Jasmin Van Wales – Fierce New York Queen

Born in Brooklyn, Jasmin Van Wales is a leading nightlife performer who started her career 30 years ago in the West Village. Beginning as a professional dancer, Jasmin saw her first drag show and she was amazed. She’s received the Ballroom Icon Award and has worked in many of the New York City bars. She is now living her true life as a trans woman and is still enjoying her journey as a performer.

Hi, Jasmin. How did you get into doing drag? 

I started my drag over 30 years ago. One day, I was hanging out in the Village and I ran into two fellow dancers and they were in drag. I asked why were they dressed like that and they took me into this little bar called Two Potato and I watched my first ever drag show featuring the Divas–Victoria Lace, Lorraine Collins, Tracy Corey and Princess Brittany–and I was so shocked and impressed with what I saw that right after the show, I immediately asked, “How can I do that?” They took me under their wings and I did the talent competition at Two Potato as Patti Labelle and won. I won a booking and money, and that’s when ‘Lady Jadee’ was born. I didn’t become Lady Jasmin until a few years later. Then, much later, in 2015, Jasmin VAN WALES was born, so the DIVAS and Princess Brittany are the reason I got in drag. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The fact that I can make people feel good when I hit that stage and perform for them. That means I did my job. 

Who are your favorite musical influences that you enjoy performing? 

My absolute favorite performers that I enjoy performing, first and foremost, are the ICON PATTI LABELLE, TINA TURNER, GRACE JONES and GLADYS KNIGHT. 

When you are not working, how do you entertain yourself?

When I’m not working, I like to cook and watch old movies, Law and Order SVU, Tyler Perry plays and movies, and listen to music–old school. 

Where can your followers find you working? 

You can find me at the Manhattan Monster bar

Tuesdays for CLASSIC DISCO/with Dj Michael Wilson; 

Thursdays for LOUIS GOMEZ SPUNK. 

Tell me a little bit about yourself. Growing up, hobbies, likes and dislikes?

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, a shy and insecure little boy, not knowing who I was growing up to be, until I realized I like dancing. So my mom started teaching me at the age of five. By the time I was 13, I went with one of the neighbors to her job–she was a counselor for a day camp at our local community center and they had a dance class and a whole dance company called THE ENY THEATRICAL WORKSHOP. And I started taking classes in the fall, and that’s when my dance career took off. By the age of 16, I earned a scholarship to attend the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. By the age of 19, I was teaching classes at the center, where I started choreographing and putting on many dance workshops. But I still wanted so much more, so I started sewing and making clothes. Then I discovered drag. Once I started drag, that’s when I felt the most comfortable, but I would get upset because I had to take it off until my late 40’s, when I decided to live in my truth as a transwoman because I didn’t realize how depressed I was all those years growing up not being able to be who I really am. Pretty much, I just got tired of being someone else for everyone else. Now I’m living my best life at the age of 54!

What hobbies do you enjoy? 

I like karaoke, dancing, cooking, sewing and making people laugh. 

What are your biggest challenges and triumphs when on stage?

My biggest challenges are not knowing if I’m doing a good performance until I’m done with the performance and I get the feedback from the people 

My biggest triumph is knowing that whatever I bring to the stage is my absolute best and I can feel it from my people that let me know I’m doing my job, And that’s why I love doing what I do and that is to ENTERTAIN on and off stage and that’s what a true ICON does and her name is MOTHA JASMIN VAN WALES!

Eileen Shapiro

Best selling author of "The Star Trek Medical Reference Manual", and feature celebrity correspondent for Get Out Magazine, Louder Than War, and Huffington Post contributor, I've interviewed artists from Adam Ant, Cyndi Lauper, and Annie Lennox to Jennifer Hudson, Rick Springfield, LeAnn Rimes, and thousands in between. My interviews challenge the threat of imagination....

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