meet the husband and wife drag stars of new york
Queen Sateen and Exquisite are a typical hetero married couple, who just so happen to enjoy dressing up in drag.
Queen Sateen and Exquisite first met on OKCupid, while Sateen was looking for a musical collaborator, but it didn't take long until their romance blossomed. Then after hibernating one winter, a few years ago, and watching every John Waters movie and Nelson Sullivan video, reading every book ever written by RuPaul, and listening to nothing but The B-52s, they became obsessed and possessed by the notion of drag, so they decided to give it a try.
Fast-forward to today and the pair have steadily carved a reputation for themselves and the queens of New York nightlife, celebrated far and wide for their spectacular parties, eclectic music (featured in all three episodes of Loverboy Takes New York, starring the one and only Charles Jeffrey) and outrageous outfits. So without further ado, let us introduce you to Queen Sateen and her hubby Exquisite, they're simply divine!
Tell me a bit about yourself and where you grew up?
Queen Sateen: I grew up in South Florida in a town called Weston. It was very Stepford-esque, you know, perfect families, perfect lawns, and McMansions. I remember at a very young age seeing my mother comparing her boob job with other mothers. It was that kind of town. South Florida is really a hub for tackiness and plastic-ness. I feel like that really has informed me and my taste. Exquisite is also from a notorious capital of bad taste, New Jersey.
What is it about drag that appeals to you? How does the act of dressing up make you feel?
I've always been obsessed with fashion, and I think I may have always been a bit of a drag queen. When I was ten years old I remember looking at pictures of Christian Lacroix and Galliano-era Dior shows and being absolutely mesmerised. Today we are so inundated with visual information. Drag is the perfect filter and outlet for all that information. And with narcissism on the rise, I believe it to be the art form of our generation. With drag and the art of "giving a look" you can transform yourself into your own inspiration. You can become a goddess! It is incredibly empowering and I encourage every boy and girl out there to try it.
What's the story behind your performance names?
Before we found drag, we were just a young Brooklyn pop band trying to find our way in the world. We didn't have a name yet and we were searching and searching. One day we were sitting around and both of our eyes went to the tag on the inside of this drab button down shirt that was sitting on the dresser, and it read: 100% Sateen! We knew we had found it. When we became drag queens we knew we needed drag names. My name, Miss Queen Sateen, was inspired by one of my idols Lady Miss Kier from Deee-Lite. It was harder to figure out what Blake's drag name would be. So we decided to ask Blake's mother what she thought her name should be and she proclaimed Exquisite. Her mum nicknames everything, and has called Diet Coke "exquisite" for as long as Blake could remember. So Exquisite got her drag name from her mother, and she was named after Diet Coke.
What does it mean to be one of the only female and straight male drag queens?
We often joke that we are a regular hetero married couple, because we think it is clear that we are anything but. When we first started going out, I think we confused a lot of people. Everyone asked if Exquisite married me for a green card, and no one could comprehend that we were actually a couple in love. But now that people know us, we feel like we have become loved and accepted members of the queer community.
Can you tell us a bit about the music you make?
We both came up in a world where indie rock reigned, where every show you went to people would just stand there and nod their heads. Masses of people afraid to dance, afraid to appear uncool, because cool meant having a stick up your ass. Sateen was created out of sheer boredom with the tired shit we had been seeing and hearing. Our goal has always been to make people dance, empower them with our lyrics, and to make songs that would stick in people's heads.
Who or what inspires you?
We are inspired by all divas. The great house divas, CeCe Peniston, Crystal Waters, Kim English and Dajaé are some of our muses. Bitches who can sing and who aren't afraid to be crazy and hyper femme, like Mariah Carey and Xtina. We are inspired by New York City past and present. We will forever be indebted to the icons and legends of the underground that paved the path before us.
What makes New York nightlife so unique?
New York is where all the weird kids come to be with other weirdos, because here, being different is cool. There are so many facets of NYC nightlife. There are the fashion girls, the goth girls, the showgirls, the girls on stilts, the ratchet queens, and the glamour girls. Every night there is a party!
What do you see as the future of night life?
Bio-Queens are the future! I see so many talented girls on social media who are 13 and 14 years old and are already Drag Queens! I hope that in the future, nightlife can remain a positive and inspirational space for young creatives to peacock and twirl.
What are you currently working on?
We are beginning to withdraw from nightlife and transition into our music career. Currently, we are focused on writing and recording songs for our first EP. We are also brainstorming our next music video, and scheming on how to take over the world!
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope that one day, gender and sexuality will be completely fluid. I hope to see a transgender woman of colour as our President! I hope racists and bigots will become extinct, or at least move to an island and be brutes together. Also, I hope that fad dances become a thing again like in the 60s. Most of all, I hope that I will always stay inspired.
Text Tish Weinstock
Photography Anthony Urrea