26 year old club Queen and socialite, Logan Zass lives in Chicago where she performs at various nightclubs in Boystown, Chicago
You can find Logan on Instagram and Facebook
Transcript of full interview (File attached; scroll to the bottom of page for text)
Transcription of above micro-podcast
Interviewer: Twenty-six-year-old club queen Logan Zass discusses her style of drag and its Hip-Hop influence
Logan Zass: I like very urban chic style, that’s kind of like what represents me, like if you ask me like what inspires my drag, like where it comes from and like what Logan is all about, I’m like if you think of like a Hip-Hop rapper, you know like a rapper, maybe even like a Hip Hop- O, or video mixed with a maybe like WWE wrestler, that’s kinda of what like Logan Zass is, just very hype on energy, love a lot of like stuff that’s so tacky that I love it and I want to make it look glamorous
Interviewer: In addition to incorporating Hip-Hop into her drag, the Chicago native discusses how Chicago’s drag is different from the rest of the world
Logan Zass: I think Chicago has some of the best drag in the world, simply because I think everything here is so polished
Interviewer: Also, Logan Zass reveals how Chicago’s drag scene boosted her confidence
Logan Zass: …it made me one love myself a lot more and appreciate the way I look out of drag. So, I think that’s what it is because before I was doing drag I would spend so much time trying to be a perfect boy, trying to look amazing um, and then once I started doing drag I just didn’t care anymore. I just didn’t care I was like ‘you know what I look great, I love this,” drag really has like helped me love myself like and my identity more than I ever did before I was doing drag
Interviewer: In the end, Logan Zass discusses the purpose and mystical illusion that drag conveys
Logan Zass: The purpose of drag is definitely one, to look good, just kidding, two, it’s definitely kind of making everything a question mark. I think that’s what drag is for, to raise an eyebrow, that’s why I love that drag isn’t just for men, women can do drag.
Interviewer: My interview with fellow Chicago native Logan Zass was fun, yet knowledgeable she allowed me to enter her world and this privilege helped broaden my perspective on drag culture
To cite this interview please use the following:
Towner, Jazsmine. 2020. Interview with Logan Zass. Sociology of Drag, SIUE. April 25, 2019.
Audio available at https://ezratemko.com/drag/loganzass/
Interviewer: First, I wanna call and say thank you for doing this interview, I really do appreciate it.
Logan Zass Yeah, of course I love doing stuff like this.
Interviewer: Okay, so let’s start, would you mind just stating your name, your drag name, age and where you’re from. Oh yeah, I have to remind you, I’m sorry, that your being recorded of course.
Logan Zass Ok, that’s totally cool. So, my name is Seb Nieves, that’s my boy name, and I go by when I’m in drag, my drag name is Logan Zass, I’m 27 years old and I live in Chicago.
Interviewer: I do, too! Well, I’m in school right now, but I’m from Chicago also.
Logan Zass: Oh yeah? Where do you go to school?
Interviewer: I go to SIUE, in Edwardsville, it’s right by St. Louis.
Logan Zass: Oh, okay okay.
Interviewer: Yeah, it’s four hours away from Chicago, but that will always be my home, I love it.
Logan Zass: Chicago, yeah, Chi-Town.
Interviewer: Yes! Ok, so let’s start, so the first question is, When did you first hear about drag, and what was your initial reaction to it?
Logan Zass: I guess like, unknowingly, I always knew about drag as a little boy, um but I can say that my first experience with drag or the way I was like exposed to it was my mom’s fault, really. She showed me this movie called To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.
Logan Zass: And it’s like with uh you know with Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo. I think she showed me that movie when I was maybe like three or four. And ever since that movie I remember I was like dressing up in her wigs, playing around the house, in her clothes, putting on heels and stuff like that it was like, I can’t imagine a little boy doing that stuff, I think that was like the first exposure I got to it. And then, Um it wasn’t until I was in maybe 20, 21 one of my roommates at the time was doing drag at like this lesbian bar down the street from the apartment we were living at, at the time and she would do it for fun, do these karaoke nights and stuff, and everyone was always asking, what is your drag name? What’s your drag name? I don’t know, I was like I don’t have one, I didn’t want to do drag, I was so against it for some reason, but then, you know Drag Race was on TV and I had my old roommate at the time and that was like everything that was kind of like exposed to me at the time and what really got me into wanting to do it.
Interviewer: Perfect, perfect. We just finished, in my class, we just finished watching season 9 so I’ve known about Drag Race, but I didn’t really watch entire episodes like I do now, and I love it. I’m going to binge watch it over the weekend or something.
Logan Zass Oh my god, there’s so much culture from the show like there’s so much stuff you can say, and like, all of these things and stuff like that. It’s kind of cool.
Interviewer: Yes. And my favorite was Shea Couleé but maybe I’m biased because she was from Chicago, but.
Logan Zass: Oh my god, that’s my friend, actually.
Interviewer: Really? I love Shea.
Logan Zass: Yeah, yeah, she comes up from the same scene as like, well I’m not saying one of my best friends, but it’s like…when I was getting my start into drag, she was, like, at her peak. She comes from the bar I work at a lot, which is the Berlin Night Club, she was a regular there. We would see each other around and stuff like that, and she made a movie in the city, and that was really cool and she was really inclusive with a lot of queens for that. But yeah, Shea Couleé, hometown girl.
Interviewer: I love her! Okay, second question, when did you start performing as a drag artist, and why did you start performing?
Logan Zass When did I start? Is that the question?
Interviewer: Yes, yes.
