Q&A with Cashetta the drag magician
Thu, Mar 26, 2009 (midnight)
Photo: Scott Den Herder
Who is Cashetta?
I always say, just so people have a reference point, I am a cross between Dolly Parton and Bette Midler and David Copperfield. If the three of them got together, I’m what would have come out. I’m not sure which one would have had the pleasure of getting me out of there.
Is there a moment in the show that you enjoy the most?
I close every one of my shows doing something that I think no one’s really seen before: I swallow a five-foot balloon. I’ve been closing my show with it for years. This one trick has taken me all over the world. People forget everything else they’ve seen, and they leave just kind of stunned. Their jaws drop, and they can’t even applaud at the end … As I have a balloon halfway down my throat, they’re just looking at me in horror. I had a nurse once who was bombed during the show who came running up like, “No, you’re going to hurt yourself.” … I’m an anaconda … The first time I did it, I knew I was going to do it for the rest of my life.
How did the look that you have today evolve?
When I started doing [drag] as teenager I would go through my friends’ mothers’ closets, so I would wear their stuff. … I would go to craft stores and make stuff; it was really not pretty. ... It’s gotten better and better, and luckily I’ve learned from a lot of other people who’ve been in the business longer. … I think the first time I put on eyelashes they were backwards, like they were upside down. Yea, it was bad.
How tough is making it in show business?
I’ve been on my own pretty much since I was 19, so I’ve had to work doing something. I’ve sold cars—well, I actually never sold a car, but I worked there—I was a salesman for a month for Ford. I was in retail. I worked as a waiter. I was a makeup artist. Just anything I could do to kind of survive. When the drag started to pay, I made a decision that this was what I was going to do, and that was it. It was a big risk, because there was the chance I was going to fail.
What are some of the show ideas you’ve had that didn’t take off?
I studied piano for 18 years, I was a classical pianist, so I was going to do kind of a Liberace type thing with a candelabra and giant capes. But it’s really completely impractical to have a baby grand piano set up; you can’t travel with it. I did a lot of song parodies, so I was going to do a country band a la Dolly Parton, but that required a lot of other people.
When I decided to do the magic and drag show together I came to Las Vegas and saw every magic show in town. And I talked to a lot of magicians to see what they thought of it, and they thought it was a great idea. … You don’t just wake up and say, “Oh, I’m going to become a magician.” It takes a great deal of work and I’m still working.