Ahead of Sunday’s blockbuster panel discussion on “Oldies But Goodies: Well Seasoned Queens” at #RuPaulsDragCon, I sat down with fellow drag granny Tempest DuJour to discuss the joys and irritations of being older than the hills.
JAMES ST JAMES: So. Apparently we’re old.
TEMPEST DUJOUR: Evidently!
JSJ: I saw someone on Twitter asked Pandora Boxxx about the panel and she was offended. “I’m not old!” she huffed.
TDJ: (Laughter) Right. I’m surprised to see her on it. I was surprised she’s considered old.
JSJ: Were you offended when they asked you to be on the panel?
TDJ: God No! When I was on season 7 I knew I was the oldest girl ever on the show up that point. I suspect that there are a couple girls up there that never admitted it. They just have better doctors than I do.
JSJ: Does age bother you?
TDJ No, I never considered it until the show made a deal out of it. My age has always been a badge of honor for me. I know we live in an ageist world, but I’m not trying to hide it. I’m proud of it.
JSJ: What challenges do you think we face that the younger queens don’t?
TDJ: In general our culture is youth obsessed. If you don’t look 21 you don’t necessarily get the attention that pays the bills. Everything is aimed at youth and all that stuff. Put me on the stage with some of these 20 year olds and I’ll show you what the difference is. I don’t see a difference in energy level, but the difference to me, and it’s gonna sound cliche, but not sweating the small stuff. The show is gonna go on, no matter what happens, if I blow a zipper, break a heel, my life is not over. The younger kids flip out and get stressed about every little thing… I care deeply and care about the quality of the show, but I’m not going to let little things bother me. It’s an age thing in general to not sweat the small stuff.
JSJ: What makes you feel old? I get the kids in the office calling me gramps whenever I don’t know how to do something on social media… That gets my goat every time.
TDJ: That’s interesting because I don’t think I see my self that way because I’m around 18 to 20 year olds every day. I still catch myself thinking I’m part of that group, but I’m three times their age. I snap in and out of that. With my own kids, they don’t make me feel old and that may be because they’re not old yet. I feel like the wisdom that comes with age is like my armor.
JSJ: I’ve met some queens still doing drag in their ’70s and ’80s. Will that be you? (I know I look forward to being an eccentric old nut job)
TDJ: Oh god no! Well, I don’t know. I thought about it recently. How long am I going to do this? Very recently I’ve started to question, how long is too long? I dream of that [being an eccentric old nutty queen]. The joy of age to me is not giving a fuck. I can fart int he grocery store. I don’t give a fuck in or out of drag.
JSJ: Tell us about your booth at DragCon and what we can look forward to seeing? What’re the looks and how long did you it take you to cook them up?
TDJ: I am sharing a booth with Mrs. Kasha Davis and Darienne Lake. We have a mature vibe going in our booth space. We have an awkward family photo theme. We wanna have fun with it. I feel like the vibe in our world is turning from so much youth obsessed to appreciating older people. Like it’s the new cool in a way. Maybe it’s just my imagination and justifying how I feel. I would never trade this, I love being the old girl.
JSJ: I would never go back to my 20s.
JSJ: When you think about all the stress of “am i going to be a success,” “what is going to happen with my life” and always worrying and climbing and trying, I would never do it.
TDJ: Yeah, I’m with you. There’s no regrets. It’s just looking forward. Part of it for me is knowing i have these two little lives that depend on me for their existence and it changes my perspective on everything.
JSJ: Totally. Thanx for chatting, lover, and see you tomorrow! Happy DragCon!
TDJ: See you tomorrow!
Oldies But Goodies: Well Seasoned Queens
Seasoned queens who have seen it all dish on doing drag in their golden years. Octogenarians give hot takes on control-top hose, fiber intake, bifocals and the value of buying in bulk.
Moderator: Lyndsey Parker
Panelists: James St. James, Mrs. Kasha Davis, Tempest DuJour, Heklina
Sunday, 1:00 PM Nerve Room