Logan Zass: Um I think I started, do I know an exact… I think I’ve been doing drag for maybe like four and a half years now. Um it had to be… when did I start? Um, it had to be the summer of, like, 2016? So when I started doing drag, like a said after my roommate got me into it and stuff like that, well I kinda like got myself into it because I like “paint me, paint me” after we would like prance around the house in heels at like four o’clock in the morning, just being idiots, just playing in heels keeping the neighbors up, just having wine and just being young and fun. Um he painted me, and he painted me terribly, I was ugly, I was so ugly, I was like oh my god, I need to see how I would look if I was pretty. Uh, I don’t know what I was thinking because at the time I wasn’t going to be able to make myself pretty because I didn’t know what I was doing. So I went out and bought all this makeup, bought these crummy wigs, and was sitting in front of YouTube and I think I was a house queen for about 6 months, I think I really just sat in the house, I come home from work every day and paint my face, and just try new things and play with different looks and stuff like that, and it took me 6 months to feel comfortable to actually do like an amateur show where you just walk in, put on a CD, and compete for some money and I actually won, so, and then after that I caught the bug, I mean I’m not saying I looked good, I mean I thought I looked good but when I look back in the pictures I’m like “oh my god” I was a booger.
Interviewer: I think we all do that because I look at some of my old high school pictures and I’m like “Oh what was I thinking? That did not match.” Like oh my goodness, that did not match at all. I don’t know why I did that. Okay, another question is, How did your family, friends, and other loved ones receive you becoming a drag queen?
Logan Zass: Um, that’s a good question actually, um so I kind of like told all of the women in my family and they kind of just saw on Facebook and stuff. Everyone just kind of slowly caught on. At the time when I first started doing drag I had my older sister living with me so that, kind of, where I was getting all of the makeup from and she was totally on board with it at first, I mean she’s, I think the only thing that pissed her off is that I was constantly ruining her makeup brushes and constantly stealing her makeup, I think that’s the only thing she was mad about. But she wasn’t really mad about drag. Everyone else is kind of like “Okay, this is…okay” like they didn’t know what to think of it at first, and they were like you know, because I didn’t look good and it was hard to be like “this is art, this is artistic,” and then as I got better, you know as I continuously done it and stuck with it um everyone was like really in love with it now. They’re like “wow you really know what you’re doing” and “You look great” and been really supportive.
Interviewer: Yeah you really do, you look great. You look really good.
Logan Zass: Thank you.
Interviewer: I was looking at your Instagram and I was like “God, snatched” like, I love it.
Logan Zass: It takes a long time to get ready. Anyone can look like that, you just got to give yourself the patience.
Interviewer: Look, I don’t even know how to put on highlighter. My friends always make fun of me like “You’re doing it wrong.” I tried to get in to YouTube. I’m trying to get in to it this summer. Really that’s my goal this summer is to have a beat face, but I’m trying.
Logan Zass: You gotta practice, that’s really all it is. Y’know, my sister is always like, “Oh my god I want to look like this.” Well you have four hours to sit in front of the mirror, you can. And she’s like “Oh no, that’s too long.” I’m like, then stop complaining. That’s usually what, me and my sister bicker, but, it’s really not that bad, I mean, it’s hard but really it’s like, anyone could look like this. If I’m a man and I can get dressed up and do this there’s no stopping anybody.
Interviewer: That’s very inspirational, so where does your drag name come from? So, where did you get Logan Zass?
Logan Zass: Okay so Logan, Logan Zass comes from, so Logan is because I’m born and raised in Chicago and one of my favorite neighborhoods that I kinda grew up in a little place called Logan Square, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it.
Interviewer: Logan Square. Yes, yes.
Logan Zass: It’s like a big party scene now, it’s a lot different than it was, but Logan came from that and then also, when I was in middle school there was a girl named Logan, and she wasn’t like that pretty but she, like, was our Regina George from Mean Girls, she was kinda like the “it” girl even though she wasn’t.. It’s just funny to think of, so I was like “you know, that has to be my name.” Like she was the boss of school and I come from Logan Square, so it has to be Logan. So, I always thought that was school and then “Zass” comes from uh, one of my favorite actresses is Drew Barrymore, she did the movie Charlie’s Angel’s 2: Full Throttle and it’s like a big thing in pop culture, so like Helen Zass, it reveals her name is “Zass”. And if you think of it, you’re kinda talking about her butt, like “Oh did you see Logan’s booty,” or like “did you see Logan’s ass,” so like “oh I saw it” and it’s kinda like punny play on words, and I was like let’s roll with it.
Interviewer: I love it, I love it. I never thought of it like that until you just said it and now, I see it and its obvious
Logan Zass: Yeah, I know, I really have to break it down. If you’re at the club and you see me perform the club and if you’re kinda tipsy you kinda get it, and then when you see me doing all the booty shaking, they totally get it but it does take a minute, but I’m not mad because all of the other names I had were not that good.
Interviewer: Why, what were some of the other names you had?
Logan Zass: I had like, Zass was always in the part, I don’t know why but Zass was… But I wanted to be called Chardonnay for a second. And I was like “Oh my god if I was named Chardonnay y’all could have called me Chardi-Z” that would have been great.
Interviewer: I love that! That’s cute!
Logan Zass: If I get a drag daughter then maybe she can have that. I mean, I have drag daughters ,but they don’t want that name for some reason. And one after that was Bella Bambi and I’m glad I didn’t pick that because there’s other queens with Bella and there’s other queens with Bambi in it, so I’m glad I didn’t pick that one. I had this other one, Priscilla Ray, the names go on and on, I just had all these dumb names.
Interviewer: Well, I love Logan Zass. I’m happy that you picked that one.
Logan Zass: Thank you.
Interviewer: Alright so, there are a lot of terms for types and styles of drag, from drag queen and drag king to glamour queen, male impersonator, comedy queen, bearded queen, queer artist, bioqueen, and camp queen, among a lot of other names. So, are there particular labels you would use to characterize your drag? What kind of drag do you do? What’s your style of drag?
Logan Zass: Umm it’s really hard to say because like, I feel like, the type of drag that I am is not what it would particularly be labeled as, like classically what we would call it. I consider myself a club kid even though I don’t present as a club kid but I feel like my upbringing, what I do and where I work. I work at a lot of clubs, so I wouldn’t say club kid, I’d say more of like a club queen because I don’t really feel like I fit in anything else. I mean I do glamour, but if I really had to pick, I really don’t like when people say the word “banjee”, like, can we do something else? I don’t really like “ghetto fabulous” either, I’m just like, I don’t know, I like very urban chic style, that’s kind of like what represents me, like if you ask me like what inspires my drag, like where it comes from and like what Logan is all about, I’m like if you think of like a Hip-Hop rapper, you know like a rapper, maybe even like a Hip Hop- O, or video mixed with a maybe like WWE wrestler, that’s kinda of what like Logan Zass is, just very hype on energy, love a lot of like stuff that’s so tacky that I love it and I want to make it look glamourous. But yeah, let’s say like, club queen, that’s really where I feel like I fall, where I align and everything. Because I don’t really do classic, and glamour, I really do modern and current right now with style.
