Tributes pour in for beloved drag queen Nashom Wooden after death from coronavirus
A beloved staple in downtown bars dotting New York City, often squeezing his muscle into Wonder Woman get-ups, drag queen and performer Nashom Wooden has died of coronavirus complications, friends claim.
Wooden, whose alter-ego Mona Foot drew swathes of cocktail-sipping New Yorkers every night, died of COVID-19, loved ones of the star said on social media Monday night.
Since 1989, the Brooklyn-born queen has been a recognisable sight in the city.
With “I’m Every Woman” blasting from the speaker system, Wooden would heave himself onto the stage in glamorous, tight-fitting dresses and always bring the house down.
Dressed habitually in the gold, shimmering Wonder Woman get-up of the 70s television show, fingernails manicured and smile wide, countless drag icons and club owners came together to mourn Wooden.
‘Her reputation will stand forever.’
“I lost my best friend today from the coronavirus, Nashom Wooden,” Project Runway designer Geoffrey Mac said through tears in a video posted on Instagram.
“I just want to make sure everyone out there stays healthy and takes care of each other because the virus is really real.
“I’m just so sorry.”
Club king Mario Diaz also paid tribute to the legend by recounting their time together in the queer nightlife scene on Facebook.
“A beautiful gorgeous creature, an amazing artist and a friend for 25+ years,” Diaz wrote.
“When I think of you I will always see that beautiful smile.
“When I think of you I will always remember the powerhouse that was Mona Foot!”
Fellow queen Thorgy Thor remembered Wooden proudly for his work in redefining what drag was: “Her reputation will stand forever,” she wrote in an Instagram post paired with a 1996 cover of gay lifestyle magazine HX.
View this post on Instagram
NYC drag Legend Mona Foot RIP. Died from COVID-19. Her reputation will stand forever. I heard stories before I worked in NY, during and will continue to tell stories about this incredible person forever. Thank you Mona for everything you contributed to NY and the globe. NASHAM WOODEN. @thenashom9000 #drag #legend #rip
Countless pay tribute to drag legend Nashom Wooden.
Dozens of Drag Race alumni, New York activist groups and nightlife regulars came together, too, to pay tribute to Wooden whose work as a drag queen of colour broke barriers for queens to come.
— Sasha Velour (@sasha_velour) March 23, 2020
Coronavirus has hit our nightlife Family in the heart. #MonaFoot…I learned a lot from you. Being a big tall muscular black woman myself, I would have felt out of place if I hadn't seen you be so commanding with such a Gorgeous smile. thinking of you. Rest in absolute power. pic.twitter.com/HOwaqzI0WD
— Peppermint (@Peppermint247) March 23, 2020
We’re heartbroken to hear about the loss of drag superstar and nightlife legend, Nashom Wooden aka Mona Foot due to #COVID19. You will forever live within our hearts. Rest in power. ?? pic.twitter.com/9A7kvnF8VP
— ACT UP NY (@actupny) March 23, 2020
The first person in nightlife to ever take a chance on me and hire me just passed away because of Corona Virus. Without this person's kindness I wouldn't be where I am today. They were an NYC nightlife legend, a friend and a pillar for the community. Rest in peace Mona Foot. pic.twitter.com/ycs5oOmPFO
— Adriana Trenta (@AdrianaTrentaNY) March 23, 2020
Sad to hear this. Mona Foot was an inspiration and true NYC legend. https://t.co/B7tbQR2wju
— Boulet Brothers (@bouletbrothers) March 23, 2020
This virus is real. A very good friend of mine Nashom (Mona Foot a NYC legend) just passed away from complications of this virus. I’m shocked and heartbroken. please stay home. ?
— Kandy Muse (@TheKandyMuse) March 23, 2020
— Scarlet Envy (@ScarletEnvyNYC) March 23, 2020
To watch Mona Foot perform was like watching a master class in the art of drag…her energy was infectious
In 2019 she is who announced that I had won entertainer of the year – to me the honor was being on the same stage as such an icon
she was a legend & a true queen RIP
— Marti Gould Cummings (@MartiGCummings) March 23, 2020
memories flooding back… like when she was hosting a round of Family Feud and the question was "name a way you can tell someone's gay" and I said "the people he hangs out with" and she said "but we all hang out with you and we're fierce!"
— Seth (@SethAbramovitch) March 23, 2020
Who was Nashom Wooden?
Wooden’s biography is one of serving drinks in a downtown dive bar, working with RuPaul and a lot of glittery gowns.
Serving as a stalwart of downtown drag culture, Wooden earned his paycheques working as a sales boy for Charivari and later working for Pat Field, the eponymous boutique of Sex & the City stylist Patricia Field.
Wooden first zipped his drag on at Boy Bar, the St Mark’s Place hub for queer nightlife.
He later did an off-Broadway show, My Pet Homo, with queen of drag RuPaul.
Speaking to PAPER, Wooden explained his iconic performance: “I really became intoxicated once I did Wonder Woman at Union Square Park.
I could see the power of it. No one saw that coming. To be not only a superhero, to be Black and a man. I didn’t realise at the time I was feminine.
“The message was so powerful, performing ‘I’m Every Woman’ as Wonder Woman.”