Poor, gifted Melissa McCarthy first arrived in New York in 1990, armed with nothing but $45 to her name, and a big dream. Oh yeah, and a talent for looking like a big, screaming queen.
A drag queen, that is.
In a recently re-posted Rolling Stone interview, McCarthy waxed nostalgic about her days in Dinkins-era Manhattan, hanging out with drag queen friends and learning the tricks of the trade:
“It was me there with my lovely gay guy friends and I was dressed like a big old drag queen. I went by Miss Y. I had a gold lamé swing coat on, a huge wig, big eyelashes. I talked about being incredibly wealthy and beautiful and living extravagantly, and the first night worked great. It was such a happy, good feeling, and it gave me such confidence.”
It was the era of “Lady Bunny and RuPaul”, and McCarthy felt right at home.
After this week’s triumphant, Trump-scaring performance as Sean Spicer, it’s safe to say that McCarthy has come full circle, even if she finds herself on the other end of the drag spectrum. The art of drag is the art of deep subversion–once you’ve mastered it, you’ve mastered the power of unsettling and entertaining the masses in one fluid, sequined gesture.
McCarthy learned from the best, and it shows.