IN CONVERSATION WITH GIGI GOODE
interview by MAREK BARTEK
Gigi Goode is a radiant force captivating the world with her stunning looks and fierce charisma. Her unforgettable journey on Season 12 of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ left a mark on fans worldwide. Beyond the screen, she is an active advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights and self-acceptance, earning recognition as a role model and trailblazer. Her influence also extends into fashion, where her unique style and artistic vision have solidified her as a trendsetter.
Most of us got to know you during the 12th season of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’. Reflecting back on the journey, how did the experience on the show influence your drag career and personal growth?
I owe so much of who I am today to that show, but I am such a different person now than I was back then. I came to a lot of realizations while filming season 12. I learned why I did drag in the first place; for my own entertainment, and I was forced to peel back the layers of myself and realize that there was much more bubbling under the surface that I never faced. I truly believe without that show, I wouldn’t have found the courage to transition as soon and as I did.
dress and boots GCDS
earrings LELE SADOUGHI
Drag is constantly changing. How do you see the future of drag and what role do you hope to play in its continued evolution?
That’s the thing about drag – it’s completely unpredictable. The only constant about drag is that it’s always been around. I think in the future, drag will be treated like any other career and have pockets in every industry. Whether it’s in fashion, film, advocacy, or education – drag will have a place. And I’ll be there looking old and fabulous.
What did and still does your creative process look like, from conceptualizing a look to bringing it to life on stage or in front of the camera?
My creative process is always different. I’ve had entire projects inspired by a single shoe, an idea for hair, a nail polish color, the list goes on – but I like finding inspiration in the obscure and building a whole fantasy around that. Something I learned about the creative process that changed my whole way of thinking is that there’s no such thing as an original idea. It’s impossible – everything is a reference to something. So as soon as I stopped trying to be original and take inspiration from all places, my process was so much more fun.
dress CHRISTOPHER JOHN ROGERS
earrings Gigi’s own
Talking about fashion, you haven’t only made your own looks, but in recent years you have also collaborated with brands like Valentino, ACNE Studios, Moschino and Jean Paul Gaultier, to name a few. How do you approach expressing your unique style while working with established labels?
As much as I love to design and create my own looks, there’s something about working with brands like these that give me so much joy and affirmation. Fashion history has such an important place in my heart, and to be able to work with the brands I have loved learning about, and to still get creative freedom to build a look that feels like me, is such a fun and rewarding thing. Plus, some of my favorite people on earth are the ones I’ve met through working with these brands, and those relationships are so precious to me.
Circling back to your TV appearances, you are a part of the show named ‘Avalon TV’ that started to air in October. Could you tell us more about the show, its concept and for those who haven’t watched it yet, what can they expect?
Oh baby, this show is WILD. It’s the queer fever dream of any and every TV show we grew up with. We are taking television classics like “Jackass,” “Family Matters,” “Sesame Street,” and the list goes on, and revamping them for your entertainment. It’s a really fun way to take a look into our minds and our reality as a family.
You have been working on this project with the House of Avalon, which you are a member of. How does this collective influence and inspire you?
I think we’re all here to inspire each other. Every one of us is skilled in a different area of entertainment and when we come together, we’re truly a machine. We have been able to create some real magic together, but aside from the business aspect, these people are my family. We rely on one another to stay grounded and sane, and our honesty with each other has allowed us all to grow exponentially.
dress DION LEE
heels ROGER VIVIER
Being surrounded by these creatives, do you feel they impact and shape the way you approach drag and art?
Oh, definitely! Before I met the House, my knowledge of pop culture was pretty limited. They are the ones who gave me a real window into referencing and creating a sense of nostalgia for the viewer, which I’ve come to find is very important when establishing a connection with your audience. I have no idea where I’d be without them.
You are also a passionate advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights. How do you see your role in creating awareness and promoting acceptance?
I always say the best form of protest is to ‘keep on keeping on’. We often have a hard time with the opposing side, because it seems like they never want to listen when we do fight back. But what really gets under their skin is when we keep on living our lives like their words have no effect on us. When it comes to the violence, we have to turn up the volume on our message and fight back in whichever way we can. For me, that’s just to keep living as loud as possible.
Do you have a specific moment that you always like coming back to, that made you realise the positive impact of your advocacy work?
My coming out as trans over the pandemic, though not intended as a means of advocacy, did so much more for the community than I ever imagined. And I still get emotional about it. Ever since then, I get messages daily from both kids and adults who have found comfort in their own skin through seeing my journey. And it feels so weird to speak about my transition like that, but I’ve come to accept and appreciate that it meant a lot to people and gave them permission to live authentically.
After being on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’, you came out as transfem non-binary, and quite recently had a feature in Wussy Magazine capturing your gender affirmation journey. Can you tell us more about the feature and this rather transformative period?
Well speaking of! I was so excited when Wussy agreed to run this story for me. This was such an important project for me to showcase, and I’m so happy I was able to do it with full creative control. I made each and every look that I wore, had Grant Vanderbilt in creative direction with me, my dear friend, Max, shooting, and my sister, Harriet, to wheel me out and be highlighted in the feature. I was worried people might think I was just doing it for the attention or ‘ick’ factor, but it really served as a visual diary entry of one of the most gender-affirming surgeries I’ll ever have.
What message do you hope to convey through your experiences in gender exploration and affirmation?
Life is 100% worth living when you can be honest with yourself and live as authentically as you can. I hope people realize through me that if you’re not happy with your life or in your own skin, you have the power to change that. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be overnight, but it will be so rewarding.
Last but not least, it sounds like you’ve got more than enough projects lined up. Is there anything we can be looking forward to that you can already tell us about?
2024 is going to go OFF. We have been green-lit for season 2 of ‘Avalon TV’ and can’t WAIT to film all the craziness for you all. Aside from some exciting personal projects, I’m also excited to do way more work in the fashion world this year. You may even see me on a runway or two…
full look DIESEL
talent GIGI GOODE @thegigigoode
photography SAMUEL RAMIREZ @foxhunter
styling MARISA ELLISON @marisa_ellison
glam GIGI GOODE @thegigigoode
creative direction TON AGUILAR @sir_t0n
photography assistants MAXWELL POTH & DRU GANNON @maxwellpoth @druuuul
styling assistant ALEXIS KOSSEL @alexiskossel
editor TIMOTEJ LETONJA @timiletonja
editorial director JANA LETONJA @janaletonja
interview MAREK BARTEK @marekbartek