Tomahawk Martini is a Native American drag queen from Albuquerque. Tomahawk created and preforms with a drag troupe called Blackout and takes pride in being a self-made drag artist.
Interview with Tomahawk Martini, April 16, 2020
To cite this particular interview,
please use the following:
Baxter, Destiny. 2020. Interview with Tomahawk Martini. Sociology of Drag, SIUE, April 16. Available URL (http://www.ezratemko.com/drag/tomahawk-martini/).
Tomahawk Martini: Hello
Interviewer: Hi, sorry, um, how are you doing today?
Tomahawk Martini: I’m good
Interviewer: Did you get a chance to look over that participation form I sent you?
Tomahawk Martini: I looked it over, was there anything in particular you needed from that?
Interviewer: Oh of course not, I just wanted to make sure that you didn’t have any questions and that everything seemed okay with you.
Tomahawk Martini: Yes .
Interviewer: Okay. So, I’ll start with my first question, which is, When was the first time that you heard about drag?
Tomahawk Martini: The first time I heard about drag, I would say was 2008. Yeah, I think 2008 was the first time I heard about drag.
Interviewer: What was your initial reaction to it? Do you remember?
Tomahawk Martini: My initial reaction was like, because it was RuPaul’s Drag Race, it was on Logo TV at the time and it was something that like I just randomly came across, like, just skimming through the channels on TV and I was like watching it and I was like “Wow there’s actually like a TV like a TV show of men dressing up as women.” So I was just like “I’m so like intrigued and I’m so like confused like is this actually a thing?” And I just kept watching it – well I would only watch it like when I thought I was allowed to because to me it seemed, as a kid, like I’m doing something bad like watching something bad, so anytime like there was like shuffle in the house or like my family was out and about like if they would come into the living room I would like change it back to like cartoons, just because to me it just felt like something in the same sense like you know you’re caught like watching something dirty, and that’s when like that’s, that’s – that was just my initial thought when I first saw Drag Race was like, this is amazing, this is so cool, but I also felt really, like, dirty watching at the same time.
Interviewer: Yeah, when did you start performing as a drag artist personally?
Tomahawk Martini: In 2011, when I was moved out to Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is where I reside now, which is about three hours from the reservation on where I grew up. So that was the first time. When I finally turned 21 was able to go to like a gay club, a gay bar, and they had a drag show that first time I went there, and that’s was my second like introduction into like, actual drag besides watching it on a television show. But experiencing it firsthand was the first time I turned 21 and went to a gay bar.
Interviewer: Do you remember that experience at all? Does it stand out to you that first –
Tomahawk Martini: It stands out to me for a lot of reasons, but the first was just seeing it firsthand and seeing how like, in command these entertainers were just how big and extra and like large, they were just like these big personalities. And I was just like, that’s when I decided I was like, I really, really, really need to do this. Like this is something, it was just something, like hidden deep inside me that was like this is what you should be doing and this is what you should have been exposed to a longer or sooner because it’s exactly what I thought I was supposed to be doing. And it felt right in that moment.
Interviewer: Yeah, how did your family, friends and other loved ones receive you becoming a drag artist?
Tomahawk Martini: So, I think I went about drag in a very different way because I was never out to my family, I never, like, spoke of it. I was just like, let me finish high school and move away from the reservation and then I’ll be able to, you know, like explore who I am and what I’m interested in. So, drag came out in the process along with coming out. I didn’t tell anyone I was coming out. I didn’t tell anyone I was a drag queen. I just kind of did it through social media, where I wouldn’t like really post pictures, I would just go out and drag and if people that knew me saw me, then that was like their way of being introduced, like, oh, this is who you are. And I eventually started posting pictures on Instagram slowly, just like posting one picture here, waiting a couple months, then finally posting another one here. And it was just like, slowly introducing people into who I was. And that I knew would eventually make its way back to my family, because I knew other people would see what I’m doing and they would go back and be like, do you know Thomas’s – at first, cause they’re not exposed to like drag, they’re just like, “You know, Thomas’s like a transsexual. Like he wants to be a woman.” And that was kind of the misconception because I didn’t want to be a woman. I just was doing drag. But of course, a lot of people aren’t exposed to drag queens or know the difference between so I just kind of came out with drag. Eventually I was fully out in drag, I was promoting my shows I was doing shows I was, you know, doing videos and eventually I went home one day and I just my family like already knew at that point. So, it was just like that, like elephant in the room that needed to be addressed. So, I sat there with my auntie who raised me after my grandmother passed away, and was just like, “Son,” she was like “Sonny, we need to talk” and I was like, “Okay,” and she was like, “I heard and seen pictures.” Like, “what’s going on with you? I just need to know. Are you gay? Do you want to be a woman?” And I was like, “Yeah, like I’m gay, like I like men. And I was like, but as far as the drag like, I like being a boy dressing up. I like being fabulous, I like being extra I, like being you know, androgynous or like weird at the same time.” But I was like, “No, I don’t want to be like a woman. So, like, don’t get that confused.” And from then on, my family’s been totally accepting ever since I came out and they have been at most of my drag shows. I’ve done drag shows back on the rez and every time my family’s there just cheering me on just having a good time.
