New York City has been known to be the launching pad for many legendary drag careers, but it has been quite some time since we have seen a force of nature like Boudoir LeFleur hit the Big Apple. Launching her career on Fire Island’s Cherry Grove, LeFleur has taken her Broadway sensibilities and strong work ethic to craft herself into one of the most in-demand queens around. I caught up with LaFleur recently to chat about her rise in the New York City drag scene, her work with The Haus of Assassins, and what legendary queens of New York City nightlife have helped shape her own drag career.
Michael Cook: Let’s start at the beginning; how did Boudoir LeFleur start doing drag and when did you decide New York City would be the place you would make your mark?
Boudoir LeFleur: I started drag in Cherry Grove, Fire Island, and it happened by accident! Ginger Snap saved my cell number incorrectly, and texted me instead of (unnamed local drag queen) to be a guest in her Dining with the Divas at Cherrys! My first decade in NYC was spent as a Chorus Boy, and Broadway hopeful. I had the privilege of performing in a regional theatre production of La Cage Aux Folles back in 2008. I knew the logistics of getting into drag, but I was yet to be what I would call a Queen! My dear friend Michael Beau named me Boudoir, I showed up to the gig, and bam! Suddenly, and like a shock, I knew drag was my calling in life; it was very much a drag fairytale. I’ve always wanted to make my mark in NYC, but I took the long road finding my true home, which is drag.
MC: So many New York City dolls have laid the groundwork for you to perform, true legends. Who are some of your favorite queens that have come before you and why?
BLF: Candis Cayne always mesmerized me. Her showgirl legs are to die for, and her shows were always a glamorous riot. Bianco Del Rio, of course, always gracious and kind, until she stepped on stage, and then we all lived in mortal fear! I was young, in awe, and some of my happiest memories are Bianca breaking us kids in! Peppermint; half of my friends competed in her show Cattle Call. We used to show up with a small gaggle to cheer on friends so they would win prize money to pay rent! She was always a bright smiling light, and her hosting made us all feel like the cool kids!
MC: You have accomplished what many strive for, and have truly made a name for yourself in New York City; what advice do you have for the kids that will come behind you?
BLF: Drag as a career, is an unstable rollercoaster. Get on the ride, and it’s bound to be wild. First, find what makes you different. Ask people (queens) you respect for advice. Always be nice to everyone; you never know who does the hiring! While it is called “show business,” it usually works more like “show friends”; I repeat, be nice!
MC: RuPaul’s Drag Race has given many New York City girls a whole different kind of legacy; what are your thoughts on the show; any thoughts on taking a crack at that crown yourself?
BLF: RuPaul, and Drag Race must be praised for taking drag as an art form and making it a phenomenon. Thanks to #RPDR, drag is accessible and mainstream, can be a serious and lucrative business, and is inspiring so many around the world. While I find my sisters on Season 13 very entertaining, I’m currently focused on creating and expressing my drag fully as an artist not under contract. I live by the phrase, “Proper preparation prevents piss poor performance” and if the time comes, I’ll definitely give it my best shot!
MC: You and Kimmi More are two members of The Haus of Assassins; what is it like to be considered one half of one of the hottest drag duos in the city? What does it take to be a member of that Haus?
BLF: Meeting Kimmi Moore was like pouring gasoline on a fire. I love to collaborate, so it’s been a dream come true; finding someone I respect and work with on such a similar path in life. It’s always a sweaty, semi wild time. Kimmi says our shows aren’t just shows, they are parties. And she ain’t lyin! What does it take to be in the Haus of Assassins? Hard work, honesty, loyalty, ambition(s), and you’re probably a dancer who likes to pop the head like Cassie!
MC: Little Mix’s ‘Sweet Melody’; that recreation is exceptional; tell me about how that came about and the experience; any future recreations coming?
BLF: Thank you! Honestly, I was the last one to say yes. The other queens in our Haus came to convince me of the idea of remaking the entire video! At first, I thought they were nuts, the replica looks alone are expensive! But my sisters wanted to recreate the looks, choreography, and dozens of different angles/camera shots! And that’s not even including space to shoot, equipment, and a small crew of professionals to film and edit. But we have passion, and without projects, there is no creation!
I couldn’t resist, mainly because I’m a major fan of Jade Thirwall, as she is an ally. I was screaming when she commented on my instagram post donning her look, “Go tf offfff Jaaaaadeeeee!” This project (and the pandemic) have depleted the Haus funds, so before we attempt something as challenging as “Sweet Melody,” we need to do some serious fundraising! I loved putting together this drag version of their #1 hit, and the reaction from the community and “mixers” has been overwhelmingly positive with over 250K views!
MC: How have you stayed creatively fueled and inspired during this time?
BLF: I started a new instagram @dragwitch, a YouTube Channel “The Drag Witch,” and website www.dragwitch.com (under construction) to keep me busy for the winter months! When the pandemic was new, and I was wandering through that fog of life, I decided to put together a Facebook Live show that was designed to feel like the televised specials from the 60’s and 70’s, only at home. My roommates, Broadway musicians and actors, started a band “The Riverside 5,” and we put together Boudoir: A Happening. The response was insane, and we spontaneously made the night a fundraiser for The Trevor Project and were able to give a sizable donation. That night is now nominated for a Virtual Glam Award, and I couldn’t be more proud!
I also recently released Stairway to Heaven, a short film directed by Nick Gaga and dedicated to NYC in lockdown. Another passion project, filmed on an iPhone in the deserted city. I transform into drag set to the music of the classic rock band Heart. This was definitely a “passion is greater than perfection,” moment for me, and I was surprised when it was also nominated for a Glammy. Live performances are few, and I’m staying inspired by reflecting on my drag journey so far, and dreaming up many creative projects for the future.
MC: What do you absolutely celebrate the most about yourself and why?
BLF: I’m unafraid of falling down; physically and figuratively. I’m always full out with feeling, and sometimes that leads to slips or tips. I always get right back up, the dips are just part of the ride baby!
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