I recently had the opportunity to interview Liz Anya. Based out of Columbia, Missouri, she is a country queen who meets a pop diva. Doing many looks from Britney Spears to country realness. Doing drag in a college town gives her an audience that is always ready to hype her up, and she is ready to give you a show.
Transcript of Micro podcast:
I recently had the opportunity to Interview drag queen Liz Anya. Liz, also known as Anthony Brown out of drag, is a performer based in Columbia, Missouri. She is a country queen meets a pop diva. During our interview, I asked her what she believes the purpose of drag is and she had this to say:
Liz Anya: I think Peppermint said it on her season she called drag queens the gatekeepers and the forerunners and the storytellers of the gay community. And Pride is really important to me so I always sort of think that we are sort of the pioneers and the first line of the LGBT community. I’m very passionate about pride and inclusivity and stuff like that and making sure everyone’s voices are heard. In order to sort of make sure everyone’s voices are heard I have to yell the loudest. Do you know what I mean does that make sense?
Ian Hafley: Yeah!
Liz Anya: I always try to make sure that I will speak up for someone else cause I have the loudest voice in the room and people will listen to me first before they might listen to someone else.
Knowing that you have privilege and accepting it is really important especially when we are dealing with marginalized communities in America. Being a drag queen means being an ally to more than just the gay community, it means being an ally to everyone.
Transcript of Interview:
To cite this particular interview, please use the following:
Hafley, Ian. 2021. Interview with Liz Anya. The Art of Drag, SIUE, March 26. Available URL (https://ezratemko.com/drag/liz-anya).
Ian Hafley: Okay so, when did you first hear about drag and what was your like first reaction to it?
Liz Anya: I kind of first heard about drag … I feel like … I don’t know I can’t really remember honestly! My sister, her gay best friend, she doesn’t like to say that but I like to because it’s funny, she—her friend was roommates with my like eventual drag mom and so I would go to their house parties a lot. And, like my drag mom Veronica she had like just started. She, excuse me, she would just like get drunk, like blackout drunk, and then all of a sudden just disappear in her room for like 10 or 15 minutes and then come out dressed in like a wig—oh my God, excuse me—just like a wig and heels and a dress and that was it. And so then I found out that she had just started doing drag and I think that’s when about—that’s about the time when like a lot of those seasons of drag race were on Hulu. So that’s um–So I think I had just watched season 6 and that was the first season that I really liked. And then by like season 7 or 8, I was like, oh like—oh my God, excuse me. So by like 7 or 8 I was like—and I had gone to a few shows by then of Veronica’s and so I was like oh I can definitely do this! Oh, sorry excuse me. Oh my God. I am so sorry. Oh my God.
Ian Hafley: You’re good.
Liz Anya: Um and so by like season 8 I was like “I can like definitely do this.” Like, I feel like I’m like fairly, kinda funny, I can’t sing but like I can pretend to sing. Like I can like dance out in the club so like I’ll just like put on a pair of heels and a wig and see what I can do. So that was sort of was my first like exposure to it. Um and I was–my counter-reaction was like, oh like obviously it’s like difficult but I was like “this seems like doable for me. Like I think I could probably do this.”
Ian Hafley: That’s cool! I’ve never heard anyone describe it as like “I can do that!” Like [inaudible] that’s interesting. Um, when did you start performing and why did you start performing?
Liz Anya: Um, my first performance was I think in like August of what would it be like 2018 I think? No, oh my god 2017. Yeah 2017 … Um, no, yes. I’m so sorry. Yes 2017, it was probably in August 2017, and I started performing just because, like I said like, I enjoy like dancing, I never did theater but I think I would be a theater gay if I had the exposure. Um, and so yeah, I just thought it looked like a lot of fun. And I love—and I um.. And yeah I mean I just–it seemed like what I was sort of meant to do so I was like “Oh let me do this real quick.”
Ian Hafley: That’s interesting! Um, sorry I couldn’t—lost the [inaudible] for a second.
Liz Anya: You’re fine. You’re fine.