Interviewer: Yeah, that’s great.
Tomahawk Martini: Which is the way I didn’t think it was gonna go, I thought they were going to disown me, but it ended up turning out like they were okay with it.
Interviewer: So, you spoke a little bit about growing up on a reservation. Did you want to speak more about how maybe like your geography, class, race, anything like that has impacted your experience of drag?
Tomahawk Martini: Oh totally, speaking from a Native American, you know, indigenous person, drag to me isn’t- like drag, I guess – in a way it was a part of our culture, but it wasn’t the way it’s seen in like mainstream drag as far as you know, the – the third gender or the Two Spirit whatever tribe you’re from and however you associate that next entity of who you are as a person has always been part of native culture. You’ve had men who would help women out, you know, cook and clean even though people think it was like a woman’s job, there were men who helped women. And – and in that general sense of like, that’s always been there. But when it came to like, drag, it, it takes on a whole different mindset from our families and like traditions. Because I – it’s hard to explain without experiencing it firsthand, because when men do women duties and are more involved with women in the community, no one ever sees it as anything but just them helping. But then when you put on a wig and high heels all of a sudden your family’s like, “Wait, what’s going on? What are you doing?” So that, that gender has always been there, it’s never been an issue. And I learned more about it growing up through drag, and then finally coming out in drag and going back home and a lot of these like elders telling me, these were the stories of, you know, the two spirited people that would help out and like do things. I think I veered off track on what I was saying.
Interviewer: Oh no, you’re fine.
Tomahawk Martini: But your question was, again…
Interviewer: Just how like, you know, geography in terms of you’re growing up on a reservation, your race, your class, have impacted your drag experience.
Tomahawk Martini: So, a lot of people here in Albuquerque don’t really take Native American drag seriously. Most of them, I would say, most of them aren’t the most polished drag entertainers and most of them are transsexuals, which has been a huge influence in my drag career with Native transwomen just you know, offering me a hand, giving me advice, helping me here and there, taking tidbits of their experiences and trying to apply it to mine, and trying to make myself a better female impersonator. But growing up Native American a lot of people doubt you, a lot of people don’t believe in you. You kind of have the – you’re kind of the underdog because you weren’t exposed to gay culture sooner than other gender- or other races were, like white people have just been like, “Oh, since like, I have my grandpa’s or my uncle was gay and I was like, listening to like Diana Ross and Donna Summer” and like, they have like a huge cultural like upbringing of gay culture. But on the rez like you’re never exposed to that because one, like growing up for me I didn’t-I my family barely got running water like four, four years ago. We didn’t have like TV, we didn’t have phones. We didn’t have paved roads like we weren’t – we weren’t exposed to like the world outside of the reservation. Which is what was my disadvantage coming out to the city, because I had to, like learn who Cher was. What were Madonna’s accolades? Or like, what is Stonewall? Like all these things I had to like learn because I wasn’t exposed to it at a young age and it wasn’t until I was 21 that I moved out here and I started learning “Oh there’s like there’s an actual like gay culture” like “There’s things you need to learn or things you need to like, associate yourself with.” So, being Native, growing up on the rez, it was kind of a disadvantage, but it just, it just comes and goes. And with that said, My drag is more a take on my indigenous background and being more proud of just me being Native American, just really owning it because today’s society just, especially in the gay community, people being selective, they just make you feel like because you’re Native American, you’re dirty, you’re not good enough, you’re not their type. And they don’t mind putting you down for it. So, I always just like to take the bigger road and just be like, “This is who I am. You don’t like it? I don’t care.” So that’s me growing up from the rez, like just being more proud of who I am, which this drag and this gay community has made me, because at first I was just like, maybe being Native isn’t a good thing. But I was like, you know what, this is who I am. You guys are going to accept it or not. We should all celebrate each other. And so, I feel more empowered being Native American and being a drag queen than ever before.
