On Dec. 5 at Metro Bar we shall be having yet another one of the RuPaul Drag Race (RPDR) queens gracing our fair city. It seems to be the common feeling that the RPDR queens are like cilantro, you either like them or you don’t. When asked if I was interested in interviewing Mx Violet Chachki, it was low, and here’s my reasoning.
I’ve seen maybe three episodes of RPDR. I come from the older school of drag that thought these queens were given something they didn’t deserve with no regard to those who came before them. At least that was what I told myself, when in all honesty, I was just bitter about all the hard work I did in my past. I was seething with jealousy that there was never anything like RPDR when I was younger and they got all the fame and recognition that I felt I had deserved.
I’m a pretty smart gurl, I like to think so. I stepped back and off my pedestal to admire myself in the mirror of life and resolve that green is an ugly color on everyone.
I first noticed Violet about two years ago when a picture of her balls in a tucker surfaced in Vice magazine due to a controversial art show about gender illusionist in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. The second time I saw her was in one of the three episodes I saw of RPDR, it was the
fashion catwalk episode.
The bitch turned it out like mutha! When she strutted down the catwalk in her own creation of a cape-like black garment that before your very eyes – and a literal flick of her wrists — turned into a punk-rock-plaid bat-winged jumpsuit. This very event along with the fact ‘Hotlanta’s’ community has the most dedicated and beautiful queens, lead me to dig deeper and look further beyond my initial criticism.
I simply found an answer to a question I posted on my FB wall, “If you had the chance to sit and have a conversation with Violet Chachki, what would you ask her?” Prolifically, the only response was, “Who is she?
I set out with a tough set of questions that could have sounded a bit patronizing and ended with an interview that had made me fall in love with this self proclaimed “one of a kind collectable.” I realized that this show pony has been in it to win it way before RuPaul was on her radar.
Born a cis male named Jason Dardo, his early influences included his grandmother who was a quick-witted Latin and a wiz with a Singer that made his many Halloween costume dreams come to fruition. A woman whom he lovingly referred to as Mamacita influenced his being in many ways. For the Rupaul faithful you might remember in the Salsa competition Violet changed her name to Mamacita.
Jason had a childhood like most of us. He went to catholic school, found solace and friends outside of that setting, including a best friend he still has to this day named Billy that helps to keep his feet on the ground. Finding his passion early on in fashion Jason would strip out of his Catholic School boy drag and opt for the cutting edge (‘o-the-day eccentric gender-fuck ensembles).
This normal teen with his nonconforming attitude and highly developed sense of fashion left his parental digs at 17 and inhabited and squat with Billy and a motley crew of characters in Atlanta. Graduating from high school he enrolled into fashion design at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).
It was then that Violet Chachki came into her own. She discovered the burlesque scene, Betty Page and her passion for the stage.
Jason made a very bold choice to leave school and hop on the train of his budding drag career, a move that is probably a one in a million gamble for anyone else.
Billy, the best friend, convinced Violet to not just be a pretty face but back it up with talent on stage. Billy knew her on stage and I, for one, am glad he did. To watch Violet perform is mesmerizing — taking elements of drag and burlesque and circus arts and blending them in to one. To watch Violet is to watch a seasoned professional from another era, way before her time, doing something she loves.
So now that VC has won her big title, what’s next? Few know that the day they filmed the winner of RPDR was the day that Bruce Jenner made his big announcement and this came to Violet as a sort of kismet. Not only taking pressure off the day, but a bit of foresight, wanting to help in her own way with her community. Keep on the look out for an auction of some of Mx Violet’s more memorable outfits of which she will be donating to Lost and Found, Atlanta’s homeless youth shelter.
Making a hugely adult decision, Violet bought a condo in her hometown with her winnings. That lets me know that this queen keeps the past in her heart and an attitude of shooting for the stars while taking it day by day. If asked she’ll tell you that her future is living for the moment, touring new exciting destinations and pushing her brand, including the album — a sort of industrial meets French pop sound — that was dropped the day she won.
If I’m going to be honest, her talents shine elsewhere. For her immediate future she’s looking to take a bit of a break during December and have a few drinks with Billy in her new digs, except for Dec. 5 at Metro Bar.
There you have it, like her or not. A queen with a dream who’s just as real as you or me. Give it a chance, I think you might find the cilantro to be delicious, I did.