Violet Chachki Talks Fantastical, Burlesque-Inspired Music Film: 'I Wanted to Glamorize Reality'

92

In a bright splash hot pink, today Drag Race season 7 winner Violet Chachki premieres her latest project, a fashion film and music video for her new song “A Lot More Me.”

Featuring burlesque mentor Dita Von Teese as well as look after look after look (from Prada and Miu Miu to vintage burlesque pieces and a Mugler-inspired suit Violet’s own design), the video shows an absurdist yet glamorized version life on the road as a drag superstar. Inspired by classic Hollywood, David LaChapelle and Steven Klein, the “A Lot More Me” film was nearly two years in the making. But the result, directed by Love Bailey, is a visually stunning dance between camp, high art, and high fashion. Billboard spoke to Violet about her inspirations, confidence, and her drag evolution.

What made you decide to make “A Lot More Me” both as a music video and fashion film?

I’ve always really loved cinematography and glamorous old Hollywood movies and they go hand in hand. Every old Hollywood starlet would sing in movies, there’d always be some big dance sequence. Think Marilyn Monroe singing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” That was the inspiration and I thought those were really glamorous and the production value back then was so high. I’ve loved them since I was little.

I’ve always wanted to put my drag character in film because you can have total control over what you’re projecting, what image you’re portraying. Being a drag superstar, traveling the world and touring, it really is not as glamorous as you’d think it is. There’s lots airport drama and bags and buses and hotels. Dating and having a social life are impossible. The only really rewarding, glamorous part about it is that time you spend on stage where it is controlled and you do get to be creative. I wanted to glamorize reality, what it is like the day in the life as a queer person in a queer body navigating the world and what that looks like, and then flipping it on its side, making it more surreal than it already is and really push it to a mindtrip, over-the-top moment.

How is this single different than your previous work?

The previous stuff was really industrial and more fetish based, a bit more electronic. In this we actually use a live band out New Orleans so it’s not electronic, it’s not some computer. It has that real raspy, really round, sexy sound, and you really can’t accomplish that with digital. It was really important to me that we got live musicians to record to give it that authentic burlesque sound.

How did developing the film ask you to test yourself creatively?

It was such a test. It’s taken so long, just to be an independent artist and create something. The film was even going to be longer. We had to really pare it down. Every single part it is creatively directed and styled and supervised by me. I definitely underestimated how much work goes into something like this. It was amazing to experience and to produce something that I’m truly proud .

What does being “A Lot More Me” mean to you?

I think it’s really about confidence. It’s about not letting anyone in the way your happiness and what’s going to better yourself. Especially today with the political climate we are in and the fan base I have being very young and also very queer, I think it’s important to send a message knowing who you are, being strong, being confident, being independent and loving yourself. It really is about self-love and not getting caught up in what anyone has to say. It really should be about a lot more you, you know?

How long did it take you to learn that?

I’ve been learning that forever. Growing up, my parents did not approve anything I was doing and I basically told my parents to fuck f at a really young age. It worked out great for me because now they’ve come around and we’re really close, but at the time I was really determined to be true to myself and they just totally did not understand. I couldn’t hide it, there was no stifling my creativity or my flamboyance or any that. Especially with my fanbase, it’s important to instill that sense strength.

How do you think your drag has evolved since winning Drag Race?

It’s crazy to look back because I really wasn’t ready at all for success, fame, notoriety or anything. Luckily it worked out in my favor and everything’s going really well, but I’ve evolved so much in such a short amount time. I’m definitely more a people person now, I’m a better performer, I have a better idea what it takes to be at the level that I’m at. I was faking it until I made it and making it up as I went along and I’m more prepared now than I ever was.