As San Francisco’s first Drag Queen to appear on RuPaul’s Drag Race (RPDR), Honey Mahogany did her best to show she had the “charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent” to represent. Obtaining her drag name from two shades of Revlon foundation that match her skin tone, she showcases a glamorous exterior and is known for being one classy act.
Mahogany has been working the drag circuit for the past 5 years while working as a social worker during her off hours.
In 2011, she was voted Best Drag Queen by SF Weekly’s Readers’ Poll, was on San Francisco Bay Guardian’s “queer to watch” Hot Pink List, was the reigning Miss Blow Up USA, and was the cover girl for Guardian’s 2011 Queer Issue.
Mahogany also sings live during her performances, and has done theatrical productions including “Dirty Little Showtunes,” “Oprah: The Dragsical,” “Halloween: The Ballad of Michelle Meyers,” and “Work MORE!”
Last month, she released her first EP and single called “It’s Honey.”
429Magazine spoke with Mahogany about her history, San Francisco, RuPaul, and what’s next for her.
429Magazine: How did you start your foray into drag culture?
Honey Mahogany: My first time was in a student film. It was very positive but I left it alone for a while and didn’t continue for a while. I lived in San Francisco, but after traveling and coming back because of grad school, I saw different side of queens in the city. I saw that drag queens sang live, had weird concept numbers and made political statements. It was kind of cool. I told myself that I had to do it.
429Mag: Who and what inspires you?
Mahogany: Good question. I see the potential in everyone, and if you set yourself with that mentality, the possibilities are endless. By creating your own destiny, I see that as the most inspiring. In terms of role models, it would have to be Beyonce. She had a rough start. She lost on Star Search but worked hard and gained recognition as a solo artist. Now, she’s a huge mega tycoon. She’s at the top of the music industry.
429Mag: What are some of the best, and worst, aspects of doing drag?
Mahogany: I’ll start off with the worst part. It would have to be all the shaving. I hate it cause it causes skin irritation.
The best part would have to be the access to so many things. Drag queens have a certain status in gay culture. It has both its negative and positive comments. Before RuPaul’s Drag Race, many people didn’t like it, but it’s gaining popularity again.
Drag queens are called for fundraisers, hosting and have a position of power and leadership in the community. It’s very lovely. We have a platform to stand on and we have a stage to walk on.
429Mag: Does your family support you and your drag career? What are their reactions to you being on the show?
Mahogany: They know about it, but I also grew up in a socially conservative family. They recognize it but they know I am an adult and I do make my own choices. They’re not thrilled, and I have gotten mixed responses. I’ve been on covers and while a few members notice them, some family members completely ignore my time on the show and that’s okay.
429Mag: You are the first drag queen from San Francisco to appear on RuPaul’s Drag Race. How does it feel to be the first?
Mahogany: Geez, a lot of pressure but I didn’t think that going in there. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from San Francisco’s LGBT community as they see me as a very proud and good representation of the city. There’s very little negative feedback.
I conducted myself very well on the show and I’ve been referred to as a class act. I’ve heard that so many times, I swear I’d be rich if I cashed that in. I do hope I’m not the last drag queen from San Francisco. I need a sister and would love it if they took home the crown.
429Mag: In the first episode of RPDR, you referred to San Francisco as a city of liberal hippies. Comment?
Mahogany: I made the comment as a general stereotype of what San Francisco is known for. But not all San Franciscans are hippies. I love San Francisco as it’s a beautiful place with people who are very hardworking, artistic or invested in politics. There’s so much diversity. It’s a magical place.
429Mag: What is your favorite neighborhood in San Francisco?
Mahogany: I grew up in the Sunset but Castro feels like home. I go there to relax and everyone’s always smiling. The energy is beautiful.
429Mag: San Francisco is known for the avant-garde and you commented on the show that the “look doesn’t really matter in San Francisco.” Viewers may have been confused. Comment?
Mahogany: I made the comment on “RuPaul’s Untucked” but it was taken out of context. They cut off my comment, as it wasn’t a full sentence. It was more a reference to pageantry, as a lot of the girls do pageantry, and for some the look is very important for them. In San Francisco, the look is secondary to the performance. Unfortunately, it was seen in a different light when they edited my comments.
429Mag: What was your most and least favorite parts about competing on the show?
Mahogany: Favorite part was definitely the promo shoot. It was a taste of what I want my life to be like. I like huge productions, photoshoots, videoshoots and the creative process. Performing in front of the camera is very magical for me.
Least favorite part is the Hollywood experience with the rushing and the waiting. They rush you and make you sit and wait for 2 to 3 hours. It’s usually in silence and you can’t talk to the other drag queens.
429Mag: You were eliminated before the Snatch game episode, when the queens get to choose someone to impersonate. We’re dying to know, whom would you have chosen?
Mahogany: I was thinking of impersonating RuPaul as a few queens mention the resemblance. However, I would have done Pam Greer. She’s done so many roles and there’s so much material to make it funny. There was the option of doing Beyonce but [drag contestant]Kenya Michaels did her last season and wasn’t successful. I definitely would not have done Diana Ross because other queens have tried and it’s the kiss of death.
429Mag: Any queens from San Francisco you would like to see compete on RuPaul’s Drag Race for next season and beyond?
Mahogany: It’s anyone’s game but I’d like to see drag queens from San Francisco’s South of Market district. They’re very gritty and more underground than the Castro district. Vivienne Forevermore, Suppository Spelling and Mahlae Balenciaga come to mind. There’s no shortage of queens in San Francisco.
429Mag: What’s next for you?
Mahogany: I’m still working as a social worker but I’m still traveling the country and performing every weekend at Castro’s Midnight Sun. I still make time to record and write music because they are my passion and I give all my heart whenever I do it. If I can act and model, that would be great. I would love to do it all.