Each month we’ll champion two amazing drag queens, DJs, or community heroes in the gay scene. Our spotlight for January falls on drag personality and performer Penny Tration.
How did you come up with your drag name?
I was working for a marketing company and we were in a meeting discussing the penetration rate of a campaign… the rest is history. Jenny Tools and Ms Elaine Eious were both a close second.
Although I looked like a bastard it was empowering. I had been hiding in my bedroom at home for weeks practicing faces (I should have spent longer) and I decided to go to the Mardi Gras parade in drag. It was 1993 or so. I drank for free all night, acted like I owned the place, woke up in an alley behind Stonewall, got a taxi to my car, and drove back home. The hangover took a week to recover from.
Who taught you how to tuck?
It was the ‘90s and being shown how to tuck was reserved for hot boys you were putting in drag for a party. There was no internet so I just taught myself after hearing what the other girls did.
Who is your drag inspiration?
Hmm, again it was before the internet so RuPaul was just starting out. My drag inspirations were the local queens. Trudy Valentine, Wyness, Mogadonna, Simone. The first show I ever saw was Christie McNichol at DCM and my world was changed.
Most embarrassing onstage story?
To many to retell. I almost knocked a wedding cake over during a show cause I had been left alone with a bottle of vodka and some overly generous gays for too long. Any show where I have a long time sitting around with access to lots of booze ends up with an embarrassing story.
Favourite song to lip-sync to?
I HATE TO LIP-SYNC. I still get very nervous but if I have to Song for the Lonely or If You Could Read My Mind.
Most overrated song to lip-sync to?
And I’m Telling You. Amazing song to see sung live. I recently saw Jennifer Holiday sing it on an Atlantis cruise. The big notes go FOREVER…
What advice would you offer new performers?
Respect those that came before you. Just because it’s on RuPaul’s Drag Race doesn’t mean it’s right. Find what you are good at and make it your own. And if you’re going to copy, be creative about it.
What does a normal day look like for you?
I don’t have normal days. I am an international flight attendant so my days and weeks aren’t normal. But now that I am a lady of a sensible age and back on a health kick I’m usually up around 9am, gym, lolling about, TV catch up, and the 5.30pm shower for 7.30pm GenderBender Bingo if I’m home.
If I am away it consists of sleeping, invoicing, paying the girls that have worked, replacing the ones that have had a big weekend or are sick and can’t work, and shopping.