One year ago, Belgian Showqueen La Tash won the famous Showqueen Award 2016. An award and festivity that hasn’t been off the shelves for many years and due to the hard work from Selina Pearl found its way to the daylight again. The award came as a surprise not only for La Tash, as the audience that night. Due to a fall she fractured/cracked her upper leg and wasn’t capable of performing at the show. Despite the intense pain and very emotionally affected that she could not do her original act, she grabbed herself together in-a-last-minute-decided-change of performance. Seated on a high stool, enduring the pain and giving it all in her five minutes. The impact of this crucial moment, no doubt supported by the enormous expressiveness, did make her receive the award from Selina Pearl at the end of the night. Now almost one year later and right before she has to hand over her crown to the winner of the 2017 edition this upcoming 18th of June, we have managed a one-on-one interview with La Tash for Pink In Our Lives.
La Tash darling, thank you for letting us use a moment of your precious time and you agreed to this interview. “No sweeties, thank you. It’s nice to tell this story and an interview is always fun. It makes you feel a little bit special, doesn’t it?. I always like things like this”.
Darling how are you now a days? We are almost one year past the event.
“I am doing very well, thank you. It has been an amazing year, a lot of emotions were felt and a lot of memories were made. I got to meet amazing people but the best is yet to come. These last twelve months were a bit of a journey. After the Showqueen awards I needed some time to find myself again and reflect on what I do and what I want. There was a lot of shit going on at the same time and it was a bit overwhelming. But mentally I am stronger than ever right now and I have the SQA to thank for”.
Introduce yourself dear, who is La Tash?
“La Tash is a tacky, loud, loving chain smoking, drunk potty mouth that will always try to make you laugh, but she will also call you out on your bullshit”. What are her morals and values? “Keep it simple and smile. Respect one another and love. And do not do tequila shots! Keep true to yourself and do not let anyone change you. Believe in yourself and you will get there anyway! My life goals is one thing, to be happy and healthy”.
Where does the name La Tash come from?
“It started as Alla Natasha but that was too long as a first name and I do not want people to yell Alla at me on the street, you know… a little dangerous… so I shortened it to La Tash. Alla actually is the first name of the Russian diva Alla Pugacheva, but I realized that was a little farfetched. This is short and easy. Also, it is not La Trash as some people ‘jokingly’ mistake me for, nor is it La Tache”.
And who is Mats, besides being a Showqueen? Are there similarities with La Tash and Mats?
“I really live up to the gay cliché, being a flight attendant in real life and I freaking love it. Absolutely there are similarities, La Tash is my personal psychological therapy. Completely transforming my behavior is not possible for me and I think it is a little frightening that people are actually capable of doing this. For me, La Tash en Matthias are very similar, of course, you are an entertainer when you are in full drag so everything is a little bit exaggerated”. Could you be friends with La Tash darling? “Of course, but it’s probably not going to be a very good combination. We would destroy ourselves”.
Dear La Tash, for how many years have you been doing drag, performing etc? And do you had a Drag Mother, or did you build yourself?
“Nobody seems to realize this, but I am fairly young. As a Drag Queen I mean. I am not young anymore in age but this summer will be my third anniversary. Technically I started in 2013 at “Gemiste Miss” at Hessenhuis in Antwerp. But everything was done for me, I didn’t have to do my own makeup, I borrowed clothes and basically I did not know what I was doing so I don’t consider this as the start of my career. It all started in the summer of 2014 with Drag University at QuePasa. It was a new concept where professional coaches would train you for 8 weeks and in which we would compete against each other. We really hit the ground running and it was a crash course in drag 101. My coach, and now drag mother and life-long friend, is Chelsey Sparkle. The funny thing is that we have completely opposite styles of drag but it worked really well and she and Valentin Strange really trained me well and taught me a lot to become the queen that I am now, and I will always be extremely grateful to them. After drag university, which was won by Lady Infinity, I won Miss Que Pasa in 2015 and after that I won SQA 2016 so the dream continued. But the reason why I started this whole circus remains a mystery to me, I honestly can’t tell you why I started doing drag”.
Are you being supported by your friends and family?
“My family isn’t too happy with the whole drag thing. I think if they came to one of my shows they would probably change their mind but it’s fine. They have their own version of what they think I do and as long as they don’t have to see it they’re fine with it. They love my anyway. But in general my friends are all very positive, because they know the difference between me and La Tash is practically non-existent”.
