ART: Life’s Hardly a Drag (Race) for Milan
CONDRAGULATIONS! DWAYNE MILAN WELCOMES SUCCESS AFTER RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE SEASON 4
What’s a queen to do after the incomparable RuPaul tells you to “sashay away?” If you’re as versatile as Dwayne Milan, then the show must go on, my dear. The multi-talented performer with a mega-watt smile learned a valuable lesson while competing on Season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. “Keep your wig on!” laughs Milan in an exclusive Q&A with Tania Fuentez Media. “Actually, all jokes aside, I learned who I am as a human being and who I’m not.” For one thing, Milan is no stranger to the stage, appearing in Hairspray on Broadway and currently as an essential component of the “Hot Mess” Drag Review at XL Nightclub in Hell’s Kitchen. Then there’s the fact that Milan is the nicest drag queen you could meet in NYC, according to the Village Voice (keep reading). By the way, this gracious South Carolina native really has what it takes to light up a room. “When I can’t fully translate gender specific ideas or visuals as Dwayne, I channel them through Milan … I never sought out to make Milan a “character.” I just wanted to make sure Milan exuded a strong sense of character.”
TFM: First things first. You’ve just been named the Village Voice’s “Best Nice Drag Queen” for 2012. How does one earn such a distinction in New York City? Just attempting to survive as an artist here would put anyone on edge.
Milan: I was and am really humbled and honored to be named Village Voice Best Nice Drag Queen of 2012. Coming from the VV, it makes my heart smile because it is read by so many people of all ethnicities and orientations so to be able to share that acknowledgement in such an awesome publication is just a beautiful thing for me. I was a lover of Village Voice before I even moved to NY over 14 years ago. My “niceness” stems from the gift of love that was simply given and shown to me by so many, as well as seeing and experiencing hate and ignorance around me while growing up, going to school and living in various parts of the world. I just always want to reflect love and positivity because it does make people feel good and happy when they come across good-hearted, sincere people in the world.
TFM: What’s the most valuable lesson gained from Rupaul’s Drag Race experience? Your thoughts immediately after leaving the show; what was next on your agenda?
Milan: The most valuable lesson I learned from Drag Race was to KEEP YOUR WIG ON! Lol. Actually all jokes aside, I learned who I am as a human being and who I’m not. I learned that competing and being on a reality show was not the medium to showcase the true spectrum of my drag artistry or my talents as an entertainer BUT I feel blessed to have been given the platform of Drag Race to educate, entertain and share my love/talent to so many and for that I am grateful.
TFM: I love, love, love “Hot Mess” at XL nightclub, hosted and christened by the divine comedic genius of Bianca del Rio and Lady Bunny. How did you team up with this talent cast of queens? I can imagine what it must be like preparing for the weekly show!
Milan: I got involved with “Hott Mess” because Lady Bunny had the opportunity to do a show at XL. She wanted me and Bianca to be a part of it because we bring so many different elements to the table and because we deliver. My talents are rooted in dance, choreography/staging directing and writing. I had produced several projects before and performed in Bunny’s yearly “Wigstock” show, so she was very familiar with my work. Bianca is a comedic genius and it just felt right to combine all of our talents. Who in the world would tell Lady Bunny NO! Lol. She’s an ICON. Legendary Honey! Lol.
TFM: Billion dollar question: Why drag? Did family and friends get it initially and were they supportive? How did you find and perfect your persona as Milan? Describe feeling that came over you when that happened for the first time.
Milan: When I can’t fully translate gender specific ideas or visuals as Dwayne, I channel them through Milan. Drag always let me get my actress/alter-ego out because my drag is a hybrid of the theatre world and the drag club world. I’m leaning more so to the theatre/sketch comedy/impersonation world these days with trying to write and produce drag related works. My family sees it as me performing another theatre role or roles. I never sought out to make Milan a “character.” I just wanted to make sure Milan exuded a strong sense of character.
Dwayne Milan official Web site: http://dwaynemilan.com/DwayneMilan.com/Welcome.html
XL Nightclub: http://xlnightclub.com/
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars on Logo TV: http://www.logotv.com/shows/rupauls_all_stars_drag_race/series.jhtml