Sofonda Cox

Sofonda Cox is a queen from Springfield, MO. While pursuing an education in Dance, Sofonda found her love for doing drag. Mixing drag into the new age, she can be found on TikTok and YouTube in drag, but she also occasionally can be found in the club.

https://instagram.com/sofawnduh?igshid=1xh9syiyhwxrv

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC1xjx7ocbbvRPdoZvqfl_7g


Micro-podcast: Featured excerpts from interview

Audio of Full Interview


Transcription of above micro-podcast

Interviewer: On the topic of TikTok, we can bring it up because like, do you think that’s like, cause I see like a lot of queens I’ve never seen before in my entire life on there, like, what’s your opinion on doing drag through Tik Tok?

Sofonda: Well for the longest time I hated Tik Tok. Like, my sister tried to get me to get a TikTok forever, and I was like, no that’s dumb I don’t care about that. And then when I finally downloaded it, I was obsessed within a couple of days. So for me it’s been great because its kind of forcing me to get into drag, and forcing me to create content without being very nitpicky and making sure I have a full costume. Like I can just play around and put this on Tik Tok and it doesn’t really matter. But, um, I do think that the platform is amazing because so many people can just get their content out there, and even if they’re not followed by a lot of people, It can still works its way onto peoples for you page. Or, just like the way of, um, getting exposure is so different to like compare to any other app I feel like. 


Interviewer: Hello!

Sofonda: Hello!

I: How are you?

S: I’m doing great! How are you doing?

I: I’m doing great! Just a regular Tuesday you know! Well, Hi I’m Josh!

S: Hi I’m Sofonda Cox!

I: Hi guys I am here with Sofonda Cox and we are going to do a drag interview for the Art of Drag. So, I think we are going to get started with the questions!

S: Perfect!

I: First one, when did you first hear about drag and what was your initial reaction to it?

S: Um, I think I was a sophomore in high school when one of my friends came up to me and was like, “Have you ever heard of RuPauls Drag Race? I think you would love it!” and so, I think ti was season 5 when I first started watching, and oh my god I just loved it right away. You know! I was like I stan Jinx Monsoon and felt like very I could identify with her. So, that’s kind of how it started. And then I went to college, and I’m here in Springfield, Missouri, and so I saw like Springfield drag. I saw Crystal Methyd perform like, got into the whole gig that way, yeah. 

Interviewer: That’s awesome!

Sofonda: Yeah so that’s kind of um how I got started off, just through the show and then local drag here. And then, once I started doing drag, I ended up like, figuring out ways that I cold incorporate my love of music, and the fact that I was a dance major, I could kind of put all of that together in my performances, and so that’s kind of what really kind of stuck with me more than just a hobbie cause like, Oh I love this! I can put all of my interests together.

I: right, okay so I’m going to piggyback off of that a little bit, so you’re a dance major, so Im going to assume maybe some musical theatre background?

S: yeah so I actually auditioned for the musical theatre program at MSU and they were like, “Um, that’s maybe not the right place for you, but, we will put you in the dance program and you can always like re-audition later if you want to.” So, I was like fine, I guess I’ll take dance classes or whatever, but it ended up being pretty much exactly what I wanted to do. I ended up falling in love with it. I was working of like a music minor too, so writing songs, and trying to do the whole like music video choreography route, and yeah it ended up working out perfect.
Interviewer: Yeah! So, I have seen on your Instagram that you are a ballerina of sorts, So you do ballet, so is that like something you like to showcase in your drag a lot?

Sofonda: Um, not really honestly, it’s kind of hard. So, the only ways I’ve been able to do drag have been like at the club, you know, on stage in front of everyone, or digitally. I did like a YouTube show, we kind of like pulled together stuff and submitted it and had like a compilation there. But I guess in both of those cases I haven’t really done the whole “ballet” thing, but I definitely would I if I could. I did make, so, in order to graduate with my dance degree, I made music videos as like my final project, and, um, so I did some ballet in there as Joe, but then I also incorporated Sofonda into some scenes, so, she hasn’t done ti herself but I would in the future.

Interviewer: She will one day and that’s all that matters!

Sofonda: Yes! In the future forsure.

Interviewer: Awesome, okay next question. When did you start performing as a drag artist and why?

