July 09, 2007


Interview reprinted from an HX Gay Pride guide:

HX’s Drag Queen of the year Peppermint Gummybear is a breath of fresh air in the Manhattan drag scene—like the cool, minty sensation you get when biting into a York Peppermint Pattie! And bite your tongue before you assume she’s another typically bitchy queen—she’s just as sweet a confection as her name suggests! Young, pretty and talented, she really gave me an inferiority complex—I mean a great phone interview!

B: My name Lady Bunny was a bad joke from the '80's which kind of stuck until
it was too late to change it. Peppermint Gummybear is also a rather unusual
name. How did it come about?

P: I had a crush on a boy who gave me the name because he saw me at home in Delaware as a teen, standing in front of 7-11, pigging out on Gummy Bears and Peppermints. I couldn't resist the name and the rest is history. But I may drop the Gummybear to cut down on calories.

B: You recently lost a good bit of weight, you bitch! I'm soooo jealous! Is it
all those peppy dance routines--cuz I know you haven't slowed down any on
those high-caloric cocktails! How much did you lose and what's your secret?

P: It's no secret! I am so happy to be a walking commercial for Weight Watchers. I was actually talking with Cashetta and Gusty Winds and since THEY had success on the diet, they encouraged me to try it. I admit it was hard--I live in Harlem where the only food to eat is fried chicken and Chinese. But I shed a big chunk of weight ( I don't like to say how much exactly, otherwise the police might recognize me!)

B: Now that you have been voted HX's drag queen of the year, I sure that thousands of career possibilities will be opening up for you. But until then, what is on Peppermint's weekly plate?

P: Wow a lot of chicken (grilled not fried) and veggies! I am so happy and blessed that I was able to leave my darker side behind, and I am very thankful for the chance to work and play in nightlife. Right now I am enjoying my gigs all over the city at Rated X , Motherfucker, Barracuda on Mondays, Lips, Sing Out Sister at XES (which was since named # 1 Karaoke in New York) Therapy and until recently Area. This summer I'm hoping to have some time to spend out on Fire Island with the boys.

B: Do you still have your day job at M.A.C, too? You always do gorgeousmake-up! I'm constantly amazed at the way you cover all those zits on youR back.

P: Ha ha, you bitch! Those aren't zits! They’re beauty marks, all 149 of them! Anyway… That's actually what I was referring to when I mentioned my "dark side"--retail make-up. I'm actually still friends with the kids at M.A.C. I'm happy to still call it home and family and I do special events with them from time to time. But right now I am not working during the day, just shopping.and watching Oprah.

B: (God, this queen even leaves a job o good terms! Unheard of!) You've recently received honorable mentions--you put the "ho" back in honorable--from L and Paper magazines, graced both HX and Next mag covers and nabbed a slew of trophies at the last Glammy awards. Since I'm old and bitter and only go out to clubs that pay me, what is it exactly that you do?
I know that you emcee, lip-synch and have begun recording dance tracks like SERVIN' IT UP. As a multi-talented heifer, where do you ultimately envision your talents taking you?

P: I like to do whatever is fun! Although I went to theater school, I never dreamt that I would sing or dance or anything. Obviously as a queen, lip-synching comes naturally, and over time I started emceeing. But recently Johnny McGovern gave me the golden opportunity to perform my own music, and I’m hooked. The truth is I really enjoy being around people and having a good time. Creating my own music gives me another chance to connect with people I might otherwise not have had. As for the future, I'm not sure where it will take me but I am really excited to meet as many cool people and do as many new things as possible.

B: So you sing live, lip-synch and sometimes lip-synch to your own vocals. How do you choose?

P: I usually just ask the crowd, and whichever drunk answers first, that's what I do. haha. I actually just try to collect as many songs that I love from my past. Some of them are fun to sing along to, and some are best left to the expert vocalists. Although my voice is NOT the smoothest by far, I really enjoy being able to do different things on stage. And I think the audience picks up on that.

B: You have the reputation of being a sweetheart, which is kind of rare among drag queens. Have you experienced any jealousy as a result of your success? (This is your opportunity to read, gurl!)

