A New York queen with a list of talents, a stand out with her operatic voice and an incredibly upbeat attitude full of wise and inspiring words. The New York drag scene has an array of tough competition, yet Gilda Wabbit is a class act. Gilda is a queen to watch, and if you don’t know her you will now. We grabbed a chat talking opera, being a positive role model, and the New York drag scene.
DragAdventures: Your twitter account is full of incredibly uplifting and full of encouraging words of wisdom. What inspires you to spread positive messages across social media and who inspires you to be your best self?
Gilda Wabbit: I’m grateful my Twitter presence reads that way. Often, what I post is meant as much for my Twitter followers as it is for me. I’ve spent much of my adult life in and out of therapy trying to untangle the mess that growing up queer in a conservative Southern community left me with. When I tweet encouraging or inspiring messages, it’s essentially a reminder to myself. I’m saying, “Hey Gilda, don’t give up. Keep moving forward. It’s worth it.” The fact that people who read my Twitter also get so much out of those tweets brings me so much joy.
The person who inspires me to be my best self at all times is my husband. I don’t post a lot of pictures with him or information about him because he is a much more private person than me, but I want to be my most authentic self because that is also how to be the best partner I can be. He inspires me every day and I cannot imagine my life without him.
DA: If you were to appear on Rupauls Drag Race and made it to Snatch Game who would you be and why?
GW: Oh this is a dangerous question for a young queen. Because of my classical music background and my musical theatre roots, I’d always wanted to portray Kristin Chenoweth on Snatch Game, but now she’s gone and done it! If I could find a way to make her funny, I’d love to play Maria Callas–the youngin’s need to know more about her wild and dramatic life on and off the operatic stage.
DA: What type of Drag character is Gilda Wabbit?
GW: Gilda Wabbit is wild and wacky! She’s really inspired by the cartoons of the 40s and 50s which combined beautiful background art, music, and animation with ridiculous situations and characters. I find myself working hard to mix the sublime and the ridiculous in a way that is entertaining for everyone who comes into the bar. Hopefully, I’m nailing it.
DA: Your style is very chic and gives Jessica Rabbit vibes. Who inspires your creative side to put together such looks?
GW: Honestly, I just want to be really pretty. I spend much of my shows telling raunchy, off-color jokes and doing the stupidest numbers. If I walk in looking as glamorous and beautiful as possible, all of the weird and silly things I do during my show will surprise the audience. It’s all about mixing the beautiful with the ugly, the glamorous with the gutter. Wit, wisdom, and the weally, weally widiculous.DA: Local drag is, of course, important, what is the local scene like in New York? Who should people keep an eye out?
GW: The New York scene is COMPETITIVE. There are so many drag queens and so few opportunities that all of us are constantly hustling our tails off. Being able to support yourself as a performing queen in NYC is a combination of extreme work ethic and wild luck. Performers to look out for are definitely Honey Davenport, Ruby Roo, Heidi Haux, and Sherry Pie. They’re all amazing and very unique.
DA: You’re a trained opera singer, what led you to a career as a drag queen and do you ever like to bring the two together during a show?
GW: I started doing drag because I wanted to sing the female roles in opera! So yes, definitely, I would like to bring the two together. Honestly, if there was a space for me to be Gilda Wabbit inside the opera house, I would be the happiest little camper. Someone come cast me in all of the mischievous -Ina roles Mozart wrote. I’d be a HIT.
DA: If you could create your own operatic show with no restrictions on budget, cast etc what and who would it consist of?
GW: Oh my gosh! I’d want to do a pastiche–an opera in which you take music from different composers or shows and mash them together to tell a new story. Something silly and ridiculous so I could help craft the best story for the performers I have in mind. Maybe a comedy about the dangers of the gender binary? I’d obviously want to include some Ru girls, especially Maestro Thorgy Thor and strong gay woman Cynthia Lee Fontaine. I’d also want to include some local performers like Freddie Love, Sapphira Cristal, and Shuga Cain who all have operatic backgrounds and are strong presences in the NYC scene.
DA: Which person that you’ve met do you think has had the biggest influence on how you want to be seen as an artist?
GW: As cliche as this sounds, Sasha Velour. Hands down. We have very different artistic visions for ourselves, but the community she has built around her is so strong and so full of love. I hope as I continue to grow and work as an artist, the community around me develops in the same way.
DA: What is the last thing you do before going on stage and the first thing you do off stage?
GW: The last thing I do before going onstage is to say, “Hey Gilda, go out and be yourself. I promise they’ll love it.” I often get so hung up on trying to be someone else to please people, but drag has taught me that my best work happens when I’m 100% authentic. The first thing I do when I get off stage is sit down and catch my breath. The shows in NYC are marathons, so a girl needs a moment before she can go shmooze and shimmy with her audience.
DA: Where can fans find Gilda Wabbit next, and what future projects are in sight?
GW: You can find me all around Manhattan on the regular–my constantly updated calendar is at GildaWabbit.com. Special projects include a revival of my one-woman show “Open Season” at the Duplex Cabaret Theater on Jun. 3rd, and plenty of pride events including a show in Columbus, OH and a show for the Fire Department of New York. I also really want to tour this year. NYC keeps me nice and busy, but I’ve got friends all across the country who I’d like to perform for.
Keep up to date with all things Gilda on the following Social media:
Official website: https://www.gildawabbit.com/