The name on everybody’s lips is Brigitte Bidet. For years her quick wit and classically trained performance abilities have elevated her to celebrity status in Atlanta’s queer scene. A celebrity, if you needed a definition, is somebody who everyone knows. For anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of seeing Brigitte rake in the tips on every Atlanta stage, it is definitely a sight to behold. Her charisma is so captivating that you’ll forever recognize her eyes, her hair, her lips, and her unmatched capability to hold the attention of an audience. She’s a star in every sense of the word and the audience loves her. And she loves them. And they love her for loving them. And she loves them for loving her. And I love her too! It is my honor to introduce to the Style South world, a person whose friendship is invaluable to me, Brigitte Bidet.
How would you define your personal style?
My personal style keeps ‘trying’ to evolve, especially with a little help from my friends (see: ORCHID!) All of my costume choices are dependent on whether or not I can perform in them. Also, I try to wear as little clothing as possible because I am the sweatiest person I know. This usually translates to “rhinestoned bra and panty that’s embellished to the point of looking kind of expensive”.
What/who are some of your style influences?
My earliest style influences were my grandmothers, because my mom is the biggest non-lesbian tomboy on the planet. And then growing up as a gay boy in the 90’s I was obsessed with pop stars like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and the Spice Girls. I can definitely see that reflected in my style now, wearing little crop tops, mini-skirts, marabou trim & shih-tzu ponytails every chance I get.
How has your style evolved over your career?
As my career evolves, my style is inspired by legendary showgirls and drag queens. In the beginning, I would just throw on whatever I thought looked cute, a lot of the time just going through my best friends’ closets. But over time, I realized this was too pedestrian and I needed to try and elevate the fantasy. Rhinestones, feathers and broken jewelry can really glam up any look. As a drag queen, your looks really should be one-of-a-kind, because you are the star of your own show. Even if it means performing in a filthy bar for $50!
In what ways does Brigitte’s persona differ from you out of drag?
Brigitte’s personality is something I strive to have when not in drag. She is honest without being confrontational. She’s treated like royalty. She commands a room and disarms people with her charisma, looks, and performance abilities. Out of drag I am much more subdued. There is no need to have the spotlight on me and I enjoy being able to sit back and observe rather than have all eyes on me. I don’t mind being the queen when I’m dressed as such and giving you a reason to worship me- but out of drag I enjoy being more of a team player, a friend, a confidante.
What is your background in art/performance?
I went to college for Musical Theater at Columbia College Chicago, where I got to study all aspects of the performing arts: acting, makeup, costumes, tech, etc. There was an acting teacher who hated me and said I had no awareness of my body, so I started taking dance classes as a way to prove him wrong. Turns out that male dancers get a ton of attention and opportunity even if they aren’t the best. So I changed my major to Dance and earned my degree in Choreography. After graduating, I was broke and cold and decided to take my knowledge down to Atlanta to be a big fish in a small pond. Although that wasn’t exactly the case, I had enough confidence and knowledge to break into the local performance scene, land a job in a dance company and establish my drag character, Brigitte Bidet.
How does performing make you feel?
Performing is what I feel like I was put on this earth to do. Something switches in me and in those moments I am the most present and the most alive that I can feel as a person and artist. Drag offers so many creative outlets to so many creative people, but being a performer is the greatest asset a drag queen can have in my opinion. It is the time where I take all of those things I was insecure about growing up and turn them into a celebration (being too feminine, being flamboyant, doing somersaults where I shouldn’t be somersaulting) There’s also instant gratification and support from the audience so it’s a great way to connect with people and bring them joy through your art.
How would you compare Atlanta/Southern drag to other scenes?
Atlanta drag is a beautiful, dysfunctional microcosm in the now over-saturated world of drag. It is here, in the largest city of its region, that so many people are able to create a living for themselves doing drag. Whether that’s part- or full-time, Atlanta has a lot of opportunities for queer performers. It’s about your own grind and drive and how to get that to work for you, but the possibility is certainly there. I’m so appreciative to have carved out my own scene in East Atlanta, which now fosters up-and-coming talent and gives paid bookings to alterna-queers like myself. And then on the other side of that being inspired by the legacy of pageantry, and the level of perfection that entails. It’s all here, and I like to think that I’m able to cross over to different scenes and communities through my drag.
What sets you apart from other queens?
I think what sets me apart from other queens is my sense of humor, my ability to perform, my gorgeous looks, and my charisma. I like to uplift people at my shows both on and offstage, creating community and overall uplifting the queer scene of Atlanta. I am able to talk on a mic and hold court and having the chance to speak in front of a crowd gets you in their consciousness on a whole different level. Whether I’m the emcee, the headliner, or even the tips spot, I know how to be a drag queen. It started as something I already had inside and has evolved into becoming my life’s work. It feels amazing to know you’re celebrated for being 100 percent yourself.