Nicole Lynn Foxx
// Written by Vinsantos DeFonte | Photos by Julien Orr & Julio Skelton –
You are known in New Orleans as such an independent artist. How did you get into the business of Drag and who were some of your mentors that helped you get into the scene?
Actually, I dated a very smart businessman prior to starting drag who taught me a lot about entertainment and specifically entertainment business. I started drag shortly after we broke up and fortunately everything he taught me was fresh on my mind, so it was easy to incorporate that into how I handle drag business. Honestly, most of my business and creative mentors are not drag performers.
Tell us about your first gig!
My first gig was actually a fundraiser for the NO/AIDS Task Force at the Bourbon Pub and Parade on Bourbon Street. A few friends of mine helped me get into drag for the first time and I ended up winning “Queen of the Night.”
You have a way of navigating between all of the different Drag cliques here in town without getting caught up in the drama. You can roll with the most punk to the most pageant. What’s your secret?
When it comes to people, I remember that everybody is somebody regardless of how they look, act, or smell. Everyone has the potential to be great with a little help or encouragement. Every now and then I stand back and think about the friends that were the most encouraging without judgment when I was going through my own rough patches and hard times, and I try to give a little bit of that to everyone I interact with.
You were a judge at the second Miss Pageant Pageant and your gigs often surround you with the more traditional pageant girls. If I’m not mistaken, you have never been in a pageant yourself. Besides that there’s really no competition out there for you, is it a deliberate choice not to add a crown to your very long list of accomplishments?
I wouldn’t call it a deliberate choice; I just don’t have an interest in pageants. I fully respect pageant queens and their work ethic, but I don’t think I have enough competitive energy to do well in pageants. I was taught years ago that my success would come once I focus on things I enjoy the most, so I’ve made it my goal to focus on the show and the audience, not the competition.
Over the past decade, New Orleans Drag culture has seen an explosion of diversity and has become much more inclusive, both for the performers and for the audience. There is a lot of cross over with the Burlesque and other performing arts scenes. Why do you think that is and what are your feelings about it?
It’s said all the time, change is constant, things naturally evolve over time, and art, regardless of medium or genre, is a tool of expression. I think, over the last decade, artists, both local and transplant, have felt more comfortable and inspired to reach out to other artists that are different from them to help express ideas that they couldn’t on their own. For example, there are a lot of drag queens that give off a very powerful and confident energy that some real women want to be around because it helps them to feel more empowered and confident. I think the bottom line is other than it making, in my opinion, a more entertaining show, sometimes we need a more diverse safe space to help each other grow and become more inspired with our craft.
Besides being the hardest working “woman” in town, in recent years you have been taking your drag on the road. You’ll be spending much of April in Chicago this year. When exploring these out of town gigs, what makes the New Orleans scene stand out to you?
The New Orleans scene has a very diverse performing arts scene in a very small amount of space. You can be at a show with a cast full of pageant queens then literally cross the street and find something completely different, like an art queen performing with a ratty beehive in a vintage gown and leather gloves with gold finger nails on them.
I’ll ignore that last comment, as it is pure SHADE! But moving on…this year you were made one of the Grand Marshals for a long-standing tradition here, The Easter Parade. How did that come about and how are you juggling this major undertaking with your already stacked calendar?
Honestly, I simply received a phone call asking if I’d be interested and I felt that it would be a bit foolish to decline. Luckily the dates and requirements worked well with my schedule. It’s been a fun and slightly stressful experience.
Here’s a question that’s on everybody’s mind and let’s be honest. Who are your favorite local and nationwide drag performers? Of course, you don’t have to list me, as I am conducting this interview in a highly professional manner!
I honestly admire drag performers that take their drag to a nontraditional place. I say all the time that one of my favorite local New Orleans’ drag performers is Gayle King Kong because she completely goes against all of the traditional rules of drag.
You’re a versatile performer. What inspires your choices when putting an act together?
Like Olivia Pope, I go with my gut. Also like Olivia Pope, it may not always go so well, but I remember to never take it so serious. And the most important thing about any art form is learning, building, and enjoying the experience.
You went to NOCCA and have a background and theater and music. It’s such a beautiful thing to see you perform live. Will we be seeing that side of you anytime soon?
Probably not, unless there’s a really big check involved, but eventually something will happen.
You have become one of the major drag producers in New Orleans, as well as a performer. Fill us in on some upcoming projects you are going to unleash on us this year and how to find you.
I recently produced part one of my three-part mini series at the Three Keys in the Ace Hotel New Orleans called “Made From Magic.” Part two will be coming in the summer. So far, you can find me on Facebook by searching my name or Instagram @_nicolelynnfoxx