Honey Davenport, the beautiful, talented and celebrated nightlife personality and popular drag queen, has had an extraordinary couple of years, both pageant wise and professionally. She is currently the reigning crown holder of seven titles and has recently stepped down from several others as well. Although she is a pro at pageantry, she says she is still constantly learning her craft.
Besides all her victories, she can be seen all over town, nearly every night of the week. Honey has hosted many events and has always been super professional and together. Get Out! caught up with her to talk about her secrets to success, as well as her pageant experiences.
So how many titles do you hold currently?
I’m going to count them … hold on … seven current reigning titles.
And they are?
Miss Cherry’s, Miss Stonewall, Miss Monster, Miss Cherry Grove, Miss Long Island, Miss Steel City Snow Queen, Miss New York Continental
So you are probably one of the most sought-after, popular queens out there.
Really? Thank you.
What do you attribute that to?
Definitely hard work. I do what I do because I really love it, but I also put my whole self into my craft. Every day I’m working on new costumes or makeup or something. Every day it’s part of my life.
Do you do drag as a living?
And you are also a DJ?
When you were a kid, did you ever aspire to be a drag queen and work in the entertainment field?
No, I never thought that I would at all; in fact, I had it pretty clear that I wasn’t going to do drag. I said, “No, that’s not for me.” One of the main reasons that I started was because of Pepper – mint. I worked with her for a very long time as a back-up dancer. When I was a backup dancer for her, and I got over the phobia of what drag was, I still thought it was way too much work. I don’t think I ever worked that hard. She pushed me to have that kind of work ethic.
Yes, I know it is a lot of work, but your costumes and your makeup are always flawless. How long did it take you to learn all of that?
I get better every year. I’m still learning how to do it well. You pick up things as you go. I had a really awesome drag mother, Deja Davenport, who is a phenomenal makeup artist. I came out of the gate with some really cool skills. But even then, over the years I have picked up different things that have made me the Honey Davenport that I am now.
I know that getting ready for drag is a process, dressing and putting on makeup. How long does it take you, and is that part of the fun of it for you?
A lot of what I do is with a really strong team of friends. So it’s fun for me when my friends are around, when they help me get into whatever I’m wearing, and I can relax. That’s when it’s fun for me. When I’m by myself, often I wait till the last minute to get ready, and then I’m running so late. So for me getting ready alone is not the most relaxing thing, because I normally wait so long to start. And then I kick myself in the face every time because I waited so long. I always think to myself, “Why did I wait so long? I’m gonna get fired.” I never do, but I always think it. Why can’t I ever get this down to being on time? Sometimes it is so quick, depending what I’m doing. If it’s simple, I can be in drag in 25 minutes. When I’m trying to really go in for it, it will take me an hour and a half. If it’s a pageant, it’s three hours. A pageant paint is three hours.
What do you like best about pageants?
I feel like it’s an arena where what matters is your devotion to excellence. When you put in the time and effort that a pageant takes, it really shows your appreciation for your craft.
OK, so you’re up there waiting to see who will be crowned. What is that feeling like?
It’s so weird because sometimes I feel like I got this, I’m going to win, but then you really never want to feel that way, because that face crack if you don’t win is so crazy and real. It’s the most uncomfortable feeling ever. At that point you just kind of want to get it over with, you want them to announce someone even if it isn’t you, just to get it over with.
That is so funny. You’ve won so many, does it ever get boring?
No! No, not at all. I have worked so hard for each and every one of them, that it is always a thrill when I get the win. I do have to say, though, I learn a little more when I lose. That’s never a bad thing for me. When I go home without a crown I think, “I could have done XYZ.”
That’s so honest. Do you have any advice for all of the baby drag queens that want to enter pageants?
Yes. The sooner you start working on your package the better. The more time you give yourself to make a really detailed package the better, because nothing happens fast. Once you’ve got the formula down, you can say, “I want to jump into a pageant next week,” but if not, you have got to take the time.
How hard it is to stay tucked the entire time you are in drag?
It’s not really hard if you put things in the right place. If you use the right things and you put them in the right place, you can actually comfortably go from there.
Is there an art it?
It’s an ancient Chinese secret.
So tell me, what you’re up to all week?
My week starts on Tuesdays; I’m at the Ritz. Every other Wednesday I do a party called The Hamilton Lodge, which is at a bar called Kaza, which is uptown. Then every Thursday I’m at the Monster, and Fridays I’m all over the place. I jump around from gig to gig. Saturdays I’m at Boots and Saddle from 4 to 8, for the longest drag show ever, but it’s amazing. Then on Saturday night I’m at the Monster, and that’s a big dance party with weekly drag. Then one Sunday a month I do a brunch uptown called #DeBrunch on 142nd Street at Loft 142. They have different queens every week, which is really kind of dope. Mondays I do absolutely nothing except sit at home and smoke a bowl. I am off limits!