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Inside the Corset with Violet Chachki


I’ve had the pleasure of talking with a good number of RuPaul Alum in the past few years. I’ve even been part of booking RuPaul herself down in Tampa (a very rare opportunity). From Adore Delano and Bianca Del Rio of season six, to Trinity K Bonet, Nicole Paige Brooks, and Phoenix. So let me tell you that when I was in the presence of Violet Chachki, I felt something, that intangible feeling of being in the room with greatness.

Violet is statuesque to say the least. Standing well over six feet tall, Violet is built thin and lithe (the way only 22 year olds can). Her skin is clear and fresh, and lightly and smartly tattooed. Then there’s the corset-enhanced figure! I watched as her brand spanking new green spangled corset was tightened over her frame. Garnering that famed 18-inch waist is a process, and not immediately accomplished. There’s some pulling at the strings in the back, then some resting, then more pulling, then more resting. On it goes until finally, the signature hourglass figure is achieved. Both the photographer Russ and I stand there in awe for a silent second. Then we turn to each other and furiously change up our intentions for the photo shoot. The look is a game changer for the evening’s shoot.

Violet’s whole look seems natural to her, but very calculated and polished. Her face is seamless in it’s contouring. There’s none of those sharp edges that I might have to Photoshop later. Another show of thought and practice is the skin tone, which matches from head to toe in a luminescent milky white. Usually I see these queens that look as if they are obviously wearing tights that are a few shades off. Or have a line at their chins where their base is a shade or two darker. Not the case for Violet. It’s seamless, believable perfection.

I’ve done my research; I know that Jason (Violet in boyface) hasn’t been doing drag for that long. In the four years or so of performing as Violet, how is this level of precision is achieved? I asked Violet what her biggest secret to drag is, “I watch a lot of YouTube videos and order a lot off eBay.” It can’t be that simple can it? But now it’s time for the shoot to begin.

As the session begins, I’m immediately struck by the artistry and professionalism in front of me. Violet knows her angles. She zeroes in on the camera and starts hitting pose after perfect pose. Again, this can’t be someone who only started doing drag full time a handful of years ago. In 2011, Violet took the stage for the first time at LeBuzz in Marrietta. “A place where drag queens go to be born and to die,” says Violet. Jason was a student at SCAD-Atlanta and I gather that rather quickly the decision was made to leave school and perform as Violet full-time.

I’ve asked that Violet come with three looks for the shoot, and it’s time for the second look. Already I think that I’ve got the cover shot in the bag. The second look is a little less corseted, but still very pin-up in style. Violet pulls a delicate lavender lace-front wig out. The detail at the hairline is amazing.

I’m asking pointed questions about her experience with RuPaul’s Drag Race and getting nowhere. Violet is not dishing about any of it.

Me: Who was your favorite queen from your season?

Her: Um that’s a tough one. I made what seems to be a ton of life long friendships. I just got to work a gig with Pearl and it was so great to see her, I feel like we are pretty close.

Me: Who was one of least favorite queens?

Her: That’s also a tough one. I’m not trying to give a pageant answer here, but I seriously respect and have love for all these girls. This season really is amazingly talented. If I had to choose someone, I would say Mrs. Kasha Davis. Only because her drag character and my drag character are on opposite ends of the spectrum, which makes it hard to relate.

It’s frustrating for me. I mean, I know that there’s an “airtight” gag order on all the contestants, but I want some gabby girl talk or something. Nope, no chance with Violet. Which makes me think that maybe she got pretty far in the competition. As she’s continuing to change into her second ensemble, I look around at what she’s brought with her. A lot of it is very new and very expensive looking. Jet-black fur coat, brand new lace-front lavender wig, and don’t even get me started on the shoes. This doesn’t look like the kind of stuff that someone who got eliminated in the first rounds would have.

“It’s already been insane” Violet states about her life since RuPaul. “I’ve been traveling a lot more and meeting some of the most amazing people in the entrainment industry. Getting exposure like this, you get contacted from fans from all over the world. It’s crazy, and it’s ‘bout to get crazier!”

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We move into the third and final look, a dark flimsy sheath dress that reminds me of Mommy Dearest. I finally see Violet without a wig cap on. She has dark shoulder length hair that I wouldn’t have expected. “I’m really trying to focus on aerial work, burlesque work, as well as trying to get my hand in the mainstream fashion world…having the ability to wear my own hair and not a wig is helpful for that.” In 2012, Violet was hired for the inception of The Other Show at Jungle, and is currently the only acrobatic-burlesque drag queen in this town.

It’s the end of the shoot and I have just a little time for a few more questions. I ask if she got any sage advice from RuPaul herself. “I don’t remember much” Violet says. “It was kind of a whirlwind. I do remember talking about her days in Atlanta hooking on Peachtree.” After that, hugs and kisses and pats on the back are exchanged between all, and Violet floats up the stairs on to her next gig.

I know that we are all going to have to wait to see how this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race pans out, but after an experience like that…my money is on Chachki. Violet definitely has the charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent to go as far as she wants in this world.

Want More Chachki?

You can catch Violet every week in The Other Show at Jungle, plus she will be hosting Drag Race viewing parties at Mary’s on Mondays. Follow Violet on Twitter @VioletChachki and Instagram @VioletChachki.

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