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Trixie Mattel interview: ‘My fans have a familiarity with me that’s a little jarring’

Exclusive: The Drag Race legend talks British humour and uncomfortable fan comments as she prepares to bring her 'biggest, best' show yet to the UK.

By Alastair James

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Bird Lambro and Jon Sams

What would you say if you met your hero? Well, it turns out that Trixie Mattel gets a variety of greetings from fans, ranging from some of her best lines right down to some comments that make even Trixie feel uncomfortable. 

As the RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars winner, writer, podcaster, presenter, Queens of the Universe judge and all-round drag legend prepares to make landfall in the UK as part of her latest tour, Grown Up, she sat down to talk to Attitude about the tour, her favourite things about the UK and what exactly fans say to her…

Hi Trixie, how are you?

Can you turn your camera on? I need a human connection.

Absolutely! I was told this was audio only, so I let me just sort my hair.

Put your pants on, put your hair up in a scrunchie and let’s go.

All good! So, Trixie, what can fans look forward to on this upcoming tour?

I started working on this tour in 2019. I wrote it to tour in 2020 and then the world shut down. I put everything in a suitcase next to the door because I thought ‘we’ll be going out next week. I’m sure it’ll be in two weeks.’ And eventually, that suitcase went to the closet chillin’ ready for the tour, just waiting.

This is the biggest, best Trixie show. It’s five wigs and 15 costumes. It’s songs from records from all across my career. And now that I’m going out now, the new singles will come out while I’m on tour, and they’ll be integrated into the show as we go (such as ‘C’mon Loretta’).

Honestly, the wait has made the show better because in the two years I spent at home creating content and working I got to create pieces of music and comedy that improve the show. So now I’m gonna have to make some cuts between some of my old favourite material and some of the new material that I love. And I don’t want people to be stuck there all night because it’s the UK: let’s be honest, these people are just trying to get to the bar and get drunk.

We do love to queue though, so you can keep us entertained in the queue…

People in the UK love a line. The line is going to be out the door. It’s going to be in the middle of the summer sunny day, which means absolutely no sunlight. The most egregious fake tans you’ve ever seen in your life. I’ve seen people in the UK that look like footballs.

What kind of material can fans expect?

The most mature version of Trixie – the best costumes, jokes, the most majestic production. I wrote this show around the time I was turning 30-31. I had bought my first house, I was in my first very long relationship, doing a lot of grown-up shit.

I hate the word ‘adulting’ but the show is really about that moment where you blink and you’re accidentally an adult, you know? But my sensibilities as a drag queen, as a performer, are all through a kid’s lens. So even though the material is very adult – I talk about STIs, I talk about sex, my boyfriend – we’re still doing fun kitty looks and it’s fun. It’s very fun.

Photo: Bird Lambro

Is there anywhere in the UK you’re looking forward to going to in particular?

I love to go to Manchester. Is that okay? Is that legal? Obviously, the UK loves drag, but they love Trixie drag in the UK. They like big makeup and hair. And they also like off-colour, comedy in the UK. People in the UK are down to laugh at anything. They’re down to be made fun of. They’re down to make fun of their mum, make fun of you, they just want to laugh and have a good time. They just want to have a drink, and listen to some music.

I provide a really perfect show for that vibe. Do your hair, put some glitter on, go with your friends, and laugh at some jokes. 

Do you ever worry about your humour not translating over to the UK?

I never worry about that. People in the UK just want to laugh. They have no sunlight. They need joy…

Have you seen the sunlight streaming in? I can barely see in my own room!

You’re blinded. Your eyes don’t even know how to respond to that. I’m excited. I haven’t been to Bath in a while. Brighton’s lovely, gal. I love to go to that little pier. Also, one of my favourite Twitch streamers lives in Brighton. I’ll probably try to stalk him or something…

I’ve heard you do a British accent before. Do you have a favourite British accent?

