A masterful blend of feminine power, masculine beauty, fine-tuned artistry, and business savvy. Rify Royalty is a standout source of inspiration to us all in the scene - and if not, it's your problem, not hers honey. She was a Brooklyn queen before it became a thing, but still can work anywhere in this city (and beyond) and be totally at home. Whether it's a jockstrap, pumps, leather cap and a whip at Club Cumming, gag-inducing gowns on the rooftop at Le Bain, or hosting the stage at Straight Acting dressed as a straight-up mother fucking clown, Rify Royalty gives it you every time, and then some… and then a little more if ya nasty.
To me, Rify represents the entrance to a new era of drag in this decade. She was on the forefront of saying, "This is drag too. Get used to it.” And everyone listened. I started drag in small-town Alabama in a time when the binary still ruled - either you are a man or you do full female impersonation, nothing in between please. That wasn't what I really was interested in, and when I came to NYC I finally found people pushing those boundaries, with Rify right at the top. I know many of us here, and all over, can pinpoint Rify as someone that gave us permission to paint our mustaches, snatch back our brows, and wear just a sensible jeweled thong on Thursdays.
And its not just the lqqk for Rify. It's all the gigs, the showz, and making space for all to express themselves in the communities she represents. Her main attraction, Straight Acting, which celebrates its 5-year anniversary Oct 3, has been rockin’ Brookyln between the former This n’ That and its current home at Metropolitan. It makes way for the full gamut of expression, on stage or off, and has been a major disruptor in the tox-masc world that came to a head in the app age. The Straight Acting stage is a rite of passage for all queens, a place to earn your stripes in NYC – if you haven't performed there, have you really performed anywhere?
Her Bushwig productions have been iconic, even back when it was just in a tent honey. She's in demand across the country to host, perform, and kiki with the best. Keep your eye on Rify Royalty, because the best is only yet to come and we can't wait to see what happens next.
I snagged Rify for a few quick questions about her time in NYC, and her advice for all the squirrels out there:
* * *
DXD: Hii Rify! Thanks for doing this with me. So what drew you in to become part of the cast of NYC nightlife?
RR: It kinda happened by accident. But I was always meant to wear sparkly shit and be my own boss so I guess the universe was just making me wait my turn.
DXD: Do you prefer the role of producer or performer? (i.e. being in a space you create, or performing on stage at someone else's event)
RR: To be honest, I’ll take ’em both. I love creating my own programming and spaces, but it’s also nice to be a guest in someone else’s show.
DXD: Straight-Acting is a celebrated safe space for gender expression and performance, which you've curated with some incredible people in the scene. Any favorite moments/people/lqqks over the years?
RR: I think the TnT days of the party were my faves. Drag was in a different place then, people were more experimental with both looks and performances.
DXD: You've recently started airing on the side of more high-femme glam. Is that purposeful, just a progression, or not really true in your eyes?
RR: I’ve always felt more fem. I don’t know that it’s intentional. I just do what feels right. I love serving a high-femme, glam moment.
DXD: Your best beauty tip to anyone slinging on a pair of heels and heading out tonight?
RR: Take your time. Practice makes perfect and most of all, have fun!
DXD: It can be said that some people dip their toes into the waters of genderfuck drag only in the safety of Fire Island for a tip around Sip N Twirl, but leave it behind when they return to their city lives? Any thoughts on this?
RR: I think Fire Island, P-Town, and any other queer-friendly destination is where people go to feel safe and let their hair down. I’m all for safe spaces and self-expression, but be mindful that there are non-binary people who present as femme every day of their lives and be mindful how you treat those folks when you’re not on Fire Island. Don’t be a “femme-for-a-day" gay who could care less about femme-presenting people when you’re back on your own turf.
DXD: Well said. If you had one night only out in NYC back in time, where/when would it be?
DXD: What recent lqqk of yours speaks most to where you are now as Rify Royalty?
RR: Anything sparkly with a pump, long claws, and my signature bangs!
Thank you Rify for your work, your artistry, and for just making me giggle anytime I see you on the street. Also, can we take a moment for the crochet bikini as seen above? See more on her insta - @rify_royalty. g
You can catch Rify Royalty and more prolific performers at her next parties:
Straight Acting 5 Year Anniversary at Metropolitan on Thursday, Oct 3
FEMS at The Vault in Brooklyn on Fri, Oct 4
David X Daisy