Darling, who is your example on being Dragqueen/Showqueen/Transvestite in Flanders, Belgium and the world?
“In Flanders I think everyone is an example. There are so many talented queens in this little part of the world and they all have their special little tricks and quirks which I love. They all have traits I can learn from! I am not going to say any names because I will forget people and I will feel terrible afterwards. But the truth be told, I think Selina Pearl does deserve a special little moment of appreciation for what she has done for our community”.
Did the Showqueen Awards change your life dramatically? And does it feel different now performing on stage with the title and crown on your shelves?
“I like to believe that I haven’t changed but that’s probably bullshit. I enjoy performing even more than I did a year ago. Each performance you grow and that’s so magical about drag, it has no limits. A year ago I held back sometimes, but I don’t anymore, it’s balls to the wall every time I step out on stage. The title made people aware of who I am, they know me know. Well, they know my name… I think. But the Showqueen Awards were an amazing opportunity for me; Selina, Davy, Thierry and Eline will always be very dear to me”.
Show Queens frequent use playback from acts and songs. In your acts I see stand ups being lipsync perfectly by the way. Ever considered doing a stand up yourself? And if so, what would you prefer, English or Flemish? If not, why not?
“Oh I would LOVE to do that. But it’s sooo freaking difficult. You’re timing has to be on point from start to finish. I’ve seen some queens do it impeccably, but I have also seen some train wrecks. When it goes bad, it goes extremely bad so it’s a dangerous decision. I would probably do it in English, for me it’s easier to make tacky jokes and play with words in English”.
What’s the meaning of…”get Tashed..”?
“Is it similar like as the Americans say….”a roast”….?
It’s sad to say, but I do not have a clue haha. I just needed a name for my show. It is everything, it’s a roast but it’s also a party, it’s therapy, it’s a blessing and a punishment, comedy and drama, fun and disgusting. I would say come and check it out”.
Your shows seem to resemble RuPauls DragRace!! Is this a right view from your opinion? And do you aim for perfection into RuPauls Dragrace?
“It’s not that I am aiming to conjure the whole RPDR atmosphere and vibe. The American style and their take on drag tally with my ideas about how it should be done by me personally. And let’s be honest, the level of drag is very high. RPDR is also an easy tool to come up with something that goes well with a lot of audiences. I do have to admit that in the past, I have tried to emulate certain aspects of the show but like I said, a lot has changed in the last year. But anyway thank you for the compliment”.
Do you considers Belgian ready for a Flemish edition of RuPauls Dragrace? And who would you promote to for it?
“I don’t know ha ha. It goes without saying that there are incredibly talented queens in Belgium, just as talented as the ones we see on TV. Let’s do a European version, that would make more sense.
Who..? Oh, so many girls. Sacha, Baby V, Ivana, Stefanie, Youna, Brooklyn, Zelda, Selina, Danity, Iluna,… and I probably forgot about 20 others…Can you imagine such a cast? Shit, put them all on season 1, I’ll do season 2”.
Darling, I can’t pull myself about the fact that your acts are a channeling from R.I.P. Joan Rivers and Kathy Griffin. Is there a similar artist inside of you, a so called Alter Ego?
“Oooh Joan , I love her. That’s a really big compliment and I thank you for that. I try to live my life with a lot of humor and a severe sense of reality. I don’t give two shits about being politically correct, I hate it, not just in drag but also as a man. I like to call things by their name. If it looks like shit and it smells like shit, well I hate to tell you honey but then it is shit! And the world needs a little bit more of that. So comparing me to the late Joan Rivers and Kathy Griffin is too much of a compliment”.
Do you consider yourself to be a role model?
“I definitely could be. I believe I have some good qualities I can pass on AND I know a lot of drinking games. For young upcoming drag queens I think there are better role models than me though. But hey, I can still give you good advice, buy me an alcohol and I’ll give you a life lesson”.
Your Victory at the Showqueen Awards came for many including yourself like a Xanax on an empty stomach.Did you had to deal with negative criticism, if so would you like to share a few?
“Of course I did. I heard the stupidest shit first. To read nasty comments from people you don’t know I can handle. But when you read or hear comments about the language of your performance or your padding or your make up from colleagues and supposed friends, (behind your back of course) that hurts.
