OPI Celebrates Pride 2020: Butter
How long have you been doing drag?
Just over 2 years.
Due to social distancing, this pride month is different than one’s before. What are you doing to celebrate?
Even though it’s been difficult not being in the mix and feeling that energy of the masses at Pride festivals it’s still important to celebrate and show our support of the LGBTQIA+ community. A lot of activities can be done from the comfort of your own home: online drag shows, recording special messages for the community, offering words of encouragement, going live and chatting with those who follow you. I’ve even done an outdoor group show where we marked off stations 6ft away from each other. I think it’s important to keep up these activities and stay present in the community and not let social distancing stop Pride and the message it stands for.
How has the LGBTQ community empowered you?
Like many LGBTQIA+ I came from a very small town where I was one of (what I thought was) few gay men. I had a lot of questions with very few answers and often times felt like I didn’t belong. It wasn’t until I got a bit older and started to venture out to neighboring cities where there was more of a presence of people like me that I started to feel like I did belong, and I could get those answers. Of course, I’m not slighting any of our straight allies who are an integral part of our community as well. I love every one of them and we wouldn’t be where we are today without them. What I’m saying is, there is something about being around the people who have gone through the same experiences as you that you can relate to on a different level that can really reach a different part of you which is empowering and helpful in becoming the truest version of yourself.
Tell us about your earliest influence with a drag queen.
I remember being 17 and going to my first gay bar and seeing my first drag show. I had never seen a Drag Queen before and was admittedly a little nervous. I was just coming out of the closet at that point so anything “gay” was a brand-new experience to me. Watching the Queens get on stage with their glamorous hair and costumes, exuding so much confidence and fun I was hooked right away. It’s hard to not have a good time at a drag show with all the theatricals and positive energy pulsing through the room.
Can you tell us what the word “drag” means to you?
To me, drag is an all-encompassing word that basically explains a person who is putting on an elevated and sometimes extreme impersonation or characterization of a gender, whether that be male or female. There are many types of drag all over the place, even beyond the obvious Drag Queen/Drag King. I could go on and on, but I recommend doing a quick search online. There is a lot of information out there on the different types of drag.
How did you come up with your drag name?
I actually didn’t come up with my own name. I was lucky enough to have Mrs. Kasha Davis of RuPauls Drag Race season 7 gift me the ridiculous and perfectly fitting name “Butter” a few years back, before I even decided I was going to pursue drag as a career.
What advice would you give to the next generation of drag queens?
BE NICE! I think with the rise of drag in reality TV, many new queens have the impression that drag is a lot of ego, cattiness, and gossip and they tend to follow suit. I’m not saying those things don’t exist in drag culture, but I think it’s important to remember why we’re doing what we do. We like to put on a show, make people smile, and have a good time. I attribute most of my success in drag so far (talents aside) to my personality and demeanor. If you want to get booked, be nice, respect promoters, DJs, bartenders, etc, and work hard! It’s a small community so word gets out when a Queen is difficult to work with and has a tendency to be a Diva. Beyond that, study makeup tutorials, learn from other queens, do research on old school drag and learn where this all came from, to begin with. Figure out your aesthetic and brand and give it 110%. And most importantly, HAVE FUN!
Do you believe that dressing in drag has an influence on culture today? (fashion, beauty, etc.)
Absolutely. I’ve noticed fashion has been evolving to have a much grander and flamboyant flair. And I’m not talking about runway which is always a touch more extravagant, but ready-to-wear for everyday women has taken a more drag-like turn. Not only that, but the beauty community has really leaned in to drag techniques. Just take a look at influencers. Subtle makeup has taken a backseat recently for big cut creases, thick sharp eyeliner looks, and colorful artistry on the face.
How important is your manicure for your overall look? Why or why not?
You BUTTER believe my manicure is VERY important to me in any given look. It’s like the icing on the cake and the devils in the details, baby. Nothing takes me out of my fantasy faster than looking at myself with my hair, makeup and costume looking right tight and gorgeous and then seeing a pair of bare man hands. No ma’am!
If you were an OPI shade, which one would you be? Why?
If I were an OPI shade, I’d be No Faux Yellow! This shade is IT sis. There’s nothing “faux” about my bright electric personality which this shade perfectly complements. And yellow is the color of butter after all ;)
In light of recent events with the Black Lives Matter movement, what does Black Lives Matter and Pride mean to you?
Firstly, the reason we celebrate Pride in June is to commemorate the Stonewall riots which were in response to police harassment toward our community. While it’s not exactly the same, there is a common parallel in what’s happening now with the BLM movement.
With that said, Marsha P. Johnson, a black activist, is credited with throwing the first brick at Stonewall. There, of course, is some debate on whether that’s exactly true or not. But the fact remains that black trans women were an enormous support and force behind affording us the rights we get to enjoy today. They stood with us in solidarity and now we must return that favor.
Whether it be on the front lines protesting, donating money in support or even handing out snacks and water to protesters we can all do our part. With the privilege many of us are lucky enough to have we can use that to help as well by educating our friends and families and not ignoring racism that we see. It’s no longer enough to be not racist, we must be anti-racist and involve ourselves to support this movement. All lives cannot matter until black lives matter.
We also need to realize that saying #blacklivesmatter does not mean others do not. It’s not anti-anything but rather right now black lives are in danger and need our attention.