Interviewer: Okay, okay, so does the type of drag that you do affect your life as a drag artist, do you think?
Logan Zass As a drag artist?
Logan Zass Um, it can, yeah, definitely because there’s certain realms for certain genres if we’re talking about that, and for certain shows my drag is maybe just a little to current and too trendy to kind of pop into a lot of the shows. Like, you know, we have our super monsters and stuff like that. You knows the girls get really, you know, really theatric with the makeup and it’s gets kind of crazy, even though they look really glamourous. Then you have, you know your pageant drag and I don’t really fit in the pageant queen, and then you have, you know you have your more niche, geeky type of drag where it’s more cosplay, which I don’t fit into, so it definitely can hold me back but I feel like it definitely works in my advantage, and other aspects as well.
Interviewer: So, who or what has influenced your drag?
Logan Zass: Like influenced my drag? I think I just kinda piggy back off, ever since I was a little boy I always been a big fan of Lil’ Kim. I think that’s like the first album I ever owned was the Hard Core album, I think I was like seven. So, it was always like female rappers, I don’t know, they always did something for me, when they were on TV I always had to turn up the music, I had to like jump around always, because they were different, and you know we grew up in like a male-dominated world with all these guys, where they can talk about whatever they want but then the women have to , do these little things, like act cute and pretty and do things they really don’t do. And female rappers have just always did whatever they wanted, did exactly what the guys did. Maybe got some crap for it, you know from the media for being too raunchy and stuff like that, but I really always admired that from women so that kinda just really set the mark for what I wanted to play into my drag. Before I even knew it because before I started doing drag, I was really big into women’s hip-hop whether it was someone like Nicki Minaj who was at the top of her game or going down to underground artists and stuff.
Interviewer: So, who would you say is your favorite female artist right now? Is it still Lil’ Kim or is it Cardi, are you Team Cardi or Team Nikki?
Logan Zass: That one’s hard, because I feel like I’m so on the fence with them. I mean I love them both, don’t get me wrong, obviously. But when I have to pick a side, I’m like “I don’t know!” Sometimes there’s things I like that Nikki did and some things I like that Cardi did, there’s things both of them did that I don’t agree with. So, I don’t know.
Interviewer: See, that’s the same thing I said.
Logan Zass: But my number one right now, who I’m really in to, her name is Stefflon Don, she’s from the UK. She’s like, really cool. Now, I mean she’s kind of getting a come-up, she’s kind of been doing some [inaudible] stuff, but.
Interviewer: I think I’m more like, I love Cardi but I can’t forget about Nikki, but I just don’t like her music right now. But her old albums were bomb, but Cardi right now. Cardi- I love Invasion of Privacy, so I’m kind of biased, but Nikki really set the platform.
Logan Zass: I think what Nikki is. Nikki’s kind of a very talented rapper and stuff like that and we love that. And she’s put out good music, and maybe the later stuff isn’t as great. But what we love about Cardi is she’s so personable and she has so much personality and she’s likeable, you know. And that kind of sells the music and she’s got good lyrics, like the crap she says. Like we were just watching a Cardi B video on Instagram and that’s kind of what we fell in love with Cardi for, you know, watching her make hip-hop and stuff, so. I think that’s what Nikki lacks, she lacks a bit of relatability sometimes because she wants all these characters and that’s not really her. So now that we’ve got Cardi we’re like “Nikki bye, we got a new girl.” But that’s how it is with female rap, it kind of sucks though because, you know, we kind of get like a good run. Then, if you think about it each popular female rapper, usually in their fourth album is the last album they’ll ever do, then after that no one cares about them no more.
Interviewer: See, I also, we were talking about that in class too. We were talking about how people get on a Nikki bandwagon but now like they’re on Cardi B so I’m like, maybe it’s just whatever’s in style right now. But I do think we relate more to Cardi because she’s more personable, like she’s easier. Like, I could see myself having a conversation with her rather than Nikki Minaj.
Logan Zass: Right, well I mean you could, you know, Cardi’s that girl from down the block and acts like that girl from down the block. You know, Nikki was once that but she don’t act like it no more, and I think that’s why we all really love Cardi right now. I don’t know I could sit around…I’d want to go to dinner with Cardi, I want to go to her house I want to do all of these things with her, but Nikki, I think I would just take a picture with her then walk away
Interviewer: Yeah, I want her to teach me how to do the “Ookuuurrrt”, I can’t do it but whatever she does.
Logan Zass: It’s funny though because, it’s crazy because you watch Drag Race back in the day a drag queen was saying that. I’m like “Did Cardi get that from Laganja Estranja?” Because before Cardi was doing it we had Laganja saying it. Cardi was making it, she was just rolling the r’s a lot harder. But Laganja was saying this on Drag Race a long time ago so I’m like, “Were they stealing this from Drag Race?” But people steal a lot of stuff from Drag Race, so I don’t know, we’ll never know.
Interviewer: Yeah, I was about to ask you that, because I think a lot, do you think that the drag queens set the scene for a lot of fashion now. It’s just drag queens do it first and people come and copy it. But it’s a lot of things that I see and it’s like “Oh yeah, drag queens were doing this first,” but we’re just now seeing it.
Logan Zass: Yeah. Well, I think drag queens set the bar for a lot of things like make-up and what you said, fashion, and even slang and lingo and stuff like that. A lot of things we’re saying now, like for fun and stuff and like that like “read you,” “ki,” that all comes from back in the 80s and what all the drag queens were saying in New York in the ballroom scene.
Interviewer: Exactly, like the “shade” and we just watched…
Logan Zass: “Shade”, “No Tea, No shade”, all that comes from, yeah “I’m not trying to read you,” “Don’t come for me,” all that comes from like, New York.
