Nashville Untucked: ‘VanIvy’ proves love is not a drag

It’s not uncommon in Tinseltown that celebrity power couples are saddled with a made-up moniker that’s often a blend of their names. So it should come as no surprise that drag power couple Known as Vanity and Ivy St. James, who both recently auditioned and earned spots on the casts at Tribe and Play, would eventually receive their title: VanIvy.

In 2012, Vanity and Ivy were introduced through Vanity’s sister-in-law; their connection was immediate. “[Vanity] is a religious person. Having grown up with ministry parents and having religious views myself, that was something I wanted to find in a partner,” Ivy shares. “That really stood out to me about him as a person . . . but of course his blue eyes, which I could stare into all day every day.”

With piercing blue eyes, long legs and long blonde hair, Vanity could easily intimidate nearly anyone when walking into a room but it was a “wave of intimidation” upon meeting Ivy that sticks out most in Vanity’s memory. “It was very intimidating to me to see someone so bold and out there . . . I was very intrigued.”

Saddled with a past, Ivy credits Vanity’s maturity and willingness to look beyond all of that for making their relationship work in its initial stages. And Vanity agrees. “It’s called a past for a reason, there is no reason why it should affect now.”

Now, after nearly two years together, the two performers navigate their way day to day through many levels of their relationship—on and off the stage.

“When Van and Ivy are a couple and out together, it’s a different type of relationship,” Vanity admits. “I feel like we’re more loving as boys than we are as girls.”

Both strive to keep their drag personas separate from their “boy selves.” “It’s very hard sometimes to keep Van and Ivy separate from Josh and Hunter,” Vanity admits. “If Josh and Hunter are having a rough day, which are very few and far between, but have to be in drag that night, as soon as we get painted, we’re done. We’re totally two different people.”

While Vanity is pursuing drag as her full-time career, Ivy does it more as a hobby. “I know when she is out, she needs to be promoting,” Ivy says. “I’m not hanging on saying ‘you need to be my girlfriend.’”

You might assume that dating a fellow performer would also double your wardrobe but not for VanIvy. “Sharing the shoes would be great, but we can’t do that because her feet are bigger than mine,” Vanity jokes.  “I also try not to share her hair because she’s red-headed and I like the red lipstick.” While they do give each other advice and work together, their roles are clearly defined. “She’s the makeup queen and I’m the hair queen,” Ivy laughs.

Through it all, Vanity and Ivy credit one another for where they are today. Ivy, who sees herself more as the task-master, fully supports Vanity’s career and whether she herself is performing or not, is there backstage helping her partner (and other queens) do their best.

VanIvy sums it up best, speaking on top of one another, concluding the interview, “Whether it’s as Van and Ivy or Josh and Hunter, we wouldn’t be where we are today.” 

And as the queen pursuing a full-time career, Vanity has the last word, “I wouldn’t have the beauty I have if it wasn’t for her.” Isn’t love beautiful?




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