Hello, my lovelies! Run! Run for your lives!

The oppressive heat of Texas summer is here, and it turns me into a recluse for most of the day. My vampire instincts take over in the cool darkness of my house. I hiss at the brightness of the day knowing I should endure a little sunshine to help build up some vitamin D. But the heat… the humidity… I can’t… I am… a heat pussy. And apparently a little dramatic.

Last week, I watched the reunion episode of this season’s RuPaul’s Drag Race. I love the show and have watched every episode. There is a young, beautiful Latina queen named Valentina that got folks on the social medias going crazy. Raquel, a fellow drag queen and personal friend, made a Facebook post about not liking Valentina, and people lost their damn minds. Raquel got called names and even received death threats over not liking a drag queen on a reality show. What the actual fuck?! What has this world come to?! If you disagree with someone and you feel you have to respond, then have a good ol’ debate about the subject. If some of y’all woulda been as passionate about this last election as you are over some queen on TV, then we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in right now.

I appreciate fans defending their favorites. Lord knows I love knowing I have fans who love me, who will argue for me and defend me if ever I need it. But threatening someone is ridiculous. Just because it seems that the world is tolerating bullying doesn’t mean that we have to do it. We as a community are better than that. Hiding behind a keyboard and saying awful things doesn’t make you look cool, it makes you an asshole. Argue, disagree, have a heated discussion … but show respect, please. We don’t all have to always agree, but we should strive for understanding. Oh and entertainers, if your fans are crossing a line in their defense of you, it’s on you to tell them to chill out. A true fan will respect your wishes. I know there will always be folks that wanna be mean, but we can choose to ignore them and move on.

Speaking of moving on, let’s take some callers.

Dearest Cassie, Hi — long time listener, first time caller. I am also a drag queen and wanted to get your advice on something. I was recently asked via Facebook to perform at a wedding for a cute little gay couple. I have been Facebook friends with one of the grooms for a few years, and I know they have been to a few of my shows, but I have never actually spoken to either of the grooms — my point being that we are not close friends. I asked how much they were going to pay me, and they seemed upset that I asked for payment. They proceeded to tell me it was an open bar, and they promised I would have a good time. Gurl, I’m kind of worked. What would you do in this situation? Signed, Help a sista out!

Sista Gurl, You should be worked. I would be. I may piss people off for saying this, but those grooms are cheap-asses! Look, drag queens do our fair share of benefit work — every queen I know will do a charity event at the drop of a hat. But a wedding is not a charity! It might be different if you were close friends with them; I am ordained and have been asked on numerous occasions to officiate for couples, but even my friends know to pay me if they want me at their function.

I was recently asked to do an event on a random Thursday afternoon at a big company. They wanted a funny drag queen, so someone gave the guy my name. We messaged back and forth a few times and I asked about payment. Pause. It took a while for him to get back to me on that one, then  he asked if they could pay me with gift cards. I don’t know about you, but I can’t pay my bills with an Applebee’s gift certificate. I don’t think that people realize that for some of us lucky few, drag is our job. I wouldn’t ask you to do your job for free. So I said “no, thanks — I prefer cash or a check,” and a few days later, he informed me that they were “going in a different direction.” It bothers me that some people don’t see what we do as a job. Yes, it is fun, but drag is still a lot of work.

If you are good at what you do — and I am, toot-toot — you should get paid a decent wage for your services. I appreciate drag’s charitable roots. But if you are being asked to perform at a private function, you have every right to be paid.

I hate it when they ask “How much?” I never want to offend the person with some crazy amount, but I also don’t want to devalue myself. I usually ask what their budget for entertainment is and go from there. I take into consideration if I have to take off from a show or if I can still make it to my regular show after the function.

I am past the phase of being in drag just to be in drag. Drag is my livelihood. Anyone who wants a drag queen at their party just for the coolness factor… pay that bitch! For all the companies that want to be trendy and show how open-minded your company is… pay that queen! And just because you go out to the shows and tip a drag queen on a regular basis does not mean that queen wants to be at your party in full face, even if it is an open bar. So good luck Sista Gurl. Get your coins.

Speaking of paid bookings, years ago I was asked to perform at a bachelor party in The Colony. They paid me $250 and all I had to do was perform one number and hang out for about an hour. It started off being one of the most horrible experiences of my life — nothing but uncomfortable straight guys and a few catty bitches laughing at how awkward the whole situation was.

I brought my friend Lee so I would know at least one person there. The lady that booked me kept passing out shots, so by the time I did my song, everybody was feeling good. It ended up not being as bad as I thought, but that first hour there almost killed me. The other awkward thing was that I was dancing around their living room with giant hair and platform shoes and I kept hitting my hand on their ceiling fan. It was so weird. They literally just moved the coffee table so I would have a place to prance around. There were looks of disgust, confusion and a few guys loving every second of it. It was crazy, but I got paid!

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.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 23, 2017.