Nadia Bizness

Nadia Bizness (Brandon Nichols) is a drag queen who has performed across the St. Louis, Kansas City, and Colorado Springs area. She started performing as a drag artist in 2014, and since then has competed alongside big names like Widow Von’Du.


Micro-Podcast: Featured Excerpts from Interview
Audio of Full Interview

Student. 2021. Interview with Nadia Bizness. Sociology of Drag, SIUE, March 23. (https://ezratemko.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Full-Interview-Transcript.docx)



Micro-Podcast

Interviewer: I recently had the opportunity to interview Nadia Bizness, a drag queen who has performed across the St. Louis, Kansas City, and Colorado Springs area. She started in drag about four to five years ago. Since then, she has performed in numerous shows and competitions, including one recently with Widow Von’Du at Hamburger Mary’s, Kansas City. She was a part of the drag house Legend, but since then has made her way into the drag scene independently. What stood out to me was her views on gender expression and drag and the limitless boundaries of them. 

Nadia BiznessDrag, to me, like I said it’s a blank canvas. So with gender, there are no boundaries. You can feminize it. You can masculinize it. You can do all this crazy stuff to just express who you are. So, to a degree, yes. But there is so much. There’s bio queens, there’s drag kings, there’s all kinds of categories of drag. So I don’t necessarily think that you have to put gender on it. Just go out there and do you and perform. 

Interviewer: Drag, in its limitless potential, is a form of self-expression. The artform transcends the binary and how we view gender as a society, not only with satire but with its fundamental basis.  

Nadia Bizness: Drag, I’ll give it to you simple: Expression. That’s what it is, it’s expression. Who you are, how you feel, art, culture, movement. 

https://ezratemko.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Micro-Podcast-Transcript.docx


Full Interview With Nadia Bizness, March 23, 2021

Nadia Bizness: My name is Brandon Nichols AKA Nadia Bizness. I’ve been doing drag for about 4-5 years.  

Interviewer: When did you first hear about drag and what was your initial reaction to it?  

Nadia Bizness: My first experience with drag was through a cousin of mine. I call him Uncle Tony, but his drag name was Latanya Page. He exposed me to a whole new world.  

Interviewer: When did you start performing as a drag artist and why did you start performing?  

Nadia BiznessI started performing in 2014/2015. A friend of mine showed me his heels, the wig, the makeup, the glamor and I was like “Oh my gosh I can’t believe you do this for a living. I have to try it” and it was just a great experience. The first time I did it my face was completely just ugly and hideous, but I felt so powerful. I loved it.  

Interviewer: How did your family, friends, and other loved ones receive you becoming a drag artist?  

Nadia Bizness: I was actually fortunate enough to not have to deal with the pressures of that. My family was always very encouraging. My mom even helped me get my makeup together, choose the right colors, choose the right shades, all of that. So, very supportive foundation.  

Interviewer: Where does your drag name come from?  

Nadia Bizness: Alright so this is a funny story. My original name was Nadia Fierce. It came from the Vampire Diaries. I loved that character, Catherine and Nadia, that combination. My friends were talking one day and they were kind of making fun of me. They were like “Oh your name’s Nadia Fierce blah blah blah. That’s so basic blah blah blah” and then one day they were like “What’s your name again girl” and I was like “None of your business” like I don’t want to talk about it. And that’s when it clicked. They were like “Oh my god Nadia Bizness” and then from there it just stuck.  

Interviewer: How would you label your drag? Are there any particular labels you would use to characterize it? What’s your style?  

Nadia Bizness: I like to meet edgy/classy mixed with ratchet. That’s how I like to describe my drag. I love the whole leather look. I love the whole black. I love pastels over my chest. I love all that stuff. Open exposure, thigh high boots, high pony tail, that’s like my signature look. I like to look edgy, but polished.  

Interviewer: Is there anybody that influenced your drag?  

Nadia Bizness: A couple people. My mom influenced me. I love her style. I love her makeup choices. My friend Vaughn, he’s always been edgy and different and I just love his confidence in anything he does, so that inspired me as well. And you know celebrities like Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, people who are fierce in their lives and just don’t care about what other people think about them they just go out and perform and give a good show.  

Interviewer: Do you consider your drag political? Why or why not?  

