Sasha Velour: ‘My childhood dream was to be an actor that only played villains’ | My Life In 20

29 January 2024, 16:49 | Updated: 29 January 2024, 17:22

Sasha Velour My Life In 20
Sasha Velour My Life In 20. Picture: House of Velour
Woodrow Whyte

By Woodrow Whyte

On the eve of her latest theatrical spectacular, The Big Reveal Live Show, touring across the US, UK & Europe in February through to April, global drag icon Sasha Velour takes a trip down memory lane to answer our My Life In 20 questions.

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20) What movie could you watch 20 times over and not get bored?

I have famously bad taste in film but there are 3 movies I’d put in that category: The Fall by Tarsem Singh, Housu by Nobuhiko Obayashi, and Female Trouble by John Waters. I’ll admit: visuals are more important than plot to me. But I do like a weird plot.

19) What topic could you talk about for 19 minutes straight without notes?

The intersections between the history of drag and queer and trans activism. Also the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.

18) What was the most important thing to happen in your life when you were 18?

At 18, I lived in St. Petersburg, Russia for a year with family and worked as an English language teacher. It taught me how to be very uncomfortable, and still find joy and opportunity. I think that’s served me well.

17) Who was your crush at 17?

Kyan Douglas from the original Queer Eye. I (ironically) find a great head of hair so attractive. Also, he was always so earnest and kind with his makeovers, at the time I’d never seen a gay person in media like that before.

16) What can you remember about your 16th birthday?

I spent the day at the Illinois DMV and got my driver’s license—I was trying to get out of there! Now I’m a typical New Yorker and don’t drive at all.

Sasha Velour's "The Big Reveal Live Show" Tour Teaser

15) What did you hate at 15 which you love now?

Tomatoes—I still find the texture alarming, but the flavour is worth it.

14) What TV show were you obsessed with at 14?

I decided I was too much of a hipster for TV and became obsessed with Orson Welles and Agnes Moorehead in “The Shadow”—a 1937 radio mystery program I copied from library cassette tapes!

13) 13 is unlucky for some. Do you have anything that you’re superstitious about?

I’m only superstitious about January 1st. Following Slavic tradition, I believe how you spend the day will set the tone for the entire year.

12) If you could live the life of any other person for 12 hours, who would you be?

Someone who’s retired and living in the mountains…

11) Who was your best friend when you were 11?

My only friends in middle school were boys from the ESL program. I always remember Shi Yin’s 11th birthday party where he told me my name “Sasha” sounded like “kill kill” in Cantonese, and I felt very seen.

Sasha Velour
Sasha Velour. Picture: Greg Endries / House of Velour

10) Which bad habit do you hope to have quit in 10 years time?

Spiralling about if I did a “bad job” at something.

9) What was your biggest fear when you were 9?

I was terrified of speaking in public because my voice was so high pitched, people always thought I was a girl. Of your now I have one of the deepest voices of any drag queen! I remember visiting Plymouth Rock and one of the actors said “a young girl like you would be sweeping the house.” Core memory!

8) When you were 8, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An actor. And my dream was to only play villains.

7) Which of the seven deadly sins are you most guilty of?

I don’t have any bit of that Catholic shame in me! I think the mixed Jewish and Protestant “deadly sins” are more about hurting people’s feelings or not working hard enough in life. And I’m in therapy about those to this day!

6) You can invite six people to your dream dinner party (dead or alive), who would you invite?

My artistic heroes: Barbette, Divine, RuPaul, Sylvia Rivera, Josephine Baker, and Andy Warhol. I don’t think they’d get along, but that could be even more iconic!

5) Name five things you can't live without.

Fiction, mirrors, the sublime beauty of nature, “masculine” scented candles, and anything sweet.

4) Describe yourself in four words.

Intense, artsy-fartsy, earnest, camp.

3) Your top three songs of all time.

'Au Fond Du Temple Saint' - Bizet (the Bjorling/Merrill recording), 'Wild is the Wind' - the Nina Simone version, 'Toxic' - Britney Spears.

2) Name two things on your bucket list.

To star on Broadway or in a feature film. And to buy a house (all I own now are clothes and costume jewelry).

1) Who or what is your one true love?

DRAG—the art and the community.

'The Big Reveal Life Show' is directed, written, and produced by Velour. The 90-minute, one-queen show is billed as Sasha's "most shocking, hilarious, emotional, and campy theatrical production to date—and still her most intimate one yet." Find tickets to The Big Reveal Live Show tour here. Full tour dates below.

U.S.

  • February 2 - Clearwater, FL (Nancy & David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre) w/ Victoria Elizabeth Black
  • February 3 - Jacksonville, FL (Florida Theatre) w/ Axel Andres
  • February 29 - Portland, ME (State Theatre) w/ K.James
  • March 2 - Schenectady, NY (Proctors) w/ Neon CalypsoMarch 3 - Burlington, VT (The Flynn) w/ Neon Calypso
  • March 4 - Lebanon, NH (Lebanon Opera House) w/ Neon Calypso

UK

  • 8 March - London, UK (London Palladium) w/ Chiyo
  • 10 March - Brighton, UK (Brighton Dome) w/ Joe Black
  • 12 March - Birmingham, UK (Symphony Hall) w/ Black Peppa
  • 13 March - Manchester, UK (The Bridgewater Hall) w/ Cheddar Gorgeous
  • 14 March - Newcastle, UK (Tyne Theatre & Opera House) w/ Choriza May
  • 15 March - Glasgow, UK (SEC Armadillo) w/ Ginger Johnson
  • 17 March - Cardiff, UK (New Theatre - Cardiff) w/ Victoria Scone

Europe

  • 19 March - Paris, FR (Folies Bergère) w/ Nicki Doll
  • 20 March - Amsterdam, NL (Royal Theatre Carré) w/ Vanessa Van Cartier
  • 21 March - Amsterdam, NL (Royal Theatre Carré) w/ Envy Peru
  • 23 March - Stockholm, SE (Nya Cirkus) w/ Admira Thunderpussy
  • 25 March - Hamburg, DE (Stage Operettenhaus) w/ Yvonne Nightstand
  • 26 March - Berlin, DE (Tempodrom) w/ Barbie Breakout
  • 27 March - Prague, CZ (Broadway Theatre) w/ Melancholia Blackbile
  • 29 March - Zabrze, PL (House of Music and Dance)
  • 1 April - Brussels, BE (Cirque Royal - Koninklijk Circus) w/ Alvilda
  • 2 April - Lille, FR (Théâtre Sebastopol) w/ Stargirl
  • 4 April - Zurich, CH (Theater 11) w/ Tessa Testicle
  • 5 April - Geneva, CH (Théâtre du Léman) w/ Moon
  • 7 April - Barcelona, ES (Sala Barts) w/ Supremme De Luxe
  • 8 April - Madrid, ES (La Estación Gran Teatro Caixabank Príncipe Pío) w/ Marina
  • 9 April - Lisbon, PT (Coliseu dos Recreios) w/ Lola

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