I think the Manchester one sounds like Oliver! ‘Please, sir, can I have some more?’ It’s like a cartoon to me. When they talk about drag they’re like ‘we’ve got Biancar’. Bianca? With an ‘R’? Bianca Del Rio? What are you talking about?

Photo: Jon Sams

I’m a dialect coach. Everybody knows that. I have an incredible handle on dialects. I have a BFA in theatre. I’m going to Stockholm on this trip. And you know, Sweden is my hometown, and I am hosting Drag Race Sweden. They wanted a native speaker, and I’m just excited.

How often do you get called Tracy Martel and do you get tired of it?

I don’t get tired of that. I would say my fans have a familiarity with me that’s a little jarring. Because they talk to me the way I talk about myself, which is ‘boundaries’! They’ll come up and be like, ‘Hi, you fat, bald f****t.’ I’m like, ‘Hello, girl’. I don’t know. They talk to me in a way that I’m not comfortable with.

What’s the thing that people say most often when they meet you?

They’re just excited. Everybody’s so nice. I’m like six feet tall and bald and white. I look like, you know… I don’t know what I look like, but I don’t look good. They see a paper-white person with a bald head walk by. They think I’m Moby. They think I’m Joe Rogan. I could be a number of people.

They all like Queens Who Like to Watch, they like UNHhhh. Sometimes they’ll say, ‘the whole hallway smells like c*m’, ‘fuck my p***y with a rake’, ‘I love your axe-wound you f**king wh**e’. They don’t just say ‘I love you’. People will say, ‘I love your music’ or ‘I love watching UNHhhh with my roommate’ they have a specific thing they love. And then you have something in common because I like that shit too.

Do you have a favourite GIF or meme of yourself? Mine is called ‘Stan Twitter’: Trixie Mattel closing the door and sitting down and that’s literally all you do in a video.

It is so funny! It’s the exhale and then the cry.

That was so funny that was a feature we did for Bustle I did an office take over for them, which I thought was just gonna be a joke, but then they actually made me do jobs. I actually got in big trouble there because I guess somebody high up at the company didn’t know I was doing that. And they called the reception and they were like, ‘Who’s this?’ And I said, ‘Who is this?’

And I was being a bitch for comedy and then she wanted my gun and my badge. And I was like, I’m doing jokes. For comedy. I’ll take risks.

I love on Thanksgiving sharing ‘Thanksliving!’ I love on All Stars 3 when they’re saying, ‘are you Team Shangela, Team BeBe, Team Trixie? and I look at the camera like this [mocks thumbs up at the camera] I love that. Screaming and bird noises. I don’t really use GIFs of myself. It feels gauche.

I guess. If I had a GIF of myself, I probably wouldn’t use it that much.

You use it at first and then at a certain point you feel embarrassed. It’s like wearing your own merch.

I wouldn’t know I’m afraid. We’ve just had the announcement of a new season of UNHhhh. What’s your favourite thing about doing the show?

I never know what’s going to happen. We plan the outfits kind of, I mean I bring a suitcase and drag and figure it out. I never know what kind of day it’s going to be. I never know if we’re going to be unhinged.

I never know if we’re going to actually have some nuanced conversation and because sometimes, we actually talk about real shit, or through comedy actually address some real shit. Sometimes I wonder if we’re going to know what we’re talking about.

Or sometimes we sit down and don’t even talk about the topic. I think the episode about shopping, we talked about sheer pants the whole time. So, you never know what you’re gonna get. 

Trixie Motel – when is it open and what can we expect from the TV show?

Well, the motel is gonna open sometime later this year. The TV show centres around the renovation of this amazing property in Palm Springs. I believe the show starts in early June. I can’t even tell you, there’s nothing like it. Whoever gets to stay in these rooms is going to remember them forever. It’s like living in and sleeping in an art installation, in every room. It’s crazy. [I’m] So proud of it. No rhinestone was left unturned at the Trixie motel, that’s for sure.

Trixie Mattel’s Grown Up tour is touring in the UK from 24 April to 12 May. Get tickets here.

The Attitude May/June issue is out now.