Interviewer: Exactly. I think, what is the documentary? Paris is Burning a lot of that…
Logan Zass: Paris is Burning, yeah, yeah.
Interviewer: So, do you consider your drag political? If so, it says, why or why not?
Logan Zass: Umm, I don’t think my drag is political, um it can get political in other aspects and stuff like in a performance, but I don’t think what I do is generally a political, like I wouldn’t call it a political drag, when I think of drag. When I think of drag, especially my drag, I don’t want to bring any negativity to the stage, or any negativity in my life. I feel like when it’s my drag I want you to look at me and I want you to be happy and feel really good for however long I’m on stage, regardless of how long I’m on stage, whether I’m just hosting and I’m only on stage for like a minute just talking in the mic or If I do a five minute number, I just kinda want you to forget about whatever is going on outside of the bar and just have fun. But I do give it up to the queens who, you know. Another good friend of mine, The Vixen from Drag Race is very in the political drag and stuff like that. And it works for her, stuff like that, sometimes it doesn’t. But I think that if you have a voice and you know what you’re doing, and you know how to execute things then go for it.
Interviewer: That’s understandable, I went to my first drag show last, like two Fridays ago and I want to go to so many more. It was so fun, it was one here in Saint Louis at Hamburger Mary’s, it was really fun. Like, I enjoyed it.
Logan Zass: I’ve always heard Hamburger Mary’s has some good shows.
Interviewer: It was so much fun. So, can you talk about what your life is like as a drag artist? Are you part of a drag family, house, or anything?
Logan Zass Yeah! Actually, I am. So when I started, we started as more of a conventional drag family, not something you would see on Paris is Burning, maybe a year into drag um I met my… When I started going out after I did that first performance and caught the bug, I was like “oh my god, I need to make friends I can’t just be out here by myself,” so I started going to bars dressed up in drag, I started performing for free, because that’s what you have to do when you’re new in drag, going to ever drag show for free, go out every weekends for free in drag, just letting people know who you are, becoming a little socialite and what happened was I met some of my roommates, who’s my best friend at a bar and we started doing other competitions and stuff like that and that’s how you kinda win competitions, if you win by votes, and like, popularity and by cheers and stuff so we kinda knew what we were doing, so like let’s make friends with other drag queens and win these competitions so we can make bookings, to get further, where we need to be. So then, before you know it we had formed a little house of like eight queens, us included like me and my friend and roommate so it was like eight of us and with that it became a like, little drag house, we were all just like sisters, it wasn’t like a mom, or a mother and stuff like that and we all kinda just looked out for each other, that’s how like all of our makeup skills got better doing our makeup together, doing these shows together and eventually that led to getting our own show which is called #SquadGoals and still actually going on which is still going on which is kinda crazy, after three years of progress, the show is called #SquadGoals and we kind of made that our name in the Chicago scene, and we’re still intact, I mean like some girls have left the house, which is cool and their doing their own thing but like we’re still friends, we started with eight, I think we’re down to like five now.
Interviewer: So it’s “Squaggles”? Can you spell it? S-Q-U-A-G-G-L-E? Did I spell that right?
Logan Zass: Squad Goals? Okay, so remember that hashtag right? And it was like #SquadGoals. So like S-Q-U-A-D
Interviewer: OHHH Squad Goals ohhhhhh. Oh squad goals, I’m sorry, I had a dumb moment.
Logan Zass: It’s okay, we kind of got it from the hashtag, because we were the young, new girls on the group and we thought like let’s be cute and trendy and kind of play off of all of our drag characters and what we’re putting on. So it just became Squad Goals and after a while people just started calling us The Squad and it’s kind of crazy. But it’s not, we’re not in full pack as we were before, like we’re not as full force. When we first came out it was the hottest thing and we were the it girls, the new girls, we’ve gotten older now so the show isn’t exactly what it was. We were like eight girls onstage doing choreography, doing a big group number like Destiny’s Child mixed with, what’s the other group? That UK group, I can’t even think.
Interviewer: Spice Girls?
Logan Zass: Yeah! Like, Spice Girls mixed with Destiny’s Child on steroids, that’s what it reminded me of.
Interviewer: I would love to see a show like that.
Logan Zass: And it was fun, I’m pretty sure if you look us up on YouTube you could see some of these funny performances we’d all do. We’d do like, duets and group numbers with like, a group of eight. Or if it was down to two girls, we’d have a lot of fun doing that. And these are some people that I still call my family and my best friends and stuff like that to this day. Now on the other hand I have gone off and I’ve started my own thing, not started my own thing. I wouldn’t say what I’m doing is like “Oh we’re creating a huge house,” but I do have two drag daughters now, which I never thought was going to happen, so now it’s, I’m a drag mom, which is interesting, it’s hard but it’s a lot of fun and the payoff is nice.
Interviewer: So, how often do you perform and where do you perform? Where in Chicago?
Logan Zass: So, I have like the local bars where I usually work at in Boystown in Chicago, which is the gay neighborhood here um probably the most bars. I’m going to say the three bars you can catch me at, I’ve probably worked at every bar in this city, even some that aren’t in this neighborhood, um the main bars, like home bars, I would say Brewland Nightclub is probably number one, second would be Charlie’s Nightclub and then you can also catch me at SideTrack from time to time, but I’m usually a guest at most of these clubs, though.
Interviewer: So, it’s this like a weekend thing for you or do you do this every day?
Logan Zass: Um it depends, sometimes I can be booked like 2-3 times a week, sometimes I’ll have no bookings in the week. It usually depends, I’m not a resident at any bar per se because I do work a 40 hour day job, and I still do drag on top of that. So, drag is definitely part time. I’m trying to figure out, I mean I could definitely do it more full time and kind of see where I could get in as a resident at one of those, but I kind of freak myself out with the funds and stuff like, “How am I going to survive?” you know? But it’s definitely doable I have a lot of friends that are full time drag queens.
Interviewer: What goes into getting ready for a performance? I know you said the makeup takes a couple of hours, so what else, how do you pick your outfit? How does it go?
