If there is anyone that knows how to stand out, it's New York City's drag daredevil Maddelynn Hatter. With a strong aesthetic and an even stronger perspective, this drag wonder is truly one of a kind, So much so, that her unique performance style has torpedoed to headling gigs at The Black Party in New York as well as in Provincetown, MA. Between gigs and creative brainstorms, Hatter caught up with me to talk about her favorite drag sisters, her career "pinch me" moments, and how expanding your repertoire is crucial in this business.
Instinct: For those that have never seen Maddelynn Hatter on stage, how would you describe your performance style and “drag” as a whole?
Maddelynn Hatter: Visually stimulating and engaging! I like to look people in the eye and i like to connect with my audience. I like bright colors and a whole bunch of different kinds of music from Fiona Apple, to Marilyn Manson to Zedd!
Instinct: You are known to perform in some outlandish and unique costumes and even more daring performances. How do you choose your material? Any favorites that really stand out?
MH: I honestly need to be physically moved and inspired by the music, or its simply all about the lewk. I'll try to put some concept around what the music makes me feel as well.
Instinct: How did Maddelynn Hatter get her start in the extremely competitive New York City drag scene?
MH: By pounding the pavement and going out every single day! I would make a lewk for every time i would go out and i would archive absolutely everything! Social media helped me a lot and is def part of the game for me. I as a visual artist like to use my drag as a medium for my creative impulses and show it like one would a painting in a gallery.
Instinct: It’s so hard to stand out in New York City and in drag; how have you carved out your own niche?
MH: By being a unique and lovely snowflake in a nuclear winter blizzard!
Instinct: What are some of your career highlights so far?
MH: Let's see…Both meeting Cher and performing in front of three thousand people at Vancouver Pride, definitely! Being the Black Party Queen at Roseland Ballroom, and of course, working at the same club (The Ritz) for over eight years! Having photographed some of the most talented and famous queens in the business as well as having performed all over the United States and Canada, definitely!
Instinct: What is left that you want to achieve as Maddelynn Hatter? Any aspirations to be on RuPaul’s Drag Race perhaps?
MH: Honestly if there is one thing I have learned, it's that life will always find a way to use a queen in any situation. If you want to be successful in this business, always try to find a way to get yourself booked in new and inventive way. Not just shows, but private parties, video and photo shoots, cocktailing, waiting, doing makeup, hair, costuming all the facets of drag can be made into a business and side hustle. You just have to excel and have that certain craft down.As far as Drag Race goes, only time will tell…
Instinct: Speaking of Drag Race several NYC girls have won. How do you think the show as a whole has been for the drag community?
MH: I think that the series has pros and cons. But i know that it has made not only drag super visible, but has open doors for conversation within society that have needed to be addressed for a long time.
Instinct: You are part of a great group of ladies who are bringing a fresh and new perspective to drag in New York City. Who are some of your favorite sisters to perform with?
MH: Zeta Jones. Nasty Queen. Merrie Cherry. Black Lae D. Ms.Ter, definitely!
Instinct: What do you do when Maddelynn Hatter is not on stage?
MH: I work a lot lol! I like to keep myself busy so if its not designing my own fliers, creating a new lewk. or waiting tables or bartending, I am generally consuming some sort of media!
Instinct: The gay community has had a very trying year and politically things are very dark. What do you think are the biggest issues facing our community and what do you see as your part in helping to address them?
MH: Keeping our voices heard. We have to keep being visible and projecting our right as a people and make it understood that we deserve the same rights and liberties that everyone deserves! It has not started with us and it wont stop after us. Human rights are a thing that need to be available to all humans everywhere regardless of skin color, race, or creed.
Instinct: What does “pride” mean to you? How do you stay inspired?
MH: Pride means living your life proudly feel comfortable and happy being your authentic and true self. Always.