Direct from France, Nicky Doll is bringing a dose of Parisian flair to RuPaul’s Drag Race this season. As this NYC downtown dynamo takes her place next to her fellow New York ladies, I caught up with her to talk about the start differences between New York City and French drag, and what its like being thrust into the American spotlight so quickly!
Michael Cook: What is it like looking around and seeing your life changing so quickly, courtesy of RuPaul’s Drag Race?
Nicky Doll: Well you know, I come from a little country in Europe, so all of this has been definitely a lot to handle, but it is such an honor and so exciting and to be a part of this cast, it is such a talented one. All in all, I am very happy.
MC: You are one of a number of New York City girls on this cast. What is it like to be on the show and taking the ride with so many of your East Coast sisters?
ND: You know, it’s funny because as much as I represent New York City, I am not well known by all of the girls. Two or three had known about me as a downtown queen. I am part of the downtown scene, performing for Suzanne Bartsch, Ladyfag, the club scene, while they are part of the bar scene. I am so glad though, to be part of the New York crew though. To me, the most talented drag queens are from New York. They know to sing, do comedy, sew, dance, and host any event for four hours straight. I have lived in California and traveled around the United States and I have never seen girls anywhere doing it the same as New York girls. I admire them and am so happy to be part of their sisterhood.
MC: You are originally a queen from France, spending most of your adulthood in Paris. How does Parisian drag differ from New York City downtown drag.
ND: The difference between the drag scene in France and the drag scene in the United States is that the whole lip sync culture arrived through RuPaul’s Drag Race. We don’t have a Euro dollar bill, we only have one Euro coin; the whole concept of tipping is not something that we do in France. The club usually pays you up front, then you go and perform. We are mostly booked as visual performers; you arrive at 1:30 am, you arrive on stage, and we all have a theme to follow. That is why I have been trained since the beginning to be a “look queen”. You have to interpret the theme into your outfits, and then you do some glamorous go-go drag on stage with fellow drag performers and go-go dancers. The art form that you present on stage is different in Europe than you do in the United States. Through the show and the culture though, it is changing. At small bars you are staring to see the lip sync culture and you pay up front and then they give you fake money and you can tip the queens and they collect the money at the end. The Europeans are trying to find a solution to the tipping (laughs).
MC: Who are some of your favorite New York City downtown queens?
ND: Downtown has some of the most iconic queens ever. Aquaria used to do the same gigs as me actually. She is the best example who was in that downtown scene and really succeeded after.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” airs Friday nights on VH1 (check local listings)