Nadia Bizness: That’s a really good question. In a way yes, because my drag is more body positivity. I’m not like huge, but I am a bigger guy. And I believe in, you know, a bigger guy can wear a two piece, he can wear a corset, he can expose his chest, he can have chest hair, he can do bearded drag, he can have armpit hair and still look stunning and beautiful. My drag is more body positive more than anything.  

Interviewer: Can you talk about what your life is like as a drag artist?  

Nadia Bizness: It’s actually really weird. Being a wedding planner is my normal profession and getting all of the details and work that I have to do, the clientele I work with is exhausting within itself and these people require so much out of you, but it switches gear when I’m in drag because all of a sudden “oh my gosh you’re a celebrity, you’re so beautiful. Oh my gosh let me take this photo with you. Oh my gosh. Wow, you’re so stunning.” It’s a different kind of world, like my normal self. It’s weird, but when I turn on Nadia it’s like huge celebrity, huge attention factor. 

Interviewer: Are you a part of any drag family house or collective? 

Nadia Bizness: I was. I was part of the house Legend. It’s a house that my best friend started, but I kind of walked away from it because when you join a house you follow their rules. You follow their brand. They want you to look a certain way. They want you to act a certain way. And I just, Nadia Bizness, she does not, I’m trying to think of the right word. 

Interviewer: She dances to the beat of her own drum.

Nadia Bizness: Exactly. 

Interviewer: How often do you perform and where do you perform? 

Nadia Bizness: I did perform recently back at Hamburger Mary’s, Kansas City. I was in a drag competition with Widow Von’du called drag survivor. I don’t perform as often as much just because I moved to a new city and the work here is just overwhelming. It was a twelve week competition, and we performed every Thursday for twelve weeks. It was very intense, very challenging. 

Interviewer: What goes into getting ready for a performance? 

Nadia Bizness: As far as the theme, the makeup choices, the outfit choices, the music choice, everything, it takes a couple days, sometimes weeks, of preparation because you know you want to tie everything together. It could take a couple weeks to execute a plan appropriately. Sometimes everything doesn’t even go as well. Sometimes it doesn’t go as planned. sometimes people don’t get what you are trying to put out. A lot of things. 

Interviewer: What are the biggest challenges that you face doing drag and being a drag artist? 

Nadia BiznessI say the confidence factor is huge. You never know what your crowd is going to react to, and somebody like me who battles anxiety and depression, sometimes I wake up and I’m like just not feeling today, and I have a performance tonight and I’m just not feeling it today. Yesterday, for example, I could have wanted to do this powerful song “Girls who run the world” by Beyoncé and just be a powerful movement, but when I woke up that morning “Oh my gosh, I don’t feel as confident or as useful”, so maybe I could do a sad ballad to express how I’m feeling. So I’d say the confidence factor is huge. 

Interviewer: You’ve done drag in a few different places now, do you notice anything unique about each place you’ve done drag compared to other places? 

Nadia Bizness: Yes. There is a sense of, I guess, fastness is the word. St. Louis drag is totally different than Kansas City drag. Kansas City drag is totally different than Colorado Springs drag. To categorize those I’d say St. Louis drag is more pageant, more tiara and crown, stuff life that, whereas Kansas City drag is more edgy, individualized drag like that, and then Colorado Springs is more revolutionary. 

Interviewer: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you as a drag artist? 

Nadia Bizness: Things change with tips. Normally we can walk around and make as much ruckus and get as much money as we need to. With this, we have to stay on stage. We have to wear certain masks. We can’t move around. There’s certain rules. So, that’s been a giant headache as well. 

Interviewer: Do you mind letting me know what the pronouns you use in and out of drag are? 

Nadia Bizness: In drag it doesn’t matter to me. I use him/her, he/she, all of it. And then out of drag I use him and he. 

Interviewer: Has drag influenced your sex and gender identity and if so how? 

Nadia Bizness: I would say yes, to a degree. When I’m in drag I definitely feel more confident, more sexualized, more attractive, just because I have so much going on, and when I take all of that off I am just a blank canvas. So I struggle back and forth with that. 

Interviewer: Has drag influenced how you think about gender in general? 