Ian Hafley: Um, how did your like family, friends, and other loved ones react to you becoming a drag artist?
Liz Anya: Um, most of my friends were like really okay with it. Um, my family is super cool with it, like they’ve been—come to my shows. Um like my mom and dad have I think. Just because my parents are like 60 and 70 years old, um I think in their mind that I’m like a crossdresser. So I think it’s a little weird to them so I don’t think they are telling the world that I’m a drag queen by any means but, they are super okay with it. Like I said, they’ve come to my shows when they can and I usually have like Thursday night shows and they are real adults. They have like real jobs so they can’t really come on weeknights. But, if I have a Friday or a Saturday night show they’ll try to come. But yeah, it was like a pretty like, they’re like “oh okay” especially like whenever I came out and whenever I started doing drag they were like “oh that makes sense.”
Ian Hafley: Yeah my parents were like the same way when I came out too. They were like “okay!” Like that makes sense.
Liz Anya: Yeah my mom was like “yeah I’ve known since you were three, love you!” And I was like okay cool like I figured.
Ian Hafley: I asked my mom one time “did you always know?” and she was like “yeah” and I was like “okay.”
Liz Anya: [Laughing] like okay cool perfect!
Ian Hafley: Um, so there are a lot of like different styles of drag from like being a queen to like a drag king and then from being just a male impersonator to like a comedy queen and all those different types. Like is there a particular label that you categorize your drag with and what kind of drag do you do like, what is your style?
Liz Anya: I would say that, I would argue that I’m a campy queen just because I know I don’t look like a real woman like I’m very aware I’m not trying I don’t think I’ll ever look that convincing. So, sort of to like react to that I sort of just like, I just—I love to walk around the crowd and get in your face in like a funny way, I love to sort of like mess with people. And so I’m definitely like a high-energy performer like a comedy queen. I’ve like hosted a couple of my own shows and I kinda treat it like stand up, open mic night. And yeah like I’ve recently–well not really recently– but one of my first shows I found this like vintage-like cow print skirt at like a thrift store in town, in Columbia, and I wore it and I was like “well what else do you do in a cow print skirt besides the Dixie Chicks?” So I did a Dixie Chicks number for one of my first shows and everyone called me a country bumpkin they all made fun of me cause I’m from a small town. And that was like a couple years ago when like the yee-haw renaissance really was kinda coming back in like pop culture and stuff. And so I just sorta leaned into it because I do enjoy country music so I was like “oh yeah! So I’m not—so I’m a country queen!” I think my Instagram bio says like “country queen meets pop diva” cause I mean Beyonce, Lady Gaga are my number ones, always will be. But, yeah a lot of people have come to always expect like some Shania or Dixie Chicks or something at one of my shows.
Ian Hafley: I love a good female country song. I can always get down.
Liz Anya: Truly. 100%.
Ian Hafley: Does your type of drag that you do affect your life as an artist in any way?
Liz Anya: Not really! I don’t really like… I would say that since doing drag has become a lot gayer since starting. And so–and I’ve just become a lot more comfortable with… like ‘cause whenever I’m in drag as Liz I’m like “oh like I am so out of control, blah blah blah like, I’m a good time.” Like, I like, I kinda this think to myself I’m not like clueless, so whenever I like am out of drag and I’m like going to work, right now I work at Andy’s Frozen Custard. So whenever I go to work I like am like “oh I’m still Liz I’m just not like in a wig.” So it’s like, and I’m not gonna like be up in anybody’s face about it but I’m like still like pretty flamboyant like I’m pretty… I’m still super gay. My customer service voice sounds like a woman so… unfortunately it outs me every time. But yeah but like I don’t–since I only do drag like maybe like once or twice… maybe three times a month now like I feel like… what did I say the other day…I said something about like I’m like Liz like 1 or 2 nights a month but I’m like Anthony the rest of the time but like there is not really a big of a divide between the two. So yeah like so like I’m still like pretty out of control as a boy but… [laughing].
Ian Hafley: I get that my customer service voice is so peppy like…
Liz Anya: It’s so embarrassing.