Logan Zass: Um so I kind of go off of the outfits of what I’m going to perform, so when I get booked for a show and then we start talking about themes, or if the show doesn’t have a theme then I kinda pick what I wanna do and from there I kinda think up the costume from what wig I’m going to where to what costume, what shoes, stuff like that, how I wanna do my makeup and that usually takes me, I’ll probably be thinking about it all week, really, like one look. I think about multiple looks, cause you know in Chicago, I’m pretty sure you’ve seen at drag shows, we do costume changes and we switch outfits, and stuff. First you want to think of a makeup look that’s going to be kind of universal for every look that you’re bringing that you’re going to be changing in to, and I usually base it off of the song, like how the song is going to make me feel, I kind of wanna make it, like when I perform I want to feel kind of like I’m in a music video.
Interviewer: I love that! Yeah when we went to the drag show I didn’t expect so many costume changes. It was amazing to me and all of them were great. It was not that one was better than the other, it was, and some of the queens were making them handmade. Do you make your stuff? Do you sew or how do you make your costumes?
Logan Zass: I can sew, but my sewing skills aren’t great. I can fix something, mend something, but to actually complete a whole piece, I’m not there yet. I do have other people make my outfits, like I pay people to make my custom stuff. Sewing is not out of reach for me so say, if I did Drag Race or something I could definitely pull something together, I would definitely have a pattern with me. But, yeah, it’s not my strong suit. It’s not something I could technically say I enjoy doing, like most queens enjoy making a costume, it’s just that I get frustrated with and like “I’m not having fun here so I’m not going to do it.”
Interviewer: What are your biggest challenges to doing drag and being a drag queen? What do you think is like, hard? Is there anything hard about it or challenging?
Logan Zass: Um yeah there’s always challenges, I guess there’s a couple. Staying relevant is really hard sometimes, because if you’re not going to be in the clubs all the time um then it is really hard to kinda stay and have good momentum, like continuously have bookings and stuff, because I feel like if you wanna take a break then you kinda have to figure out when and how you’re going to step back in, you have to have like a really good friend who runs the show whose going to be like “Yeah you can come back now,” um and then also maintaining your sanity, because I feel like doing drag, if you’re doing drag all the time can definitely, take a toll on you, you know like being in a nightclub all the time is really, really bad if you think of it, and if you have the willpower to not get drunk every single night while you’re doing these things, you’re probably doing a really good job, because I am a self-proclaimed, like I go by Logan Zass, The Pint Sized Pimp and Party Princess, so besides performing I love being a socialite and being a socialite if you’re at a bar means a lot of drinking, so I don’t say I don’t have a drinking problem, but when I’m in the show and in the gig and stuff like that, I would say sometimes drinking too much is definitely hard for me, cause I don’t know when to stop. Because you’re having fun and stuff like that then you’re like “Wait, I’m out here taking all these shots with all these people and I forgot I have to do a number in 5 minutes.” It’s hard. and you get up there and the lights and all that alcohol hits you and you’re like “What’s my words again?” There’s a couple times where I’m up there and I’m looking at the video and I’m like “What was I doing?” Having too much fun. You always need to remember that this is still a job, that’s sometimes the hard part. It’s just like, you’re having so much fun but still take it seriously, you’re working. That’s what I try to tell my drag daughters, like it’s okay to have a great time, but just remember that you’re out there, someone is paying you to do something, take it seriously.
Interviewer: I agree, so Is there anything unique to the drag scene in Chicago compared to other places in the country or world? What do you think Chicago has to offer differently or anything of that nature?
Logan Zass: Ooh, like I always say every queen loves the city they came from, and they’re usually like… I think Chicago has some of the best drag in the world, simply because I think everything here is so polished, like there’s something about Chicago, like when I go to other cities and stuff, and I don’t know if it’s just me being nitpicky but the queens there just don’t, like they’re great and I’m not saying they’re awful, but I feel like when we set the level like we do here, I just feel like it makes it better. Like a lot of cities don’t do outfit changes, a lot of cities don’t wear nails, a lot of cities don’t wear boobs, and there’s just different things and stuff like different styles in the way people do drag, and I just feel like here it’s just like very neat and polished as opposed to other cities. I don’t know if it’s because Chicago originally started as pageant drag back in the day here, it was really popular here, so I would assume that kind of transcended everything else into the melting pot we have going on now, but the drag queens here who are the working drag queens, everyone is really really put together. Like in New York, New York has some really good drag too, but I feel like they didn’t start getting their stuff together until some of them were coming here, because I remember when Monet X Change was here, did you see her season yet?
Logan Zass: She’s on Season 10.
Interviewer: I just started the first episode, but I didn’t finish it, I was just so excited that I saw Eureka come back that I didn’t even finish the episode. I love Eureka Season 9, I loved her.
Logan Zass: So, you’re just getting started. But yeah, Monet is the one who came in with the broom. I think she came in with the broom. She kinda looks like a little miniature Bob the Drag Queen. But she came here one time a couple years ago before she was on drag race and she was blown away. She was like “Wait, y’all wear nails, y’all do this? Y’all do that?” and I was like “Y’all don’t?” And then I went there and I was like, oh, they all wear one outfit the entire time, they’ll do like three numbers in the same outfit, no nails, nothing. What is this when you put on the smallest pussycat wigs, just like, what is this? And the crowd is eating it up and I’m like, they need to go to Chicago baby, because we’ll show them how it’s done.
Interviewer: That’s so funny because now that I live here for school and I’m really close to Saint Louis, and I have some friends that are from Saint Louis and they just, they do stuff so different. It’s like everything over there, Chicago in 2015 to me, like their hair and their weave, and everything it’s like they just got on to lace fronts and wigs and you can tell and I’m like “You guys, you just need to come to Chicago because I think you need a little help.” I just notice some things I’m like, Chicago’s been there, done that. Maybe Chicago’s just like up one on everybody.
Logan Zass: Chicago is very ahead of the game I think Chicago is a very progressive city, not just for drag but for everything, like what you just talked about. People don’t got good hair in other cities and I’m like “What? Lace front?”