Interviewer: That’s great and then, so there’s a lot of different styles of drag so you know, glamour queens, comedy queens, how would you characterize your drag and your style of your drag?
Tomahawk Martini: Everyone always called me a diva, I like the old school drag because I just love the fantasy. I love the masculine side of older drag queens whereas like in today’s – today’s society there’s a lot more like more feminine men that can pass off as like real women easier whereas like if you see a broad 200 pound man that just has like jacked up arms and is like doing a Diana Ross number, like, to me that’s exciting. Like, to me, that’s what I like about drag. So, I like to dip my toes into everything. I think I’m an ever-changing drag queen. I do anywhere from like, club kid looks to avant-garde to – I can easily do pageant drag, and I have, and I think it’s one of the coolest things, but it’s not the most exciting thing. I like more doing more of like conceptual art club kids is one of my favorites. I like being like a walking piece of art where people just like stare at you and they’re like, can I take a picture of that. And that’s what I like, just being that like piece of art in a nightclub just walking around and rotating throughout the club and socializing with people. But, my main priority, like, drag when I go out, it’s just you know, a casual drag queen, like, I like when I do drag I like to socialize so majority of my drag just comes from like a cutoff jean short, to a see through mesh top, some hoops and a leather jacket. Like that’s the majority of what I wear, because I only go out to socialize in drag more than I do to like perform.
Interviewer: Okay and then where does your drag name come from?
Tomahawk Martini: So when I first started drag, again, I was a social queen, I didn’t do stage performances, I didn’t get ready to be like, I’m going to be on stage, I’m gonna lip sync to Britney Spears. I was just more, like, I just want to go out and hang out with people. So, my first drag name was Anita Shot and it was a play on words because when people would ask my name, I would be like, “Anita Shot”. And then of course, you know, everyone always like, has to make sure repeat your name back to you to like, make sure they heard it, right. So, they’ll be like, “I need a shot?” and I was like, “Yes, I would love one” and majority of time at worked so people always ended up buying me alcohol without me ever asking for it. And so, I did that for several years and then finally I was like, “You know what, I’m bored with the socializing. It’s kind of getting boring like I want to be on stage. I want to do like concepts and stuff,” so I did drag for the first time I think three years, 2014, was my first time on stage like as a drag performer and I was like no that name like I need to take myself more seriously Anita Shot is not what I want. I don’t want to be known as like a party girl or, you know a very cheesy name I wanted to, like, actually represent who I was. So, I kept thinking of names, I kept going through names, and I was like, “None of these sound right, none of these hit me the right way.” And then eventually, I was like, oh, Tomahawk, and I was like, I love that name. And I was like, Martini, and I was like, “Perfect.” and these names I’ve always had growing up. In high school, my last name is Martinez, and so my high school cross country team would just call me Martini, like short for Martinez. And like, I didn’t know what a martini was at the time it just sounds really cool, I was like oh Martini, so they just would always call me Martini in practice. And that name just kind of was there I never like used it or like trademarked it or like put it on my books or wrote it down I was just like – it was always in the back of my mind. Then Tomahawk I got when I went to college for running and my cross-country team named me Tomahawk because I had a mohawk all through middle school in high school. And so, they put Tom which is Thomas and Mohawk together so they just called me Tomahawk, and I was like, oh, that’s pretty cool you know, it’s like an indigenous weapon. It’s actually pretty cool. Like, I like that. So, they would just call me Tomahawk and then I stopped running I, you know, left college, moved out to Albuquerque. And then eventually, I was like, wait, I have these two names, it’s Tomahawk Martini and I was like, that sounds perfect because one I don’t do just like full female illusions, I do androgynous, like I’m a boy that likes to wear makeup or, you know, I’m a drag queen that has no hips and no boobs and no like hair because I was bald after I cut my mohawk off, I went bald and I was just like this is – it’s like an entity and whatever it is, whatever you want it to be Tomahawk can be conveyed in many different ways. So, I ended up just sticking with Tomahawk Martini. And once I like named myself that I was like, this is like, again, this was like a revelation, but this is who I’m supposed to be. And so that’s how Tomahawk Martini came about and it’s been that ever since.
