The RuPaul's Drag Race crown is something to be proud of when you have it. For many, it is the hallmark of their entire career – even when many queens' careers end up being eaten away by those who came after them. In the end, there are so many seasons that you lose count and the only thing that matters is not the crown, but yourself and your ability to hold on. 4 years after her time on the show, this Jewish drag queen from New York City arrives to Barcelona to reclaim her place as Monarch supreme. She may not have won the contest, but let's face it: when you have talent and power, who the hell needs a prize?
We are backstage at La 2, the little sister of one of Barcelona's most iconic clubs, Razzmatazz. Between green walls and a (tiny) corridor, we sat down with Miz Cracker for a chat before her show Spring Breakers, which also features Trinity The Tuck – as well as Joan Oh as host.
How about a brief summary to get us started? You are an internationally renowned drag artist since you appeared in the tenth season of RuPaul's Drag Race. Activist for LGBTQI+ rights, women's rights, journalist, entertainer, writer, actress... Have I left anything out? How do you combine it all?
I think that’s everything. I’ve also been a whore! (laughs).
Well and a podcast! You’ve got your own podcast!
Yeah! I have gotten to do a lot of things because of Drag Race that I have always wanted to do and I think that I’m very lucky to be able to do all of them. Every time that I have an idea I just get to do it and that’s how I kind of always have done things. Drag Race has given me a platform to not just say what I think but to share other people’s ideas too, and that’s been really fun.
So did you imagine yourself as a child doing the same things you’re doing as an adult?
I thought I was going to be a deep-sea diver when I was a kid (laughs), so this is a little bit different. I never imagined I’d ever be doing this.
Has your drag changed a lot since that Miz Cracker we saw in 2018 on TV?
Yeah, no. I’ve had to focus on what I love the most in my drag and when I first started I was just doing everything that other people wanted to, and now I get to do exactly what I want. Because I think that’s what everyone should do. Only do exactly as you want, if you can. So then you can stand your life.
So, you’ve been freer through the years.
Yeah, I’ve been freer to be myself, I guess I would say.
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And about feeling freer, I've also noticed that in both your podcast, She's a Woman, and your stand-up show, Here I Stand, you talk a lot about self-image and how you struggled, and how you thrive as well, right now, with loving yourself. How do you deal with it and how do you speak about it, does it make you feel more confident?
Well, I am not confident, and I don’t love myself, but I do love what I do. And I think that sometimes you just have to fake it till you make I, do you know what I mean? I think everyone is always told “Love yourself! Love yourself!,” but that’s a really big project. Sometimes you just need to love your job, your friends and what you do. That’s enough. And you’ll leave self-love for later, you’ll get there (laughs).
It's more like a work in progress, at the end of the day.
Yeah, it’s a long-term project, exactly.
For many people, when they have to talk about themselves, they do so with a touch of humour. And yet, you do exactly that whilst taking on a very strong political role, which we can also seen in your shows and your more journalistic side. How do you find a way to make the two concepts fit together? How do you make sure that one doesn't overpower the other?
If you are serious people stop listening. If you’re funny, people want to listen. So, I think you have to be funny in order to keep people paying attention. I love putting comedy, politics and personal life together. We always say it’s like a spoon full of sugar that helps the medicine go down. The laughter helps the message come across. I grew up watching the Daily Show, I love Samantha Bee… I love anything that teaches you about the world through laughter. And you can talk about really serious things and laugh whilst listening.
We have this saying in Spanish that goes along the lines of “the truth always comes out.” No matter how humourous you’re being, the truth will always be there.
Right, yeah, I love that! As long as you’re telling the truth with your sense of humour, I think you are doing the right thing.
Now, on a lighter note – you are here in Barcelona to perform with the show Spring Breakers alongside a fellow franchise contestant, although she participated in a season before, Trinity The Tuck! How is it working with her?
I love working with her. This is not our first time, we’ve done many different shows together, we are about to do the Hater’s Roast Tour in the United Kingdom, and we love working together.
So, the next question that I had was whether you’ll be working together next or if you'll turn this into a tour but I see it’s not possible! I take away that you both have your own projects, both individually and together?
