Interview Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Uhmazing: Do you design and make your own outfits, and what is your inspiration?
Robbie Turner: I have designed a few of my costumes in the past, but for the most part my costumes are made for me. Many of my looks are based on Old Hollywood film actresses, but also many of my dresses are vintage.
Uhmazing: How long have you been doing drag?
Robbie Turner: I’ve been a professional drag queen for over ten years.
Uhmazing: Do you have any significant experiences about your early years doing drag?
Robbie Turner: One memory that stands out to me in my early drag years, is when I learned the valuable lesson of putting one song on one cd. I was about to give, what I thought would be, a rousing performance of a balled. The music began & I started out on the stage ready to emote, then the cd skipped for a moment & started the 2nd track. Naturally the DJ stopped the song, started it over & I tried to pretend everything was ok. I composed myself and carried on for the intro of the song only to have the cd skip again & start Hypnotize by Notorious B.I.G. I went for it. The crowd ate it up, THANK GOD I knew all the lyrics. I was horrified.
Uhmazing: If you where to pick your top drag milestones, what would they be?
Robbie Turner: Headlining my very own 1960’s inspired variety show, “The Robbie Turner Revue” at Hard Rock Cafe.
Playing Dottie Pearl in “Capitol Hill” web series.
Touring with The Atomic Bombshells in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Performing on the Benaroya Hall stage with Seattle Men’s Choir.
Hosting a portion of the Seattle Pride Mainstage each year with so many dra’lebrities: (that’s drag celebrities) like Sherry Vine, Jackie Beat, Heklina, Lady Bunny, Hedda Lettuce just to name a few.
Speaking to middle school students on the importance of a No Bullying Tolerated program.
Reading to children during Family Day at PrideFest, as well as the occasional hospital visit.
Uhmazing: Do you have any drag queen idols, and who are they?
Robbie Turner: Drag queen idols?! I really look up to RuPaul, naturally, not just because she is the Queen of all queens, but because she is a trailblazer and have offered our artistry a new & respected echelon. One we can be proud to reach for.
I also LOVE Charles Busch for his writing and style And Lipsinka for her humor.
Uhmazing: What do you consider to be your greatest drag accomplishment?
Robbie Turner: I’m quite proud that I was asked to create my own show at Hard Rock Cafe. Not every queen is approached by a respectable venue & then given complete creative license. They trust me & I trust them. We all want to put on a great show. My cast, my creative team. They’re all so wonderful. It’s a dream come true.
Uhmazing: Congratulations again on your show, “The Robbie Turner Revue”! Pretend this is a two-minute True Hollywood Story episode. Please share some the making-of stories.
Robbie Turner: I was approached via email by a Hard Rock Cafe staff member to see if I’d be interested in putting on a drag show in their venue. I was in New York at the time so I was a bit surprised, but open to the idea. But I knew that if I was going to be in a new venue, I wanted to have a totally new experience. So a meeting ensued, I chose an awesome creative team (Michael Cepress as designer, costumes and sets & Troy Wageman choreographer & director). We proposed our show & The Hard Rock Cafe was delighted.
Once it was absolutely set that we were indeed going to start The Robbie Turner Revue we had auditions, we had rehearsals, we had fittings, then I had to leave town for a fabulous tour with The Atomic Bombshells at The Crown & Anchor in Provincetown, Massachusetts. So the cast & crew kept plugging away while I was unavailable & across the country. There was a bit of stress that I would be so far behind, but we made it to the finish line with fantastic results.
We’ve had three sold out shows so far and this is a very different type of show than you’d ever get to see me in. So I’m very pleased that this challenging experience came my way.
Uhmazing: What does having a solo show, like “The Robbie Turner Revue”, mean to you?
Robbie Turner: Having my own show with my name has been a huge endeavor. I’ve never produced my own show before. It’s wonderful, but quite difficult to be star, producer & a little bit of everything else. I now have to think of the talent pool I have in the show, their strengths & how to assist them in shining brightly. It’s a great honor to be in this position. It’s literally a dream come true.
