OPI Celebrates Pride 2020: Miss Toto
OPI celebrates Pride 2020 by highlighting drag queens that have had an impact on their communities. This week we got a chance to talk to Miss Toto from Chicago on how she started drag, her inspirations, and how she's celebrating Pride Month while still in quarantine.
How long have you been doing drag?
Due to social distancing, this pride month is different than one’s before. What are you doing to celebrate?
I am involved in a number of Pride festivals but mainly working with Wynwood Pride and curating a “stage” again like last year, except online. It’s going to be "Miss Toto’s BET”, featuring a majority of black entertainers and black allies to the BLM movement!
How has the LGBTQ community empowered you?
I feel empowered by the LGBTQ+ community because I know a great deal about the history and how we are still creating it now. Being a drag queen is a political statement in itself and knowing the past and being a part of the present, I know that I am able to change the future.
Tell us about your earliest influence with a drag queen.
My earliest experience with a drag queen was when one of my mom’s friends came to perform at my house as a surprise. She came dressed as Ursula from The Little Mermaid and I was so shocked because I thought it really was Ursula!
Can you tell us what the word “drag” means to you?
Drag to me is how you want to be perceived by people in that moment. When you get dressed up for the day and go out, that’s your drag. When you get dressed up in a wig, lashes, tights, pads, and nails, that’s still drag!
What advice would you give to the next generation of drag queens?
Don’t do it. Just kidding! But really, if you think drag is your passion, keep working at it and be NICE TO EVERYONE!
Do you believe that dressing in drag has an influence in culture today? (fashion, beauty, etc.)
Drag culture has taken over the fashion world and the beauty world. Everyone is highlighting and contouring like queens now, and celebrities are wearing looks made by the same designers that drag queens have been wearing for years.
How important is your manicure for your overall look? Why or why not?
I love a solid manicure. Nails are such an imperative part of my look to bring it all together. Outside of drag, I love having my nails painted and then in drag, I love having long nails on.
If you were an OPI shade, which one would you be? Why?
I would be Pigment of My Imagination because I love that smooth blue color with the glitter which reflects just like my sparkling personality!
In light of recent events with the Black Lives Matter movement, what does Black Lives Matter and Pride mean to you?
Black Lives Matter to me is another part of who I am. Yes, I am an LGBTQ+ individual, but I am a Black person first. The movement gained such traction during Pride month and I think it also shows the solidarity within the Black community, the WHOLE Black community.