Drag regrets/ Cassie’s got a few
Hello, my people. Today I am gonna talk about regrets. We all have them, but I want to tell you about some of my biggest drag regrets. About a thousand years ago, I was just a little skinny gayby that just so happened to dress as a woman. As a young drag queen, my wardrobe was very limited, so I would get creative and try to make costumes for the show. I would usually go to a bunch of thrift stores and buy cute-ish things that fit and embellish the hell out of them.
Looking back now, I realize how horrible most of that stuff looked, but to me I always wore my shit like it was the best ever. Ignorance is bliss. I was too naïve to care much about what other people thought. I had a pair of cut-off shorts to which I glued sequins on the pockets and trim. It was tacky af, but I thought I was the tea. I would buy stretch dresses and wear them backwards to show off my tittie-painting skills. I didn’t have the money back then to get stuff made, so I just would try to make ridiculous shit work for the show.
Then in 1994 or ’95, I heard a song that I immediately wanted to put in the show: “Gotta Be” by Des’ree. I loved the song and wanted to be the first in the show to do it. I had a vision in my head of how I wanted to be dressed, and my creative juices were flowing. I knew I could make the whole outfit for probably less than 20 bucks — which for me, at the time, was more than I spent on a lot of my stuff. So I was excited.
I got up early that next day and took the bus downtown. (Back before Amazon Prime you had to go all over the place to get the things you needed.) I needed those little tittie pads, and the only place I knew to get them was at the H.L. Green Variety Store. They sold just about everything, so it was my go-to place when I didn’t have a ride to someplace better. I bought two pairs of tittie pads, a few yards of iridescent pink fabric and two packages of hot pink sparkly Payette sequins — the large ones, about the size of a nickel.
Back home I got right to work. I glued the sequins to those tittie pads in a fish scale pattern, I cut and shaped that fabric into a layered skirt that went almost to the floor and listened to my cassingle of “Gotta Be” for hours. I glued sequins to a pair of earrings and glued even more to some ugly bracelets. I already had this pink and white tie-dyed hooded cloak that was going to hide my new killer look until the big reveal. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait for the show that night.
That night I spent literally hours getting my make up right. I blended black into hot pink into bright white for my eye shadow and fierce bubblegum-pink lips. I duct-taped the tittie pads to my chest. I was a little skinny fuck back then, so I had my stomach exposed and my “fabulous” skirt draped around my waist. (In reality it was a folded and tied-off square of fabric.) My wig actually was fabulous, before they sold good quality wigs in bright neon colors. So if you wanted a hot pink wig, you would have to soak a white wig in Rit dye. The wig was on point. (Side note: Even then, as skinny as I was, I remember thinking I was fat. How stupid is that? If I could go back in time I would tell myself to STFU and show your thin body off with pride. Another regret!)
For those who remember the old Rose Room, you know the queens had to walk through the crowd to get to the stage. I was standing in the back waiting for my name to be called, covered in my cloak with the hood covering most of my hair and face, concealing my freshly made costume.
Donna Day called my name and I stepped onto the stage. Well, about eight feet shy of the stage was when I realized that this may not have been my best idea. The music started and I began to lip-sync my song. The first time she sings “Gotta Be,” I open the cloak to what I thought was going to be ooohs and aaahs, but instead… lots of laughter. I love to make people laugh, but I thought I was about to give them a sickening Tandi/Erica/Krystal trans woman with beautiful breasts reveal. I did not.
I was just “a boy in a dress” with goofy-looking glittering breasts taped to his boy chest. I had never misread my own ideas so badly before. I wish I could say I was on drugs, but I wasn’t at the time. It was just my own delusional idea that I thought briefly was a good one.
Once I realized that everyone thought I was doing a comedy number, I switched gears, sashayed around and shook my bodacious ta-tas. I acted like the whole thing was meant to be a joke, but inside, my stupid heart was breaking because I had something so different going on in my head. I thought I was serving glamazon fish realness when in actuality I was getting served cracked face realness with a side of byes. I learned a real lesson that day: Ask your sisters if this is a good idea before you do something, not after.
One of my other regrets is only a half regret. One of the first pageants I ever did was Miss Dallas America, around the same time. Celeste Martinez let me borrow a beautiful gown that fit me really well. For talent I kept it simple: I was going to lip-sync a Mariah Carey song into an old timey microphone and show off my lip skills.
I actually did two Mariah songs — “Vanishing,” dramatic and lovely, then “Vision of Love,” when things took a turn. I figured that the number was cute but how could I zhuzh it up. Well, I went to the High School for the Health Professions and took dental technology, so I just so happen to have a few pair of dentures that I made in class. I took the uppers from one of the sets and kept it in my cleavage. When “Vision of Love” started, I turned around and put the dentures in, over my teeth.
The effect those teeth had on my face was somewhere between full on horse and Jerry Lewis doing his very racist Confucius character. It was so stupid, but for some reason I loved it. It was unexpected and wrong. I spent the first half of the talent being so serious and glamourous and the second half being ridiculous.
The only reason I say I half regret it was because Whitney Paige, who was a judge at that pageant, later told me I probably would have been first runner-up that night if I hadn’t put in those stupid teeth. Things happen for a reason, and sometimes that reason is you’re an idiot and I’m OK with that.
Remember to always love more, bitch less and be fabulous! XOXO, Cassie Nova.
If you have a question of comment, email it to AskCassieNova@gmail.com.