Ian Hafley: So embarrassing. Like every time like somebody else at work hears me they’re like “what?” And I’m like “what!”
Liz Anya: I feel like if I didn’t have like facial hair with like, cause I usually have like my hair like in like a bun and stuff people probably like think I’m like a woman or something… like they have to think I’m a girl or like not all the way there. You know what I mean??
Ian Hafley: Yup. I completely get that. Do you have like any influence like from your drag? Like any people or like things in particular?
Liz Anya: Yeah kind of! so there… like… like the old school drag that’s like their like pageant based. And that’s sort of where a lot of the like… like fringe costume and rhinestones blah blah blah. So, like if it’s like old school drag, it’s like big hair out to here, like a fringe leotard with–that’s like rhinestoned to shit and its like… so I really do. And like my drag mom, she’s heavily involved in pageantry. So that’s like a kind of a really big influence on me just like it’s like always there. But I always like to– I try to take inspiration from other things so I always—I like to recreate a lot of like, if I can, like looks that like popstars have done on tour so I’ve recreated a couple of like Lady Gaga looks. Orvill Peck, he had a music video in the background this one girl is wearing like cow print chaps and like a orange like silky-looking leotard with like a cape so I made that real—so I made that. And I was really looking forward to that look. But yeah and then like my drag mom started doing Trixie-inspired makeup like Trixie Mattel and so she had her like eyebrows up to here blue eyeshadow all the way up to here and she then she kind of refined that and that’s what she looks like now. And so whenever she was teaching me how to do makeup she was still sort of like in the middle, like the middle ground, so I pretty much do what she does but she doesn’t really use color anymore. So I just like I almost like always do like colored eyeshadow like I love to wear blue eyeshadow, I don’t know why. And I usually do like pink or if I’m like spooky I do like green.
Ian Hafley: So you mentioned you drag mother, are you a part like of a big family or is it just like you and your mother? Like how does it work for you?
Liz Anya: I would say we’re like a pretty big family especially for like Columbia, Missouri. We so…luckily I don’t have a daughter I don’t think I’m ever gonna have one. I don’t know who would wanna look like this but… I have a drag mom and then okay so it’s kinda confusing because there’s a lot of weird layers but. Okay so, I have, so there’s me, my drag mom Veronica then her drag mom Jennica. She lives in Jefferson City which is like 30 minutes away from Columbia. And she is like the dancing diva of like Columbia drag she is one of the best, I think honestly one of the best like performers I’ve ever seen. And so, her drag mom she like lives in Moberly I think which is a small town near here and then her drag mom is like-lives in Kansas—lives in St. Louis. I’ve only met her once I like didn’t know she existed she came to like a Legends of Missouri drag show in Columbia once. And so, yeah and I could like keep going if I knew anyone past there but like allegedly you can like trace my family lineage back to like the Andrews family that Roxxxy Andrews is a member of. I don’t really believe that but it’s fine. Because like back in the day there were–like before social media in like the 80s and 90s, there was like drag was still like pretty underground so like that’s just sort of how you kinda like got into it was you just joined a drag family. And so, in Cape Girardeau and like Carbondale, Illinois there’s like some like old school drag that goes on there and like that’s where a lot of like big names come from like Alexis Mateo, her drag mom is I think is from either Carbondale or Cape Girardeau. Anyway, that wasn’t really your question sorry I go on a tangent. But, so my drag family, they’re pretty big in Columbia. So Veronica, and then Lisa DeLorenta there like sisters cause they have the same drag mom. But I live with Lisa, we’re roommates, and then Veronica’s other drag daughter Lorilie were like really good friends because we started at like the same time. And then my drag mom recently adopted someone else recently her name is Bennifer Lopez. So like we pretty much hang out almost all the time cause me and Lisa live together then Veronica and Lorilie live together so we always go to each other’s houses. And we, there’s probably like three or four main drag families in Columbia but, there’s like a lot more drag people. But, so we’re like, I would argue one of the more prominent ones just because you can kind of like tell we really love what we do. And yeah, so yeah it’s pretty big but it’s no like Iman dynasty by any means.