Nadia Bizness: Drag, to me, like I said it’s a blank canvas. So with gender, there are no boundaries. You can feminize it. You can masculinize it. You can do all this crazy stuff to just express who you are. So, to a degree, yes. But there is so much. There’s bio queens, there’s drag kings, there’s all kinds of categories of drag. So I don’t necessarily think that you have to put gender on it. Just go out there and do you and perform. 

Interviewer: Opposite of the other question I asked, have your sex and gender identities influenced your drag persona at all? 

Nadia Bizness: No. 

Interviewer: We’ve talked a little bit about this already, but has drag impacted your confidence as a person whenever you are out of drag? 

Nadia BiznessI have to do a switch. It’s weird because like I said once I put on the hair, once I put on the makeup, once I put on all of the façade of being a drag queen, my confidence just goes through the roof. And one I take it all off I have to remember I’m not this fantasized person. I’m an actual human being. I have to go out there and be able to put out this confidence that I do in makeup and a pair of heels. 

Interviewer: If you could go back in time as Nadia Bizness, what advice would you give her? 

Nadia Bizness: Don’t be afraid of what other people say about you. Continue the craft, perfect your craft, and keep going. For sure. 

Interviewer: I’m curious about how your social identities have impacted your experiences of drag or vice versa. How has drag impacted your identities and can you share more about how one of your social identities such as gender, race, class, age, geography, etc. and or the interactions of these social identities have impacted your experiences of drag. 

Nadia BiznessThere is a sense of racism in drag and judgmental, all that type of stuff. Being a black queen, you’re expected to act a certain way, you’re expected to be a certain way, you’re expected to perform a certain way. I feel like there’s a double standard within that. I guess, with the social identity part, it’s the same for me being a black male, a black queen, it’s the same thing. I go through the same stuff every single day. 

Interviewer: How would you go about defining drag? 

Nadia Bizness: Drag, I’ll give it to you simple: Expression. That’s what it is, it’s expression. Who you are, how you feel, art, culture, movement.  

Interviewer: What do you think is the purpose of drag? 

Nadia BiznessI think it gives people a chance to express themselves in a fantasized society where they feel like they can’t be their normal selves. 

Interviewer: Do you think drag is sexual why or why not? 

Nadia BiznessOh yeah. Sex work. Kudos to you, kudos to the people who do it. It’s not for me, but I’ve been asked to do a couple of sexual numbers, and I don’t feel comfortable doing that. I don’t want people even thinking about fantasizing about me in that way. But, kudos to people who do it, it’s just not me. 

Interviewer: How do you feel about RuPaul’s drag race? 

Nadia BiznessI love RuPaul, he is a huge influencer of mine. I love him to death. As far as drag race, drag has definitely become mainstream in my opinion. It’s on VH1, the whole world can see it. RuPaul is on a number amount of mainstream commercials, and I think it’s in a great place. People get to see the work that we do and really get to know who we are as a culture. 

Interviewer: If you could change one thing about drag, the drag scene, or the drag community what would it be and why? 

Nadia BiznessI would say the community sense as a whole. In drag it’s very competitive, very judgmental. In the gay community we try to preach to be together instead of being divided, that’s not the case in the drag sense. It’s very competitive very judgmental. Sisters, that’s what we call each other, sisters can be very mean at times, harsh. And I feel like they just need to take a second to look at what we are doing to each other and perfect that and fix that. 

Interviewer: What do you think are misconceptions people have about drag, where do you think they came from, and what do you think we can do to help change them? 

Nadia Bizness: I think that people think that it’s not work. It takes work to be drag queen. It takes money to be in drag. Learning how to sculpt your face, learning what works for you, learning so much about who you are and expressing that individuality, I think the biggest misconception is people can hire makeup artists and image consultants and stuff like that and let them go out there and do their thing. To me, at least, you have to have some sort of star quality. Anybody can go out there in some makeup, heels, and a wig and do whatever they need to do, but to me you have to have some type of star quality, some type of performance aspect, to do what you need to do. 

Interviewer: If you chose one thing you want people to know or learn about drag, what would it be? 

Nadia BiznessTo just go out and have fun, be who you are, be yourself. I tell people that all the time. You just have to be confident in who you are. 

https://ezratemko.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Full-Interview-Transcript.docx

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