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Film and TV

Trixie Mattel really wants you to do your nails, go to that voting booth and ‘f***ing turn it’

Reiss Smith December 10, 2019
Trixie Mattel

Trixie Mattel returns to the UK in May 2020 for her Grown Up tour. (Scott Kirby)

Trixie Mattel spills the tea on Celebrity Drag Race, diversity in drag, and why you need to “f***ing turn it” at the voting booth.

There’s never been a better time to be Trixie Mattel. Not content with claiming pole position as one of the most popular and famous queens to graduate from RuPaul’s Drag Race, she’s also carved out a successful career as a country musician, touring the world with her one woman shows.

She’s a make-up guru with her own cosmetics line (move over, Kylie Jenner), a soon-to-be published author and a bonafide television star, having made her own series with Netflix and prior to that, HBO, with her best Judy, Katya.

But she’s also a real person. Last year, The Trixie & Katya Show was forced off the air after Katya suffered a psychotic break, brought about by a relapse into crystal meth addiction. It’s a moment that’s documented unflinchingly in Trixie’s new documentary, Moving Parts, in which Trixie admits to fearing “nobody is going to want to see me without her”.

And despite being one of drag’s most bankable stars, Trixie’s life is less than glamorous. She still drags her own suitcases through airports, does her make-up in “s***ty hotels”, and fights with her boyfriend over things like making sex jokes in front of his parents. PinkNews caught up with the skinniest of legends to discuss all this and more.

Trixie Mattel on the other side of drag.

Trixie Mattel, aka Brian Firkus, out of drag
Trixie Mattel, aka Brian Firkus. (Lisa Predko)

“Drag is very high brow, low brow. The film, Moving Parts, is a microscope on me, my work and my feelings, but it’s also a ‘macroscope’ on the golden age of drag. It’s about the other 23 hours of the day, when you’re not on stage selling a fantasy.

Drag has reached such crazy heights, but in this industry you can go from playing a sold-out theatre as one of the most famous queens in the world, to dragging your own guitars through the snow in New York.

“But the great thing about it is that even at the highest level, we represent counterculture. That’s why celebrities love us. We get to be nightlife, underground personas and we get to be mainstream.”

Trixie Mattel on Celebrity Drag Race.

Trixie Mattel in a doll's house
Trixie Mattel, skinny legend. (PH)

“Oh my God! I don’t know if I’m allowed to say anything – they’re probably going to have me killed – but this is the most fun I’ve ever had on Drag Race.

It’s basically the ‘magic of makeover’ episode, but with super A-list celebrities. People who are heterosexual, non-drag identifying people, who have entire careers, wilfully getting into drag because they want to gain something by living in our pumps for the day.

I think it’s going to cancel Drag Race.

“There was something so magical about seeing people getting into drag for the first time. There’s an episode that I’m in – I’m so emotional talking about this – with a gentleman, a heterosexual Hollywood actor who does not fit the profile of someone who wilfully does drag. And his journey in the episode, it was so touching, I’ll never forget it.

“I think it’s going to cancel Drag Race, because everyone will be like, ‘This is the best thing ever.'”

Trixie Mattel on turning 30.

Trixie Mattel kissing her boyfriend
Trixie Mattel kissing her boyfriend. (Trixie Mattel)

“I’m entering a new winter of my life, so a lot of the material I’m writing is about the things that are plaguing me. What am I like? What’s really the problem here? It’s not just about feeling older, feeling balder or wrinklier – 30 is the age when you start to reflect. Have I grown up? Is this the life I wanted?

“On my song ‘Moving Parts’ I talk about how you’re happy when you see the good things coming and you see the bad things coming and you make peace with that. I’m in a three-year relationship, so I know about taking the good with the bad. I know about picking your battles.

“I never post pictures of him [she broke this rule for their recent anniversary] because I like to keep things private, and he hates when I make jokes about him, but it’s my reference point now.

He just gets embarrassed when I talk about things like your sex life and his parents are at the show. But I’m like, ‘We’re gay, why does she think we’re gay? So we can share clothes?’

Something I’ve always done with Trixie is use the building blocks of childhood, like toys and Barbies, to address the anxieties of adulthood. When we’re young we think our parents know everything, and then you grow up and realise that those hookers didn’t know s***. There’s no handbook, and my show Growing Up is really about that.

Trixie Mattel on diversity in drag.

Trixie Mattel will star in Celebrity Drag Race in 2020. (Lisa Predko)

In the real drag world – not the TV drag world – a person’s gender is completely irrelevant. Every age, every gender, every race, women, men, differently abled people, everybody is performing.

I’m not going to tell anybody what to do with their TV show, but I know what the real world looks like. Drag is one of the only places where you’re judged only on your performance. You are only as sickening as you make yourself out to be on that night. Drag is the ultimate melting pot.

Trixie Mattel on why you need to vote.

Trixie Mattel once voted in full drag. (Magnus Hastings)

“It used to be counterculture to say: ‘F*** the system, I’m not voting.’ But now, the baby boomers would love it if you didn’t vote. The Conservatives would love it if you slept in that day. They want you to, they’re counting on it.

So now, the ultimate punk rock movement is to get your little ass, put on some eye makeup, get a nice blow-out, do your nails, go to that voting booth and f***ing turn it. Take the day off, go get drunk afterwards!

“I went in drag last time I voted – everyone was like, ‘Yes, diva!’ But it wasn’t a political statement, I just had to go straight to a gig afterwards. If I can go to vote at an elementary school in my neighbourhood – which might be illegal – you can get out there and vote.”

Trixie Mattel’s Grown Up tour visits the UK in May and June 2020.

More: celebrity drag race, Drag Race, General Election 2019, Katya, Trixie Mattel

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