Interviewer: They’re just catching on to things like, and not to get off topic too much but guys, they’re still wearing Jordans that we would never ever wear in Chicago, I’m just like, “Yeah, no, we wouldn’t do that” that doesn’t work for us.
Logan Zass: Drag them, yes.
Interviewer: I definitely agree with you 100%. So, How do you identify in terms of your sex, gender identity, and gender expression? It also tells me that you don’t need to answer any of these questions if you don’t feel comfortable with them at all.
Logan Zass: No I totally feel comfortable. I think it’s very important, and think it’s a very hot topic, Um I definitely identify as queer, most of the time, when I’m out, doing my regular, you know, when I’m not at work basically, I identify as queer. Definitely gender fluid because I do drag, it’s like really hard to just be like “Oh I’m a man” because when I’m in drag I don’t want to be called a man when I’m in drag. I don’t like “He” and those pronouns and stuff like that if I’m in drag. If you call me Seth when I’m in drag I’m probably going to look at you and I’m probably going to push you, I’ll be like “Excuse you.” So I definitely like the pronouns to be correct when I’m in drag. So I usually just say I’m queer, when I’m at work and stuff like that, you know, my professional job I guess I’m just gay, I don’t care
Interviewer: That’s understandable, well, the next question was what pronouns do you use in and out of drag but you just answered that one so
Logan Zass: It’s funny because in and out of drag me and my roommate we’re both drag queens and we both do drag and even when we’re out of drag we call each other by our drag names and we still refer to each other with like she and her pronouns and even when my mom comes up we still do that. It’s weird, my roommate will be like “Logan’s over there and she’s doing this and that” and my mom just gets it, it’s kind of funny. When we interact with each other, when we interact with other drag queens, and other people who just get it, we don’t care what pronouns we use, but that’s just for me, I don’t really know what anybody else goes by. But for me, I just really don’t care. You usually refer to people how you met them, so a lot of people meet me in drag so when they see me they still say she, her and use Logan, however they’ll see me and they’ll still probably say she/her whenever they see me, so.
Interviewer: Yeah, I see that a lot on RuPaul too, like even when they’re out of drag they’ll…
Logan Zass: Yeah in the workroom when it’s just boys hanging out.
Interviewer: Yeah because my favorite one is Trinity Taylor, like she reads baby. She’s like “Gurl that drag was not cute yesterday” or something like that so it’s like I noticed that too.
Logan Zass: I love Trinity Taylor.
Interviewer: Trinity reads honey, I, man.
Logan Zass: Shea and Trinity, that’s who should have been lip synching, just, just so you know, that’s what I think.
Interview: That’s what I feel, too.
Logan Zass: For that crown, but I guess the new rules were intact and Sasha Velour got to that, but okay.
Interviewer: I mean, I love Sasha Velour because I love her drag. I think she brought something totally different than all the other girls. But to be honest, not to throw any shade on Peppermint, but I think that she should have gotten eliminated a while ago and I feel like Shea should have won, honest to god.
Logan Zass: If we’re judging on your track record and how well you did throughout the entire season it should have been Shea and Trinity at the top.
Logan Zass: But, I guess, you know, in Drag Race anything can happen. So it’s just like, we want to throw in a new twist at the end and that’s how you win now. And I’m like, “Oh, so that’s how you win now?”
Interviewer: I’m also like, when it first started, I thought Valentina, honest to God, I thought Valentina had a good shot, but she really messed herself up with that lip synch. She messed herself up so bad, I was so disappointed. I was like “Oh my god Valentina, you wanted to go home, how you did that.” It was terrible. Poor Valentina. Anyway, I’m glad Sasha won because she’s so different and this could bring more candidates like her instead of you know, thinking they’re not, you know, RuPaul Drag Race worthy. But, I just really think Shea, Shea really should have won to me.
Logan Zass: We thought we were gonna have it, we haven’t had a Chicago winner yet, we thought Shea was gonna be the one and then that happened. And I’m pretty new, but it was a very somber day in Chicago when Shea didn’t win.
Interviewer: I was just like “Oh my god” because I just knew she had it in the bag, I knew it.
Logan Zass: Oh, everyone was saying it before Shea got on Drag Race, there were so many interviews with other drag queens and stuff like that like “Oh if she walks in the work room while I was there I would just go home.” So, everyone already knew that Shea was ready to play, so.
Interviewer: I don’t know, I was so, I don’t know, my feelings were hurt. I was like “Oh my god, she didn’t win?!” like “Why?!” like.
Logan Zass: For somebody who has like, I was doing like, I had done Shea’s amateur- Shea was running shows and I was competing in her shows and to just be in a basement with her and to see her get ready, and watch her perform, and not only look beautiful, but have these amazing costumes and then move the way she moves. It’s very intimidating, but it’s very inspiring.
Interviewer: Yeah, she’s really, really good. So, how has drag influenced your sex and gender identities, and if so like… I’m sorry the question was, Has drag influenced your sex and gender identities and if so, how?
Logan Zass: Um, it has actually. It’s influenced it a lot because it made me one love myself a lot more and appreciate the way I look out of drag. So, I think that’s what it is because before I was doing drag I would spend so much time trying to be a perfect boy, trying to look amazing um, and then once I started doing drag I just didn’t care anymore. I just didn’t care I was like ‘you know what I look great, I love this,” drag really has like helped me love myself like and my identity more than I ever did before I was doing drag, which is kinda silly, because if you think of it because you take all the makeup off and then all of a sudden you’re like “Wow, I like this.”
Interviewer: That’s beautiful, I love it, I love it. Has drag influenced how you think about gender? If so, how?
Logan Zass: Umm yeah, because before I was doing drag I really didn’t understand gender and gender identity and what people thought of themselves and what are the correct terms and pronouns and stuff, and it wasn’t until I started doing drag that I learned to respect it and then I learned that everything is not so black and white and that there’s a whole gray area out there, that’s a beautiful area and there’s so much you can learn about. So that really taught me a lot because I have a lot of friends that don’t just go by gay or they aren’t just lesbian and they do have separate pronouns, so that’s been really helpful.
