INTERVIEW: VIOLET CHACHKI - VIOLET GALORE
WHAT WAS THE FIRST FEMALE ITEM YOU EVER WORE, AND HOW OLD WERE YOU?
That’s a tough one! Hmm, I know it was a long time ago. I had to have been like 7 or 8? I started really early! I would go into my mom’s closet and find the most glamorous thing she had and put it on… maybe a little black dress? I do remember vividly that she had these crystal clip-on costume jewelry earrings that I loved to wear. They eventually made their way into my collection and I wore them for a few of my early drag looks.
WHO OR WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION WHEN CREATING YOUR DRAG PERSONA?
I’ve always been inspired by mysterious and intimidating women that had a strong sense of self. I was heavily inspired by Bettie Page, Dovima, Dita Von Teese, and Lady Miss Kier!
WHAT IS A DRAG QUEEN’S BIGGEST ASSET?
I think now, more then ever, you have to have your own gimmick. They’re so many copycat queens out there. You need to stand out. It’s very important to have individuality.
WHAT ARE YOU LIKE WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN DRAG?
I’m a big ol’ queer really. I'm all over the place!
HOW DOES YOUR MALE PERSONA FEEL ABOUT YOUR DRAG PERSONA GRABBING ALL THE ATTENTION?
Lately I've been trying to find a balance between the two and creating more space for my “male” self. I've been so focused on my career for a while now. It’s nice to get to a point when I can relax and shift focus to other parts of my life!
IF THERE WAS ONE DRAG QUEEN STEREOTYPE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO ELIMINATE, WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
That we are just men in dresses. I think that is such a blanket statement. Everyone is an individual and has their own story and journey.
DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A DRAGTIVIST?
IN YOUR OPINION, IS DRAG STILL CONSIDERED A ‘GAY THING’? WHY/NOT?
I think so! For me it is! I've done drag for straight people and it’s not the same! I've done events that felt like I was being used as a puppet, and those events are just a paycheck. Being a queen in a queer space is a magical feeling that isn't easily duplicated. Now that’s not to say everyone can’t enjoy it, but it’s a different kind of enjoyment.
GENDER ROLES ARE SLOWLY BUT SURELY BECOMING OBSOLETE. HOW DOES THIS AFFECT DRAG CULTURE?
I think it just creates more room for even more expression!
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON “FAUX-QUEENS” OR “BIO-QUEENS”?
I love it! I love the idea of celebrating femininity without catering to the male gaze. I think its powerful shit!
RUPAUL ONCE STATED THAT DRAG WILL NEVER BE MAINSTREAM. RUPAUL NOW HOLDS AN EMMY FOR OUTSTANDING HOST FOR A REALITY PROGRAM. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON IT?
I think there is some truth to what Ru said. Drag Race is an amazing and palatable TV show that almost anyone can be entertained by. Drag culture will never go mainstream and that’s the whole point!
OUT OF ALL THE DRAG QUEENS SEEN IN RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE, WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE AS YOUR RIDE-OR-DIE?
IF YOU WERE TO CAST THE NEXT SEASON OF RUPAUL’S ALL STARS, WHO WOULD YOU CAST?
Probably My Atlanta sister Brigitte Bidet, and Evah Destruction!
IS THERE ANY SEASON, BESIDES YOURS, THAT YOU WOULD HAVE LOVED TO BE A PART OF? IF SO, WHICH ONE AND WHY?
Any of the early seasons! Drag was so simple back then and in a way it felt more… authentic? It was almost like drag 101, and there’s something about that that seems so refreshing to me right now.
IF YOU WERE TO COME UP WITH A CHALLENGE FOR RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I really liked the talent show challenge on All Stars. The show has become such a parody of itself that I think its easy for queens to get lost in all the scripted acting challenges. They cast some of the best drag talent in the world, and then force them to do stuff they aren't good at. I think letting the queens shine and own whatever sense of self they have is very important.
INTERVIEWED BY RALPH ARIDA