But I’m sure karma will come around and kick them in the taint at some point”. What have you done with this? Did you take it in or was it possible to shove it aside? “I definitely did something with it. I gave it the middle finger. People’s nasty comments and opinions are not what hurt you, it’s how you receive and perceive them. I did not crown myself. The only think going through my mind at that moment was: where is the bar and who the hell has a freaking painkiller or seven. That does not mean that I think I didn’t deserve it though, I fully realize that I was not the most polished performer on stage that had spend thousands of euro’s to put on a show. Those were not the criteria they implemented. I won and it was fair”. Is it true there is a certain amount of hatred and envy in the Drag Queen Queen circuit? The shade etc. “I honestly don’t know. I’ve been doing this for three years now and I had my fair share of experiences but in general I think it’s quite Ok. Of course you don’t get along with everyone but that’s the same in real life. I have some great drag queen friends that I love and that’s beautiful”.
What made you consider the (revised) act on that fateful night? And were you nervous?“Molitva is one of my favorite songs to do. Originally in Serbian but I prefer to do it in Russian. I wasn’t nervous at all. What could’ve gone wrong? Forget my choreography haha? I knew this song by heart and I stood completely behind my decision. I did it for myself, not for someone else”.
Russian version of the 2007 winning eurovision song contest song by Marija Serifovic, performed at the Showqueen awards and winning this edition 2016!!!
Are you a nervous Queen or just live in the moment?
“I try to live in the moment and be as down to earth as possible. Why stress over something that’s not important or you can’t change. Life is already difficult but that doesn’t mean you have to be too”.
Have you dealt with disappointments? And how do you handle them?
“I can sometimes disappoint myself. Laziness is a really bad trait of me and it reflects on my work as a drag queen. But that probably will disappear with age,I rarely get disappointed because of someone else. The trick is no to expect too much. Of course, when it does happens, you just have to struggle through. You keep your head up, do a show, pass some gas and get along with your life”.
Now a personal question. Do you feel at your place in the Flemish/Belgium Dragqueen world as it is appreciated?
“That’s is a really difficult question and also very personal to me. I don’t have a quick and clear response? I realize that what I do, what I look like and what leaves my mouth sometimes, is not for everybody. People love what I do or hate it, it’s kind of black or white. I realize that it’s never good for everyone. Oh you’re not wearing a necklace, I think you should wear one more ring, oh your lips are too big. It’s the little things but after some time the little things get to you. Of course I realize this is constructive criticism but you quickly understand the difference between constructive and utterly bitchy. Sometimes people put people down to make them feel better about themselves. And now I’m not talking about myself but it’s just a general conclusion. You have to learn how to deal with that. Personally, if I feel tension between me and another artist I will talk to that person asap. Most of the time it’s all based on bad communication anyway. And 99%of the time it is. And of course, sometimes there is a tension between me and somebody else ,but you just don’t give a crap. So do I feel at home, yes. Do I feel appreciated, by most”.
You are regularly see with younger colleagues, who of them is a friend? And with whom are you two-nail-polished-hands on a belly?
“I try and manage to get along with practically everyone. That does not mean that I could be friends with everyone, there’s a big difference. I do not respond well to stupidity. One of my best friends ,obviously, is my drag daughter Xzyra Nrg. She’s still very young and sometimes as dumb as a bag of hair , but I to love to hang out with her, get ready, drink wine and do stupid things. She’s such a kind girl, I love her. One of my other best friends is Dita, dj and bartender in Que pasa. Together we are DiTash and sometimes we perform together. She is a shady bitch and that’s exactly why I love her so much”.
I and many people with me have seen you shine in your Pink powdered dress at Antwerp Pride last year, Huge Market. The responding from the audience was phenomenal.Remembering a very loud applause and much laughter during and after your act! Can you take us back to this moment and your emotions/feelings?
“The whole experience is kind a blurry. I remember being at Bonaparte, changing and getting ready with Selina and all of a sudden I was standing backstage and my music was not working. When I stepped out on stage that was a magical feeling, so many people, performing in your own city in the sun for such an event. That’s something you dream about as an entertainer. I was very happy when the musical intermezzo in the song allowed me to steel someone’s beer and cigarette, after that I was fine”!
Looking forward…what’s coming ahead for La Tash…?
“I’m just going to keep working on myself, my craftsmanship and my life. There are a couple of plans, nothing definite just yet, so not too much I can tell you about haha. I will let you know when I figure it out and when the time is right”. Where does La Tash stand in say….10 years from now? “Oh jesus I have no clue. Is there something like a drag bucket list? If in ten years I still enjoy drag as much as I do now, who knows where it will take me and what I will be doing .The sky is the limit”!
