New York City’s Skye Walker- “Pageant Drag Is Rooted In Queer History”

As one of the crop of new and very buzzed-about drag performers in New York City right now, Skye Walker is taking her own varied interests and merging them with classic drag, crafting a true one of a kind queen. This born and raised New York City doll is keenly aware of the roots that drag stems from and that all types of drag have their space in the community. This self proclaimed “huge nerd in and out of drag” is working to both craft queer cannabis content and grow her Twitch channel as she climbs the ladder of New York City, snagging gigs and at places like The Q and Hardware Bar. I sat down with Skye Walker recently to touch base on her start in the Manhattan drag scene, what it is like working with an ultra talented group of dolls in the city right now, and what the last year and a half has taught her. 

Michael Cook: For those that have never seen Skye Walker on stage, how would you describe your performance style and “drag” as a whole?

Skye Walker: I like to say my drag is very much a love child of sexiness and dorkiness. Almost like your big breasted best friend from high school band class. You know the girl who plays a gameboy in class, but for some reason is absolutely BODIED, yeah thats me.

MC: Let’s start at the beginning; when and where did you get your start in drag?

SW: So I’ve officially been doing drag for a little over three years, but my love for drag started in college. I didn’t have the confidence as a queer person to actually start drag until a few years ago when I decided to compete in (and win) a local NYC drag competition and had my fire reignited. My drag name Skye Walker comes from the fact that my government name is Luke and my parents actually named me that after Star Wars.

MC: What are some of your career highlights so far?

SW: For me definitely winning Lady Liberty, which is a huge drag pageant here in New York City, at the Season 12 RuPaul’s Drag Race premiere party. It was this one night only grand drag showdown in front of the Season 12 girls who were the judges, on their premiere night of the season. The pageant entails a runway and performance and the theme for this year’s runway was women in history and my dumb ass did a God Is A Woman/Mother Theresa reveal gown. For the performance I brought a fierce ass Hansel and Gretel themed drag number, but I was the witch and I ate Hansel’s heart on stage, and the crowd lived and I won!

MC: What is left that you want to achieve as Skye Walker? Any aspirations to be on RuPaul’s Drag Race perhaps?

SW: Skye has two big aspirations besides Drag Race. First is to grow my Twitch channel, which is a streaming platform for gamers and become a big name in gaming and truly capitalize on the fact that my two greatest loves are drag and video games (you can follow me at @itsskyewalker). And then second, as a huge supporter of the cannabis industry, I want Skye to create queer cannabis content and help normalize something that I think should be considered normal. Of course, I plan to audition for Drag Race; it’s such an incredible platform for queens and I would love to celebrate my nerdy drag on that kind of stage.

MC: Speaking of Drag Race, several “pageant queens” have won and made it quite far in the competition. How do you think the show as a whole has been for the drag and pageant community?

SW: As a whole its undeniable that Drag Race has literally launched queer people into international stardom. Now we may not always agree with the show’s takes on certain topics, but the impact the show has had itself is astronomical. The pageant girls haven’t had the best reputation on the show, but I think that’s changing because everyone’s fallen in love with the old school pageant mentality from some newer season girls like Tamisha (Iman) and Jaida (Essence Hall). I’d love to just remind everyone that not only is ALL DRAG VALID, but specifically pageant drag is rooted in queer history and we should honor and respect that.

MC: You perform with a new crop of dolls like Lola Ceilings, Lexington Banks, DD Fuego, & Selma Nilla among others, who are being looked at as the fresh new crop of drag performers in New York City. What is that like?

SW: I find that this new generation of drag is incredibly supportive and passionate about lifting up the community as a whole as well as being incredibly talented.The girls that came before us have been such an inspiration as far as ambition and technique go, so I take the pieces of what they taught me that resonate and then add in my own flair.

MC: What do you do when Skye Walker is not on stage?

SW: Luke is a very simple guy that loves to just smoke weed, play video games, and watch anime. I’m a huge nerd in and out of drag if I’m honest. Im born and raised from Brooklyn NY and come from a very big Italian family, which has also inspired so much of my drag. Most days off you can find me in my bean bag on my Ps5.

MC: Where do you call home now and where can everyone catch you performing?

SW: I’ve never left New York so NYC has always been home! You can catch me all over the city but specifically, you can find me Mondays at the Q, Wednesdays at Hardware and Thursdays at Mom’s.

MC: Who are some of your favorite performers from New York City of times gone by or current? Both that inspire you and that you simply live to see perform live?

SW: Oh the talent that has come out of NYC has been incredible! I’d say Brita Filter has really influenced and inspired my drag. She’s not only my roommate, but one of my close friends and living with her has definitely inspired me. Jasmine Rice, Janelle Number 5, Ruby Roo and Bootsie Lefaris have to be some of my absolute favorite NYC queens that I look up to. For me, what makes these queens above all such big inspirations is that all of these queens know so specifically and so fiercely who they are and they are so amazing at bottling that and entertaining the masses effortlessly for hours.

MC: Important final question; what has the challenging last year and a half taught you about yourself, both as a person and a performer?

SW: This year has been one of the scariest years of my life, but with nothing but time alone forced on us, I did my best to learn and grow and from that, my drag changed so much. I really focused on lifting up my drag because it was all I had and my drag grew so much from that. It was the first year I was able to become a full time drag queen and not have to have a backup job so if anything this year has taught me that even in the darkest of times, if you stay true to yourself and continue to believe in yourself, wonderful things can happen.

Follow Skye Walker on Instagram 

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