Ian Hafley: I like, I grew up in Columbia I was like born and raised there. And like I moved away before I learned about like drag and all that stuff and it’s just interesting to hear about it now like hearing that there is a whole drag thing happening there. It’s just cause like I never thought it was the town for that stuff. But it actually is and I realize that now that I’m older.
Liz Anya: Mhm. Yeah I just went to Sephora to get like some more makeup and I basically was just like “yeah I’m a drag queen so it doesn’t have to look good it just has to like be dark.” And all the girls were like “[Gasp] Oh my god, you’re a drag queen! Oh my God! Blah blah blah!” I think they had all just moved from Kansas City or St. Louis so they were like “I like figured Columbia was so small and didn’t have a drag scene blah blah blah.” And I was like “oh no, I am the drag scene” I’m just kidding. But yeah, no one ever really expects it.
Ian Hafley: Yeah that’s… it’s surprising but like good!
Liz Anya: Yeah right? Exactly!
Ian Hafley: What goes into getting ready for a performance for you?
Liz Anya: Usually I have to work the same day so it’s like usually I get off work around 5. Then I usually like shave, and then I like take a shower, and then I hope to be done with that by like 6:30-7. Cause I like to kind of like be up and around and take my time. And, so then if I like sit down I try to give myself about an hour and a half to like two hours to do my makeup. And then after that it’s, and I’m usually like listening to music the whole time, and then I’m usually in the same show as Lisa so we sort of like play music on the TV or something just to like fill the whole house with music and stuff. Then I’ll like get in body I’ll put my pads and stuff like that on and then were usually done by then. I’ll like put on my like finishing touches like lashes and a wig and stuff like that. Then I’m usually good to go, like I’ll like drive in my big wig and heels so I mean…
Ian Hafley: Good. What’s like the biggest challenge of doing drag and being a drag artist?
Liz Anya: I would say right now it’s definitely COVID. It’s just been, like ‘cause we were supposed to have this big drag bar open last year after Union closed, and then just because of COVID it kept getting slowed down and now it’s been like a year since union closed but now it’s probably going to be another—one year since Union closed now—so it’s gonna be a year of like when the new bar was supposed to open. So it’s probably gonna open in late summer like this year and it was supposed to open late summer last year. So that definitely been an issue and then also just because of COVID we haven’t been able to have really big crowds which is like obviously fine. So it’s just been difficult to sort of cause like at one of our last shows that got sold out in like 10 minutes because of like the lower like capacity and I think my drag mom said she had to like turn away like 40 people. So like to me, I’m such like a nice person and I’m like “oh I feel bad they couldn’t come! Like Oh my god!” and so like in my mind I’m like “oh well not everyone gets to see what we have to offer right now.” So that’s a little annoying. And then also, just everyone expects you to like want to be on Drag Race, and that’s a little frustrating. Like, I’m down to go on Drag Race I think I’d be pretty okay at it, but they see all these like drag queens on TV who have like a buttload of money and they see me in like my little stretch velvet dress that I’m like–that I made myself the day of. Like they get that I’m not like there yet, but it’s just frustrating that you can tell that they sort of expect more which is a little frustrating. I’d say that’s honestly about it.
Ian Hafley: Yeah because of like Drag Race they’ve expected like bigger budgets.
Liz Anya: Oh 100% yeah. And I get like paid maybe—I used to get paid like 25 dollars a show. So I was like oh yeah, like I’ll definitely be able to buy that 400 dollar wig you want me to wear.
Ian Hafley: Yeah like they don’t like…there’s the disconnect between like the famous drag queen and then like the local drag queen.
Liz Anya: For sure. For sure.
Ian Hafley: Is there anything unique about doing drag in Columbia from other places?