Uhmazing: If you were to pick a charitable cause, what would it be?
Robbie Turner: Charities: I’m not a spokesperson for any charities, but I’ve worked with:
LifeLong AIDS Alliance: Delivering food, housing & health to people living with chronic illnesses including HIV/AIDS.
Inspire Youth Project: a wonderful organization that works to help children & teens who are affected with HIV & AIDS.
Their statement is to minimize a child’s or teen’s sense of isolation and alienation; help them strive to become self-empowered; provide the opportunity to be successful and be awarded for that success; build life skills; create ideas for a better life and higher education; learn to solve problems, to make mistakes, to negotiate conflicts, give and get constructive feedback; and honor those who have died and openly grieve together.
Uhmazing: Let’s plug your gigs so people will know where they can experience your magic!
Robbie Turner: My weekly shows are held at the gay bar R Place located in the Seattle neighborhood of Capitol Hill on the corner of Pine & Boylston. I perform each Wednesday night for The Playground which is a dance night mixed with a performance & a few games.
Then again I perform there Friday & Saturday nights with the cast of Lashes LaSaveona Hunt & Amora Dior Black. Hosted by Ladie Chablis. We also have new weekly special guests.
Of course you can catch up with Wes Hurley’s “Capitol Hill“ Web Series on YouTube. Season two will be popping up soon!
Who knows if “The Robbie Turner Revue” will go on tour. I think the show is good enough, but we shall see. I’m definitely open to it.
Uhmazing: What keeps you going, as a drag entertainer?
Robbie Turner: I’ve always known that I would be an entertainer. I couldn’t be anything else. I’m thrilled that I can make a living at something that brings joy to others. I really am living my dream. I work very hard to keep it going with momentum.
Uhmazing: Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme both put a bigger national spotlight on Seattle’s drag community after appearing on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Do you have any plans on auditioning for the show?
Robbie Turner: It’s true, Jinkx Monsoon & Ben DeLaCreme brought phenomenal attention to the Seattle drag community, but I think they also showed something more important to the world thanks to RuPaul’s Drag Race. They showed that to be a great queen & person kindness and sportsmanship will always prevail. I can’t think of two more deserving queens. As RuPaul says, “Throwing shade takes a bit of creativity, being a bitch takes none.”
I do have aspirations to be on RuPaul’s Drag Race. I think I’ll audition again this year. Who knows what RuPaul will be looking for next year.
Uhmazing: What’s next for Robbie Turner?
Robbie Turner: What’s next? Well, naturally there’s season two of Capitol Hill, but I have plans to expand my merchandise line. I’ve recently compiled a book of short stories that I wrote. As well as create a drag sitcom starring ME, of course with a vintage flair. Who knows maybe Logo would like in on that gold mine.
I think what’s on the horizon is going to be VERY exciting. I always look forward to the future. As one of my favorite Old Hollywood characters (Auntie Mame) always says, “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.”
Uhmazing: Any advice for would-be drag queens out there?
Robbie Turner: Advice? Hmmm. Yes, Don’t wait for someone to tell you you’re worth something, go out, create something new & stand by it. Show the world that you mean business & be happy. “Live! That’s the message!”
Wow! What a great interview. And just like peeling the onion, (pause) I need some tissue. Robbie Turner, thank you so much again … for everything. Keep up the good work! I hope to see you on RPDR. And … yes, more “Revue” shows and touring would be a great idea! Maybe, even more stand-up!
So there you have it kids! The Uhmazing Robbie Turner! Check out “Capitol Hill” on YouTube. Check her shows at R Place and her gigs. Follow her on Facebook, The Robbie Turner Official Fan Page, Twitter, and Instagram! I’d say follow her to her house, but that’s just inappropriate. And stay tuned for more “The Robbie Turner Revue”! (knock on wood and on titanium).
Photography by: bluebay700