Sofonda: Um, I started 3 years ago, and it’s pretty much just because I had friends who were already involved in it, so. My freshman year I lived in the dorms called “scholar house”, which was like for the honors kids, yeah. But there was another person there who was a musical theater major, and, um, we like quickly became friends and that was like I went to my first drag performance with her. Watched her in drag and kind of saw her flourish so I was like “I kinda wanna do this!” and eventually made more friends in the scene, kind of worked my foot in. So then, one of them asked me to perform and I was like… “okay sure! Ill make my debut, ill get on stage.”, and it’s kind of been history from there. 

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

Sofonda: Um, good question. My family is, so a little background I guess on them. They’re like um, we all grew up in Saint Louis together, did like the whole private catholic school growing up. I went to an all boys Jesuit high school so that was like very my path. And so then, when I came to college, I kind of found some distance from that and was able to explore drag on my own you know. So I think because of that it was a bit of point of contention between me and my family, just like at the beginning because I don’t think they quite understood what I was doing or if it was like, gender expression, or if it was just some sort of art situation. Um, because they just like aren’t very exposed to drag, and stuff like that. But um, so we’ve kind of just like worked through it and talked about it and were just very open and communicating about it now. Yeah kind of the reason that they were first exposed to it is because of that senior project. Because like I wanted to let them in on the work that I’ve been doing, like I choreographed these and wrote these songs, um, but then there was Sofonda, and so after they watched it, a lot of them were like, “Oh the songs were great! And the dancing was great!” but kind of like not addressing the drag part. But it at least kind of started the conversations for us.

Interviewer: Alright, so where does your drag name come from?

Sofonda: Um, well, I first, my first drag name was gonna be Galaxxie Gale. Galaxy with two x’s and the reason for that was because, um, my friends and I would go to Starbucks and like try to have write down like the most ridiculous name, you know? Um, one of them is like “My name is Glitter.” And she got a cup that said glitter on it and so then when I went up I said, “My name is Galaxxie with two x’s and an I at the end.” And I mean we were teenagers who thought it was so hilarious, but then when I started doing drag I was like, Galaxxie! That’s perfect!” So it was that for a second, but the more I started doing drag and performing. Coming up with this character and personality for her, I was like Sofonda Cox, is perfect! Like, its hilarious, it lets people know that I don’t take myself too seriously, its kind of got that drag queen humor pun situation. Yeah I just thought that it fit. 

Interviewer: Yeah! Alright, so there are a lot of terms for types and styles of drag, are there any particular labels you would choose to characterize your drag?

Sofonda: Um, not really. I feel like, um, drag race kind of gives people the idea of, like, the comedy queen vs. the pageant queen, and um, in my experience, I haven’t even really seen that. That dichotomy there cause the girls at the club, you know, when you show up there with the other girls and we are getting ready in the dressing room, going on stage, its like everyone’s kind of just doing their own thing you know. Some girls are singing live cause that’s what they are interested in, some girls are lipsyncing, but they are more focused on the dancing, you know. SO I kind of feel like the labels don’t really apply these days. Or at least to me it doesn’t. It feels like it doesn’t apply that much because any one can do whatever they want in drag. 

Interviewer: Mhm, Do you feel like those labels are so prevalent only because of Drag Race?

Sofonda: I do think that that does play a part, yeah. Or at least um, the idea of like, being a fishy queen vs. a campy queen, there’s still like that kind of, um, divide there. I do think that Drag Race has something to do with that. Cause in the real world, I’ve seen girls show up to the club in like the biggest paint ever one night, and then the next night they show up looking really natural and subdued, and I’m like, you can just explore all ends of the spectrum and not have to like label it. 

Interviewer: yeah, do you consider your drag political, why or why not?

Sofonda: Yeah, good question. I think, I wouldn’t necassrily, um, go out of my way to make a political statement like, usually, the numbers that I make are just dancing, or singing, or performing and making people happy, trying to be fun, you know. But I think it is RuPaul who said drag itself is a political statement, and like just the act of making queer art makes it like, a part of our history and representation as like, a culture, as a community. So, I feel like all drag is political, and at the same time its not, because we are all just hanging out having a good time at the club, you know.

Interviewer: Okay, so, are you apart of any drag family or collective right now at the moment?

Sofonda: No, I taught myself, or watched YouTube tutorials, or just like played around with the sewing machine, and kind of just figured it out on my own, But I feel like nowadays you dint have to have a drag family or, like, be taught by someone as long as you find, you know, friends or other drag artists that you can fit into a group with. 

