She was already a leading lady in the Dutch drag scene, but after winning Drag Race Holland, Drag queen Envy Peru shot to worldwide stardom with her incredible looks and performances. As the lockdown is being lifted, the Peruvian-Dutch superstar is busier than ever but made time to talk to us about the importance of drag events to the LGBTQIA+ community, how she became the #1 name on everyone’s lips and which clubs better watch when they re-open.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us! How did you get into drag and how did you start out as a performer?
The artist and performer was always there as a little child. I started with drawing and going to the local theater group. Make up has also always been a big passion of mine but at that time boys doing make up was weird or way too gay, and I didn't want to be known like that. After highschool, I left makeup for a while and went to acting school and graduated from that. I loved acting but there was something missing. I missed doing make up so I decided to leave Hilversum and move to Amsterdam where everything is more accepted. After acting school I decided to work in a makeup counter while doing acting jobs at the side.
While I was working at the makeup counter, I was practising my skills while my world opened up and I got introduced to all kinds of members from the LGBTQ+ community. I felt at home and I stopped worrying to fit the norm and embraced myself by being queer. One of my colleagues in the make-up counter, Tabitha, is a very well known drag queen in Amsterdam and she saw a little queen in me when I posted my first drag picture for halloween on Facebook. Of course, I was a big fan of RuPaul's Drag Race, but really doing drag when it's not Halloween was scary for me because I was afraid of losing friends or family. Tabitha gave me my first gig and from that day, I was the talk of the scene. A Queen was born and the rest is history!
Condragulations on winning the first season of Drag Race Holland! How did that feel?
Accomplishing one of your biggest dreams is something so special but also scary because the first thing that you think is: "What's next, Envy?". Drag Race is (as RuPaul put it) "The Olympics of Drag", so imagine how special it is to have this title on your name and also being the first Dutch and Latin-American winner of the franchise. But most importantly, I made my Peruvian mom and family proud. That meant the world to me.
How have you passed the time in the pandemic?
When the pandemic started, I was preparing for Drag Race. It was so stressful because the world was locked and getting items shipped in from abroad was very difficult or were not arriving on time. So I needed to work with the resources that I had and be creative. Drag Race really saved my year because I was distracted from the pandemic and could really focus on winning the show and get my name out there. It gave me a goal!
Lockdown is over and venues are finally opening up again! Which club needs to watch out?
When things open up, I'll strut from bar to bar at the Reguliersdwarsstraat in Amsterdam. Taboo Bar, Bar Blend, Club NYX and Soho better watch out! I love going to that street. It's the street where I've done so many shows and have so many good memories. A true safe haven! That street has supported me from the beginning and that's why it's special to me.
Around the world, Drag has absolutely exploded in the last few years. Why do you think it has become so popular?
Of course, because Mama RuPaul is spoiling the world with season after season of Drag Race! But also, because being authentically true to yourself and proud of the person who you are is not so common for a lot of people. They look at Drag to find confidence, empowerment or someone to relate to. Drag is art! And people and mainstream media are starting to acknowledge that. Time is changing and it's about time!
(Image: Envy Peru, shot by Cyriel Jacobs)
How important is drag (and drag events) to the LGBTQIA+ community?
Super important and needed! Queer people know how to party! Everything is about love and celebrating each other. It's a perfect world where you for that night don't need to think about your worries and you can dress the way you want without anyone looking funny at you! It's a place where you can be yourself and meet similar minded people while admiring your favourite Drag stars.
Finally, what’s next for Envy Peru?
Because traveling was not possible during the pandemic, I had my focus on Holland to build a name for myself by doing lots of national TV. Now that the world is opening up again, I can not wait to hit the road and tour the world with my Drag Race sisters. I would love to have a makeup collaboration with a big brand and I would love to work together with my idol Kylie Minogue. Yes I love to dream big, because why not?! Always write down your goals and manifesting them is my tip to all of you, it always has helped me!
Want to stay updated about all things Envy Peru? Make sure to follow her on Instagram!
The queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK are on tour in 2022. To find out when your favorites are performing in your town, check out this link: https://bit.ly/DragRaceTS