Casper Presents Bedtime Stories With Trixie Mattel: She’s Ditched the Nightgowns and Is Primed for World Domination
With all this and more to discuss, who better to kick-off Hornet’s inaugural “Bedtime Stories” series, sponsored by Casper, than one of the most talented, hilarious voices of the drag world and a generation.
I first caught a glimpse of the Barbie doll-infused Wisconsin native in 2015 when she stomped on my funny bone during Season 7 of the groundbreaking TV competition. In the three years since, the 28-year-old has skyrocketed, achieving what no other “Ru girl” has done to date: a trifecta of headlining an internationally syndicated cable TV series, Viceland’s The Trixie & Katya Show; appearing on one of the most talked-about shows on television, American Horror Story; and stunning us all with not one but two albums — folk music, no less — that have hit number one on iTunes.
Trixie Mattel is also — yeah, I’ll say it — the funniest queen to step forward from the Drag Race pantheon of legends, whip-smart as a Willam or Katya and as polished as some of your favorite stand-up comedians.
The true essence of drag’s hottest name is best captured along with another award-winner, the Casper mattress. So with Trixie Mattel in tow we crawled into bed, which I must say is seriously soft and complements those natural curves. Luckily she didn’t fall asleep on us!
STEPHAN HORBELT, Hornet’s Executive Editor: Trixie, I want to welcome you to the very first installment of a new series we’re doing here at Hornet called “Bedtime Stories.” Think of this as a casual, comfortable chat before bed. I thought, who better to launch the series than you, someone who’s currently getting your moment, living your best life …
TRIXIE MATTEL: Because my look is so tired, it’s called “bedtime”?
STEPHAN: [Laughs] Well, I was gonna say, you’ve been sporting nightgowns onstage for years now.
TRIXIE: Yes gawd!
STEPHAN: Can we chat for just a second about Trixie’s love of nightgowns?
TRIXIE: You know, there are a few reasons why. I’ve kind of retired nightgowns, but I did wear them for, like, a full year and a half. A couple reasons: One, lazy. Two, I gained 30 pounds and no one told me. Three, I think it comes from when I would stay over at my grandma’s house when I was little. My cousin Ashley was a girl, and her family had a lot more money than my family, and she always had these stunning, beautiful, lacy, Disney-licensed character nightgowns. When I would stay at my grandparents’ house, I would want to wear them because they were so beautiful.
STEPHAN: I know you’ve moved to a more country music aesthetic, but I feel like you’re holding up the entire nightgown industry.
TRIXIE: I know they’re kind of dumb, and I know people make fun of them, but I just like them. I think they look great. When I see girls come to my shows wearing them, I think they look beautiful. I mean, I’ve gotten rid of most of mine, but I still have one that’s pink that I just will never get rid of, because for me it was like an era. I don’t know why I became so obsessed. I just became obsessed with … there was that Barbie they made for a while that was meant to be slept with at night, and she had a squishy body …
STEPHAN: OK, I know nothing about this, and I’m absolutely horrified!
TRIXIE: She had a plastic head — a Barbie head — but she had a squishy body. She was meant to be cuddled with by little kids. Which is also odd, because Barbie’s an adult woman who is not related to you in any way. You know what I mean? You’re cuddling with a boneless version of an adult woman.
STEPHAN: Oh my God. I mean, I guess that’s not any weirder than a My Buddy.
TRIXIE: Oh, girl. My Buddy was … you better know I used to have full-blown intercourse with a My Buddy! My family, I think they didn’t want me to be as gay, so they didn’t want to buy me a Barbie, so they bought me Ken dolls. And I’m like, “You don’t want me to be gay, so you’re giving me a hot naked guy whose clothes I can take off whenever I want? Interesting concept.”
STEPHAN: Ahh! Good point. Back to bedtime stuff, since I have a sense of what your hectic travel schedule is like, I’m curious: Do you get to sleep?
TRIXIE: No, not really. Whenever I’m overwhelmed my friends are like, “Just have one of your people do it.” I’m like, “What people? Do you think I have people?” You know, the lowest-level straight celebrity has a team of pulleys and whistles and muppets and puppets. Meanwhile, if you’re at all gay, and no matter how low-level … basically what I’m saying is if you were on American Idol once 12 years ago and went home first, you still have a private jet. Do you know what I mean? But if you’re gay and you’re booked every day of your life, you’re still pulling your own three suitcases and your guitar across the airport.
