The last Thursday of each month you can feel positive energy radiating from this old mill building along the canal. The air is electric and laughter is abundant. The person responsible for this wave of goodness is Jenayah, each month she hosts Drag Queen Bingo at GCA and packs the place with people eager to join in on the fun. Jenayah is a Western Mass based Drag Queen who has been performing and hosting shows for over 10 years. Coming up this week on Thursday June 14th, Jenayah and Liz of Artisan Beverage Cooperative (Liz participated in a recent blogpost about ARTBev that you can read here) host Drag Queen Trivia as part of Western Mass Beer Week. Recently, Jenayah took some time to answer some questions and give me some insight into her work.
Hi Jenayah, Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me! We are thrilled to feature you on our blog, your monthly Drag Queen Bingo event is one of our in house favorites. Why don’t you start by just telling us a bit about Drag Queen Bingo and what people can expect when they come see you for that.
Hello Cait, thank you for asking me to be part of this! A true honor! Drag Queen Bingo is truly one of my favorite things to do! I get to make people laugh and I have a great time doing it. Its so amazing how big it has become. Thanks to it I have met so many wonderful people. I must say Gateway City Arts is simply amazing and its definitely the home of Drag Queen Bingo for sure!
How long have you been performing in Drag?
Ive been performing in drag for about 12 years now.
What brought you to Drag, and what do you love most about being Jenayah?
Drag believe it or not at first was just a joke. I joked with my friend who became my Drag mother , Bianca Dubois, that I wanted to enter a drag competition at Divas Nightclub and she said, " No you're too good looking of a guy for that" I said ok but let me do it once. So she put me in drag and I had a whole routine with dancers and all and I won first place and I never stopped after that . What I love the most about being Jenayah is making people smile. Nothing makes my heart smile more than that.
Who are some of your inspirations and icons?
Some of my inspirations and Icons are Madonna, Rupaul, Olga Tanon, Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue just to name a few haha.
How did you end up hosting Drag Queen Bingo here at Gateway City Arts?
I had been hosting Drag Queen Bingo thanks to my girl Liz Perry, at The Platinum Pony but when it burned down we were in search of a new venue after a few months we were asked to bring it to Gateway and it has turned out to be an amazing thing! I truly love it !
On June 14thyou will be here hosting Drag Queen Trivia as part of Western Mass Beer Week, how can we expect that to be different from Drag Queen Bingo?
Ooooh you'll have to come and see !!!
Is there anything that you feel the general public doesn’t know or should understand about Drag?
I believe with drag becoming more mainstream a lot about it is starting to be known. There is no right or wrong way of doing it. To me everyone should try drag out at least once! Its a great art form .
Do you feel that where we are in The Valley and Western Mass supports gender nonconforming people?
As the years and times have changed yes I do see lots of support.
Every time I see a photo of you it’s gorgeous and strong. Do you have any words of wisdom for our audience in terms of owning it and empowerment?
Aww thank you. I always say believe in YOU love YOU be YOU. There's no love like self love and if you love yourself and it radiates then others can see it and feel it.
What other types of events do you host and what can we expect to see from you in the future?
I host a Drag Revue called Excuse Our Beauty with an amazing cast of performers so you can catch me at that show every second Saturday of the month. I'm also planning on possibly recording music!!!
Is there anything else you’d like your audience to know?
Yes never be scared to talk to drag queens haha we don't bite!
Photos by Tyler Ironside
Come see Jenayah for yourself! Thursday, June 14th at 7pm is Drag Queen Trivia. The next Drag Queen Bingo is Thursday, June 28th at 8pm.
Find Jenayah on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
To learn more about what's happening at GCA, visit gatewaycityarts.com.