Interviewer: And then who or what has influenced your drag?
Tomahawk Martini: Hmm, good question. My first and foremost inspiration, motivation or inspiration toward my drag would have to be my drag troupe that I created. They’re called Blackout and I’ve been in the drag scene for a minute before I met these girls so I was you know, that person that always was there always turning out looks, always giving performance and people loved it. And then eventually I was like, I’ve always been the outside drag queen and I’ve always had to fight against what everyone else thought I should be what everyone else thought drag should be, I was always the oddball and I met these girls that were like getting, you know, scrutinized for like, not padding, not wearing enough hair, or, you know, wearing pedestrian like off the rack clothes and I was like, no, like, people should give these young entertainers a chance like they’re young, they don’t know any better, like grow instead of just scrutinizing them and like putting them down like, become their friend encourage them because I wish I had me growing up in drag. Like I wish I was my own role model because I didn’t know anything, I did trial and error. I was the most awful drag queen ever, but I just kept trying, I kept trying myself, I kept trying to prove people wrong. Like “No, I know what I’m doing” and it was all – my drag is all self-taught so no one ever like sat there and like walked me through what I should do. I just kind of did my own thing and learned as I went. But, these queens I picked them all up, I brought them to my living room one night, made them all dinner and I said, okay, and they’re the younger than me, they’re like five years younger than me, which is, I think, a huge difference in the gay world, because you learn a lot in five years, and you grow a lot in five years, and you experience a lot in five years. So, I put them all down in my living room, I made them dinner, I cooked for them, we ate, you know, watched Drag Race, watched an episode of it and then at the end, I was like, okay, the reason why I brought you all here is because I want to propose a show idea. I am, you know, and I worked at the bar that I perform at, because I’m a bartender. I was like, I – the owners given me a show once a month, on a Saturday and I want it to be like a resident show. And I was like, I looked at all of you guys, I’ve seen you around, I’ve you know, chatted with you for a minute and you guys are all different and you guys are all so young that I want you guys to, like, grow together and I- eventually I was doing it because I wanted to help them grow. I wanted them to be like you guys can work together, you guys can help each other, you guys can just, you know, grow faster and just be better. And so, they worked it out, it was a hit. It’s just been working out so much and then we’ve gone on to our second year now and then I sat back, and I was like, well, these girls have actually taught me more about myself than I have taught them about themselves. That’s as far as just like being accountable, you know, being a role model, being someone that they can go to advice for something like if they need help with drag, I’m there for them. So, they just kind of taught me a lot about myself and I think they are my biggest inspiration because I keep trying more now every day to be better because I have all these young ones looking up at me. So, I would say that my drag troupe that I created is my biggest inspiration, without even knowing it.
Interviewer: Yeah, and then are you part of a drag family, house, or collective?
Tomahawk Martini: I don’t. I, like again, I’m all self-taught, I’m self-made, I created the House of Martini just on my own. I now have two drag children. So, I’m just more of like, self-made, just stand on my own trial and error.
Interviewer: Would you consider your drag to be political?
Tomahawk Martini: I would say I don’t take the political aspect as far as drag because there are other people who I think do it well in our community, and I usually just leave it up to them and – I’m more of like a shoulder, or a hand held outward, I’m more just like uplifting people or helping people up more than, like, the political side of it all. You know, I’m there because, when people at the clubs just like, “I had a bad day” and I’ll sit there and I’ll just talk to them like, I just, I’m relatable to people and I don’t mind sitting there listening to your story because that’s what helps get people throughout the day, you know, they were disowned by their mom or you know, things happened in their lives that they just, they don’t know how to handle it. And I’m that person that’s just there to like, listen.
Interviewer: And then I know there’s limitations right now because of COVID-19 but how often would you say that you perform normally?
