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BY JAKE WOLFE | Prior to her NYC appearance next week, we got the chance to chat with influential fashion queen, Violet Chachki. Winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 7, Violet has parlayed her clout as a recognizable television personality to become a rising pop culture legend.
With October in full swing and Halloween right around the corner, we asked Violet how she feels about the upcoming event, “Halloween Under the Big Top,” unfolding Oct. 31 at Lincoln Center. “I’m actually a circus performer,” she noted, “and it’s typical [for me] sometimes, to perform circus acts in a drag show. So I’m really excited to be at a real circus tent. Halloween is always a fun time for costumes and looks, and ‘Halloween circus’ is a great theme. People do, really, go out.” With an acclaimed knack for putting on a phenomenal show, the marriage of Halloween and burlesque should have us at the edge of our seats, as Violet politely but firmly deferred when asked to reveal this year’s costume choice, or choices.
Kameron Michaels will also be on the Oct. 31 bill, which they will share with insult comedy queen Bianca Del Rio. The two have worked together only a handful of times, but the juxtaposition of humor and glamour doesn’t have Violet on edge. She described Bianca as “amazing and super-talented; we always have a good time together,” leaving us excited to see how they will bring together their talents for this uniquely themed evening.
In conjunction with Violet’s stage work, her presence on television and in fashion campaigns has sparking leveled interest amidst the queer community. Her recent work on a Prada campaign is pushing for global change where change is needed. “We’re in a time where consumers really get to dictate what the campaigns look like,” she said, advocating urgency to brands that have yet to diversify their consumer market base. Fashion for centuries has been about telling a story and broadening contemporary beauty standards — but today, those ideals have drifted from creativity to a systemic formula of beauty.
Prada, however, has brought back what it means to tell a story, not only with design, but also with its representatives. “For me, I think it’s been really long overdue that we’ve had more visibility for LGBTQIA+ people, in every industry — but the fashion industry really paved the way for beauty standards, and for artistic standards… so for me, it’s really amazing and powerful that I get to be a part of it,” she said, advocating inclusivity and representing it well. For Violet, such exposure promotes visibility for the queer/drag community, while displaying a level of confidence that other brands should take note of. Now that drag has representation among mainstream products and their far-reaching marketing campaigns, we hope to see development throughout the fashion community, on a global scale.
Mindful of the attention surrounding the Prada campaign, we asked Violet what advice she has for young people expressing themselves, and finding their identities, through fashion. Exuding confidence that demands attention, her recommendation is to always “live unashamed. The best way to be visible,” she said, is to create a “huge body of work; really pushing, and really working hard… And sometimes, things get recognized a lot, like this Prada campaign, and sometimes things don’t. The best way to be visible is to take up space, to create thought-provoking work, and choose to be seen and get attention from it. I think that’s the best thing we can do.”
Violet’s hustle has set her apart when it comes to creating an identity — and for her, life is a stage, one that can’t be lived authentically and successfully unless it’s done without regrets. Although still a compelling presence on stage, we wanted to know what Violet is thinking of, long-term.
“I really love performing, still, but that definitely won’t be lasting too much longer. I really love creative directing and designing, art directing, styling… There’s more behind-the-scenes stuff, for sure,” she said, referencing her “really talented friends who I get to work with, who I love to help out, occasionally, when I can, with ideas or whatever. But yeah, sticking in the fashion world and pushing that further.”
“Halloween: Under the Big Top” starts at 8pm on Wed., Oct. 31, at Lincoln Center. To get your ticket and see this ghoulishly fierce fashion icon in the flesh, visit vossevents.com/events/halloween-under-the-big-top. Tickets range from $49 to $159. VIP options include a private mingle with the queens and access to the private VIP tent. Artist info at violetchachki.net.