June 08 2018

Hot Tea with Stacy Layne Matthews

New York-The Standard Interview
From Back Swamp to the Big Apple, Stacy Layne Matthews has shown the world that hennything is possible. Ms. Matthews, aka “Henny,” aka "SLM," stole our hearts during Season 3 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and last night at narcbar, she stole the show. As guest co-host of our weekly viewing party, Miss Girl, hosted by Rify Royalty, SLM brought the house down (and a few queens to literal tearsI saw you!) with a lipsyncs to “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman, and closed out the night with a ~club remix~ of Rihanna’s “Diamonds.” Before the night’s festivities, we joined SLM for a smoke break on the street to dish about Heathers, Boogers, and everything in between.

Read all of our "Hot Tea" interviews here.
The Standard
THE STANDARD: Stacy, look at us out here, having a moment on the Bowery!
STACY LAYNE MATTHEWS: Yes, henny, I am here in New York City!
 
Yes, ma’am, you are. Being from such a rural area in North Carolina, how did you first get exposed to drag?
I started doing theater in high school, and it kind of gave me an array of characters, so I started playing around with makeup. And then one of my cousins put me in drag for Halloween and that’s kind of how Stacy got started.
 
Tell us about your local drag scene in Back Swamp. I heard your home bar recently closed?
New Year’s was our last night. A lot of gay bars in North Carolina are closing, so you have to drive if you want to go to the club, henny. You gotta get in your car and drive. There’s a small bar called Jack’s Tap we hang out at, but we don’t do shows there.
 
Do you have any drag children?
Oh, God, I have so many kids. I think I have six or seven. One retired, so I think now I have six. I have some in Orlando, some in North Carolina. All over the place.
 
What was it like leaving your tiny hometown to film Drag Race Season 3?
I had a good time filming, and I had never experienced anything like that. To be on the show was mind blowing for me because I come from a small town and we’re not given opportunities like that, so I cherished it, and here I am in New York City!
 
And we cherish you. What were the dynamics like with your cast?
We pretty much had a good time together. But after the show I watched and I realized it was kind of a game we were playing, and a lot of the girls had negative things to say about me, but I didn’t really catch that at the time.
 
Like the Heathers thing with Raja, Carmen, Delta, and Manila?
It was so annoying. I’d honestly never seen the movie, so I had no idea what they were talking about. Heather this, Heather that. I thought I was going crazy, like what the hell is going on, henny? But realized after the show that it was a little clique. Whatever.

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The Standard
How do you get along with those girls now?
I’m actually closer to some of the Heathers than I am with a lot of the other girls now. I talk to Raja and Delta often. Don’t really talk to Carmen much. Manila was actually in one of the songs I did with the AAA girls [Willam, Alaska, Courtney Act] called “Heather.”
 
When did that come about?
Willam mentioned he wanted to do a song about Heather and pay homage to Stacy Layne Matthews and the Heathers/Boogers thing, so he introduced it to me and when I was in L.A. for DragCon last year, and I recorded the music and the video. I love Willam. He’s a lot different when he’s not on TV; he’s a lot more relaxed, chill, and very professional.
 
OK, so they may have Heather, but you have “henny!” You brought that term to the show and now it’s literally everywhere. Like, even RuPaul uses it in her songs now.
From the South we say things like “bless her heart, honey” so I just put my little twist on it, henny. Ru tries to steal my shit—she’s the queen of mopping catch phrases but it’s OK. It’s like her way of paying tribute to us queens on the show. 
 
A lot of girls come on the show now with bottled catch phrases. What do you think about that? I mean, they’re no “henny,” henny.
They’re trying to replace all the meme queens. Miss Vanjie took my place! I am happy for her. She didn’t get to show her talent on the show, so whatever it takes to get you noticed.
 
For our readers, you’re referencing the photo of you filming on your phone at a Drag Race reunion that went viral as a meme. What were you actually filming in that moment?
I was filming TS Madison coming out for the pre-show, the show hadn’t even started, so I was allowed to have my phone out!

The Standard
Season 10 is down to the top five. Who are you rooting for?
I am just glad Eureka is still in there. I’ve known her for a long time, doing pageants in North Carolina. I am really rooting for her. But I would be happy to see any of them win, henny. Miz Cracker, Eureka, and Asia would be my top three. Asia has actually judged me a few times in pageants. She’s really harsh—she keeps it real, henny. If something doesn’t look right on stage, she’ll let you know.
 
To take us back a bit, what did you think of All Stars 3?
I think Shangela was robbed. I felt like it was her time. She’s been brought back so many times, and she showed her true talents this season. But it’s TV, it’s Ru’s decision, you never know what’s going to happen. 
 
On your season, were there ever any major curveballs or misleading directions from the producers?
You’re tryin’ to go in deep, henny! Not really, because everything is kind of a surprise. But the cake challenge I went home on, I was upset because we had to carry the cakes down the runway and they were really heavy and icing was everywhere. It was frustrating.
 
Did anyone drop their cake?
No, unfortunately. [Laughs.] That would have been good TV!
 
With 10 seasons and three All Stars, what do you think about the future of Drag Race? Do you think it’s becoming too much of a good thing?
Everything shouldn’t last forever. That’s what makes it special. If they keep going, then every queen in the U.S. will be on the show! But it’s a great success.
 
And what about the future of Stacy Layne Matthews?
I’m looking forward to recording an album. After doing the song with the AAA girls, I’ve been dabbling in it a bit with Ginger Minj. We just recorded a song. I am getting the itch, henny.
 
Anything you want to leave us with?
Just to stay tuned. It’ll make sense later.
Writer
Cameron Keady
Photographer
Mateus Porto