Interviewer: I learned about all the different, well I knew there was different pronouns for everything but it was just more than I thought and I was like “I’m so happy that I opened my mind to this because I would hate to offend anyone.” You know what I mean? That uses different pronouns that I didn’t even know about, so I was happy I took this class because of things like that too. We lost five minutes, it’s okay, don’t worry about it. My recording stopped on me, I’m sorry, I heard everything you said. It just made me, it just shocked me a little bit.
Logan Zass: I’m pretty sure that’s not a great feeling, when you saw that I was like “Oh, man”
Interviewer: Oh, my goodness, okay, we should be okay now. I think we only lost about four or five minutes, so that’s okay.[The audio recording is missing the next piece, but it was transcribed by the interviewer.]
Interviewer: Hasdrag impacted your confidence as a person when you are out of drag? (If so, how?)
Logan Zass: Girl, I’m way more confident now, when I’m on that stage I’m Beyoncé and no one can tell me different. Drag gives you the encouragement to be the person you always wanted to be inside.
Interviewer: If you could go back in time as Logan Zass what advice would Logan Zass give to your younger self?
Logan Zass: Two words: Be yourself.[The audio recording resumes here.]
Interviewer: I’m curious if and how your social identities have impacted your experience of drag, or vice-versa, how drag has impacted your identities. Can you share about how one or more of your social identities, such as your gender, race, class, your age, geography, religion, size, sexuality, disability, anything like that has impacted your drag? How do you think those things coincide?
Logan Zass: I think it goes back to what I was just saying, if I could go back and talk to old Logan and tell old Logan, “Girl, you don’t need to be a white girl to get booked, it’s going to be okay,” because that’s what I thought was an issue like most of the queens who are working are white, so I definitely felt like coming from a mixed background, like I’m Black and Puerto Rican so I definitely thought like “Oh, this isn’t is palatable” there’s a very select few girls of color that they choose to put in these shows, um and I thought I wasn’t going to be one of them, and sometimes I wasn’t which is fine, but I didn’t think that, that would be something that would really bother me, and it really didn’t occur to me until some of my friends were like “Why do you do that, why do you paint like that” like some people when I get out of drag would be like “oh I thought you were white” and that would really hurt my feelings because then, like, certain shows like Black Girl Magic came out and I wasn’t doing that, and then other shows called Doodle which is Latinx and stuff like that, and I wasn’t being asked to do any of these things and I was getting very offended, and I was just like “Why am I not being asked to participate when this is my culture?” and my roommate was like “Girl look at the way you paint, get it together,” so I definitely feel like that helped back then, it definitely helped me get to where I am now, because now I’m more confident in what I do and I know exactly who Logan Zass is and does and represents and that’d definitely come from having a little self-realization and loving yourself a little bit more.
Interviewer: Do you think you defined whiteness as the standard of beauty when you first began?
Logan Zass: Yeah, that’s what I thought in drag at least. Through drag, the drag world, it definitely seems to palate towards making a white woman or the features that a white woman have beautiful, and even in terms of what RuPaul does, she doesn’t really help in that sense, of like, she always wears a blonde wig and she wears these gorgeous gowns, and then she’s like, it doesn’t really help because the one person we’re looking to who is a black man who does that, and we’re like “Oh that’s what I have to do.”
Interviewer: I never realized that until you said it, but she does wear a lot of lighter makeup.
Logan Zass: And I’m not trying to throw her any shade or anything, but like her thing is being like, is being like, like a trophy almost. And it’s just like a trophy-style real white woman. But I do know where RuPaul’s character is coming from, if you’ve ever watched a movie called The Queen, from the 60s, it’s like a pageant movie in the 60s. RuPaul is definitely kind of inspired by this one drag queen, who did drag until she died in her 90s by the way. Her name is Flawless Sabrina, and it was very bad. If you ever look up Flawless Sabrina you’ll definitely see where RuPaul draws his inspo from.
Interviewer: I’ll definitely look it up, because I’m like one of those type of people, like, I like to know everything about what I’m interested in.
Logan Zass: You should look it up. It’s such a good movie. There’s a lot of racial issues in that movie, it’s in the 60s and there’s a lot of riggery and stuff like that, but. The judge of the movie, that I’m like, “Oh my god, that’s RuPaul, mixed with like Alaska Thunderfuck. That’s her.”
Interviewer: Wow, I’m going to look that up, because we have to do a film review also for this class and it has to be a drag, uh a drag based movie.
Logan Zass: Oh my god, you should totally do it on that. You can find it on YouTube, by the way, too.
Interviewer: Okay, I’ll definitely do that because I watch, I watched, it’s new on Netflix, it’s called Dumplin’, but it has a drag spiel in it, but I want to watch something more because I didn’t think it was that draggy, it wasn’t.
Logan Zass: Well you want something all about drag then.
Interviewer: Exactly, it was more like, you know, the drag queens help the kids win the pageant or whatever, but I want to watch something more like, drag based, so I’ll definitely watch that one.
Logan Zass: You should definitely watch The Queen. You might have to type in like 1960 something and it’ll pop up, but.
Interviewer: I’ll definitely, definitely look that up, because I was like, I mean, I could write a review on it, but it’s not anything, I’m like “Oh yeah, this was definitely drag related” it was okay, it wasn’t the best to me. Okay, last, well, it’s not the last question, we have about six more, how do you define drag?
Logan Zass: Ooh, I define drag as, so drag to me is basically anything that you’re not, in your everyday. I mean, I guess people say like every day is your drag, and stuff like that because it’s your, you’re not naked or whatever, but I think drag is almost like fantasy. Like, you get up and become something that you wouldn’t particularly wear on the street every single day, and it’s kind of like taking it to a fantasy world and becoming like a superhero, so that’s kinda of what like I look at it as.
Interviewer: So, what do you think is the purpose of drag?
Logan Zass: Oh, the purpose of drag is definitely one, to look good, just kidding, two, it’s definitely kind of making everything a question mark. I think that’s what drag is for, to raise an eyebrow, that’s why I love that drag isn’t just for men, women can do drag. If you want to do female impersonation and you’re a woman, I think that’s totally fine, and I think drag is for, to bend all of the rules, there’s really no set rules for drag even though we say there is because we read each other the rules outright. But if you really think of it there’s no rules.