Liz Anya: I don’t know! I think just cause we’re a college town it’s sort of like we’ll always have like a new crowd every like four years. And… I mean yeah just because we don’t have like huge like… nobody is ever really able to become like a full-time drag queen in Columbia just cause we don’t have like— even when Union was open or SoCo was open before that, which was like pretty successful like, there’s no way you can. So I mean like, nobody is ever going to be able to sort of be built up to that level which kind of sucks but I mean that just means we sort of like appreciate what we have and we sort of like hustle extra hard just to like make sure that we can compete. With like other people–like big city queens like St. Louis or Kansas City. Yeah, I mean… I wouldn’t say there’s actually like a challenge but it’s definitely like since we are so close-knit, like we are, like there’s a lot of like fighting going on right now sort of in the drag community in Columbia. But like we will always like have each other’s backs so that’s always good since we are kind of tight-knit.
Ian Hafley: So like, is most of your crowd that comes out like college students?
Liz Anya: Oh for sure. Yeah especially now that we’ve been able to perform downtown again. It’s been a lot more… like it’ll be like the regulars who used to come to Union and stuff so they’ll be like a few of our friends that we know, but it’s mostly like straight girls honestly [laughing].
Ian Hafley: [laughing] When you are in and out of drag, what pronouns do you use? Do you like change it or do they stay the same?
Liz Anya: Yeah, I change it. So out of drag, I’m he/him, and then in drag I’m she/her but I really like don’t care if people call me either one in drag. Like a lot of my—like my drag family they—if I like joke, if I’m like “you’re just a man!” like they get offended if we’re like hanging out on the couch on like a Tuesday. Like they’re like “I’m a woman!” But, like they’re not really. Like they’re completely like a boy outside of drag. But yeah, so like if someone calls me a man in drag like I’ll be like “yeah you’re right” And if someone calls me she/her out of drag I’m like “yeah your right girl! Like let’s do it!” So it’s like–it really doesn’t bother me at all.
Ian Hafley: Yeah, that’s like a good way to see it too. Like just like whatever!
Liz Anya: Yeah like I’m a boy and then sometimes a boy in a wig so like whatever you wanna call me, like.
Ian Hafley: Yeah. Has drag influenced your sex and gender identities at all?
Liz Anya: Probably yeah! Just because I am more comfortable. Like, like I really don’t think I’ll ever like want to transition or anything like that. Like I don’t think I’ll ever be in that position. But yeah I mean yeah like I said I don’t care if someone calls me a girl, like I’m like “oh yeah! Like cool!” Like, and then, I mean yeah, like I’ll still, I will always be like a man but I`ll definitely—like I’m definitely more comfortable with everything now. Like I–like the Kinsey scale or whatever, like I’m definitely like okay with leaning more towards the female side now. And like yeah nothing– like it really doesn’t bother me at all, so.
Ian Hafley: Has drag influenced how you think about gender overall?
Liz Anya: Definitely because I know a lot of people who have started drag and then they’ll sort of realize that they really are non-binary maybe they do want to like transition and stuff. So I mean it’s definitely opened my eyes to… and like I’ve even experienced it as well I’m like “oh, like, well what is a boy and what is a girl?” So it’s like…who really–like literally who cares. And yeah so like I know plenty of people who are non-binary and like still like perform like as like a girl in drag. And yeah, so I mean yeah it’s definitely like changed my outlook on it for sure.
Ian Hafley: Interesting. Have your sex and gender identities influenced your drag in any way?
Liz Anya: Not really. Like I–Liz is definitely female-presenting. I mean I’ll do like a boy song and stuff like that and some people don’t like that cause it’s…a lot of people—not a lot—but some people don’t like when like female drag queens do boy songs. Like I did a Journey song a couple weeks ago and I did a Bon Jovi song. Cause it’s like what-like I said it’s like what’s the point? Like I’m still a boy dressed as a girl so it doesn’t really matter. So yeah, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s… I wouldn’t say I influenced it but like, Liz has influenced me so I mean…
Ian Hafley: Interesting! Has drag impacted your confidence as a person when you’re out of drag?
