Jackie Cox is part of a group of queens in New York City who are bringing drag back to its roots. From old school glamour to Broadway sensibilities, Cox came out of the gate in 2010 and has staked her claim in New York City drag circles as a professional, an artist, and someone who has never met a retro tinged look that she could not turn! I caught up with Jackie Cox as she was still flying high from her epic run on the Bravo float during New York City gay pride with a gaggle of Bravolebrities and we carved out some time to talk about her beginnings on the drag scene, the moment when everything changed, and the biggest issues she sees our community facing today.
MC: For those that have never seen Jackie Cox on stage, how would you describe your performance style and “drag” as a whole?
Jackie Cox: Jackie Cox is a wacky good time! I’m your favorite auntie who dances on the table, but I can also be your sweet supportive best sister! I always bring a little retro glam to my drag and love pulling from pop culture references that I enjoy- anything from Disney to Star Trek!
MC: You are known to perform some a vast array of numbers on stage, especially some outstanding showtunes. How do you decide on your numbers and craft your performance style?
JC: I spend most of my creative energies working on my scripted cabaret shows, so with those shows it’s really all about servicing the story and message I want to tell. From there I try to vary up the styles and tempos so you hopefully are never stuck with three ballads in a row!
MC: How did Jackie Cox get her start in the extremely competitive NYC drag scene?
JC: I got started in 2010 in the very first season of So You Think You Can Drag! That was the very first night Jackie Cox was born!
MC: It’s so hard to stand out in New York City and in drag; how have you carved out your own niche?
JC: I think my audience is drawn to me because I bring the quick wit and sass that people have come to expect from New York drag queens combined with a sensitivity to the world around me and the hardships our community faces. That, plus I stand out as one of only a few brunettes!
MC: What is left that you want to achieve as Jackie Cox? Any aspirations to be on RuPaul’s Drag Race perhaps?
JC: Oh I’d love to be on RuPaul’s Drag Race! What a wild ride that would be….!
MC: Speaking of Drag Race several in East Coast girls have won. How do you think the show as a whole has been for the drag community?
JC: It has made drag much more prevalent in the social consciousness and elevated the art form in ways that I don’t think anyone at all (including RuPaul) ever thought would be possible! On the downside, it leads to some people thinking that is all there is when it comes to drag.
MC: You’ve snagged some pretty lofty titles in New York, including the So You Think You Can… title. …tell me about it?
JC: I see what you did there (laughs)! So You Think You Can Drag All Stars was honestly such an amazing experience for me- just the redemption after I started my whole career there and to be joined by such an amazing sisterhood of past competitors was truly surreal.
MC: So tell me about your experience on the official Bravo float that you and Paige Turner, Chelsea Piers, and Ginger Snap got to be a part of. From Real Housewives from every city to stars from Below Deck and Southern Charm, it certainly looked like an epic group! You got to portray the drag version of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Rinna!
JC: Oh boy! It was really something! The Bravo-lebrities are an absolute riot! They were all so fun to be around, making jokes and laughing with us queens (Paige Turner, Chelsea Piers, and Ginger Snap) as if we were just part of their crew! Plus, I do have to should out the AMAZING Captain Sandy who went out of her way to get all the queens ice cold water when we were melting in the sun! What a class act- I’m hoping Below Deck Mediterranean books us on an All-Drag Queen Cruise!!
MC: The gay community has had a very trying few years. What do you think are the biggest issues facing our community and what do you see as your part in helping to address them?
JC: I think there are two big issues in the LBGTQ community right now- the first of course is all the BS that comes with the current occupant of the White House and all the hateful rhetoric he spews about so many different groups of marginalized folks which leads some to think that gives them permission to do the same.
The second big issue I see is more internal to our immediate community. With the passage of Marriage Equality, I’ve seen so many LGBT folks think that the fight is over- when really, it’s just begun. Our whole community- and especially the Transgender community of color- need our help more than ever. I want everyone who fought for marriage equality to fight just as hard for Trans LIVES. It is where our focus needs to move as a community now.
MC: What does “pride” mean to you?
JC: Pride means not being afraid of who you are, it means embracing your entire self and loving every part. It takes so much for so many of us to feel that when day after day we are told we are disgusting and wrong. Pride is when you say NO to all of that and you say YES to being your true, beautiful, self.