Are you a lovelorn New Yorker who’s a RuPaul’s Drag Race fan with no Valentine’s Day plans? If so, season 8 winner Bob the Drag Queen and All-Stars runner-up Katya have the perfect cure for your VD ills. (VD as in the holiday. You’re on your own with the other kind.)
The RuPaul’s Drag Race favorites are combining forces on Feb. 14 at Stage 48 in New York City for Love Sucks! Dinner With a Russian Whore, a catered Valentine’s Day drag show starring two of the show’s most popular alumni (you can grab tickets here).
Ahead of the holiday, Katya got on the phone with Billboard to talk about moving from NYC to L.A., monogam-ish relationships and getting lost in Twitter black holes in Trump’s America. And because Katya’s an iconoclast, halfway through the interview she turned it back on me, asking me about everything from jealousy in relationships to whether Trump will be impeached.
‘Love Sucks! Dinner With a Russian Whore’ is an incredible title for a show. What can people expect?
Right? It’s gonna be a catered Valentine’s show about love and probably going to be very fun. Somewhere from ‘very fun’ to ‘extremely fun.’ It’s gonna be uplifting for people who are depressed. For me, I’m going to do a mixture of standup and a few audience interaction exercises to make sure people aren’t suicidal — it’s a very tough day — and then some silly lip-sync dance-y stuff. I have some really melodramatic Russian pop love songs that nobody will understand the lyrics to, but they’ll get the gist.
Will [your recovering addict alter ego] Trish make an appearance?
Oh God, I don’t think so. No, I think Trish will be in the alley out back nodding off to something. This will be a Katya-only event.
You do a lot of acrobatic, physically demanding things in your show. Do you have to constantly practice or is it like riding a bike?
It depends. My hamstrings are permanently into a state of openness. I could probably fall out of bed into a split and not tear anything. It really depends on my energy level. We travel a lot. There was a time in Brazil where I went to do a cartwheel into splits, an acrobatic pass, and I was in the air and realized, “Whoops, I don’t have energy for this.” Luckily it’s drag it doesn’t really matter.
What are you working on now?
So much stuff. I moved to Hollywood. I like it a lot. The weather is good.
Does the weather improve your mood?
Oh yeah. I love New York, but I can’t deal with the cold and the small space. I have a beautiful place here and I’m working on a web series, I have a crowd-funded stage show in the works, the title on that is fuzzy at this point, but it’s the most exciting year ever, I have a million projects. It’s not super overwhelming but there’s definitely a reason to get up in the morning. Trixie Mattel and I are going to start filming a new season of our series on the Wow Presents channel, and I’m just trying to stay abreast of the political farce that is reality. How are you handling that?
I wake up at 3 in the morning every night, read some news and then I’m up for an hour. So not well, I guess. I’ve donated, done some of the protests, I don’t know.
Yeah, same. It’s overwhelming. I don’t know what to do. There’s so much information to keep track of. The foundation of my political knowledge is shaky and not great. So I have all this stuff to process and I’m feeling guilt about not being involved enough even though I’ve donated. I don’t know, it’s really crazy. But you just kind of get used to it. Bush was criticized for being a dumbass, but he was never openly hostile and certainly the troll factor [with Trump] is ugh, so new. I’m having to put down Twitter and figure out what the limits are of my involvement on social media. I found myself going into Twitter holes for like an hour and being like “ahhh I gotta get out of here.”
Do you ever engage with people you disagree with?
No, never. Unless you want to own or humiliate someone, which is not my style, it’s just… anybody who’s going to learn or change isn’t going to do it in the public forum. It’s not the best way to do it. It’s an us vs. them mentality, which I don’t think is productive. I’m inclined to see good parts of ideologies on either side, but it’s just, uggggh, Christ, this country is fucked. I was thinking last night, I’m living in a moment where there’s going to be a lot of movies and books written 20 years from now. Only in hindsight will we have a clear picture for the real reasons and motivations. The chilling thing is that there’s no more truth. The whole fake news and alternative facts, it’s just crazy. It’s so bizarre.
Sort of changing the subject, but did you watch Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime show? Did you like it?
I didn’t like it very much. Super Bowl is about spectacle and it was just… I liked that she jumped. She did the little jumps at the end that were comical and cheesy, but that was pretty much what I enjoyed. I thought it would get a little political, but I guess not at the Super Bowl. And then Tom Brady — but yeah, let’s not talk about football.
Yeah, talking to drag queens, football doesn’t come up too often. But I think I know where you were going with that. What’s the web series you mentioned earlier?
Still developing, but it’s with Logo digital. It’s like Real Sex on HBO and Late Show With David Letterman. Like a talk show, exposé, reportage funny thing centered around a theme like sexual health or herpes or whatever. I’ve been obsessed with David Letterman forever and I’d love to be the drag version of David Letterman. These days, you can have a drag queen on TV looking insane but actually reporting facts, and it wouldn’t be weird. Anything goes nowadays. That fucking Kellyanne Conway. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Words are important. What do you think is going to happen? Do you think this will do really bad damage to our country? Or do you think he’ll be impeached?
Apparently the Koch Brothers, the very conservative billionaires behind Paul Ryan, recently drew a line in the sand and said what he’s doing is bad for America no matter what your partisan alliance is. So maybe if they make their money talk, more conservatives will be empowered to stand up to Trump and an impeachment could work. But if he’s not impeached, yeah, I would say four years of this will really change how the world respects America.
It’s the danger of incompetence. It seems like, the movie of it is horrifyingly entertaining, but the reality of the farce is just bureaucratic chaos and pain. That Pence guy is terrible, but he looks so presidential, doesn’t he? He looks like a president. But the Bannon guy, he looks nuts. He wants it all to come crashing down. [pause] Anyway, it’s going to be fantastic in New York! [laughs]. I love love. Every day of my life is Valentine’s Day. When you’re a pathological narcissist you have to fall in love with yourself every day.
I like that.
Are you in a serious relationship?
No, I’m single.
What do you think — do you think in this day and age it’s realistic to have a committed monogamous relationship for the rest of your life?
That’s a big question that I definitely don’t have the answer to. I would like to think that’s possible but I don’t know. I would love if you could be committed but also open but that’s a tough one to figure out.
Do you think for gay men, sex and love are often two very different things?
Hmm. I think more so for gay men than other people that’s true.
Yeah, me too. I feel that way. Most of the men I know in their forties and fifties who have been in partnerships for over four years, 90 percent open them up to explore other dalliances.
Does it work out?
Generally yeah. There tends to be framework or a few simple rules. Either don’t ask don’t tell, or maybe you do talk about it, or it’s okay as long as you don’t have feelings for the other person. Do you get jealous?
Only when I really care about the person. Sometimes I thought I was okay with an open relationship and then I realized after the fact I was okay with it because I didn’t care anymore. But yeah, I do get jealous.
Yesssss. Jealousy is tough.
Why do you ask?
I don’t know. I decided I would like to have a boyfriend. I think I’m attracted to the simplicity of one person, but I don’t know how realistic it is. You meet so many interesting people out there and I travel a lot.
It’s always more exciting in the first few weeks anyway.
First three days. It’s really three days. After three days, the honeymoon is over. The excitement period used to last three weeks for me, now it’s three days. It’s a bummer.