
Do you have a pre-show routine?
No, I just listen to some lovely pre-show music while you all order your cocktails and prepare to fall in love with me.
The drag scene has changed over the last two decades. What are some of the most significant change you’ve seen?
Well, they’ve certainly gotten prettier! And nowadays, with social networking, it’s easier to get noticed. When I first started you had to really come up with something different if you were going to get any recognition. I rode the first drag wave back in the early ’90s. And then it seemed that all the gay bars became sports bars.
But now with RuPaul’s Drag Race, I think drag is having its second wave. It’s great that young gays and even lesbians are embracing drag. After all, drag queens will be the ones to save the world in 2012!
But what the hell do I know? I’m just happy that I’m still working and paying off my mortgage!
New York has also seen it’s share of changes, most recently with the passage of marriage equality. Is there a Mister Coco Peru? Any plans on going to City Hall while you’re in town?
There is a Mister in my life and we’ve been together for 16 years. He’s from Spain and we were married there a few years ago in a castle on the Mediterranean. I guess you missed that show.
Where do you let loose while you’re in town?
Just hand me a slice of pizza and I’m in Heaven! Also, I love sitting in Grand Central Station eating a bagel and people watching. In all that chaos, I find it so peaceful.
Where can we buy you a drink after the show?
Upstairs at the West Bank Café. Fabulous New York setting where a lot of Broadway stars come for dinner after their shows. Another great place to people watch and eat olives.
What’s next for you? Is it true the Girls Will Be Girls sequel is coming out soon?
That’s right! We filmed the sequel—it’s being edited right now and will be released sometime in 2012! Hopefully, Evie’s animatronics will still be functioning so she’ll around for the premiere. And hopefully Varla can fit in the theater. I mean, she barely fits on the screen. Having said that, we’re all like sisters! No, really!
Photo credit: by Peter Palladino