A self-described “executive queen” with a southern accent sweeter than molasses, Stacy Layne Matthews is the epitome of the small-town girl made good!
Hailing from Back Swamp, North Carolina, this uber-feminine, glamorous diva is ready to make it big and take the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar” on the highly anticipated third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race!
Socialite Life: Congratulations on making it to RuPaul’s Drag Race!
Stacy Layne Matthews:Thank you!
SL: How did you get started in drag?
Stacy:Well I started when my drag mother – who is also my cousin – she put me in drag for the first time for a Halloween contest and it was pretty amazing what I saw in the mirror. So, I started doing more drag and learning how to do my own makeup.
SL: How old were you when you got started?
Stacy:I was right out of high school. I was 17.
SL: I’m curious, is there a gay scene in Back Swamp?
Stacy: Well, (Back Swamp) is pretty much out in the country so if there’s a gay scene, we have to drive to it. The closest city is 15 minutes away, but where I work, I have to drive 45 minutes each way to the club where I work at.
SL: Where are you working right now?
Stacy:I work at a club called Alias in Fayetteville, NC.
SL: When you got the call to be on Drag Race, what was your initial reaction?
Stacy: You know, I was kind of stoked because nothing like that had ever happened to me. And it was quite an experience getting a phone call saying you’re going to be on national television. I kind of had an idea that maybe I would get a call because I felt like it was my time because I had been doing drag for so long and I felt like I needed a break. I was very excited to be on the show.
SL: I heard going to LA to film the show was your first plane ride
ever. Is that correct?
Stacy:It was! It was kind of hectic getting off, getting on, checking in and everything. It was an experience for me!
SL: When you first saw your fellowDrag
Race queens, what
were your first thoughts?
Stacy: I was just so excited because I felt like we were more experienced as a group and I felt like we were better with make-up and hair. I felt like there was more experience. I felt like there were different personalities compared to last season’s (queens). I was just excited to meet the people and just to size it up and see who was what and what everybody had to offer.
SL: What was it like meeting RuPaul?
Stacy: It was exciting, but it was kind of weird meeting him in person, because you’ll stand in front of RuPaul and have a conversation about things…and just watching RuPaul on TV…it was very surreal for me because I never thought I’d be in that situation.
SL: Who do you draw inspiration from?
Stacy: All of the plus-sized performers that I look up to – like Chevelle Brooks and Alexa Davenport – just queens that I’ve seen and watched on stage. RuPaul was an inspiration of course, but I’ve always looked to plus-sized entertainers for inspiration.
SL: Out of makeup, you’ve got very feminine features – you’re very
pretty. Do you think that gave you an advantage in drag?
Stacy: It does because people always mistake me as a female and it doesn’t bother me at all because I’m so used to it. Every time I’m out of drag, people just assume I’m female. It doesn’t bother me, I’m not upset about it (laughs).
SL: Does that make it easier for you to apply makeup?
Stacy: I don’t have to use all of the tricks and all that to try to look feminine because I’m already feminine looking. I just glam it up a little bit and just go on about my day!
SL: How long does it take you generally to get into full drag?
Stacy: On a good night, I can do my makeup in about an hour. And then it takes about 30 minutes to get dressed, putting my hair on and all of my accessories – so, in total, about an hour and a half.
SL: How would you describe your drag look?
Stacy: My drag look is sophisticated, classy. I love to wear jewelry, rhinestones, accessories. I love different hair – I think one thing that’s different about me is that I have my own hair. Sometimes I wear my own hair. I can do different looks with it. I can pull my hair back – because it’s a lot easier since I’ve got long hair to just pull it back and put in some hair on top of it. I think it’s a little classy and sophisticated.
SL: Do you have a favorite look?
Stacy: I love gowns and rhinestones – long gowns and very pretty things.
SL: What kind of songs do you enjoy performing?
Stacy: It just depends on what my audience likes because wherever I go I want my audience to enjoy what I’m doing. You can’t take a song and just do it anywhere at any club. You have to understand the crowd and what they like. I do a lot of R&B songs in the club I work at in Fayetteville and people like to hear me sing live, so I actually do a lot of live numbers – Broadway stuff, Missy Elliott, Dreamgirls, stuff like that.
SL: Have you had any formal singing training or is it just natural
Stacy: Well, I’ve been doing theater since tenth grade, so I have had training with Studio One and Bravo Studios. I had an amazing voice teacher for my theater group, so I got a lot of my training through her.
SL: Is theater something you’d still be interested in pursuing?
Stacy: I would. You know, I don’t just consider myself a drag queen, I consider myself an artist, not just an entertainer but a singer, a dancer, an actress and everything like that. I want to pursue everything, not just drag.
SL: Is drag your full-time career?
Stacy:It is, it’s what I do all the time!
SL: Did you take any hair or makeup classes, or did you pick up your
skills along the way?
Stacy: No, my whole experience with doing drag I just kind of picked up along the way and started using it and perfecting it and started helping other people out with their hair and makeup.
SL: Were you able to get a lot out of your Drag Race experience and working with the other queens?
Stacy: I did. I think we all learned from each other because there’s certain things that I didn’t understand that someone else was doing that I picked up and I learned so many tricks with makeup and hair and just all different things that we all learn from each other.
SL: What is the top beauty tip that you can share?
Stacy: My top beauty tip is to just understand your face, your makeup and just blend – I don’t think a lot of people blend their makeup like they should. To look polished and clean and perfect – just blend your makeup.
SL: Is there any accessory that you just can’t live without?
Stacy:Not really that…I can’t live without my lip gloss (laughs)! I can’t stand a queen with dry lips!
SL: What do you feel separates you from the other queens?
Stacy:I think one thing that separates me is the fact that I’m a performer – a singer. I don’t just identify with just being a drag queen. I feel like I have a little bit more to offer on stage like acting and singing and using my own voice – not lip synching.
SL: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Stacy:Oh…wow…well, there’s a lot of things I’m afraid of – especially the dark. I don’t think a lot of people know that, but I am terrified of the dark.
SL: What are you hoping to gain from appearing on Drag Race?
Stacy: You know, just to better myself as a performer and to just get my name out there and let people know who Stacy Layne Matthews is.
SL: Are you planning on touring?
Stacy: I am. I’ve already started touring. For the premiere, I’m actually flying to Portland, Oregon and back to Fresno and I’ve got some other tour dates. I’m actually doing a show in Alaska in March – that’s going to be an exciting trip!
SL: Are you ready for the onslaught of fans and press you’re going
to encounter through being on the show? Do you feel intimidated at all?
Stacy:No, since they started showing stuff about the show, I’ve been talking to a lot of people online, people who have looked up to me – because one thing I do is talk to my fans and I think it’s going to be pretty amazing. I’m not intimidated at all.
SL: Since you do sing live, do you have any plans to record
Stacy:I am. I’m actually working on some stuff right now, just trying to get all of that situated so I can actually get into the studio and start recording.
SL: What kind of music do you want to record?
Stacy: There’s a lot of queens who are releasing dance mixes but I feel like I’m into more R&B, soulful kind of stuff.
SL: Do you write your own songs?
Stacy:I have written a few things but I feel like I should be doing a little bit more of it. I should start writing more.