Yes. And it’s a little different doing a show with someone else because you never get blocked and whenever you run out of ideas the other person has ideas and it’s a very fun thing to do! Doing a one-woman show can be lonely, but doing a two-person show is very fun.
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And what gives you more pressure, doing it together or doing it alone?
I think it’s more pressure when you are alone. When you are together it’s just “Oh, we are having a good time!” (laughs).
And it’s also this idea of, you know, if I go down the other will lift me up…
Yeah! (laughs). Exactly. If you go down on the stage by yourself, it’s just like… that’s it! And I do that in a lot of my one-woman shows where I do fall down on the shows and it’s hard. But it’s a good lesson in grace.
I’m also curious about the podcast you did, She’s a Woman!. You chose that platform to speak about womanhood and to speak about women’s experiences. And that's something that I believe has been controversial, because of how oftentimes there’s this critique about how ‘men in a wig’ can’t speak about women when that’s also a big part of your art. How do you work through those comments?
I get through it because I don’t talk about being a woman, I talk to women about what it’s like and I help amplify their voices. I do talk about what I can do better to be a better ally to women, but the best way to get a gay man to stop listening is to talk about feminism. If you want a gay man to go away, you just talk about feminism. Because gay men hate feminism, and I want to change that. I want people to say “Oh, gay people are great feminists,” I want to change that. So I don’t mind the hate comments because I’m trying to make a difference.
And if you don’t have any hate comments then, what are you doing? (Laughs).
Yeah! If you don’t lift a few heads up and get a nasty look, then what are you doing?
Exactly! (laughs). I love nasty looks. I walk the streets of New York in drag and I get nasty looks all the time because I’m just doing something that I love and people hate that. And that’s fine!
How does it work, then? Now that you said that gay men hate feminism, I’m so sorry if it sounds offensive, but how does it work being feminine – or being defined as feminine, but hating its very definition?
How does it work? I don’t know. I don’t understand. Especially gay men that dress as women but don’t like women. I don’t know. I can’t explain it, but I do wish it was different. I’ll go down in this life trying to make a difference! (Laughs). But yeah, I don’t understand how it works.
If I think about it, I think a lot of it is because gay men have a lot of hate projected towards them and maybe they project it outside. Which everybody does. So, if we can stop that somehow then it’ll be great.
So, since 2018, how have you managed that hate? For example the nasty looks we were talking about?
When people make nasty comments about my beliefs, that’s fine. Because I chose my beliefs and that’s ok. When people make nasty comments about my body or my ethnicity or my faith, that hurts. And I think it’s important to remember that everybody says “Don’t read the comments!” or “Don’t pay attention to the comments!” because they can really hurt you. They are very hard to ignore and can be very hurtful.
You can really end someone’s life by making them feel bad at the wrong time, so I think people really should think about what they say. And if you wouldn’t say it to somebody’s face then you shouldn’t be saying it on the internet. So, that’s what I learned.
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As a child one of the most frequent things you hear is “Oh, you’re just a child, you’ll grow up and then forget about it,” but you don’t! How do you live through that?
You have good friends you can reach out to and you don’t have to do everything by yourself. I’m surrounded by those who love me and friends who love me and I depend on them when the comments get tough.
And I believe you also depend on Trinity, who you are doing the show with! (laughs).
Oh, absolutely. We as drag queens receive hate comments and we depend on each other a lot. We have to always remind ourselves of that.
So, what’s the show about, can you tell me?
Wow! (laughs) We are gonna find out about that tonight, let me tell you that!
Do you know what the show is about? The show is about celebrating the spring. It’s about laughing because this is not a great time for drag queens in America. They are trying to ban drag queens from public spaces.
I didn’t know that. Is it in some states or nation-wise?
Everywhere. They are trying to pass bills where drag queens are never in public spaces or never around children. So that drag queens that read books in public libraries, or that have Story Hour, they want to ban that. It’s not a great time for trans people, either.
We are here to celebrate each other and laugh. Be like “Spring Break!” so that we can recharge and make a difference tomorrow. But tonight we are just celebrating, supporting each other and laughing.
Trinity’s numbers are funny and wonderful, mine are – obviously, ingenious. We put together great stuff with queens that are here in Barcelona and all over.
Take a break to fight stronger!
Yeah! Even a soldier needs to rest (laughs).
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