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With her death-defying stunts, quick wit, and overwhelming beauty, Ritzy Bitz made a name for herself in NYC’s drag scene and now is ready to conquer Austin, too. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview her for Zaftyg over Zoom, and the rumours were true: she is more than a pretty face! Her answers below are enlightening, engaging, and honest. So if you’re interested in the drag scene, talented queers, LGBTQIA+ rights, beauty secrets or just having a good time, keep reeding. Learn more about the lovely and beacon of light drag queen Ritzy Bitz.
On Drag, Career and Identity…
Tell me about yourself.
Hey there, I’m Ritzy Bitz! The Pint Sized Powerhouse from NYC! I’m a Leo with a love of designer shoes and dancing like nobody’s watching
Who’s Ritzy Bitz?
Ritzy Bitz is the World’s most Glamourous Comedic Pop Star Drag Queen! My love for fashion, beauty, stand up comedy, and pop music all come together to create my Drag Persona! She’s larger than life even though she’s only 5 feet tall, she’s got cool moves, hit tunes, and the quick wit of a Superstar!
What’s the story behind the name Ritzy Bitz?
When I was a kid my favorite snack was the Nabisco Ritz Bits crackers – the peanut butter, never the cheese! I also enjoyed that it had a double meaning that reflects that I’m beautiful and tiny!
What do you have from your drag identity and your own identity?
Out of drag I am very hardworking, driven, and organized. I am often quiet and reserved, but always enjoy being the life of the party when the right people are around!
How old were you when you started doing drag? Tell us how it started.
I started dressing in drag when I was 18. My college friends told me I would make a beautiful girl, and those were the magic words to get me stuck in a makeup chair for hours! We did a trial run and then decided it was good enough to go out for Halloween, and out she went! I haven’t looked back since! I started dabbling in the Stay-At-Home Drag for a couple of years while pursuing a musical theater degree.
How did you get started in the business?
I did what every young Drag Queen in NYC does: I made friends with Queens I admired and respected, and then asked to perform with them! They took a chance on me and I’m so grateful that they did because that night proved to me that I might just have found my career path. I haven’t looked back since.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about drag queens?
The biggest misconception about Drag Queens is that we want to be women. There are many in the Drag Community that may realize they are Trans throughout their journey, but many of us just want to entertain and have fun, regardless of gender or sexual preference. Many people think that Drag is lots of fun and super easy, and it can be when you’re with good friends – but it is a lot of work and even more maintenance! Lastly, I think that there is a misconception that only Men can be Drag Queens. There are so many different ways that Drag is used as an art form by each individual, and it’s beautiful to see so many embracing the artform for their own.
How did you know you wanted to become a performer/be involved in theatre? And how did you know you wanted to do drag?
I have always wanted to be a performer. From the time I stood up in my kindergarten music class to sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” I’ve always wanted to be a star! I was heavily involved with musical theater all of my life, doing some modelling here and there as well – but it wasn’t until I saw my first NYC Drag Show, “Superwoman” Starring Alexis Michelle and Schwa De Vivre, that I realized that if I put all my talents together they equaled one fabulous Queen!
How have your friends reacted to your career?
I have always been very lucky to have a wonderful loving family. My mom’s reaction to me being a Drag Queen? “I knew, but was just waiting for you to tell me!” I think the shaved legs and shaved eyebrows were a bit of a dead giveaway! Again, I have been very lucky in my life that all of my friends have been wonderfully supportive of my career. I have made many wonderful new friends through my career as well.
What are the best parts of being a drag queen? The biggest challenges?
The best part of being a Drag Queen? The magical moment after the show where someone opens up to you about how much fun they had and how it helped them. I’ll never tire of hearing how someone came to the show in a bad mood and turned it all around by the time we were done! Similarly, I have had a lot of people bring their parents and relatives that may not be as open-minded that almost always come around by the end of the show, too! The challenges of being a drag queen has got to be the feeling of loneliness when the bar is closed, and everyone’s gone home and you’re still waiting to get home. It can be hard to find the right group of performers to fit into, especially if the scene is small or even when the scene is huge! Finding your own tribe takes time but is absolutely worth the journey.
How long does it take you to prepare to perform? What goes into your preparation?
I love getting into drag. I often spend more time getting ready than performing! When I have the time to relax and enjoy the makeup process, I can sometimes take up to four hours! My secret tips are to use light layers to build up the colors on the face and eyes so that blending looks effortless! I also enjoy contouring the lips with the same color I use for my cheeks and forehead to create a more even lip line.
Tell me about your music! What is the focus now?
Before I wanted to perform in drag I was always jealous of Britney Spears and other pop divas. I loved the costumes, the choreography, the hairography, the unapologetic sex appeal – but mostly the MUSIC! It made me dance, it made me feel, it made me forget my troubles. I started my career with “Ritzy Boom” written for me by James Michael Avance, and then I wrote a duet with a Drag Sister of mine, Misty Mountains, called “I’m That Bitch”. Now my shift has been towards a more mainstream sound, less club, more pop and radio-friendly. My first EP, Love Potion, is available since Valentine’s Day 2021!
What has this journey been like for you?
It’s been a never-ending journey of self discovery. Every year I find myself moving closer to be the entertainer I’ve always dreamed of being. It’s not without its challenges, and I have had my fair share of ups and downs, finding the right balance between personal life and career, but I’m now in a place where I feel great about myself, what I’m doing and what I’m focused on.
How did you feel the first time you put on a dress, a wig, and makeup?
The first time I put on makeup and a dress I felt free. I can’t even begin to describe the sensation that takes over my body when I look in the mirror and someone fierce is staring back!
Are people in the drag queen scene generally supportive of each other?
