When 28-year-old Brian Michael Firkus dons pumps and a wig, he transforms into the outrageous, life-sized Barbie doll Trixie Mattel, the winner of season 3 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars.” But, behind the make-up, the thoughtful Wisconsin native is a talented performer, musician and songwriter who can imagine life after drag. “Trixie” is currently on a victory tour of the country with her new show “Trixie Mattel: Now with Moving Parts” and she/he took a few minutes recently to discuss “their” careers and future ambitions:
What can audiences expect in your new show?
I’m going to have to be naked, it’s so hot in Florida! It is a stand-up show that features my musical gifts, video, lip sync…all spicy and exciting, it has some surprisingly moving sentiments behind the jokes, some serious moments, too. I’m going to make people laugh and cry.
Beyond your iconic drag skills, you’re also a talented musician. When did you discover your love for music?
I was living as a mermaid and this sea witch wanted to steal my voice. Seriously, I grew up in the deep north woods of Wisconsin, on my grandfather’s knee. He was a country musician. I never liked country, it was “old peoples’ music,” but as I got older—maybe 22 or 23 after my grandparents passed away—I realized the music has a lot of complexity and weight. By the late ‘90s, I was playing guitar, acoustic-driven pop music. I never really got into folk and country, even though I grew up listening to it, but now I’ve kind of come full circle. I want to continue to break into the world of folk music and be seen as a serious musician and not as reality show trash.
You came into this season of “All Stars” as an underdog after being eliminated not once, but twice in season 7. Why did you decide to try again?
Obviously, I was traumatized after the first time, going home early and feeling embarrassed. In episode 4 (season 7), when I thought I was going to eliminated, I felt so emasculated. It’s funny how you can feel that way when you’re in drag.
But you came back...
I knew the audience would have a lot invested in me. I’m living proof that you don’t have to win to go on to be a success. I really felt the pressure and pressure doesn’t help…I’ve always said that it’s important to impress the judges, but it’s more important to impress the other queens in the room. If you do a great job and the other queens think you did a great job, you won’t go home because they remember that.
How has Trixie evolved over the years?
You can tell, since I started doing music and stand-up, that I’ve went from Malibu Barbie to Coachella Barbie. I do see myself evolving backwards and getting out of drag at some point. I don’t see myself being able to sell the Trixie thing forever. I think about doing other characters, maybe a sort of male character. I like doing comedy, I like doing music and I like dressing up and I’ll always be doing those things.
“Trixie Mattel: Now with Moving Parts” Tour comes to the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale for one show only, Friday, April 20 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $43.55 and VIP packages including a meet-and-greet and photographs are also available. Tickets at BrowardCenter.org.