Interviewer: I love that, so do you think drag is sexual? Why or why not? And If so, how and in what way?
Logan Zass: Um I don’t think it’s intentionally supposed to be sexual, no, um I think if you’re, from experience, a lot of guys are sexually attracted to drag queens in that aspect, but like I tell them, I don’t do drag for sex, there’s a difference there. But it can be sexual if you want it to be, is I guess that’s what I’m saying.
Interviewer: I understand, umm, and we’ve been talking about it, how do you feel about RuPaul’s Drag Race?
Logan Zass: Um, it’s done a lot of amazing things for drag, I think it put drag on the map, and it’s made it so much more mainstream. But in that aspect I think it has also hindered drag too, because you know RuPaul always lets us know that “just remember, this is my decision,” so he’s basically telling us you don’t give a heck about what America thinks. You just think “This is the winner because this is RuPaul’s choice,” so that’s why I think it has hindered, and I would love to eventually like to see a new show, can we can get “America’s Got Drag” where we vote for our favorite drag queen, I’m tired of this one person picking our winner all the time. Which, it’s an amazing show, it’s not a bad show but you see what I’m getting at, it’s just one opinion that you are constantly getting to pick our winner, putting on display. Even though they’re kind of winners, and stuff like that, but I feel like some drag queens get done really dirty on the show.
Interviewer: I agree, I totally agree. I would, like I said, I only watched season nine, but I feel like some of the queens didn’t get a chance because some of the challenges, not everybody’s going to be great in all of the challenges, and some of the challenges are kind of like a setup. Everybody was kind of hating on Nina Bo’nina Brown.
Logan Zass: I mean, it’s a TV show so it’s definitely like, when you think of it, some queens are getting cast to go home first and some queens are definitely cast to win.
Interviewer: I agree because the first one to get eliminated was Jaymes Mansfield, I believe her name was, and I feel like, when I, cause I, everybody, when I watched the Whatcha Packin’ for her and I looked at her YouTube and she’s very funny. And I think maybe if they had some more things for her to do that were more comic, like comedian wise she would have stayed longer, but it was the very first episode and they were doing something totally different, so maybe she didn’t get the chance she didn’t.
Logan Zass: She didn’t get to do her kind of stuff, and of course she didn’t do well.
Interviewer: Exactly. Speaking of that, do you think that bioqueens should be allowed on RPDR?
Logan Zass: I do, I think anyone who does drag should be able to do drag race. It’s just plain and simple, it’s a drag show, why not, they do drag?
Interviewer: So, if you could change one thing about drag, the drag scene, or the drag community, what would it be? Why?
Logan Zass: Ohhh, if I could change one thing, that’s hard because sometimes I like the way it is, but I guess one thing I would try and change, or I guess, that I don’t like about the drag community is how cliquey and, you know, like it becomes turf wars and stuff like that, and that gets very annoying. Like everything is like, you can’t work here you can’t do this because I’m friends with this person, it’s like high school sometimes.
Interviewer: I think that comes with a bit of everything, you have that whole high school spiel you could change. Do you think it’s more like, possessive, like this is mine and you can’t have it, or do you think it’s more welcoming?
Logan Zass: I definitely think it’s welcoming but I don’t think it’s a high tolerance level for drag queens, like drag queen to drag queen, like I feel like there’s not a lot of tolerance, like if you do one thing and somebody doesn’t like it, you’re immediately done, I don’t like that. Like why are we so quick to cut somebody in the mouth like that, everybody makes mistakes.
Interviewer: I agree. What do you think are misconceptions people have about drag? Where does it come from? And what do you think would help change that?
Logan Zass: Um, I don’t know, I think there’s a lot of misconceptions of drag. I think one, people thing that we’re freaks, people think that we’re trans, well most of us are, well not most, a lot of drag queens are trans, but I think that, that’s the biggest misconception that we’re confused about our gender identity and what we wanna be in life, like if you come to a drag show you will completely see what’s going on and I think that’s what it is. Like you don’t know what you’re talking about because you’re talking out of fear, and confusion so you have this assumption and that’s what it is
Interviewer: Now we read this article in class about how those who are trans are kind of exiled from the community, is that true? But it was based if not in New York, maybe Detroit. It was an article, either New York or Detroit, I’m blanking on which one it was. But they said like trans people or trans drag artists are exiled from the community, is that true and do you know anybody?
Logan Zass: I think it’s getting better, I do remember once upon a time it was true, but as of lately I don’t think that, I mean I do see as of lately there’s been a lot of incidents towards hate towards transgender women and transgender men, but not as much as before, not that, that’s a great answer but, I think it’s getting better, but I do think that was true like 5 years ago.
Interviewer: Final question, if you could choose one thing you want people to know about or learn about drag, what would it be?
Logan Zass: One thing that I want people to know or learn, besides it being fun, drag is very, I don’t know, you can learn a lot from a drag queen, like from going to a drag show it’s a big learning experience. I know it looks all fun and games and stuff like that but as soon as you go to a drag show, your first drag show you’re probably going to leave feeling so knowledgeable about something that has nothing to do with drag, like a drag queen can teach you a lot. Drag queens is taking over.
Interviewer: I agree, I agree 100%. I love drag queens. Their fashion sense is like, impeccable.
Logan Zass: That’s why we’re in demand! Drag queens are taking over. Did you see that RuPaul was in Vogue?
Interviewer: Did I see RuPaul’s in Vogue?
Logan Zass: Yeah!
Interviewer: No, I haven’t.
Logan Zass: That issue came out yesterday, I was like “Is this the first drag queen to be in Vogue like this?” I don’t know. I need to find out.
Interviewer: I need to look it up when I get to a computer. Well that completes our interview, I would love to attend one of your drag shows if you would like, I won’t be in Chicago till like mid-May, actually I would be in Chicago the second week of May, and if you don’t mind I would text you before I come. I would love, love to attend one of your shows.
Logan Zass: Yes, you follow me on Instagram, I keep everyone updated there on my story.
Interviewer: Thank you for your time.