Will you be there on the 18th of June 18 to hand over your crown to the new reigning Showqueen? If so, what can we expect from you?
“Of course I will be there. The outfit is inside my head already, but finances don’t permit me right now to realize it. My performance will be completely different but very true to myself at the same time. I can already tell you it will be something Russian”.
La Tash Dragqueen of the World? “You bet your sweet ass”!
Miss Travestie Belgie or Miss Que Pasa? “I already have the Miss Que Pasa title so who knows”.
Gay Bashing? “Pff touchy subject. It’s a disgrace of course. The problem with homophobes is that you can’t really blame them. They’re either gay themselves or they just don’t know any better. I would say MORE GAY ON TV ! Let’s get rid of religion courses and teach gay culture, how ’bout that”?
Coming out? “That all went very smoothly. Everybody was very open minded and accepting towards me. Sadly enough not everyone is as lucky as me. Just remember that it gets better and that we already came a very very long way”.
The man of your life! “I’ve had the luck to have actually found him already. My Jason is everything to me”!
Transgender or Transvestite? “I’m a drag queen and I don’t have the desire to ever transition myself but I have the most respect for people who do. It’s not something that should be underestimated or taken lightly. And I can only advice that if you have strong feelings about this, seek help because you only have one life to become happy”!
DragQueen or Showqueen? “There probably is a difference but I mean… why? Why the box, why making it difficult? The only term that I do not like is ”travestie”. It sounds degrading to me; I don’t know why”.
Favorite make up brand? “I use a lot of kryolan products, I love them. But I would use anything cheap that looks acceptable in the dark”.
Pam Ann of La Tash Airways? “La Tash airways duh! Although if I ever meet her I would probably pee myself a little bit”.
High heels or sneakers? “High heels.. I don’t wear sneakers. If my feet hurt I just walk around on my socks, I’m probably drunk anyway”.
Favorite music? “I like everything. From Russian pop to American country music. From Julie Andrews to Rammstein”.
Fashion? Favoriete Showqueen Designer of H&M? “Oh lord a fashion question haha. I am 1.88m and build as a man. And you have probably also noticed that I put on a few pounds over the last couple of months, so fashion does not work well with me. I like to have wide hips and huge tits. Feathers, rhinestones and sequins also do not work well with me. I would basically wear anything that looks remotely good on my body and that covers up the flaws. Oh and I love (fake) fur”.
Rolemodel? “Jennifer Lawrence, Gaga, Bob the drag queen, and also some people around me that inspire me and make me try to be the best version of myself. My biggest role models are not famous”.
RuPauls DragRace? “I love it of course. It’s my favorite show obviously. BUT, and it’s a big but…first of all people forget that we have amazing queens here, so personally I think people need to get away from their TV, get the hell off their couches and come and see us. Second, and this goes for everyone, we can’t forget that it’s an American reality TV-show, not real life. So we don’t need to act like it is. It’s not because you’ve watched every episode 5 times that you are an expert. There’s a lot more to it than screaming fieeerce, yaaaass and bitch. Personally I try to take from it what is useful for me, tips, tricks, good advice…etc. Still, meeting those drag race girls last year was one of the most special things I ever did as a drag queen”.
Bianca Del Rio? “LOVE her. Not only for her comedy but she is the whole package. To me she is the epiphany of an accomplished drag queen”.
Catwalk? “With my fashion sense? No Thank you haha, I’ll leave that to the skinny fashion girls”.
Que Pasa? “I consider it my home. This is the bar where I took my first little baby steps as a really ratchet ass, half baked drag queen. I am very very grateful for all the chances and opportunities not only Felipe, but everyone else there have given me. I Will never forget about it and that bar Will always have a special little place in my chilly little heart”.
Queen or girl? “Sometimes you are one, sometimes the other, sometimes both and sometimes none of the above. But you will always be yourself”.
Pink In Our Lives? “Love you guys. I never really had to chance to talk to all of you before that one Sunday night at Studio 54, but I’m really happy we did”.
One last statement from La Tash!!!!!
“I want to thank everyone who has been supportive of me throughout the years and I hope we can have a lot more parties together, have fun, share a laugh and a tear and get absolutely completely HAMMERED. Enjoy life, it’s the only one you have. Oh and if you run into me somewhere and I’m not performing, Buy me a shot mwehehe”. BYEEEEE xxx
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Lesley Middleton, owner of PINK IN OUR LIVES and Christiaan d’Hooghe, Showqueen Reporter Pink In Our Lives.