Drag is just another part of the entertainment industry, there are some great people who are wonderful and supportive and then there are many others who aren’t because their only concern is themselves. Sisterhoods are prevalent but sometimes cliquey. I’ve always found myself to be a bit of an outsider myself, never belonging to the “In Crowd”.
Who are some of your favorite drag queens – your best friends?
There are a handful of drag queens I look up to, either because of their outlook, talents or kindness. My personal favorite drag queens are Willam, Courtney Act, and Brooke Lynn Hytes. My friends in drag constantly inspire me to be my best and I couldn’t be more grateful.
What are you looking forward to most post-quarantine – what do you miss most?
I’m looking forward to getting back to entertaining people and being about to get them all up and dance. There’s nothing better than ending a show with a giant dance party and I miss that terribly!
What advice would you give to anyone interested in doing drag?
My best advice for aspiring drag queens is to have FUN! The moment it becomes about who has the most gigs and who isn’t booked it’s a JOB! Keep the fun alive and you’ll always have a good time.
What’s next for you? Any exciting new projects?
Up next I have my debut EP Love Potion, I’ve been working at Oilcan Harry’s in Austin, TX and am looking forward to creating some funtastic YouTube content!
Let’s get Political…
On the role of drag in LGBTQIA+ advocacy…
I think that it’s important for drag queens to encourage our community to vote, and be politically aware. It’s also important for queens to remember their title and act accordingly, so that others in the community can look to us as a beacon of hope and rally behind us.
Drag queens and gender pronouns…
Gender Pronouns are very important in the community – mine are She/Her when I am in drag and if you’ve met me through drag. It’s so silly to me that someone cannot respect someone’s preferred pronouns, but will get very upset if you call them the wrong name or a childhood nickname they don’t like!
Has mainstream media damaged the drag community?
I think drag becoming more mainstream has done wonders for the art form. It’s been able to push local queens like myself further than we would’ve before if drag had stayed underground. I think that the influx of drag wannabes into the community is a fantastic way to keep the spirit of drag alive, because it is now an artform enjoyed by many, and used by many to tell their story in a way that wasn’t done before. I think it’s magnificent.
Are drag queens doing enough for feminism? How have women in your life contributed to your drag?
I don’t think there is enough feminism in drag. There are a lot of groans about bachelorette parties and women in gay bars that has always been off-putting to me. Women are beautiful and they literally give us life! The gay community in general could definitely use a makeover in the way that they treat others, considering how many of us were not made to feel welcome in our lives at one point in another.
The biggest issue facing queer communities is arguably gender. Being trans or non-binary can often come with a big taboo. What’s your opinion on this topic?
I’m always going to be confused about the fact that someone trying to live their life truthfully so that they can be happy is a problem for other people. Again, I feel that in our community there is a lot of confusion, upset, and loneliness that manifests into something very ugly and unaccepting of others. It’s a hard enough fight for Equality without the in-fighting as well. If we are all on a path of self-discovery, why are we so threatened when someone’s path is different than ours? The ones who are on the path less-taken are often made to feel as if they are wrong, when in reality they are just that much closer to loving themselves and feeling acceptance within.
2020 was the year of the pandemic, the fight for social justice, and racial equality. As a gay Black man, what has it meant to you?
This year has been exhausting in many ways. It’s always been hard knowing that people might act out against me because of the color of my skin, who I love, or what I do for a living. It’s harder still to see that, while we have come a very long way, we still have so much further to go in the quest for equality. I simply urge everyone to teach their families to LOVE. Hate can spread through a country like a wildfire, and it’s time we started sharing love and listening to those with different stories than ours with open ears and open hearts.
Is systemic racism an issue in the drag world? Are there any personal experiences you could share with us?
Racism in the drag community is sadly very prevalent. Many artists aren’t given the same advantages as others, and performance spaces aren’t always doing anything to attempt to be inclusive. In Chicago this year they had a Town Hall meeting to discuss the unfair treatment of the performers of Color, and they ended up implementing some much-needed change in their scene.
Pride began with a protest: how are Gay rights connected to Black Lives Matter?
Gay rights and BLM are heavily intertwined because of the stigma against gays in the Black community. Many Black men will never feel safe coming out of the closet and have an unfortunate history of sleeping with gay men on the side and causing more problems within both communities. When the Black community is allowed to fully experience the advantages of equality I have hope that things will improve.
Drag makeup techniques such as contouring and baking have burst from queens’ dressing rooms to become popular mainstream beauty trends.
Some of the most popular beauty trends today are sometimes old drag queen secrets! It’s funny to me because some of those secrets are for long-lasting very full-coverage makeup that nobody needs to be wearing on a daily basis! The newest makeup trend sweeping the nation should be good skincare.
Share your skincare routine.
Drag Queen Ritzy Bitz “I love keeping my skin clean and clear from blemishes. I exfoliate my skin with a gentle exfoliant daily as well as using some peeling face masks through the week. Moisturization is incredibly important to me – it keeps the skin feeling soft and looking youthful, especially under all the makeup!”
What’s one beauty secret that you’re willing to share?
My number one beauty tip is to blend in layers; this applies to blush, bronzer, foundation, and eyeshadow! It’s so much easier to add more than it is to take away.
Make up hacks you swear by.
Drag Queen Ritzy Bitz states “right now, I like putting a little translucent powder where my mask rests to keep it from removing the makeup underneath. A pop of gloss on the cupid’s bow will accentuate the lips. The key to a long lasting highlight? A cream base that’s set with a highlight powder. Using a skin tone color eyeliner in the waterline can help open the eyes more without looking too obvious.” The lovely drag queen ritzy bitz!
Top 5 Beauty Products.
+ Dermablend Leg & Body Foundation.
+ Gleam by Melanie Mills.
+ Anything from Danessa Myricks.
+ Cozette Makeup Brushes.
+ Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray.