Whether she's hosting “RuPaul's Drag Race” divas during her shows, uncovering new talent or rallying a late-night dance crowd, Phoenix is always working. Even on her birthday.
Ahead of her big birthday drag bash on Friday, the popular drag queen talked with us about aging gracefully, what drives her and what may be next for this mainstay at Jungle and Burkhart's.
What can folks expect from Friday's Femme Fatale?
“I'm so excited for Friday! What to expect? O lord, with these girls there's no telling what you'll get, so I guess expect the unexpected. I can tell you it's going to be an amazing night, full of laughs, entertainment, celebration and lots of liquor. I have some of my favorite people and friends in the business with me on Friday.
Looks like you've got some special guests lined up.
Yes, I have an amazing lineup planned. I have hosting the party Destiny Brooks and Justice Taylor. I have my sister from another mister, Angelica D'Paige. And I have all of Atlanta's “RuPaul's Drag Race” girls — Nicole Paige Brooks, Mariah Balenicaga, and just announced from Season 6, Trinity Bonet! I also am so happy to say I have two divas that are true friends of mine, I've known both before “Drag Race” was even on air. From my season and the winner of my season (bitch!) Raja. Also from Season 5 and a part of the hit drag trio, DWV, Detox, who is actually staying all weekend to party with me. So this will definitely be a party and an amazing show.
Why throw a big birthday bash?
Why not! Birthdays are always such a big thing for me. I have friends that overlook their birthdays and don't care much about them. But not me. I think it goes back to my childhood. I guess I was kind of spoiled, and my parents and grandparents always made a big deal about mine and my sister's birthdays, so I guess it just carried over to adulthood. But hey I see nothing wrong with celebrating another year of life, love and happiness.
I'll be celebrating all weekend, starting on Thursday at Burkhart's with “Dancefloor Divas,” Friday at Burkhart's with “Femme Fatale” and Saturday at Jungle with DJ Ralphi Rosario. So it's gonna be a crazy but fun weekend I'm sure.
So we know it's not polite to ask a lady her age, but we're going to anyway: What birthday are you celebrating?
You bitch! Just joking. I'm still young, so I'm ok with it. I'll be 33, but this is my cut off so everyone forget about this article because next year I'm going to start counting backwards.
How does a drag queen age gracefully? Any tips for your fans?
Besides a good doctor and esthetician (shameless plug for Patrick Smith at Helmet Hairworx). I really make sure I take care of myself. I get in the gym as much as possible, try and eat healthy as possible, and make sure I have me time. I work almost every night in the bar/club, so if you have ever been to my home, you know it's very calming and homey. I have to have that calming effect when I get home from a night in the chaos of the club.
I guess the last thing is, in the biz drama is all around. Believe it or not, I try and stay as far away from the drama as possible. I don't have the time, energy, or desire for it. Drama causes stress, stress causes wrinkles and wrinkles cost money.
Favorite moments or memories from the past year?
To be honest this has been an interesting year for me. I of course have had some amazing moments with friends, co-workers and family. I feel so blessed at where I'm at in my career. It's very hard to make it in the biz and have the opportunities that I have had. I can say though that my biggest memory of 2013 is not one of my best. It took me out of club land and made me realize real life. I lost my Nanny (grandmother) to cancer at the beginning of the year. She was my best friend, my heart, my comfort, my everything. This is something I still continue and will probably always deal with on a daily basis. I can say that losing her has really helped me try and enjoy life, my friends and family as much as possible. I do miss her with every piece of my being, especially on holidays like this.
You're a year older. Any plans to slow down and catch your breath? Or is it your continued full throttle, pedal to the floor approach?
Slow down? No, thanks. In this biz there really isn't much time to slow down. The moment you rest there is someone else there just waiting to jump right in your place. To be honest, I don't have much down time. I basically run the entertainment for two bars/clubs in the city — Jungle, where I've been for like eight years, and Burkhart's, which is my newest endeavor. On top of creating and running shows at both venues, I also host and perform myself four to six nights a week, plus travel around the country. So nope, no time to rest.
Plus the artistry of drag for me is an around the clock thing, my brain never shuts off. I'm always being inspired by something, me and my roommate and costume designer, Chris Tyler, are always creating and working on something, But that's my life, I love it.
Any hints about what's coming up for you in the next months and year?
Let's see, like it or not, I hope to continue working and performing everywhere. I also want to continue producing and creating great shows and entertainment for people from all around the world. I can also say I have been in contact with a DJ friend of mine, DJ Cindel, and we have tossed around the idea of producing a track together. So once we both get a few seconds, hopefully we can get to work on that. Guess you never really know what I'm gonna bring you. That's kind of part of my charm.”
Thanks again to you, the country and my amazing city of Atlanta for continuing to support me, love me, and keep me going.
The Phoenix birthday celebration at Burkhart's, Femme Fatale, is Dec. 13 at 11 p.m. with special guests including Detox and Raja.