A Kiki with Vidalia Anne Gentry
It's time to get untucked! This month we had a hilarious little kiki with one of the newest faces on the drag scene here in Music City. Even though this lady maybe new, she is bringing all kinds of old school flare with a new school twist. She is all about the fun, not taking it too seriously or too lightly. After all, her initials are VAG! So sit back and relax as we get to know all about Miss Vidalia Anne Gentry!
What inspired you to embark on the drag profession?
To be honest, about a year ago I was chasing a boy who was a drag performer and so I started going to all of his shows. I got to see all of the drag talent in Nashville, and I really just got caught up in it. Somewhere in all that, a mix of both strangers and friends had just randomly told me that I should do drag. I reached out to Nichole Ellington Dupree about getting started, and just about the time I was really considering it, Play Dance Bar announced that they were going to start having an Open Stage Night...so I took it as a sign and took the plunge.
Who are some entertainers you would compare yourself to?
I get compared to Katya from Season 7 of RuPaul's Drag Race a lot...which I take as a HUGE compliment. I don't think our performance styles have much in common but we have some similar personality traits that I think come through on stage. I think my stage personality is a good mix of my drag parents—Nichole Ellington Dupree is mom and The Princess is dad—and I catch myself doing things that remind me of them all the time.
How would you describe your drag personality? How does it differ from your real life personality?
I often describe Vidalia as a mixed Southern Belle with a Tequila problem...haha. In that sense I don't guess she differs too much from Jared. The biggest difference is how she expresses her sexuality. I have never managed to feel sexy...ever. Cute or handsome sure...but never sexy. I think I came to the stage looking for an artistic and performance outlet but stayed because I got to be someone that I never am. Even if she's a goofy mess I still feel like I get to be sexy for once.
How does your family feel about you doing drag?
When I first told my mom, she didn't have an entirely positive reaction...not because she didn't like drag but because she was worried that it would put me in the way to experience more persecution or hate. She also wasn't immediately able to realize that drag and trans are not the same thing. My dad caught me painting in the bathroom one time and was like, "Huh, well, make a lot of money!" They've both been to shows since then...still working on my brother!
Did you face many hardships in life being gay?
I recall a fair amount of name calling growing up but there's no specific event that really sticks in my craw. I'm 6'2 and of a pretty sturdy build (even more so back in middle and high school) and I think that provided me a lot of safety. I've talked to a lot of gay guys who were of really small stature in school and they tell me that it was really horrible...I didn't realize until recently how lucky I was to be big.
Do all of the open stage girls get along? Are there ever any cat fights?
Everyone gets along back there. It's not my show but I've performed at every one since it started last December and I take on a little bit of an ambassador role back stage, along with the help of Christina Rae, who we lovingly refer to as "Momma." It's a tiny dressing room, often with 13 or more girls in it. There's no room for drama, and if I smell it, I shut it down. I think it's a given in drag that there will be girls who just don't get along, but when you have to share a space that small you have to fake it. No cat fights allowed.
How do you feel about today's youth?
I know that my generation is guilty of it as well, but I think that the generation of LGBT youth coming of age now is BLISSFULLY unaware of what roads have been paved for them and the sacrifices people in the gay community have made to make this world a safer place for them. One thing I would love to see young people of all ages doing is really truly educating themselves about sexual health and sexuality.
What advice do you think is most important for LGBT youth?
There are resources out there to help you! If things aren't going well or if you feel unsafe or if you need help in any way, in 2015 that help probably exists. It may not be easy to access it initially but just know that it exists before you give up or get self-destructive! I'm always willing to listen and help where I can and with the internet and social media I'm pretty accessible so if nothing else there's an option!
Have you done work with any charity organizations?
I made some bad decisions last fall and I ended up doing my community service at the Nashville Humane Association. It's a fantastic organization run by great people. I would love to see more people adopting pets that need homes...and there are some AWESOME animals just waiting for a forever home at NHA.
Where do you stand politically?
My political leanings are quite liberal. It can be a little overwhelming trying to make really educated decisions at the ballot box and even I feel a little defeated about the whole process at times but I still think it is very important to vote. I think it's even more important to vote in your state and local elections and to be educated about the smaller votes on the ballot because not only does your carry more weight on those ballots, this is also your opportunity to affect change to a flawed system.
Has drag made it more difficult or easier to date?
I think it's easy to say that drag makes dating more difficult...especially in a city like Nashville where I feel internalized homophobia runs rampant. People immediately dismiss you as "femme" (which should not be a pejorative...) just because you cross dress a couple nights a month. But...what I think I've actually decided is that doing drag makes it easier because those a**holes just weed themselves out for you. Bye Felicia.
You can follow Vidalia Anne Gentry on Facebook, or follow her at @vag4short on Instagram, for more information!