Tomahawk Martini: I haven’t – I only performed once there was an online digital show, but I was asked to be a part of it was, you know, a simple paid gig and I filmed it in my drag room. I do drag, I do make up like I go on live, I just do makeup, but I don’t really perform because I know a lot of drag queens in COVID now, you know, they rely on drag as their main source of income and I do – I’m a bartender like my, all my shows are – my drag shows are closed, my bartending gigs are closed, there’s really nothing I can do. But, I don’t like doing drag shows because one, I don’t like asking people to like tip me when I already know everyone else is struggling and $10 for me is a lot or even just $5 is a lot for me. So, I’m not going to like go online and do drag shows and tell people like, make sure you tip me here make sure you tip me there because I just think it’s not right and a lot of people are struggling. So, I don’t do a lot of drag shows during quarantine.
Interviewer: What about outside of quarantine?
Tomahawk Martini: Outside of quarantine I have, you know, I have gigs left and right every weekend and I’m booked for something. I have my own like, like, again, Blackout which is my show I produced it, we make a lot of money off it. So, outside of COVID-19 I’m constantly doing drag, where now I’m just sitting at home just like resting just chilling.
Interviewer: And then what are some of the biggest challenges to doing drag and being a drag artist for you?
Tomahawk Martini: I think the hardest thing for me to be a drag queen is making people realize that we’re not there for their entertainment. As far as like we are not your clown, we are not put on stage for you to like mock, to touch, to make fun of, to degrade, to be just, like, overbearing like we – I feel as drag entertainers we are only presenting our art and all you do is appreciate it. Where I feel like in this day and age, because you are a drag queen, people are doing it for the wrong reasons, they’re doing it for money, they’re doing it for attention which in return makes the audience think like, you should do this because I’m here giving you $1 and I’m like, I don’t need your dollar, I can still go home and be fine if I didn’t get one single dollar from anybody. I’m doing this for myself. So, I think the hardest part is just like trying to make people realize that like, I’m not doing this for you. I’m doing this for myself and if you don’t like it, it doesn’t bother me. If you don’t tip me, it doesn’t bother me. You don’t like me? There’s plenty of other drag queens that you can go and hang out with. So I think that’s just the hardest part is getting it through to people because then you come off as like, mind my words, like a bitch, or entitled that I’m like, no, I’m not entitled, again I can just go home and just hang out and do whatever – my drag is validated by what I believe it is and what the art it is not by how much dollars I can make at a club, or how many people like me or how many Instagram followers I have, that doesn’t validate my drag. So, again that’s just the hardest part, is just making people realize like, this is our art and all you should do is just sit back and just enjoy it for what it is, it may not be your taste, it may not be up to your standards, that’s not up to you. All you can do is just sit there and like it. Just watch it. Realize, realize that this person is giving you a look into their lives, into their mind, into their emotional state, whatever song you’re performing, whatever look they’re conceptualizing. That’s their ideas and everything inside their head, so you are actually – they’re exposing themselves to you, and all you’re going to do is sit there and be like, I didn’t like that, I don’t expect that, this is not what I want. Like that’s not for you to decide. So, I just wish people were just more appreciative and just more understanding and like just sat back and thought about things for a minute before they even spoke or tried to put someone down.
Interviewer: Very true. Would you say that there’s anything unique to the drag scene in Albuquerque where you live compared to other places in the United States or even the world?
Tomahawk Martini: What was the question again?
Interviewer: Would you say that there is, like, uniqueness to the drag scene in Albuquerque compared to the rest of the country or world?
Tomahawk Martini: I honestly think Albuquerque is by far one of the most underrated cities for drag queens. I’m not saying that because I’m biased, I’m just saying that because firsthand I experience- Albuquerque has the most diversity I’ve ever seen in a city, because when you go to other cities, you see a certain type of look, you see a certain type of style, you see – I don’t know how to say it, people like oh, that’s LA drag, or oh, that’s Chicago drag or oh, that’s New York drag. But in Albuquerque, you can go to all the bars here and be like, what is this, like, everyone’s different, like you have a pageant girl sitting on one side hanging out with you know, like an androgynous performer and they’re all laughing, drinking hanging out. So like, that whole performance aspect, like I just think Albuquerque has one of the best drag scenes because no matter where you go, you’re going to get alternative drag, you’re going to get pageant drag, you’re going to get, like fashion model drag, like it’s just so diverse. So that’s how I see Albuquerque differ from the rest of the drag community in the world or in any city. And I encourage people to come research and like look into Albuquerque drag.
