A kiki with Kylie Banks

It’s a glamourous new of edition of Untucked! This month we had a kiki with the amazingly talented Kylie Banks! She has been a well-known figure here in the Nashville scene, known for her amazing performances and for being extremely beautiful—not only that, but she has always been such a nice girl. It’s rare to see her perform her these days due to all the traveling and working she does, but when you do she does not disappoint. Get to know everything you’ve always wanted to about this socialite, as we sit back and get untucked!


Did you face many hardships coming out?

You know, really I didn't. I was always extremely artistic. My grandmother was always a big influence on me and always encouraged me to do things. She would let me cut her hair and do her makeup. She was always so glamorous. I went to a boarding school, and I never faced bullying or anything like that. I have always been confident and didn't care what other people perceive. I don’t care who it is and I think people respected that.


When did you start doing drag?

Omg! Honestly years ago. It was when I was working at MAC Cosmetics: we had just opened the Vegas store. We were doing this big event, and they had RuPaul come in. So I was selected to be the drag model in the MAC event. I can't even remember what year. RuPaul helped me make up my name then and there!


Explain what drag means to you?

Drag to me is about self-expression. It’s a character or an alter ego. It creates an outlet to do things you wouldn't typically do as yourself. People always say Kylie is the happy-go-lucky socialite of Nashville. She is a vixen, while Mykal is more conservative—like an angel.


You know the pageant world like no other: what would you say is the most difficult part in pageant preparation?

The first thing is to find your focus. You need to find what you want to gain out of it. Just truly focus on what you want and how you’re going to get there. You need to stay true to it. It’s a commitment.


What would you say is the most important category in any pageant, and why?

I would say the most important categories would be interview or question and answer. Mostly because that is the moment to give insight into who you are and show how well you are prepared. You need to show them you are able to handle the job at hand. However, my favorite part is evening gown, for the glitz and glamour.


What would you say is the most coveted title in the drag pageant world?

In my eyes, I would say Miss Continental. I think it is the most prestigious. It’s different for every performer though. I have always held the highest regard for that one because it is the closest to a real USA pageant.


Which would you say is more difficult to work with/for, the drag queens or the youngsters?

Hmmm, ok drag queens no. It's always fun and on a lighter note than working with the kids or the real girls. Working with the kids, is just awesome because its more real life experience and you get to see them grow up. The teen girls take it very seriously so it’s more intense, but you only have one shot. You can only go to USA one time. So you have to take it seriously and capture that crown.


Being a makeup artist extraordinaire, do you find yourself clocking mugs often?

Honestly, learning makeup and being an artist, I have learned to appreciate it. We may not all appreciate the same art and that's okay—we are all different. If we both took a sharpie and drew a heart, it would never be the exact same heart. I don’t ever clock or critique. Although I do study other girls face and see things I would do differently. We all have different faces so were not going to look the same and that's the beauty of the art.


What is the best make up advice you could give?

Okay I'm going to say don't teach someone how you paint your face. Do what will work for their face if you’re teaching them. Everyone has a different face, so when you paint do what looks best on you.  Second, cover your beard ladies! It's my biggest pet peeve. Third, wash your makeup off! Don't sleep with it on. Take care of your skin: you can’t get new skin. You're stuck with the same skin forever.


Who would you say has been the largest supporter of your drag persona/career?

Besides me? I would honestly say it's my family. My family is very supportive, they have always been so open and accepting of it. They even get me dresses and other items for Kylie. They will be getting a dress for my sister for example and they will get me one too.


Which drag performer would you say has been the biggest influence on you in your drag career?

That's so easy! Miss Erica Andrews. Here is the deal: RuPaul is the first I ever looked up to because she had this charisma and glamour about her. The only person that I have seen walk into a room and give the same presence as RuPaul was Erica. One of her best quotes I say all the time is, "Practice love, not labels.” So basically, be a happy person, be a loving person. Don't just go off of labels created by society.


You travel a lot: which city would you say has the best drag?

New York is very different than Nashville. I've traveled to many cities in the U.S. and internationally, but I have always been proud of being from Nashville. Believe it or not Nashville has a huge reputation for having the most beautiful, polished and glam girls.


What’s your favorite song to perform?

I have so many. One of my favorites is "Glamourous Life," not because of Erica but because the song I feel defines me as a person. I just love glamour and living a luxurious lifestyle. It's nice that it was a song Erica was really known for though. It's like having a piece of her with me.


What is your take on RuPaul’s Drag Race? Do you think it has been a positive or negative influence?

I love the show and I love the girls. I think it’s been a great thing for drag. It's brought it to mainstream and helped it become more acceptable. Everything is going to have pros and cons, that's life. It totally changed drag and put it on the map, so I think it's great!




Photo courtesy of Jose Cuervo

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