Much of the Charlotte drag scene is dominated by veteran divas. Breaking onto the stage soon after legal adulthood wasn’t entirely smooth for Carrie Chanel. In the years since, her wit and energy have brought her far. Beginning at a Scorpio talent show in 2012, Chanel, now 24, has won four titles at drag pageants across the state. Yet she’s more than a pretty face on stage; Chanel has a strength of character that drives her to take no shit and encourage others to own their power as she does. Catch her next performance at Snug Harbor’s Le Bang on July 27 to see a gorgeous performer give it her all, or just stare lustfully at her personal Instagram, @MissCarrieChanel. For a special sense of vindication, follow her groundbreaking expose, @foreverfuckboys on Instagram or Tumblr.
How did your drag career begin, and how has it progressed?
My drag career began with a talent show at The Scorpio on Sept. 27, 2012. I showed up, gave it my all, and lost. Those are the drag stories that you don’t hear…Queens tell their stories and make it seem like this big “a star is born” moment, but that’s not how it was for me. It made me stronger. [Drag] transitioned from something that I felt a need to do…to something that I want to do at a higher standard: better costumes, bigger hair and new concepts. I have a newfound passion for the craft.
What do you feel when you’re on stage, performing your favorite number?
Being on stage and performing is an amazing opportunity to have an experience. I recommend that everyone try it at least one time. If you have ever been to a show (at a club, not watching “Rupaul’s Drag Race”) and been amazed and wished you could be on that stage, then you should chase that dream!
How would you describe your performance style?
My performance style is about as eclectic as a schizophrenic Alzheimer’s patient; you truly never know what you’re going to get. I can go from praising the Lord with Whitney Houston’s rendition of “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” to serenading the audience with Khia’s “My Neck, My Back’” while stripping down to just my panties and a smile. I think a well-rounded performer is never predictable.
Why did you begin your #FuckboyFriday posts on social media?
I started Fuckboy Friday as a woman scorned. I met up with a guy…[The next morning] he explained that he is straight and that the night we spent together was just a mistake…he immediately asked me to keep what happened between us and said that [he and his ex-girlfriend] were in an on-again-off-again relationship and he was trying to get her back. I told him that I would not tell her anything, and I have kept my word to this day, but I was outraged…I posted screenshots of his selfish request and explained the story, keeping his name and number anonymous. Fuckboy Friday was born! The response that I received was overwhelming.
I realized that this was a cultural epidemic. Men used the anonymity of the Internet to be disrespectful and rude to complete strangers and never had any repercussions and that was no longer acceptable to me…I got to work with my rapier wit tipped with sarcasm and vulgarity, and I engaged in conversations with these fuckboys.
I have continued this because I want transwomen, women, bottoms and everyone else who receives any sort of unsolicited, demeaning messages to know that you don’t have to let a stranger speak to you like that just because you’re on the Internet. Sometimes the block button isn’t enough. It’s empowering to put someone in their place and demand the respect that you deserve. Talk shit, get messy, and have fun!
Who inspires you, both performers and people you know personally?
My biggest inspiration in life is my mother. She is the strongest and most determined person I have ever met. My drag inspirations vary from celebs like J. Lo, Amber Rose, Black Chyna, Dita Von Teese, [to] Carrie Bradshaw [“Sex and the City” creator Candace Bushnell’s alter ego] and Mother Theresa.
How do you picture your ideal day off from work and responsibilities?
My ideal day off from work and responsibility is filled with good food, champagne, naps, laughter and loved ones.
When you cook, what is your favorite dish to prepare? What’s your favorite food to eat?
My favorite dish to prepare is something that presents beautifully, fills you up and sticks to your ribs…Something like an oven-roasted lemon butter chicken with citrus butter, mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. My favorite foods to eat around Charlotte are the soul rolls from Mert’s, sushi from Pisces, brunch at Vivace, the number 19 from Don Pedro and my mother’s fried chicken.