Interviewer: DO you feel like, uh, like nowadays that that is like, like kind of the new way, you know like the old way of drag was you like kind of need a family to start, cause you don’t know what you are gonna be doing, but now it’s like you can find a YouTube video, do you think that’s the case?

Sofonda: Well yeah definitely. Especially with quarantine, like, I feel like there’s a whole new genre of drag queens who are like, the quarantine queens. You know, they just were sitting around with free time, they starting experimenting with makeup, and like you can amazon a dress to your house in two days, so its like, with technology, I feel like anyone can do drag. 

Interviewer: Yeah, very much an open art form now. Okay, How often do you perform and where?
Sofonda: I perform live like, very sporadically. I think cause I’m more of a perfectionist, and by starting out doing drag with that senior project and like making music videos. I kind of got more into the idea of doing drag for films, so like, being very detail oriented, taking months to work on a costume, and like putting it all together for like very like, a professional looking video. So now I’m just kind of now sort of starting to do live performances again, but its still been pretty sporadic. Like once a month, maybe. So yeah, that’s pretty much it. But I do my makeup and get into costume probably once a week just to film tik toks honestly.

Interviewer: That’s very valid. On the topic of TikTok, we can bring it up because like, do you think that’s like, cause I see like a lot of queens I’ve never seen before in my entire life on there, like, what’s your opinion on doing drag through Tik Tok?

Sofonda: Well for the longest time I hated Tik Tok. Like, my sister tried to get me to get a TikTok forever, and I was like, no that’s dumb I don’t care about that. And then when I finally downloaded it, I was obsessed within a couple of days. So for me it’s been great because its kind of forcing me to get into drag, and forcing me to create content without being very nitpicky and making sure I have a full costume. Like I can just play around and put this on Tik Tok and it doesn’t really matter. But, um, I do think that the platform is amazing because so many people can just get their content out there, and even if they’re not followed by a lot of people, It can still works its way onto peoples for you page. Or, just like the way of, um, getting exposure is so different to like compare to any other app I feel like. 

Interviewer: WE kind of touched on it a little, but speaking of quarantine, how has it affected performing. Like when you perform how is that affected?

Sofonda: It is kind of different in every venue I feel like. Or in every city, they have different restrictions, or in every, um, even different parts of the cities, so, um, performing live is just kind of weird in general. For me, I feel like pretty safe, I perform with a clear mask on, um, the place that I perform in Springfield, they have like buckets out for tips instead of like mingling with the audience, you know. So, it definitely feels like people have been adapting and figuring out a new way of dealing with this situation. Um, but I think that, yeah, the best thing or like, maybe the most notable change to come out of quarantine is just, like, the online presence. With TikTok and with YouTube videos, everyone is able to have some outlet of drag. Whether its digitally or just doing their makeup or whatever, it’s like, it’s become a lot more adaptable, I think. 

Interviewer: Okay, so we’re kind of going to get a little more sociological here, so, how do you identify in sex, gender identity, and gender expression out of drag.

Sofonda: Gotcha. Yeah, I think, um, for me it’s always been a little fluid or just kind of ballpark areas like, I’ve never really pinpointed anything down, just because to me, I’m more of an open person I guess. I don’t think that um that really matters as much, but, anyway, I would say that I’m genderfluid, or gender nonconforming. But I do identify as male and I use masculine pronouns most of the time. So, just kind of a preference there. And then sexual orientation, I’m gay, if that matters, but yeah.

Interviewer: Well it was part of the question so.

Sofonda: Then perfect! But again those are kind of like, just, um, ballpark areas, like labels that I guess help us identify things, but just like drag, everything’s kind of like on a spectrum. That’s very how I feel. 

Inteviewer: Yeah, how has drag influenced your sex and gender identities, like since you started vs before you started?

Sofonda: I don’t know if drag has really influenced my, um, like, expression. But I think they’ve definitely been tied. Like, when I first came out, I feel like I had so much of this energy inside that I just kind of blew up. You know, freshman year of college, I got away from Springfield, and the private schools, and I like, you know, was very gay, very flamboyant, very fem like I still am, of course. But I kind of more felt the need to make that, um, my main personality trait, I guess. If that makes sense. Then kind of as I like grew older, maybe its because it started doing drag but, I kind of more separated my masculine and feminine energies if that makes sense. I think that having drag as an outlet for kind of like, the feminine energies that I was suppressing for so long. That was more of a channel than just my normal daily life, if that makes sense.

