The RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise has consistently defined “groundbreaking” and the franchises that have spun off in other countries are no exception. The latest franchise, Drag Race Holland, features a diverse group of dolls including Madame Madness, who holds the distinction of being the second Drag Race bearded queen (Marie Laveau appeared on The Switch as a bearded queen). While her time on the main stage has ended, we sat down for a chat to discuss her barrier breaking turn on Drag Race Holland, the bearded queen sisterhood, and what the drag scene overseas is like now.
Michael Cook: You are the second bearded queen to appear on the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise and you are part of the inaugural Drag Race Holland cast. What does it feel like?
Madame Madness: It feels unreal. I still have to process it sometimes that this is all happening. I am just trying to live every day; it just feels absolutely unreal.
MC: Diversity on Drag Race consistently is discussed. You have broken through as the second bearded queen on the show. What does that feel like?
MM: It is such an honor to be the first bearded queen on the show. I feel like I did not only put my feet between the door, but I pushed the door open for trans people, bio queens, anyone that wants to do drag. Anyone can do drag in my opinion. I feel like I really busted the door open.
MC: As a whole, how was the entire Drag Race Holland experience for you?
MM: It was like I was living in a pink bubble of the world that we are living in right now. It was a real escape for me to go on the show. I also felt like I was not really aware that I was doing it. I knew I was cast and was happy, but it almost felt like I wasn’t really on the show, even when I was making my outfits and everything. The moment I entered the workroom it was like “I really am on the show, like what the fuck” (laughs)!? I was trying to prepare and everything and did not feel any stress, and suddenly I was there and it was like, now everything was getting real.
MC: On top of that, you were probably able to leave to film without many people being overly aware due to quarantine right?
MM: Absolutely. I was not able to tell anyone and I got to escape to this new world where I could do something different than just trying to survive in this weird pandemic world right now.
MC: Amsterdam is home to you. What is it like there in terms of being able to perform right now?
MM: Amsterdam is the main city in Holland, the capital. We have many nightclubs and drag everywhere, from the restaurants to the gay scene. Due to the pandemic, anything for entertainment or theater has been shut down. It’s not as vivid as Amsterdam used to be; before, you would walk down a random street and see a performer or an act or something going on. It is getting gray now, it is not that colorful any more unfortunately.
MC: You are the mother of your own drag house Maison Madness and you are a larger than life mother for your children, What is some of the wisdom that you try to impart on your drag children?
MM: The way that I want to represent my drag house is that everyone is loved for who they are. We are not trying to push a certain image in the house; I am just trying to embrace everyone’s drag, their aesthetic and their style. I just want everyone to grow however they want to grow and help them grow in the right way. I made so many mistakes when I was starting out in drag. As a mother, I can just tell them what not to do. Like don’t wear H&M, get some good ass clothes (laughs)! I am trying to give them tips on makeup, help them style wigs, and show them how to sew. I want them to be their own artist, but we can still be a collective house of artists.
MC: Every queen has their own style, which you definitely do. What about your own drag; did you want to make sure came across on the Drag Race runway and do you think you accomplished that?
MM: I wanted to make people question what gender really is. People tend to point at masculinity or femininity and I wanted everyone to know that we don’t have to point towards anything, we can just be ourselves. Gender is something we are born with, it does not have to define you. You can just be whoever you are and that is the statement I wanted to include in the show.
MC: Representation is very important and you are representing for bearded queens all over the world, which is very important. Bearded queens can be sickening!
MM: Yes! like Lucy Stoole or Loris Latex in America, there are so many that are fierce. There are so many bearded queens who are so so talented, I would love to see them on RuPaul’s Drag Race sometime.
MC: Does the community of bearded queens have their own conversations and group text thread?
MM: Oh yes we talk to each other a lot , we are like our own community. Everyone tries to follow each other and are appreciating each others drag. There are some shady rumors about each other of course, but it is truly a real community.
MC: It has been a difficult time to stay creative for many performers. How are you staying creatively fueled during this time?
MM: I would say that you must stick together with your friends; do things together. Makeup collabs, teach each other new things, a Skype call, do your makeup with your friends with a glass of wine, just some fun things like that. Try to make the best of the situation and definitely try not to get too into your head about it. I knew that when pandemic started, I was so afraid that everything I had built up was going to come crumbling down. Then I realized I had the support from my friends and they let me know that we were in this together and they were in the same boat. We just had to help each other out. It is about enlightening each other and making the best of it for absolutely everyone.
MC: So it looks like you are the type of person who definitely listens to the universe correct?
MM: It was weird because I was about to lose my job, because my contract was not renewed due to COVID. All of these things were happening and then Drag Race happened. It was like, the signs were all telling me something and I thought “I guess I should do this show now”. I am really the kind of person that listens to the universe and the universe likes to fuck me over as well. When something good happens, so much bad tends to happen and then the universe comes along and says “oh here’s something great”!
Follow Madame Madness on Instagram
“Drag Race Holland” airs on WOW Presents PLUS