Welcome to I AM YOUR QUEEN, a Pride Month series on the Exhibitionist that talks to the drag queens who buy up everything cute and force the rest of us to fight over startup-branded fleeces and other fashion scraps.
Her days of castrating bulls long behind her, the inimitable Texan Crissy Fields simply refuses to act her age and has been seen pole-dancing at clubs and urging the girls to have one more. She recently returned from riding in the AIDS LifeCycle (see her Red Dress Day pic above) to resume her day job as an educator and her night job as the keymistress to the demimonde. SF Weekly caught up with her while she was mixing Ro-Tel into some Velveeta in the crock pot, spraying on some volumizer as she stirred, about to go kick up her dogs and watch her stories on Netflix.
What name do you perform under?
Where do you perform?
I’m still relatively new on the scene and have only been performing solo for about a year. I had my official debut in August 2014 at Try SOME THING at the Stud, and my MOTHER debut at SF Oasis this past spring. I’ve been performing with the dance troupe, Sexitude, both in drag and out of drag for a few years, and been in numbers at Trannyshack, SOME THING, BOOTIE, and other shows.
How long have you done drag?
I started going out in drag and performing back up for other queens about a year and a half ago. Crissy was born shortly after that although her official birthday, the date of my first performance as Crissy, wasn’t until August 2014.
Does Crissy have a backstory?
Oh gurl, does she! Crissy Fields moved to San Francisco a few years ago from Dallas after a nasty divorce from her husband. She had always wanted to take to the stage, and found the San Francisco drag community welcomed her with open arms. She claims to have a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Southern Methodist University, but she works part-time as an interior decorator and life guru these days. There are also rumors that she may have some family connections to the Mrs. Fields Cookies fortune – something that she will neither confirm nor deny (we’re guessing there must have been some sort of nondisclosure agreement or something). She’s supporting that wig, shoe, and jewelry habit somehow.
Crissy is a fun gal with a golden heart as big as Texas. However, if you dare cross her, you’ll get a taste of cowgirl strength and no nonsense resulting from years growing up on her daddy’s ranch wrangling longhorn steer.
Do you have a performance background?
Not really. I’ve taken a few acting classes throughout my life but never really performed until I started dancing with Sexitude and doing drag. I’ve wanted to perform since I was little but as someone who was tagged as gay from a very early age, I worried that it would confirm it – to me and to others. So instead, I joined band, jazz band, and orchestra in high school because those make you look super-straight.
Is realness important to you? Genderfuck? Something else?
When I first started doing drag with my friends, I thought that I wanted to do “art drag” and “bearded drag” and be a weirdo. Then I started putting on makeup, wigs, and dresses, and realized, “holy shit! I look really pretty!” I wouldn’t say that it’s important to me to look “real” but I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Sometimes it weirds my husband out because I look a little too much like my female relatives in Texas. Crissy is a Texas girl at heart (and in hair!) And I’m still a weirdo.
When you were starting out, what was your biggest hurdle?
I don’t have a true drag mother, someone who shows you the ropes and teaches how to do makeup and stuff like that. I watched a ton of YouTube videos and studied a lot of faces – I even found that looking at painted portraits helped me get an understanding of highlighting and contouring. I am also extremely lucky to have an amazing drag family that has helped me learn and provided guidance and feedback.
What do you love most about drag?
Again, my incredibly amazing drag family, particularly my “sistermothers” – a group of supportive loving queens who also lack a proper drag mother who have been my foundation and with whom I have so much fun getting dressed up and putting on a show. We dance together, put on make up together, perform together, and most importantly, love and laugh together. I love those guys and gals!
Have you had any trouble with Facebook’s real name policy?
Fortunately, I have not. I am thankful that some of our drag leaders have taken up the challenge of fighting Facebook on this policy. I support them and hope they are able to facilitate change.
What’s your day job?
I’m the Director of the Safe and Supportive Schools Project at Gay-Straight Alliance Network and teach health and sexuality courses as adjunct faculty at a couple of universities where I go by my given name, Christopher White, PhD – or Dr. Chris.
Does your mother know?
My momma passed away about six months before I started doing drag, so she never got to meet Crissy. She was a real Texas lady and you can see a lot of my momma in Crissy, as well as many of the other strong Texas women who have served as my role models throughout my life, like Ann Richards, Molly Ivins. Momma made some of the best biscuits and sweet tea on earth, and would whoop my ass if I got out of line. God bless Texas women!