Liz Anya: Oh definitely! Like I mean I’ve always been a fairly confident person, like I really don’t get embarrassed easily so I think that’s sort of why I can do drag. It’s–cause I’m like I’ll go on stage and I’m like oh “somebody, somewhere is gonna like it.” So, it’s affected my confidence just because whenever I sort of walk anywhere like all my like drag family is there, I always hang out with Lisa, Loralie, and Veronica there so like “Oh well Liz just walks with her chest out everywhere! She just struts everywhere! Blah blah blah!” And I’m like “okay so like why don’t you?” Like I mean like. Cause we’re all like, everyone else they’re all super confident in drag, but out of drag they’re not. I would argue that they’re not the most confident. But I’m kind of the opposite. I’m like I definitely – I feel like I always feel like a little less confident in drag just because I feel like I still have a lot to learn, but I don’t—I can’t really–I’m not really offering everything that I know yet. Do you know what I mean? But out of drag, I’m like “what are you gonna do about it? Like oh my god!” Like what’s gonna–If someone’s gonna hit me like because I’m like, cause like I’m not scared of like getting gay-bashed. It’s like okay well like I’ll like try to beat them up back like nothings gonna happen. But like if you walk in with a purpose, no one is gonna mess with you. So like that’s just what I do, I walk—I walk–I like strut in the grocery store so nobody like, like steps to me! Like I don’t think it will ever happen, but like if you just go around not very confident, like kind of like scared of the world, like something might happen to you then like that’s just like.. I don’t know. I don’t really know where I’m going with that one but oh well!
Ian Hafley: I mean I understand where you were going that made sense!
Liz Anya: Okay cool cool cool!
Ian Hafley: Okay now the next question is the classic final three question from drag race! If you could go back in time as Liz, what advice would Liz give to your younger self?
Liz Anya: I don’t know! I mean, probably like—probably like the basic like it’s gonna get better. Everyone already knows. Like honestly, like I probably wish I would have come out in high school. So like I probably would’ve told younger Anthony to like just come out already cause honestly, everybody already knows. I mean yeah I wish I was like a better dancer so maybe I would tell myself to like enroll literally like enroll in a dance class, even though there weren’t any good dance classes in Booneville. But I would just tell–encourage myself to like come out more and sort of embrace my more artistic side for sure. Just because I feel like that could really help like my drag now.
Ian Hafley: Interesting! Take a dance class that’s funny! I always tell myself that too I said “you could have been better!”
Liz Anya! Literally.
Ian Hafley: I look like an idiot every time I dance but whatever. Have any of your social identities impacted your experience of drag in any way? Like any social identities that you have like gender, race, class, religion, sexuality, disability, geography, location, any of that stuff. Has that impacted your drag at all?
Liz Anya: I would argue that, like I said like being from a small town so I do like love country music. I don’t love but I like it cause my mom listened to it a lot growing up and that’s what was always all around me. So like definitely like being from a small town has affected my drag and like I’m very okay with like, you know like doing like country numbers and like looking up like sort of country stuff and like just… and like I can see and like appreciate like where they are coming from you know what I mean? And I would–I always told like my sister whenever I first started I was like yeah, and like being like a mediocre white gay like I like had a good amount of friends so like people would come to see my shows at first. So like that honestly always helped, but like I’m aware of it I’m aware of my privilege it’s fine. And, let’s see if there’s any of those other…Yeah I mean like being a cis-gendered like white gay person has definitely helped. And then, being from a small town has definitely like shaped my… honestly my entire drag aesthetic so like I’m always thankful for that. I think that’s probably it honestly. I’m trying to like remember all the words you said.
Ian Hafley: Oh a like lot of them were probably, were just like extra filler. It’s fine that was a good answer.
Liz Anya: Oh thank god!
Ian Hafley: Hahaha! There’s only like 6 more questions so we’re almost done!
Liz Anya: Oh yeah you’re good you’re fine!
Ian Hafley: How do you define drag like personally?