Interviewer: And then, how do you identify in terms of your gender identity inside and outside of drag?
Tomahawk Martini: That’s a good question. I don’t know how I identify. It’s not – it’s not saying that I’m like fluid, but that’s kind of what it is. It’s like one day I’ll wake up and I’ll be, you know, masculine feeling where I’m like, you know what, I’m gonna wear my Converse and jeans and a band tee and a backwards cap and you know, my posture just is a little bit different. Then there’s some days where like, oh, I’m gonna go pick up my purse and you know, put on some foundation and a little eyeshadow and go, and go about my day.
Interviewer: What – do you use specific pronouns inside and outside of drag?
Tomahawk Martini: As far as pronouns, I am a person that I don’t care what you call me, I’m not offended on how you address me. But how you address me is where I understand where that person is coming from. For example, like if a guy walks into me, he’s like, “Hey, what’s up, bro?” Or “What’s up, dude?” I know he’s straight. So how – if I’m, if I’m in drag or not in drag, if that’s how he addresses me, it just, it’s more of an understanding of I know where he’s coming from, rather than I need to make him understand where – who I am. So like, if they, if a gay person walks up to me and it’s like, “Hey girl,” I’m like, okay, we like sissy girls like we gonna, you know laugh about something or again, it’s just like how people address me, how I, like, understand where they’re coming from and I don’t care. It doesn’t bother me I already know who I am, so I don’t really care about pronouns or how I’m addressed.
Interviewer: Has drag influenced how you think about gender at all?
Tomahawk Martini: No, it’s more – it’s hard for me to go over into drag and tell people like it’s drag, shouldn’t be a gender rather than drag is a gender. Whereas, like, if you like drag should only be men dressed up as women it’s like no, drag can be all types of – I think I’m answering your question.
Interviewer: Yeah, you are.
Tomahawk Martini: Drag is just kind of whatever you want it to be there’s no gender with drag. Drag is its own like just its own thing. So like, for example, like if drag queens- there’s no gender in it because if you want to be a drag queen, and you want to wear like, no hips, no pads, you just want your boy body but you want to wear makeup, I don’t really specifically think they’re trying to convey a gender, they’re just saying, this is who I am. Whereas other people, like, if you want to be a woman, you need to have boobs, you need to have big hair. You need to have hips, which is more sexist than anything but, I’m like that doesn’t make you a woman, that just shows me that that’s what you think you should look like as a woman. Rather than, say, tell someone like you’re not a woman because you’re not doing this, you’re not doing that.
Interviewer: Would you say that drag has impacted your confidence as a person when you’re outside of drag?
Tomahawk Martini: No, I feel like I’ve always just known who I am. However I exude my confidence depends on the environment that I’m in, because I am very well aware, you know, growing up on the rez, there’s just environments where you know, you’re comfortable and there’s other places where you’re like, you got to watch out for yourself. So, I don’t think drag outside of drag has made me any like different or like more confident. It’s just who I am, and I’ve always been that.
Interviewer: And then how do you personally define drag?
Tomahawk Martini: That’s a really good question, I’ve never thought about these things
Interviewer: Sorry, tricky questions.
Tomahawk Martini: And what was the question again?
Interviewer: How would you define drag?
Tomahawk Martini: I would define drag as just like a personality, like, whoever, whoever that person is. I know some people need to be able to distinguish the difference between drag, like they’re like, oh, one day I’m John the next day, you know, I’m Betty, but I’m never the same person, they’re different people. So, I guess it’s just more of like a personality because I honestly think I’m Tomahawk Martini all the time, in or out of drag. I still who I am, I don’t change, I don’t crossover. So again, I think it’s just more like drag is just like your personality like who either you want to be or just generally just who you are all around. You can be in, you can be self-conscious and very, like, timid, but the minute you’re in drag that personality, that whatever, that whoever makes you confident, I think that’s drag, because that’s their personality they’re exuding.
Interviewer: I agree. What do you think is the purpose of drag?
