THE MOST SOUGHTAFTER “DRAG” HOST IN NEW YORK CITY AND FIRE ISLAND, THE AWESOME SUPERSTAR “ARIEL SINCLAIR” AKA CHRIS LAFFIN, WILL BE CELEBRATING HER 20TH YEAR AT THE ICE PALACE THIS SUMMER ON FIRE ISLAND. IN MY BOOK, THIS QUALIFIES HER AS A LEGEND.
Always full of life, humor and kindness, Ariel has become almost a household word for both straight and gay audiences alike. She has hosted Miss Fire Island as well as Miss Long Island each year and is looked up to by all. Besides the Ice Palace, she works at Lips in NYC, Stonewall and many other venues. She draws an enormous crowd for every performance, and her fan base grows with each and every show she performs.
To know Ariel is to love her, and I am proud to admit to calling her a friend for at least 15 of those 20 years she has been performing at Cherry Grove.
You’ve been doing drag for how many years now?
Let’s say…I’ve been at the Ice Palace for 20, so let’s say 25 years.
How did you begin your “drag” career?
It was Halloween and, of course, I got in drag. Then I was at my first drag show and thought, “Hey, I can do that,” and the rest is kind of history.
Do you remember your first performance?
My first performance I did Janet Jackson’s “Nasty” at the Silver Lining Cocktail Lounge and Disco Tech located at 175 Cherry Lane, Floral Park.
Your makeup is flawless. Who taught you to paint?
I was very lucky because I had some very good teachers. Jesse Volt, Electra, Peaches (God rest her soul), and just by doing it. The more I did it, the better I got at it. I was horrible when I started. Just what I tell the young drag queens, I tell them you have to do it in order to learn it. Same with performing. You know, if you’re lucky to
have a place to perform every week like the Bunkhouse of Ice Palace like I was with The Silver Lining Lounge. I didn’t care about the money, I just wanted to be on stage, and that’s how you learn.
In your own opinion, what makes you the most soughtafter drag host in NYC and Fire Island?
I think it’s because I get a good grasp of the audience, and I know how to make them laugh, strike up some emotion. I’m really good with keeping in time, and I throw a joke in here and there.
Where are you from originally?
I grew up in Bellerose, Queens, which is on the border of Nassau County. I’m the youngest member of five. I have two brothers and two sisters. I was an altar boy in the
third grade, and the only reason I wanted to be an altar boy was because I got to wear a gown. A lot of my brothers and sisters came to see me perform. They love it and are very supportive.
What kind of motivation gets you going as you begin your day?
Who was your drag inspiration?
When I was younger, it was all the queens I worked with like Jesse Volt, Electra, Peaches. But there were also celebrities like Madonna and Janet Jackson. I also loved old movies like “Valley of the Dolls,“ “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane,” “All About Eve” – Hollywood was a big inspiration.
What kind of music do you like?
All kinds of music. I like
country. I like everything but rap.
Now, you have many special songs, for example, “My Vagina Is 8 Miles Wide.” How do you acquire them? Are they written for you? Do you write them?
I guess people know that I’m a little off center, so I was very lucky to have the “8 Mile Wide” song sent to me. I like to do songs that nobody else is doing. I do my homework and search to find songs. I like to be a little different.
Who do you enjoy having in your shows?
I like to perform with girls that each have something different. If everyone does the same thing it doesn’t make for a good show. Someone that dances, someone that does comedy, sings. I think that makes for a good show.
Ariel, I’m going to throw some names at you. Tell me the first thing that comes to mind.
Copycat – I think she’s very talented. I think she’s a great songwriter. I understand what she’s trying to do. But, to me, I’ve seen it a million times before. I think she tries too hard, but I know the young kids would hate me for saying that.
She’s a c***! Just kidding. She’s funny, she dishes it out really well, but I don’t think she can take it.
I think she’s absolutely gorgeous, and I understand what’s happening now. She’s trying to stand up for the transgender people, but I also think she has to realize that
she’s gonna get backlash for everything she’s saying. She should just take her gorgeous boyfriend and get off the computer for a while. I never met her boyfriend, but you can see from her pictures that she has a good heart and she’s beautiful. I thnk she’s fighting a battle that she won’t win. You know, we are not allowed to say these words anymore like “tranny” and “shemale.” These are names that the porn industry made up, and people just latched on to them. These are just words that came along
with the category, like “gay.”
So what was your reaction to Bianca Del Rio winning “Drag Race”?
I was so happy for her because she works so hard. She’s an original. I’m very proud of her.
Who’s your bestie?
I have so many! My oldest and dearest friends like Jesse Volt (who’s my dearest sister), and then I have some great new friends like Logan and all the girls at the Ice Palace. I like to surround myself with people who are crazy!
What do you do during the winter months?
During the winter I’m at Lips every Friday and Saturday as a show hostess. On Wednesday at 10 p.m. I’m one of the judges at Stonewall’s Sensation, and this year we crowned Marissa Portaccua, who I think is going to be “The Next Best Thing.” I do things here and there.
You have been hosting the Miss Long Island and Miss Fire Island pageant for quite some time now. What’s your secret for keeping control at such hectic events?
What I do is center myself. I make sure I have my head together. I like to be prepared and write everything down. I like to have a little help, because you can’t do
everything all by yourself. You have to know what’s happening before you get into it.
What does the future hold for Ms. Sinclair, say, in 10 years or so?
In 10 years I hopefully see myself doing what I’m doing now, just better. And, hopefully, I won’t have a stroke by then.
Yeah, God forbid – I just want to continue doing what I’m doing ‘cause I love it. It’s a job where you can make people laugh and where you can have fun and get to dress up. I feel blessed and very honored to work in the places I work, and like I always say, if you’re a drag queen and you have a place to call home, consider
yourself lucky – some don’t have homes. I have the Bunkhouse, the Ice Palace, Lips…
Are you single?
Everyone looks up to you, especially the young queens starting out. You are their hero. Can you offer any advice that might help motivate them?
When you take “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” I think that the show has a lot of good things to offer, but I also think that that little gay boys who wanna become drag queens watch that show and think that in order to become a good queen you need to be c**ty and nasty and mean. That just doesn’t make for a good drag queen. There are a lot of really nice queens out there like Erika Blaze, Violet Storm, Jade, Annie Manildoo, Madison Mansfield, Gina Marie – there are nice girls. You need to have humility, and you have to be humble. That will get you a lot further than being a nasty asshole!
IF YOU HAVEN’T EXPERIENCED ARIEL SINCLAIR YET, YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE MISSING. COME ON DOWN TO CHERRY GROVE AND VISIT HER AT THE ICE PALACE BEFORE THE SUMMER ENDS. SHE WILL ALSO BE DOING VARIOUS TUESDAY NIGHTS AT OFF KEY TIKKI ON BAKER PLACE IN PATCHOGUE THIS SUMMER. CHECK HER FACEBOOK FOR DATES AND EVENTS!