Interviewer: Yeah that makes a lot of sense, I feel like a lot of people share that experience. Like, for sure. Um, so how do you define drag? Like overall, what do you think is like the definition of drag?

Sofonda: Oh nice. Yeah, to me, I think the definition of drag is, an art form. So, it’s, yeah, I’d say it’s an art form. It’s like watercolor, anyone can paint with watercolors and say that they enjoy watercolors, but that doesn’t make them a watercolor artist. Like that’s not something that they have trained or specialized in you know. I think that anyone can do drag, and I think anyone can call themselves a drag artist, and really, it’s just a thing you can do. A community that you can participate in. Something like that. 

Interviewer: I think that’s a really important viewpoint to have, especially you know, when we have, uh, drag, like, icons, who say like. What’s your opinion on people who don’t think that like bio queens or, um afab queens should be in the drag scene? Like whats your opinion on people who aren’t cis gay white men doing drag?

Sofonda: I think that’s just the weirdest take on it, you know? I’m like, why, we are drag queens, we are like, the forefront of you know, trying to change culture, trying to change peoples minds and be progressive, so in what world does it make sense to be limiting how many people can be a part of this community? Like, if anyone enjoys doing drag, and like wants to do drag, like that’s all you need to be a part of the drag community. That there’s no reason to like, limit, who can be involved. 

Interviewer: Okay, we have a few questions left, okay, what do you think is the purpose of drag?

Sofonda: Hmm, the purpose. Um, good question.

Interviewer: Very open-ended question.

Sofonda: well I guess it’s like any other art form, its, it’s an opportunity for creative expression, and then because it’s all so, using your own body to express your own art, it’s kind of like dance in that way. I think things are a lot more personal, or can be more emotive, because you’re using your own body as a canvas. So, I think maybe that’s its purpose, is just, expression, and creativity, and like, community building. That’s how I see it. And it’s just fun and uplifting and makes people happy. So yeah, all good vibes. 

Interviewer: So how do you feel about Rupauls Drag Race? What are your thoughts.

Sofonda: Yeah, best show in existence, definitely the most entertaining things I’ve ever watched. The only thing I’ve ever been so obsessed over. I mean there are definitely issues with it, and you know, people talk all the time, there’s kind of like, this kind of twitter situation, or I mean people talk about toxic fanbase, or like, you know, I think there’s always gonna be something that can be brought up. But I think that it’s a great show, I think its done wonders for representation and education. And for so many queer people who just kind of need a jumping off point or like information about the community. Um, it’s just like the most mainstream representation for us. I feel like. So there’s definitely some good points about it, and I mean its TV, it’s kind of all, you know, there’s producers, and theres, it’s just not real life is what I’m trying to say. So, I don’t think people can try to take it to seriously. That’s my take on it. 

Interviewer: Okay only two questions left, and this one is, If you could change one thing about drag, the drag scene, or drag community, what would it be and why?

Sofonda: If I could change anything, I would just, um, I wish that the drag scene were more, were more, I guess mainstream. Or like, more inclusive to the way that we had more shows to represent drag culture than just Drag Race. I think it’s a great show, but we need other avenues, other ways of expression, like, I wish we had more drag queens in music videos, or, I wish we had drag queens just in other Reality Tv shows that you know, don’t normally have drag queens in them, you know? So, if I could change anything it would just be the exposure of drag. But I think we are definitely getting there. Like with TikTok, and kind of sort of the generational shift of, I just think we are getting more progressive and more welcoming for the art of drag, so I think that’s very exciting. 

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

Sofonda: Hm, one thing that anyone could learn about drag. Um, maybe just to, be yourself. Like honestly that’s what drag has taught me, is that, um, you have things inside of you that you didn know were there, and drag is kind of an aopportunity to channel that, and be a different person. And not be so worried about yourself, you know, you just have an opportunity to let your creativity and your expression shine, in a different way. So, I think through transforming myself into somebody else, it has helped me become my own person, if that makes sense.

Interviewer:Yeah makes a lot of sense! Well, SOfonda, that’s all I have for you! Thank you so much! You were amazing!
Sofonda: Perfect! Thank you! I hope I answered all of those questions well enough.

Interviewer: Your answers were perfect!

Sofonda: Perfect!

Interview: Thank you!

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