P: Haha. I can't say that I have experienced any jealousy. except for the burning crosses, graffiti, and bricks with hate notes thrown through my window.

Seriously, not to sound preachy, but I think there is a thin line between bitchiness and hate, which are obviously way too easy to come by these days. Luckily those flavors are not really in my mix. Unless you are a shady cab driver! No, really I think I have felt a lot of support from my friends and family which overrides any bad vibes.

B: What's the toughest aspect to your job?

P: I think it changes. but right now the toughest aspect that I'm sure most queens can relate to, is the self support. I think a lot of people think we just throw on a dress and prance around, and while that is a HUGE PART OF IT, we are our own managers, stylists, directors, coaches, writers, accountants. I think we have some of the most demanding jobs in "entertainment" and NO health care. Not cute!

B: Do you ever see drag as a barrier to "making it"?

B: Yes and no. In obvious ways, being in drag is liberating and enables a person to say and do whatever they want. But on the other hand, a drag’s mainstream success is usually hard to come by. We get the glitz and glam, but we usually make a lot less tips than a GO-GO dancer. I think the only real barrier though, is what people associate with drag since there is an unspoken double standard. I have noticed a drastic difference in how the "hetero/mainstream" and gay communities relate to drag queens.

B: You mean the gays won’t let you blow them?

P: Quit talking about yourself—this is my interview! Seriously, there is a double standard. Straights may bash you on the street, but they may also treat you with more respect when hiring you. And gays can take the queens for granted. But they also pay our rent! In other words, don’t hit me and gimme your money! That’s all I ask!
The truth is, there are a lot of times when I can't get a cab dressed in drag, UNLESS the driver wants sexual favors. Then I give him YOUR number, Bunny, but they usually already have it...

B: Make sure they have my new cell! And the cab problem probably derives from your stiking resemblance to Danny Glover!

Around gay pride, there is often a mini-backlash against drag from conservative gays who claim that we pervert the movement. The conservatives tend to forget that drag queens started the fucking movement at Stonewall
and boo hoo when the press focuses on drag queens or scantily dressed leather men in photos from the parade. Have you ever experienced prejudice from within the gay community?

P: Not directly ( I don't think) but I remember being exhausted, leaving a club I had performed at with my girlfriend, and I was in a race AGAINST a cute gay boi to catch a cab. When my female friend and I got into the cab first, he started yelling at me calling me a prostitute and accused me of using the cab for a "trickl" WITH A FEMALE! I mean honestly...

I have been around long enough to remember the extreme backlash. Not long ago, queens weren't even allowed to enter some of our bigger clubs. and now we’re headlining every night of the week. But to take it to the next level, I’d like to see more drag on our gay networks.

B: As one of the older queens on the scene--I prefer "legendary" to "ancient"--I've noticed many changes in the nightlife scene. Nightlife veterans say that the club scene has died from a variety of ailments: drug crack-downs, high rents forcing bohemians out of Manhattan, or the dreadful "pots and pans" music in bigger clubs, which are closing down right and
left. Or just that fags avoid cover charges, cocktail prices and cab fares by staying at home trolling the Internet for sex. Relatively speaking, you're a new girl. But you've actually been working it for several years--in what ways have you noticed the scene change?

P:I haven't witnessed the full "rotation" yet, but I imagine that some change is normal, and that nothing lasts forever. I absolutely see the connection between gentrification, police crackdowns and the Internet, even within theater culture. I remember being so excited as a theater student to see a Broadway show that I‘d clap and scream and laugh the whole time.

B: Well that’s what happens when you can’t afford a ticket…

P: Ahem! But lately audiences, both Broadway and nightclub seem so reserved and way too posh. Certainly not very colorful. And while the "scene" has changed, the people in the scene have changed more. I do think people will start letting loose again, and that's when the "scene" will respond.

B: For out-of towners grabbing this guide, can your deliciousness be found online?

P:Yes, at www.PeppermintOnline.com. You can also visit LogoOnline.com and vote for my video, SERVIN’ IT UP. And keep your ears pealed for my newest single THOUGHT YOU KNEW, available on itunes.com now!

B: Aren’t you forgetting your other site, www.sloppypigbottoms.com?

Click. Dial Tone.

Hello? Peppermint?