For 14 seasons we’ve watched the Emmy Award-winning RuPaul‘s Drag Race showcase queens from such states as New York, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina—even Arkansas. But after 14 years and more than 200 contestants, there wasn’t a Connecticut-based drag performer among them. Until now.
For the 15th season, which began in January, the popular drag competition series—now on MTV —features not one, not two, but three artists who live in and perform around the state: Amethyst, Loosey LaDuca, and Robin Fierce. (One could say there are four Connecticut dragsters if you count Jax, who grew up in the state but lives and performs in New York.)
I talked with the main Nutmeg Trio in January during the early stages of the new season’s broadcast, which features 16 queens from around the country vying for the series’ biggest cash prize yet: $200,000. “It became Connecticut versus the world,” laughs Robin Fierce. “But it was nice seeing familiar faces and faces that I get along with.”
Loosey, says she was walking her dog Rocko, a Yorkshire chihuahua, late last spring near his home in Ansonia, when his cell rang, indicating the call was from Los Angeles. “At first I thought, ‘OK, this is a telemarketer, but I picked up anyway and when I heard, ‘Hi, Loosey?’, my heart stopped. When they told me I was selected, my first reaction was, ‘No way! I think you’re wrong. I think there’s more to the process.’ And they said, ‘Nope. You have been cast’.” I was standing right in front of my elementary school, so it was really a full-circle moment.
There were similar states of shock and awe with others. “I’m so new to the game having performed for less than three years,” says Amethyst. “So, did I think I was going to get selected on my first try? Absolutely not. I was just hoping they’d remember me for next time I auditioned.” “The show was the reason I started drag in the first place,” says Amethyst who is from Bristol and though relatively new to the catwalk has become a Tik-Tok-grown comedy queen.
For Robin Fierce, it was her fifth audition tape that was the charm. “I almost didn’t send it in,” says the Hartford-based performer. The last time she sent her tape in, she received a crank call saying she was on the show and got “super excited and then super disappointed when I learned it was a crank call. So, I was definitely a little more guarded, but when I learned it was real it was an amazing moment.”
Because the three were all sworn to secrecy, none of the three knew the others were selected, which was especially difficult because they often worked at the same venues, including the Chez Est club in Hartford, “our home bar,” says Loosey. Because of the trio’s prolonged absence for the filming the series, others surmised the reason. “I had them all booked for my shows, and they all called me on the same day, saying they had to cancel saying whatever the reasons they gave,” says event producer and entertainment agent Sky Casper. “I was like, ‘Hmmmmm, OK.’ Let’s just say I put the puzzle pieces together.”
Each thought they were the first Connecticut queen on the show—until the first episode when they all met in the iconic pink “workroom” and screamed with excitement when they saw the others. Loosey, who auditioned “two or three times” over her 13 years in drag, said she “didn’t try to present what I thought they wanted. I tried to present exactly who I was. The most important part of RuPaul’s Drag Race is authenticity.” Loosey says her non-drag life as a construction worker gave her the strength to hang in there and keep auditioning. “Construction work and drag are not that different,” she says. “Both are very hard work and take a lot of creativity, tenacity and guts.”
Among the other Connecticut drag venues and special events that are growing in popularity around the state are Troop 429 club in Norwalk, Chez Est in Hartford, Trevi Lounge in Fairfield, the “Lipstick Lashes & Lies” series at Mohegan Sun Resort Casino, and the “Green Eggs and Glam” drag brunches around the state. Chez Est, Troupe429 and 168 York St in New Haven are among those hosting weekly watch parties of the show on Friday evenings.
The winner of the season is expected to be crowned in April and CT Voice will return for June’s Pride issue to chat with the queens for an inside look at the show.