Falls Church’s own Joey Santolini returns after six years to the popular “RuPaul’s Drag Race” national reality TV show on Logo and VH-1 Thursday night at 8 p.m. for the start of yet another season. Santolini, who performs as Tatianna and who came in fourth place when she was on the show’s second season in 2010, returns this season for a gala “All Star” show launching a season. It features 10 of the best contestants from eight seasons of the show involving $1 million in award money.
The News-Press had an exclusive interview with Tatianna following the 2010 show season, and a follow-up interview was conducted in the last week. Tatianna, a graduate of Falls Church High School, still lives in Falls Church. She has been the regular star performer on weekends at the Town Danceboutique in Washington, D.C. and she is very proud of RuPaul, the show’s host, as an articulate spokesman on behalf of the LGBT community.
RuPaul (his real name) Andre Charles, born in 1961, has been a drag entertainer for over 30 years, and launched his RuPaul’s Drag Race in February 2009. Drag involves not just dressing up, in his view, but mocks the “ego-based world.” In a Huffington Post interview he said, “This is what drag is all about. You are not who you think you are, you’re born naked, and the rest is drag. It’s all a facade. You’re much more than you think you are.”
Here’s last week’s interview with Falls Church’s Tatianna:
Q. Hello Tatianna/Joey. The last time I interviewed you was in March 2010 when you’d appeared for the first time on Ru Paul’s Drag Race show. At that time you were living in Falls Church, having graduated from Falls Church High School. So, what’s been going on with your life since then?
A. Since Season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race my life has changed quite a bit! Right after the show I was balancing my drag career with my career as a hair stylist. About three and half years ago I decided to take on drag full time and leave my position at the salon I had worked at for almost five years. I’ve been able to travel and perform all over which has been really great!
Q. What have been some of your most exciting or interesting experiences since you’ve taken Tatianna on tour, and including at your long-term home base club, Town in Washington, D.C.?
A. Oh gosh, there are to many to name! But I will say every time I’m at Town Danceboutique or on the road I’m always excited to meet new people. That’s one of my favorite parts of what I do. Especially the drag enthusiasts…they are always a trip!
Q. How long do you plan to continue to be an entertainer? Have you developed other interests or skills that will contribute to a career in the future?
A. I plan to do this until I either can’t any more or I stop enjoying it, which I feel won’t be for a long time. I have tossed around the idea of opening a boutique or developing a small makeup line. I have always been interested in makeup and fashion.
Q. How about your personal life? Do you have a husband or boyfriend? What do you consider the most important things that contribute to a successful long-term relationship?
A. I am single at the moment but I would like to be in a relationship or get married in the future. For me I think the most important factors for a good relationship are trust, communication, and every now and then, space. I’ve always been pretty independent so space and freedom are big things for me.
Q. RuPaul has made a name for herself in the past year as an articulate spokesperson on behalf of the LGBT community. What do you think of her in this role?
A. I think she is great! She is always coming from a place of love which I think really shines through.
Q. Do you still live in Falls Church or come here often? If not, where do you live now?
A. Yes, I still live in Falls Church! Northern Virginia/DC is my home so I don’t think I’ll be moving anytime soon!