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Showbiz Spitfire

Out of all the fabulous queens that I have interviewed, I knew the least about the astonishing Paige Turner. By the time our conversation had ended, I was breathtakingly impressed by her striking intelligence, her brilliant and wondrous drag philosophies and her riveting capability of traveling by the beat of her own drum. 

As she prepares to tour while simultaneously working at many of New York City’s most relevant clubs, producing her own shows and being involved in an array of other creative projects, I managed to share some questions and answers with this spectacular queen.

Tell me all about your show.
Are you familiar with me at all?

We have actually met on several occasions. We spoke at the photo session for the Glam Awards.
Yes, recently! I’m grateful to say that i’ve been keeping very busy. The thing that’s really big in my life, in the Paige Turner world right now, is that I’m touring a lot with my cabaret that I wrote “Confessions of An Un-Natural Blonde “. It has parodies, new music videos and is all live. It sold out in New York last October and Provincetown last summer.

I love the title.
Thanks! It was in Puerto Vallarta for a month, and it’s going to Philly in April, then comes back to the Laurie Beechman Theatre for one encore performance on Friday April 22 at 7 p.m. Then it’s going to L.A., San Diego and some other cities are looking at it as well. Then Laurie Beechman has me booked for various shows through the end of the year.

That’s a great venue.
Isn’t it?! And you know what’s so crazy? I live above it. I can actually wheel my cart to the basement, and they will let me in. That’s a big thing that’s taken off for me. Being able to get booked these days, with all the RuPaul girls, is challenging, so i’m very grateful. So things are really good in that aspect. I’m also excited to say that my new music video is in the “Confessions” show and not yet released online.

So you write everything yourself?
I do write everything myself, including the recent Easter Eggstravaganza and my Christmas Show.  Writing is definitely something i am enjoying more and more.

How long have you been doing drag?
I have been doing drag full time for…it will be eight years in October.

Where are you from originally?
Facebook profile is a lie; it says Hollywood. I talk about all of that in the show as well. I’m from Indiana, right outside of Chicago. A horrible town-but thank God i had Chicago (it’s still my favorite city) The Confessions show has a lot of truth to it, and a lot of untruths. Basically, its me exposing all the entries in my diary and looking through the eyes of Paige Turner. Doing cabaret is more so what I set out to do originally when i started drag. It’s the best fit for me and my favorite way to connect with an audience.

Well, you are very creative and very pretty.
Thank you. When people ask what makeup I wear, I tell them Benjamin Moore. I have to say that with my body type, cheekbones and being able to shop off the rack, Eighty percent of things needed for drag, just fell into place. It really does help to make things a little bit easier. Like i can walk into a store and buy shoes-thank God!

Do you have a drag mother?
Yes! It’s Eve Starr.  I had a very successful career in musical theater, always playing the boy next door, and with Paige I turned it into the girl next door. I did a few drag roles in theater, but I didn’t want to be a drag queen; But drag seemed to always keep knocking on my door in a positive way. And then I stopped fighting it, and I started to really, really embrace it. The last theater piece i did was the Emcee in Cabaret.  I definitely feel like my drag experience helped me tackle that role.   But def Eve was the one who kind of pushed me back into drag after Cabaret , probably because deep down she knew i really loved it and got a lot of joy from it.  She’s actually the one who called me the “Showbiz Spitfire” Paige Turner at one of our first shows and that’s how that branding came along. A reviewer that night wrote me up and people started referring to me as “Showbiz Spitfire” PAIGE TURNER.   I’m big on branding and try to always encourage other queens to do that especially on “So You Think You Can Drag.”

Are you going to continue doing that show?
I had wanted to end it after the fifth year. It went out with a really big bang season 5, but I did it this past year Season 6.  I feel like it’s time for me to move on with other projects, like the touring. a LOT of good has come from SYTYCD, but like the Golden Girls, sometimes you just need to end things you know?

Do you plan to take the Confessions tour out of the country?
I did Mexico, and I’d like to do London and Spain. Those are a big goals of mine. The thing about Paige Turner, and the gist of it in general, is to entertain people. That is my whole reason for performing, for doing drag-is to entertain. I was Born to Entertain. I was inspired by entertainers from the ‘60s like Phyllis Diller, Carol Burnett and other personalities of that era. My other inspirations are Pee-wee Herman and Barbie, who i say are my parents! I want my show to always feel like a kids’ show for adults. I want everyone to have an experience when they see the show, whether it’s laughing or remembering or being educated on something ridiculous. Of course the show has a huge gay sensibility, but I never mention that I’m a drag queen in the “Confessions” show. You get the character itself. It’s total tongue and cheek stuff. I’ll say, “I’m on the bus and tuck tour,” instead of saying I’m a man in a dress. That’s just not my aesthetic. I’m more like a princess than a drag queen. It’s more about spending some time with me in the dream house, and me thinking that I’m more famous than I really am, self deprecating foolishness!  It’s all very character based and in the Paige Turner world, so you can be a follower of mine and get all the inside jokes, but also be someone off the street and completely get everything.

You are a very smart queen.
Thank you. I fought drag for so long. I guess I kind of had like gay shame around it in some weird way, and then when I let go of that, it actually let me discover so much about myself on the polar opposite side as a gay man. I really started loving myself more and really embraced myself as a performer through Paige.  When i started drag i said i’ll do this in a way that works for me? And if it doesn’t work, I’ll do it in a different way. But at the end of the day it’s always mine. It’s always like my baby. I just hit my five-year mark for my show at Therapy, which is called Slurp and has been every Sunday for the past 5 years. That will always be my favorite show.

So why aren’t you on “RuPaul”?
I didn’t really have an interest in the show until Jinkx Monsoon.I thought for the first few seasons i could not see myself on it, now i’ve completely 360’ ed on that notion. If the universe wants me to be on it, I will. I’m completely open to it and am happy for anyone who gets on it.

Catch Paige in “Confessions of an
Un-Natural Blonde” on Friday, April 22, at 7 p.m. at the Laurie Beechman Theater on 42nd Street.  For tickets visit
spincyclenyc.com
 

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