To be a fan of TRIXIE MATTEL is to adore this country sweetheart for pushing the limits of what makes a drag queen. “My drag is almost post drag. Like drag queens are characters of women, my drag is almost like a character of a drag queen,” she explains her Barbie meets Dolly Parton aesthetic. People call her make up clown realness; thick foundation, the plumpest lips, lashes stacked for days, and a wig full of secrets. But under all of that marionette Barbie glamour is a bonafide underdog. Her life is Drake’s Started From the Bottom but if Rupaul had sung it. This two time Drag Race loser has achieved the ultimate RuDemption and she got it by being unapologetically Trixie.
“Nobody starts doing drag because they think that it’s gonna be good money or they think it’s gonna be like lots and lots of attention,” the Rupaul’s Drag Race alumna turned Viceland TV star candidly replies. “I never would have thought that I would have gone and have my own television show, never would have thought I would make an album that would sell so well,” she narrates her long list of never would haves. “I mean my life is just one long list of things I thought could never happen,” she realizes.
Trixie Mattel is all about being the unexpected. This goes beyond her aesthetic and strong artistic choices. No one’s doing her look except her. No one’s a country drag superstar except her. She was a critique magnet for her looks during her season. The other queens rolled their eyes when she first walked in the workroom. “To me, the look was never strange because it was my own choice,” she admits when we asked her about her type of drag. “Anybody who makes bold choices in art is gonna get criticism, you know?” she bluntly says. “I’d rather be nine people’s favorite thing than a 100 people’s ninth favorite thing.”
“I’m here to make strong choices of what I do and that’s gonna be polarizing.”
Those nine people instantly grew in numbers after her season. A big factor of that growth is when she got her own webshow and rose to internet stardom. This eventually led to getting their own Viceland show appropriately called The Trixie and Katya Show. UNHhhh is composed of Trixie and her partner in crime Katya. They talk about everything from A to Z behind a green screen; from terrible hook ups to mortality itself. All of that while failing to contain Katya’s obsession with the film adaptation of Carl Sagan’s Contact. They had not only proven that one could bounce back after losing to Violet Chachki, but also the fact that they could make anything hilarious!
“We weren’t even close in our season, you know?” she reveals. “And then after drag race, we bonded a lot over long phone calls and we got to know each other really well,“ she continues the story of their friendship. As the long phone calls grew frequent, they realize that doing their own show was a must. “The obvious step was to do something together because we’re so in sync,” she explains. “We’re like the Beavis and Butthead of drag or rather the Wayne’s World of drag,” she puts her relationship with Katya into perspective. “It’s like when we’re together, there’s two of us. But when we’re together, it’s almost like there’s a third person,” she continues. “It’s sort of like magical,” she muses. And it was.
“My life is just one long list of things I thought could never happen.”
Their bond goes beyond the confines of the Youtube series. You can’t really mention one without the other. It almost equates to committing a felony. They complete each other. There’s no other way of saying that. Trixie is definitely a whole lot less without Katya and it goes vice versa. Drag fans gag over their friendship. Sometimes to the point that they hope that their friendship is deeper than it is (unfortunately, it is not). But one thing is for sure, they’re literally inseparable. “We love to do everything together!” she exclaims. “We actually have a Christmas track coming up together,” she ecstatically reveals. “I played some creepy music for her and then she wrote like a creepy Christmas poem,” she tells us about their new collaboration. “There’s always a way to find the middle, you know.” she quips.
Their friendships aside, both of them are polar opposites when it comes to their style of drag. “She’s a little bit country. I’m a little bit… garbage,” Katya sung in their first halloween special in UNHhhh. The country part of Trixie is what makes her whole, both in and out of drag being Brian Firkus. “I grew up playing guitar with my grandpa. I went to school for music, so that’s what I used to do before I did drag.” he recounts his origins. Growing up in Milwaukee, country music was and still is their heart. But never did she thought of merging both her country side and her Barbie side until she did her drag show, Ages 3 and Up.
“Anybody who makes bold choices in art is gonna get criticism, you know?”
In her show, she showed us versatility: stand up, tap dancing, lip synching and then eventually doing the polar opposite of that. “I started playing the guitar in my show,” she tells us about that fateful night. “ I played I Know You All Over Again. And every night, even though it was an hour long comedy show, people said that their favorite part was the very sad song. It was like a lightbulb that turned on that like: “If I have this talent, why don’t I put the two together?” she recalls the point of her realization. This became the huge pink bow that made her drag complete. She’s now the only country drag superstar out there and she’s making waves because of it.
“It’s like I’m doing drag for the first time. Nobody else in drag is writing songs and playing instruments, you know? This is special and I need to keep doing it,” she affirms us and herself. Trixie’s country album Two Birds bagged the #2 spot in the iTunes charts. In a sea of drag queens death dropping to their own electro-dance releases, Trixie Mattel was the country songbird that drag didn’t know they needed. Like we said earlier, she’s giving you bold choices. She’s the unexpected in pink cowboy boots and she’s not going to Jodie Foster your behaviour if you hate it.
“If they don’t like it, just hit the road,” she shrugs. “It’s never been a problem because I’m here to make strong choices of what I do and that’s gonna be polarizing,” she says with all the frankness in her body. That frankness got her a lot of things. Most recently, another chance to compete for the crown once again in Drag Race All Stars 3. So what does the future hold for this legend, icon, star?
“Oh, I’m going to quit drag. I’m probably live in the woods somewhere. Katya will be dead but I’ll live in the woods somewhere, playing my guitar and I probably wouldn’t think about drag.,” she tells us about her future dripping with her dark as vantablack humor. Is that the premise of her next album maybe? “Yeah, my lost of her—she’s gone,” she shrugs.