March is going to be one drag of a month, my darlings. With the premiere of the newest season of RuPaul’s Drag Race premiering tonight on LOGO, I wanted to check in with one of my favorite New York City queens Sherry Vine, who is doing some pretty big things of her own. What are these big things? Well, launching her own Queer TV network called gaySVTVworld! The network launched about two weeks ago and people are already buzzing about this legendary queen and the fun and new ideas she has brought to the table to this fantastic concept.
While gaySVTVworld draws inspiration from a traditional television model, it also presents a modern digital age spin with all shows under-seven minutes long. Each day there is something new that comes out that is fresh, innovative, hilarious, interesting, and so much more. For instance, On Monday, queer notables share their pop culture picks on EduGAYtion. Then Tuesday, The Rachel Zoe Show meets Project Runway in Fashion Puhleez, with lead players in the beauty industry discussing fashion, club couture and styling. Just a couple of examples of the fun and frolic that Sherry has for you in store.
I recently caught up with Sherry to discuss all of this and so much more, including her honest take on the shift that drag has taken since she started her career 25 years ago. Take a look.
What inspired you to start your own Queer TV network?
Well, I was actually inspired because I have been doing the video parodies on YouTube for about seven years, and at the time I started, there really weren’t many people doing that. You know, drag parody videos. It was really fun and exciting and it opened a lot of doors and now it is very oversaturated, everybody is doing it. Which is great, it is fun, there is some amazing stuff out there, but it became “OK, I’ve done that. Let’s do something different. Let’s do a weekly show, put up new content, and see where that goes.”
I started talking with my creative partner of 25 years, Josh Rosenzweig, he’s been with me since the beginning of Sherry Vine, and I mentioned to him that I wanted to do something creative, something different from what I was doing. It kind of grew into this huge project, where I am like “This is a little ambitious, but you know what, fuck it”, it is all out of our own pocket, there are no sponsors or advertisers as of yet, let’s just make this first one happen and see how it does and do it for fun. It has been almost a year, and we have created about seventy pieces of content. That is what is most exciting, so many people came on board just for the sheer thrill of it being a one of a kind thing, no one has done something like this before.
Do you feel, that in our present day and time, that there is still a huge lack of queer programming out there?
Honestly, this conversation has come up a lot, with other publications and even just Josh and I. Is anyone even going to be interested? My answer is yes, because I don’t think that what we do is represented, first of all. Sherry Vine could never have her own show on LOGO because I could never really do what Sherry Vine does. My stuff is all about poop and dick jokes and silly stuff like that, and I would never really do what I want to do if it was on that network. On YouTube, I can do that stuff. The material really isn’t for everyone, I get from time to time “You are too old to be doing fart jokes” and whatnot, but there is an audience out there for that. If you look at the different shows and artists working with us, it is not that gay representation. I watched “Looking”, and I don’t want to say anything bad, but that didn’t speak to me. I don’t know those people, it is not the San Francisco I know, but all of that aside, there is a places for gaysvworld, because it is representing a bunch of different people.
For instance, these amazing clips of Candis Cayne and Haus of Mimosa, these two queens that are doing their own show, which is one that I am not even in. They are totally the modern Laverne & Shirley, and they have done this series and brought it to us, and it is hilarious. We also have an education one, where we have interviewed people who have been around and see who were their influences when they were young gays, and if you were sitting here with a group of 19 and 20 year old gays, you would say to them “This is the book you should read” or “This is the movie you should watch”, so it runs the gamut. So to answer your question, I do feel that there is an audience for this, I just don’t know if the representation in the gay media represents everybody.
Are we expecting you to do any parodies that you are known for on your new network?
Yes. This first kind of round we shot a couple, but we are definitely going to keep putting out videos. A lot of what we are shooting isn’t current news, so there isn’t a need to get them done asap, but we are definitely going to put out a ton more parodies as the network keeps going.
You have been doing drag for 25 years, what do you think has been the biggest improvement or shift since you started?
Well, drag is always going through these cycles. I’ve been around long enough to see these waves. When I first came to New York City in 1992, there was this huge renaissance of new drag queens like me, Shequida, Varla Jean Merman, Jackie Beat, like all of these people came out at the same time and it was exciting and fun. And then there will be a phase where it is like, “Where are the new drag queens?” There are times where it is a ton of talented new queens and its all good and fun, and then there are ones that think they can get in drag and act like a bitch, and they call it drag.
That is the difference, these are queens that are like “I’m going to drag because I want the attention, I want the instant fame”. They feel entitled, like there is this crazy sense of entitlement. If you look at Varla Jean or Jackie Beat or Lady Bunny, these are people who are performers because they have to perform and they want to perform because they are artists. It is not about wanting fame or getting money, although everybody wants that, we all want that, but it is not the motivation to do this. I talk to Bianca Del Rio, who is a good friend of mine, and she’s rich and famous now but that was never the motivation for her to do it in the first place. She’s been doing it for twenty years and is still the same person and amazing friend and has such an appreciation for it, as opposed to some of the ones today who are like “I look pretty when I put myself in drag and I’m a bitch so I deserve to be rich and famous”.
There are a lot of New York City queens on this season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”. Are there any you are rooting for?
I can’t pick one, because I have four friends on this season, and two of them are really good friends. Bob The Drag Queen is a good friend and Acid Betty is a really good friend of mine as well. She actually did my website and I’ve known her for a very long time. Thorgy Thor is an amazing talent, and Derrick Barry is great as well, and does a great impression of Britney Spears. I’m really looking forward to this season.
What are you most hopeful for with the network?
So short term dream is to now find a way to keep it going and find some type of advertising or sponsorship. It would be nice to have it pay for itself and make some money, but the big goal would become a destination and successful where I could just get up every morning and dress up in drag and film stuff and make things and work with amazing people and get paid to do it would be amazing.
For more information on Sherry Vine and the network, check out her official YouTube link here.