STEPHAN: Well, knowing that you fly as much as you do, have you become one of those people who’s able to sleep on planes?
TRIXIE: Oh, I can sleep standing up.
STEPHAN: Because I feel like it’s one of those “There are two kinds of people in this world” kind of thing — those who sleep on planes, and those who can’t.
TRIXIE: Yeah. Some people, like Thorgy Thor, have told me they can’t sleep on planes. And I’m like, “Well … ” But she drinks a lot, so I’m sure she’ll figure it out. I can sleep anywhere. I could honestly be sleeping right now. Like, that’s how fast and easy I could fall asleep. I’m that person where at night, my boyfriend’s in bed talking to me and mid-conversation, I’m out. Right when he’s at “This is something I’ve never told anyone before,” I’m like, [snore] …
All my friends — especially my Drag Race sisters — all tell me that my music is one of their favorite things to fall asleep to, actually. Because I think it has a calm … I mean, I don’t have a commanding diva voice. I have like a John Denver, sort of storyteller voice. I think people like that.
STEPHAN: I think that’s actually a high compliment! I think about the music on my sleep mix and it’s some of the most beautiful music I think exists. What’s on your bedtime mix? Is that something you do?
TRIXIE: Oh, there are a few songs that every time just make me feel serene and at peace. I love Aimee Mann. Anything by her. She has that real calm, lullaby sort of voice.
STEPHAN: Totally. “Save Me,” “Red Vines.” Anything from the Magnolia soundtrack.
TRIXIE: She’s a legend. Her songs are all stories, and she sort of writes in riddles. Very storybook-y, sort of like Joanna Newsom, very storybook-y, fantasy. I have my favorites, but I am not a typical gay.
TRIXIE: Yes! It’s like a Easter egg. However, I will say this … I think the world might be a little dumb, because it’s not a very well-hidden Easter egg. It’s like, “It’s right there, girl.”
STEPHAN: Well, I’m proud of myself that I connected the dots finally.
TRIXIE: I’m obsessed with chapters and volumes and things being sequential. When I made Two Birds … because, you know, I produce and release and write and play and sing all my own albums. I was afraid Two Birds wouldn’t sell, and when it did sell really well, I always had this idea that I would do the second volume and call it One Stone, so it’s sort of like a companion piece.
It’s really meant to be heard as all one album. Two Birds is a lot more early radio, country, and the content is like a breakup and I’m the victim, and this happens to me. And One Stone is more like early folk revival in the way it feels, and it’s more like, “Well, maybe the problem’s always you. Maybe you’re not the protagonist in every storyline.” It’s kind of like when you get older and realize you are the bringer of your own apocalypse most of the time. You know what I mean?
STEPHAN: That’s deep! And this new album is doing so well! Hitting number one on iTunes is no small feat.
TRIXIE: I write all these songs myself, in my bathroom, drinking a Red Bull. So it’s really cool to kind of go from that to where they are now — people actually buying them, you know? Believe me, it was surreal to be a crossdresser who plays the autoharp and open up Billboard magazine and see myself on the charts. It’s cool.
STEPHAN: Yeah, I would say so. You do such a great job of weaving in the drag with the music, but have your priorities shifted at all?
TRIXIE: Well, I love doing stand-up so much.
STEPHAN: Let me just say, I saw your show in Provincetown last summer and it was by far the best show in town by far.
TRIXIE: You are so kind. Thank you very much.
STEPHAN: I was sitting there with tears streaming down my face. It was, from start to finish, a perfect, perfect show. I can’t wait to see this summer’s show.
TRIXIE: I’m a natural comedian. The way I love writing music, I love writing jokes. I love the science of the words and the emphasis, and how this can get the biggest laugh. You know, when I write my shows, it’s like in movies when there’s a mastermind killer and there’s pins and pictures and yarn all over the wall. That’s how I kind of assemble these jokes.
STEPHAN: Like an episode of Homeland?
TRIXIE: Yeah, totally. And I write the music to punctuate sections of stand-up. So if there’s a large section about a breakup, I’m gonna wrap that up with a pink bow by singing an original breakup song. Or if I’m doing a section about how white I am, I’m gonna do stand-up about how white I am, make a bunch of jokes about white people and then sing this super folksy version of RuPaul’s “Cover Girl.” I like to use the music to sort of punctuate the sections.
