Venus D’Lite – The Socialite Life Interview
Already a celebrity in her home state of California, the delightful Venus D’Lite hopes to emerge victoriously and take top honors on RuPaul’s Drag Race!
Emerging from LA’s famous Dreamgirls Revue – which brought us such Drag Race alums as Raven and Morgan McMichaels – this star is poised to light up the drag constellation with her own fabulousness!
No stranger to the camera, this glam goddess is definitely ready for her close up! And, not only does she tuck, she’s done a little nip and tuck in order to emulate her pop culture idol!
Socialite Life: Hi Venus! How are you?
Venus: Great! It’s Friday, I’m feeling good!
SL: How did you get you get your start in drag?
Venus: Oh my…well, I had a friend who was doing drag and then I had another friend who started doing drag and it was just all around me and my curiosity got a hold of me and I wanted to do it. I got in it, I went out, I went dancing and got a lot of attention out of it. I got a big surprise when I dressed like Madonna one night – that’s when I really got all of this attention. I was just so surprised – people were saying that I looked like Madonna and calling me Madonna and that was really weird and that’s what really made me want to do drag was that – all of those experiences.[irp posts=6880]
SL: Were you a big Madonna fan before you started dressing up like her?
Venus: I’ve been a huge Madonna fan since the 80s. It wasn’t until I was 15 that I really knew that I wanted to be either her or someone like her. Be careful what you wish for! (Laughs)
SL: Okay, I’ll ask – what is it about Madonna, anyway?
Venus: You know what? Madonna to me is a drag queen. And what I mean by that is that drag queens – a lot of them change their looks and they do a lot of variety stuff and they never stay the same, they don’t stick with one look…well some do, but a lot of them don’t. (Madonna) has always been very versatile with her look. She’s keeping people guessing and keeping people interested and that’s what I’ve always liked about her is that she’s such a versatile entertainer.
SL: What is your favorite Madonna look?
Venus: I would have to say the ponytail from Blond Ambition. I think that was my favorite look. I’ve seen YouTube videos that were just crappy – someone just taking it from horrid camcorder from the 90s from far away looking at then screen and even in those crappy quality videos, she looks so beautiful.
SL: On the first episode, it’s revealed that you had a little plastic surgery to look more like Madonna. Was it very drastic?
Venus: To be honest, not really. I had been doing a little research on it and I just did it. I was determined to just go “all in” with my impersonation and my work and my art. So, I did it. Then, after I started getting the work done, I noticed that I was making more money and getting more noticed by other people in my field, so I was happy that I got it. I tell people who are thinking about doing it that if you are really dedicated, you should go all in for it.
SL: Besides Madonna, what other performers do you like to emulate?
Venus: Well, I’ve done a lot of impersonations. I’ve done Paris Hilton – that was my last really big one. I actually got to meet Paris. I’ve done Gwen Stefani, Judy Garland, Cher, Barbra Streisand – those are the main ones I’ve done.
SL: What do you enjoy most about performing?
Venus: I guess I would say the new adventures that come with it, meeting new people, the attention you get out if it, the appreciation you get out of it. You know, it’s not a boring job – it’s never boring, there’s always something exciting all of the time. With RuPaul’s Drag Race going on and me being in it has just added more to the adventure and so it’s never boring for me and that’s why I love doing it.
SL: Is drag your full-time career?
SL: If you weren’t doing drag, what would you be doing?
Venus: Good question! It comes to my mind every now and then…I feel like I would be doing something in the entertainment field because I’ve always loved to entertain or create things and I always wanted to go back to film school.
SL: Where were you going for film school?
Venus: I was going to LACC (Los Angeles Community College).
SL: What was your area of interest in film-making?
Venus: I was interested in the production end of it.
SL: Did you leave school to pursue drag full-time?
Venus: I gave up everything to do drag, I really did. I don’t regret giving up everything because I think it brought me to where I am now and I pat myself on the back for just diving fully into it and you know, I’ve got something to show for it.
SL: When you found out you were going to be on Drag Race, what was your reaction?
Venus: I fell on the floor! (Laughs) I cried like a baby, I couldn’t believe it. I just bawled, I couldn’t stop crying. This was a show I was working really hard to be on and it was a dream come true. It was a total shock.
SL: Did you get any advice from your fellow Dreamgirls?
Venus: Not too much advice…they mainly just told me to always wear comfortable shoes! (Laughs)[irp posts=9981]
SL: Is there such a thing in drag?
Venus: You know what? 4 & 1/2″ heels are comfortable for me. (Laughs) It’s kind of hard to believe, but it’s true! When I first started doing drag, the first pair of shoes I got were 5″ heels and I would walk around in the kitchen and I gotten so used to walking on really high heels that when I wear a pair of heels under 4 & 1/2″, my feet start to hurt! It’s kind of weird.
SL: Were you intimidated at all by your fellow Drag Race competitors?