Liz Anya: I don’t know, like personally, for Liz–Liz’s personal drag is definitely like female-presenting, always like pretty cooky but like overall drag is whatever you want it to be. Like I really do think that. Like my little sister, like Bennifer, she does, or like my drag grandma she does bearded drag and she like she started out not doing bearded drag but then—but she loves to like be different. She’s like “what gonna make me different? Okay!” So she like grew a big old beard and like started doing bearded drag all the time. And so then like I said like my little sister, she definitely does like they/them drag like boy out of drag but like they/them in drag sort of thing. She definitely wears– like she keeps her beard on, she like doesn’t really wear pads or anything like she’ll have like her hairy boy legs out and like a pair of fishnets. And definitely like, definitely sort of non-binary it’s.. or androgyny! That’s the more appropriate word I guess. Androgyny, androgynously inspired? I don’t know if that’s a real word but oh well. So like literally, do whatever you wanna do. Like, whatever you wanna. Just make sure it’s good honestly, like.
Ian Hafley: What do you think the purpose of drag is?
Liz Anya: Like, I think Peppermint said it on her season she called drag queens like, sort of like the gatekeepers and like the forerunners and like the storytellers of like the gay community. And like Pride is like really important to me so I always sort of think that we are sort of like the pioneers and like the first line of the LGBT community. Like I always– I’m very passionate about pride and like inclusivity and like stuff like that and making sure that everyone’s voices are heard. And in order to sort of make sure everyone’s voices are heard I have to yell the loudest. Do you know what I mean does that make sense?
Ian Hafley: Yeah!
Liz Anya: So I always try to make sure that I will speak up for someone else cause I have the loudest voice in the room and people will listen to me first before they might listen to someone else.
Ian Hafley: So like that was a really good statement! So basically what you mean by that is because you have this privilege as a white, cis-gendered man, like you wanna speak louder for like minorities who can’t– who won’t be as heard as loudly by others?
Liz Anya: Exactly. Yeah.
Ian Hafley: I like that! That was really good! Do you think drag is sexual at all? Why or why not?
Liz Anya: I don’t think my drag is. I think drag can be but I—but I don’t think that I’m like a very sexy person in or out of drag so like I’m like not… Like it’s—I always… Like that’s kinda why I do get self-conscious in drag sometimes is because I know I’m not very pretty. So I think like me wearing like a bunch of like pairs of tights like I’m like trying to like pull over like my waist, like cause I’m kinda squishy sometimes. So like I don’t think I’m sexy in drag at all, but like if you wanna do it you can! Like I don’t think…like everyone always sort of assumes that I’m down to clown but I am in fact, not. So I don’t—I think people generally think that it is but I don’t really think it is inherently sexual.
Ian Hafley: Interesting! I can see that. Cause some people they make it very much like their aesthetic to be like pretty woman, like I’m a stripper woman. And then some people just…It’s just interesting to see different styles and like how it all plays out. How do you feel about RuPaul’s Drag Race as a show?
Liz Anya: I think it’s great television. I think it’s so fun. And like I do get inspired a lot by them as well. I do see like the pros and cons obviously. Like RuPaul is semi problematic sometimes, some of the queens he casts are problematic sometimes definitely. But I mean at the end of the—but it really is just a great way to sort of showcase like drag as an art form, cause I think a lot of people don’t really see it as that way until they honestly do see the—until they do watch drag race. So I think they do think it’s a bunch of like cross-dressers, like who are like—cross-dressing sex workers who are just out on the prowl blah blah blah. But I don’t think a lot of people do see it as a real, formidable sort of like art form and possible career. The drama is great so it’s always a good time.
Ian Hafley: Yeah it’s so entertaining but there’s so many things like—it’s like little one-liners or like something like that.
Liz Anya: Literally. I got my—I got my mom like obsessed with it, I think during allstars, like the last one—so what was that, 5? My mom—Like I watched it in front of my mom once and she like the next week she texted me she said: “oh my god Anthony I’m obsessed with Drag Race I’m watching it again!” And then I think she started watching season 13 too I was like “Oh!” Like she just randomly texted me like while we were–while it was on. She said “I can’t understand a word Kandy Muse is saying!” I was like oh my god.
Ian Hafley: If you could change one thing about drag, the drag community, or the drag scene, what would it be and why?