Tomahawk Martini: I think the purpose of drag is generally just to make people happy and that’s how I look -at it-. I don’t know if that’s really what people believe, but honestly, I just think drag queens are there just to make people feel good. Whether that’s laughing, whether that’s being a muse to, like, fashion or like makeup, or, you know, lip synching to your favorite song, it’s just it no matter what a drag queen does, either way, it’s going to make somebody happy. And I think that’s what matters the most is just making people happy, and at least that’s why I do it, and that’s why I’ve been doing it. I haven’t done it for any other reason except just to make people happy.
Interviewer: Do you think that drag is sexual?
Tomahawk Martini: I’m biased on that because my drag is very sexual. It’s very, like, provocative but to like a certain extent, to not where it’s like – don’t grope me without me knowing, don’t just like come behind me and like start touching me all over like, excuse me. Like, whereas like if I’m hanging out with people, and they’re just like, “Oh my god,” like they have a conversation and they’re just like, “Wow, you’re like so pretty and like, like your boobs looks so good, like, are they real?” and I’ll be like, “No,” and they’re like, “Well can I touch them?” And I’m like, “Sure,” like, if you’re just curious to like, touch a drag queens boob like, sure. But don’t ever, like just run behind me or like, grab me or like run by and like, smack my ass because I just kind of feel like if you’re really intrigued, then come ask, don’t be doing all this unnecessary stuff.
Tomahawk Martini: So, I guess I’m sexual, but only to the point to where both of us understand.
Interviewer: And then how do you feel about RuPaul’s Drag Race?
Tomahawk Martini: At first, I really, really, loved RuPaul’s Drag Race, I thought it was the most amazing platform ever. I thought it exposed and, you know, brought a lot of people exposure to Drag Race. But the more and more I watch it, the more and more I realize I’m not a fan – I’m a fan of it, but I’m no longer dreaming of getting on that show. It’s no longer like a dream of mine. It’d be a nice goal, but it’s not like I’m working toward it every day to be on it anymore. I’m just kind of like, it’s there.
Interviewer: If you could change one thing about the drag scene or drag in general, or the community, what would that be?
Tomahawk Martini: The one thing I would change about drag, in the community would just be acceptance – no I would say self-confidence, because I had this conversation with someone a couple months ago, or yeah almost like a year ago, is I just wish the community was more confident in themselves and who they were, because there wouldn’t be such a hostile environment going into this, there’s always like cliques or like “You can’t be a part of this, or I don’t like that, you can’t say with us,” and drag queens always like ripping down and dragging other drag queens like, “You’re not doing this and that, that’s not good. This is not that, I don’t like that, your hair looks awful.” Like, be confident in just who you are as a person. If your drag is what you think it should be, then you should easily go about the bar and just be nice to people and just say “Hi, how are you?” or “Hi, nice to see you out. Thanks for being here,” rather than sit there and look at someone and be like, “Oh, you decided to wear that today?” where I feel like when people are being shady or like cunty towards other people. It’s kind of from inside that they tend to make themselves feel better. So, I just that drag queens were more confident and were like yeah, this is what I present and that’s fine, and don’t worry about whoever else was casted in your show, don’t think because “Oh you’re booked with this queen that now all of the sudden your drag means less,” like no it doesn’t. Tearing down people doesn’t make you any better, did it make your life you know, better to pull this young drag queen down and tell her that her hair is awful, did it make you feel better? Did you get more money in your pocket? You didn’t, so like don’t do that. And that’s the queen I’ve always been, I’m just like leave people alone, let them represent themselves, it’s their art, they bought it, they can do whatever they want with it. And I think that all just comes down from people being self-conscious with people, like, worrying too much about how they look, or who they’re associated with.
Interviewer: What do you think are some misconceptions that you think people have about drag?
Tomahawk Martini: That you want to be a woman, first and foremost. So yeah, I’d just say like they think drag queens want to be women, it’s not true.
Interviewer: Where do you think like that kind of misconception comes from?
Tomahawk Martini: I think just more from the lingo and the personality from generations before, where it was like “You cannot clock the mug, my hair is real,” like the drag back then was like you had to be a fully realized woman, and people would think “Oh that’s really what you want to be” because drag queens would just think that that’s what they wanted to be, and from the people I have known, it’s like they started out as drag and then eventually transitioned over into being women, which was majority of the things that like happened, was you were a man, dressed up as a woman and then you eventually just became a woman. So, it’s kind of like a segue into your next chapter and I think that’s what a lot of people think drag queens are doing – like that’s the early stages to convincing themselves or admitting to themselves that they want to be a woman. But in today’s society, a lot of people just dress up to dress up, they don’t really dress up for- to fulfill the fantasy or to be the fantasy or whatever.