Venus: I wasn’t intimidated as much as I was amazed at the entertainers that were there – like Yara Sofia, I was just taken away by her beauty and her exoticness. I’ve known Raja for a while, I’ve known Delta (Work) for a while and there were a lot of girls to meet each of them was unique. I really didn’t see it as competition – I saw it as working with these amazing entertainers.
SL: What did you take away from working on the show?
Venus: I did learn a lot about myself and I learned to take risks and take chances and sometimes let yourself go and not be afraid – to try new things…that’s what I left with.
SL: Post-show, what are your career plans?
Venus: Well, short-term, I would like to do as much traveling as I can, because my favorite shows are when I travel. I always get the biggest response when I travel, so I love traveling. I don’t mind plane rides or being away from home – I actually like getting out of my two bedroom apartment once in a while. I think, in the long run, I’d love to work with Madonna. Cher’s done it, Bette Midler’s done it and Annie Lennox has done it…a couple of people have had impersonators in their concerts and she’s the only one who really hasn’t. That would be the top right there.
SL: On your website, there’s a teaser clip for a documentary about you. Can you tell me a little more about that?
Venus: Oh, yes! I got together with a film student from USC and he wanted to do a documentary on me and really, the documentary is really like an Alice in Wonderland concept. This filmmaker, he’s never been around drag, he’s never seen a drag show, and he has no knowledge about drag – and then he meets me and he gets involved in my world and it’s totally new to him and it’s odd and crazy – and it’s really like the drag world through his eyes. It’s not so much about me doing Madonna or doing other things, it’s mainly his vision of meeting this drag queen after not knowing anything about drag – it’s a very virginal thing to him.
SL: So, what’s the status of the movie? I can’t wait to see it.
Venus: They’re editing it right now – and I still haven’t seen the whole thing, I’ve only seen that clip. Hopefully, it goes well and we get to send it to some film festivals – Cannes would be great. It’s in the works right now and I’m amazed at the preview, so I can’t wait to see the whole thing. You know, there’s not too many documentaries about drag. There really aren’t. There’s Paris is Burning, this new one called Pageant, but they don’t really talk about someone’s life in drag – someone who does drag full-time. I think it would really be something new to show to people.
SL: Would you like to be on film as an actor?
Venus: I wouldn’t mind it…but I would rather be a director than an actor.
SL: What could you share with me in the way of beauty tips?
Venus: My top beauty tip is lots of sleep, dancing, positive energy, if you’re tan – pink lips, if you’re pale, red lips, and a nice bubble bath!
SL: As far as costuming and makeup, did you have any formal training, or did you just pick things up along the way?
Venus: Makeup I learned all on my own. I had no drag mother when I was doing this and I had my boyfriend who was doing my makeup for three years and then I got offered my show at VIP (in Riverside, California) 6 years ago. And, in the time frame, he didn’t have time to do it, so I just got a brush and started from scratch and learned on my own. I didn’t really learn too much about sewing. I can get a glue gun and do something and make some crazy designs, but I never learned sewing – that’s the only thing in drag I never learned. I can make my own mixes, I can make video mixes, I can do hair and makeup, but I can’t do costuming.
SL: Where did you get that fabulous dress you wore when we first saw you on Drag Race?
Venus: I have a dressmaker. He’s made outfits for me since the beginning and he’s made all of my Madonna costumes and he’s a huge Madonna fan. We just kind of get together and we talk about what can we do and ideas and stuff…but that dress…when I went to Drag Race, I wanted a style that was going to represent me at the time – and I always want to change my style up, and during Drag Race, I was really into 60s mod and Twiggy style, so we came up with that dress.
SL: I loved that dress – and I especially loved your wig!
Venus: Oh, thank you! I think that’s become my signature wig, outside of Madonna…that Farrah Fawcett look. I love the 70s, I love disco, I love retro. My house looks retro – it’s insane. When you walk into my house…it’s been called “Pee Wee’s Playhouse”![irp posts=10016]
SL: You’ve already shared your favorite Madonna look, what’s your favorite Madonna song to perform?
Venus: Golly…wow, that’s a hard one…I’d have to say “Vogue”.
SL: Do you have any “guilty pleasure” songs?
Venus: Well, I listen to a lot of underground disco and I listen to a lot of obscure stuff. I have a lot of disco songs that were hits but they made a disco version of it and it sounds really cheesy and corny. I have a ton of vinyl, so when I’m cleaning my house, I put on my records.
SL: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Venus: I have a lot of energy! I love to dance – when I’m not doing drag I like to go out and dance and have a good time. I’m not scared of crowds, I like actually going into the crowd and going dancing and having a good time.
SL: How can your fans best stay in touch with you?
Venus: The best way would be on Facebook. I really hated Facebook when it first came out – I was in love with MySpace – but now I’m getting more used to Facebook.
Socialite Life debuted back in 2003. SL Flashback showcases some of our favorite content from years past. This article was originally published on January 22, 2011.