Liz Anya: Hmm…I don’t know. This is sort of….hmm. I don’t know, I mean like I obviously, like it can be pretty like competitive, and kind of see you next Tuesday-ish. So I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that word on a school project but, I think if everyone would just like be a little nicer! Like and I’m sure if you ask someone I’m not the nicest, I try to be, I always try to be super nice to everyone. But, since there is like a big sort of drag feud in Columbia right now, people might not agree with that statement but oh well. But definitely if we sort of tried to like be nicer to everyone and like, definitely try to uplift everyone I think that would definitely be like a better situation for everyone. Because, in the beginning, you sort of do get—like you’re not gonna look good in the first– your first time in drag. It’s a God-given fact, everyone is gonna look awful. And there’s– but there’s a better way to tell a baby queen that they don’t look good than just being like wow F off you look terrible, you know what I mean? Like there’s like–I think if we gave more constructive criticism than just tearing other–tearing new queens down. Cause that’s like why a lot of people don’t kind of make it because they like– like people are just so mean to them in the beginning that they just don’t wanna do it anymore.
Ian Hafley: That’s why I’ve never like tried to do drag before because gay men terrify me.
Liz Anya: Hahaha!!
Ian Hafley: What do you think are some misconceptions people have about drag, and where do they come from?
Liz Anya: I don’t know, definitely like I said people always think that I’m like a cross-dressing sex worker which is like not the case at all. And I think just because so many trans women do need to turn to sex work just to make a living I think that’s where that stems from. And like I wish that wasn’t the case obviously but like, yeah people–There’s this guy in town who always trying to like make moves at me and I’m always very uncomfortable. Just because like, I am not gonna look good once I take all this off so, you know what I mean? Like I am gonna be a sweaty greasy mess and my hair is gonna be like glued down like you don’t wanna see that. But definitely like people do think it is inherently sexual and I think that’s an issue just because, I mean, that is like—that is a potentially like dangerous situation for like another drag queen to be in. Because like if me, a cis man, all of a sudden someone is trying to get with me like that’s a scary situation for anyone involved. Other sort of misconceptions… I think… Like I—Like I said I’m a very nice person in and out of drag. I think another misconception is that we’re all so rude and like…I mean my drag mom she paints in sort of a, um… sort of standoffish way and so I think people think that she’s just a raging bitch, which is like not always the case. So like, I think people just need to sort of realize that we are nice people! Like we are still nice people underneath all that makeup!
Ian Hafley: They said the same thing about Pearl on season 7.
Liz Anya: Right!
Ian Hafley: They said she painted a bitch face! If you chose one thing you want like everyone to know about drag, or learn about drag, what would it be?
Liz Anya: That like it’s not as easy as it looks. Like, I like to think like I’m making it look effortless but like, it’s hard! It really is! I think Miz Cracker said one time that like a standing drag—like just a resting position—like standing drag queen is like actively doing more than like someone like walking down the street, like sprinting, like going on a run, or something. Like I am like actively doing more than you are. You know what I mean? So it’s like really hard to like– It’s like really hard. And just like support local drag! Like it’s easy to sit down on your couch and watch it on TV or like on YouTube or blah blah blah. But like, obviously, it’s a pandemic so don’t go out that much but, pre/post-pandemic like, go out and like watch it in person! Like it’s so much fun, it really is just so much fun.
Ian Hafley: It is. I’ve only been to one drag show. My entire life. I know, it is really sad I know. And I wanted to start going to more but then the world ended!
Liz Anya: It happens!
Ian Hafley: Now I don’t do anything!
Liz Anya: Yeah. Very fair. If I’m not doing drag I literally don’t do anything either so it’s like…
Ian Hafley: Okay that was all the questions I had so the interview is over! So thank you so much for that, that was really good!
Liz Anya: Of course, yeah!
Ian Hafley:Yeah, I don’t think I need anything else from you. If I do I’ll just like text you or something about it.
Liz Anya: Cool, perfect!
Ian Hafley: Okay we’re done, thank you so much!
Liz Anya: Okay cool, you’re welcome. Bye!
Ian Hafley: Bye!