I think I’m gonna call the new show Not a Hugger. I think that’s a great name.
STEPHAN: I love that.
TRIXIE: That or Skinny Legend. I can’t decide.
STEPHAN: OK, so I want to switch gears a bit. At Hornet we’ve reported a lot on Viceland’s The Trixie & Katya Show, which is so well done. Katya took a break, Bob The Drag Queen came on board and has been killing it. Katya has since kind of come out and announced “the bitch is back.” I don’t know if you’re at liberty to say anything about what might be next for the show.
TRIXIE: Oh, Katya’s definitely back, as far as she logged into Twitter. But Katya still has a beard and isn’t doing drag right now. We’ve proven with Bob that it’s called The Trixie & Katya Show but we can really make magic with Bob in that chair, too. I can’t really say what we’re doing going forward, but the show is so funny. I mean, I’m watching the new episodes with Bob, and I describe it as an equally good show, just different. It’s still “I Will Always Love You,” but one version is the Dolly version, and one version is the Whitney version.
Obviously me and Katya have our own wackadoodle rapport. But Bob being a black queen from New York and me being a white queen from the country —
STEPHAN: The whitest queen ever from the country …
TRIXIE: — literally the most debilitatingly Caucasian, like I should just have a neckbrace that says “White” — the show totally has a different push and pull. When we had to tap someone in, Bob’s name was the first name I screamed out into the universe, and I’m so happy he could come.
I do have an exclusive message from Katya, though.
STEPHAN: Oh, yeah? What’s that?
TRIXIE: The Trixie & Katya Show is on every Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. on Viceland.
STEPHAN: I will relay that message. You can tell her that I’ll relay that.
TRIXIE: [Laughs] Good.
STEPHAN: So, before I let you head to bed, I figured we could do a little quickfire thing. I wanna know three things: What gets you up in the morning? What do you lose sleep over? And what totally makes you retch?
TRIXIE: OK. The first thing that gets me up in the morning is texts and emails that I answer from bed. Before I brush my teeth or anything, I always have to answer. Because I live on the West Coast, so people have been emailing me and texting me for hours usually.
The thing that keeps me up at night is I stay up too late, and then I get anxiety about how late I’ve stayed up and how tired I’m gonna be, and then I can’t sleep. It’s a really vicious cycle.
TRIXIE: Also, I love to play video games, so sometimes I’m like, “I need leisure for my mental health. What’s more important to me right now? Sleep, or some leisure time?” So sometimes I will forgo sleep to have a mental break moment.
STEPHAN: Is there a video game that’s keeping you up at night?
TRIXIE: Yes. I love this game Dead by Daylight for PlayStation 4. It’s this horror multiplayer game. Obsessed.
STEPHAN: I don’t know how you play horror video games at night before bed!
TRIXIE: Oh, in the dark, mama. In the dark, with headphones on so it’s surround sound.
STEPHAN: With headphones on?! So if someone broke into your apartment and was standing right behind you, you couldn’t even hear them.
TRIXIE: Honestly, if they found me and they got into my house, they kind of deserve the kill. Like, they worked for it, you know what I mean? Far be it from me to take that away from them.
And then what makes me absolutely retch. OK, I hate this: the niceties of day-to-day interaction, like where you kind of have a fake laugh moment. I was at the airport the other day and this lady was like, “Yeah, I’m going to Hawaii.” And the guy at the desk goes, “Ooh, Hawaii! Sounds nice. Let me know if you ever need an assistant in Hawaii.” And the girl’s like, “Umm… ” She was looking at him and did that thing where she’s like, “Ha ha ha.” And then she turns, and by the time she 180’d away from him, her laugh had stopped and her face had gone dead.
I’m like, “Why do we go this extra mile for this fake laugh moment?” It was so nauseating to watch someone fake laugh, turn and totally be a different person. I was like, “Who are we?” Don’t fake laugh. Shit ain’t funny.
STEPHAN: Well, I appreciate all of your fake laughs over the course of this “Bedtime Stories” chat.
TRIXIE: No problem.
STEPHAN: That’s not what you’re supposed to say! But anyway, thank you for the chat, because I know you’re super busy, and it’s always a pleasure. But now it’s time for bed. Talk to you soon!
The Trixie Mattel album One Stone is out now.
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Featured image of Trixie Mattel by David Ayllon