Interviewer: What do you think can be done to like help change these misconceptions?
Tomahawk Martini: I think what’s changing now, it’s already happening, it’s people being like just going out with a hairy chest and like, no shaved arms like, they’re not trying to be a woman, they’re just wearing makeup and putting on a wig and I know it frustrates a lot of people in the community, especially the older community because they’re like, “That’s not what we were raised, you guys are ruining this, you’re tarnishing it, you’re changing it,” and they don’t like change because, I feel like it’s a hard pill to swallow because this day in age, you’re so open and you’re so free to be who you are but them growing up, it’s kind of resentment, because they’re like, well we weren’t able to do that. So, it’s changing, there’s really nothing else anyone can do except just be themselves and do their own representation of drag, which is happening, so it’s just going to take time for it to finally just eventually like, just be the new normal.
Interviewer: Definitely, and then if you could choose one thing that you want people to know or learn about drag from this interview, what would that be?
Tomahawk Martini: To learn about drag, is that, that everyone’s different, not everyone’s the same. Because I would say like, it’s hard, but that’s like the easy way – like drag is really hard financially hard, physically it’s hard, just getting ready in general like all the padding, all the tights, the cinching, the corsets, like that’s really hard, but I think that’s just what everyone in general is going to say, is that it’s physically demanding on the body. You have glue nails, um, glue to your hair, you have wigs like 10 pounds just sitting on your head, you have a headache, so it’s like a whole production, and you go about this for several hours in a crowded, hot bar with people who are drinking, personalities that are heightened because of outside influences like alcohol or whatever. So yeah, maybe yeah that is my answer, cause it hit me and it felt right – just physically demanding, it’s hard.
Interviewer: Definitely, and then did you have any other experiences or thoughts that you’d like to share?
Tomahawk Martini: I don’t think so, I think I pretty much expressed most of everything in my interview. Just drag is amazing, I’m so glad I found it, I wish I found it sooner, that’s the only thing that I can bring attention to is I wish I knew this was who I was a long time ago, because I would be far off more than what I am now, not saying that where I’m at now is bad or anything, but I only have so much time in this world, and there’s so much more that I want to do that I haven’t done yet, so.
Interviewer: Well thank you so much for participating, I really enjoyed talking with you.
Tomahawk Martini: Awesome, well thank you for reaching out to me, I appreciate it. If- or when you finish the article, if you have a link or anything, I’d like to follow up and like read up on it, and share it as well, I think that’s be cool.
Interviewer: Definitely. I’ll make sure to send you a link once I get everything transcribed and uploaded.
Tomahawk Martini: Okay, and then just quick like because I read it but like what is your like goals or like, what’s the project you’re working on as far as like interviewing drag queens and all that?
Interviewer: So you’ll see once I send you a link, and I could even send it to you now so you can see what it’s going to look like, but we’re just creating profiles of drag artists with the transcriptions, and like links to their social media, and different things like that so that people who are interested and want to know more about drag are able to listen, read, and see first-hand kind of the experiences that drag artists have.
Tomahawk Martini: Okay
Interviewer: Yeah so, I can make sure to send you that link, and if you’d like I can always – you can email me, you know, some people have like professional photos taken, anything like that that I –
Tomahawk Martini: I mean I could submit some photos that you might need that I have professionally done and retouched.
Interviewer: Yeah definitely just email them to me.
Tomahawk Martini: And then I can send you all my social platforms just in case you were like wanting to reach out or actually see the work or art that happens cause all social media is different.
Interviewer: Definitely, yeah, I will make sure to upload those photos and then include the links and I’ll send you the link once I’m finished with everything.
Tomahawk Martini: Awesome, well I appreciate that and I, thank you for talking and thank you for reaching out, I appreciate it.
Interviewer: Thank you, I hope you have a great day –
Tomahawk Martini: I haven’t talked to a lot of people so talking to you was like amazing.
Interviewer: Thank you, I’m glad, Stay, safe for sure too, with everything going on.
Tomahawk Martini: Yes, you too.
Interviewer: Have a great day.
Tomahawk Martini: Alright thank you, bye!