Under the Wig with Zakia Jemaceye
In this series, contributor Eric Russell explores another side of Richmond’s drag performers.
Zakia Jemaceye, the winner of Season 2 of Esta’s Drag Race, sits down for a one-on-one interview.
Who is Zakia Jemaceye? Where did she come from and how did she get her name?
I am a native of Richmond, born under the sign of Capricorn, an only child. Attended Richmond Public Schools and graduated from John Marshall High School. I got my name , my first name from my cousin as a joke , that if I ever did drag that my name would be Zakia , and Jemaceye was the name of a friends niece, so I put them together to create Zakia Jemaceye.
What Diva inspires you the most and why?
The Diva the inspires me the most would be my Drag Mother Ms. Victoria C. Snow, she encourages me and is a friend and has taught me the tricks of the trade that you see in my performances, she schooled me and my sister Millennium to be beautiful, entertaining and fashionable. She is awesome and has taught and mentored me so mulch.
You competed in the first season of Esta’s Drag Race, what did you learn from that experience about competitions?
Season1 of the Drag Race was a learning experience, I have been in the business for many years and I am a pageant girl at heart. I have competed on several national levels and have captured 4 national competitions. Doing the race, took me out of my norm. Or so I thought, the first race challenged me to do things that I would have never thought to do i.e.; country music. But it has been sort of confusing to me, due to the fact that I am really not sure what they are looking for.
What made you decide to run for the second season?
Since I had such a good time and I love the environment and audience at Nations, I decided to do the race again, I made a lot of money in Season 1 and that’s always a good thing, but I enjoyed being challenged. So this Season, I decided to take some chances and do some things out of my norm and really try to go above and beyond!
You own your own business EYE to GO. What motivated you to go into business for your self and what products and services are offered at EYE to GO?
I decided to go in business for myself, because I had always dabbled in make-up and eyebrows, so I decided to start my own business, I started in November of 2008 and going strong ever since. I specialize in professional eyebrow shaping, individual lash extensions, drag jewelry, cosmetics, strip lashes, body oils and jewelry! Located at 3302 Williamsburg Rd. Located inside The Great Big Flea Market!!!
You are a transgender performer, correct? You said in an interview during the Drag Race that you do advocacy work on Trans issues, what can you tell us about that, and how did you get involved?
Yes, I am a TG performer, but I also am an advocate for Trans Issues, I actually work for Fan Free Clinic as TG Clinic Coordinator. Shawn McNulty and I actually worked hard on writing and getting approval for a grant to fund a clinic to offer primary care medical services and offer hormone replacement therapy as a perk to the Trans community. The clinic was the first to ever be funded with state funds and has been running and operating successfully for several years. I also speak to various classes and the city health department on Transgender sensitivity training and barriers to accessing medical care to the Trans community. I got in it as a volunteer on an advisory committee, then on to be an employee of the Fan Free Clinic and have been so since 2001.
What are three things we don’t know about Zakia’s alter ego?
1. I love my fans I love to talk to you and I appreciate you, and you make me keep going.
2. I am a free spirit, and love to laugh and make others smile.
3. I am not the Evil Bitch some seem to make me out to be, just get to know me!
You've probably seen Eric "Pop My Flash" Russell around town. The Richmond-based photographer has captured everyone from celebrity drag queens and puppets to international bodybuilders. When not behind the lens, Eric can be found in front of it with his two web series that he hosts and produces Out and About and Under The Wig for GayRVA.com.
Bianca Starr found gold over the rainbow at the Miss Gay Fredericksburg pageant earlier this month.September 11, 2012
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