Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor


  WINDY CITY TIMES

DRAG: Miss Toto builds a full-bodied career in Chicago
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2020-09-30

This article shared 2676 times since Wed Sep 30, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Miss Toto blew into the Windy City toting a tornado of talent after leaving Cumberland, Maryland behind. Toto quickly made a name for herself as "Chicago's Bodybuilder Barbie" and landed bookings all over the city. Toto identifies as queer and in drag uses she/her pronouns. Out of drag, Toto uses pronouns they/them.

Toto talked about their blossoming career and an upcoming gig at the Soldier Field parking lot that includes RuPaul Drag Race season 10 competitor The Vixen and recent Windy City Times interviewee RuPaul Drag Race season 12 winner Jaida Essence Hall.

Windy City Times: Where does the drag name Miss Toto come from?

Miss Toto: "Toto" is Dominican slang for "pussy." It is also a brand name for luxury toilets and the dog in The Wizard of Oz. My real name is Rock Evans.

WCT: You are from Maryland?

MT: Yes, originally. I started doing drag in Miami in 2015. I moved to Chicago last March.

WCT: What brought you to Chicago?

MT: I wanted to be closer to home, so I could drive to Maryland in 10 hours if necessary. I wanted to be a part of the drag scene in Chicago. Specifically, I wanted to be surrounded by the Black drag performers that I had been looking up to ever since I have been doing drag.

WCT: Who is someone you looked up to?

MT: The list is long, but huge inspirations to me in the city were Lucy Stoole, DiDa Ritz, Shea Coulee and The Vixen. I am a part of the collective,The Unfriendly Black Hotties, which was created by me, Bambi Banks-Coulee, Kenzie Coulee and Khloe Coulee.

I was looking for a more immersive Black experience because I had never had a big, Black friend group, aside from my family. I was in a rural part of Maryland with not many Black people and in my previous home of Miami, most of the diversity was coming from the Latin community."

WCT: Was it hard to break into the drag community in Chicago?

MT: No, because I was visiting for a year before I moved, so everyone was familiar with me. I was actively working before I moved here and made it public that I was moving.

WCT: What do you bring to the table that others don't?

MT: The way my mind works creatively is not the same as other people. My thought process works differently than others. With going digital, I wanted to make it bigger and crazier than what anyone else has ever done.

There is also the obvious, with me being a bodybuilder and I have this physique. This gives me a little edge that others don't have.

WCT: How often do you work out?

MT: Five days a week.

WCT: How have you exercised during the pandemic?

MT: For the first five months, I was living in Pennsylvania with my partner. We did home workouts. I was still training and doing fitness classes over Zoom. Now that gyms have opened up again, I try to be in there only 45 minutes and off times where I am not around people.

It's a mix of working out in the home and not being in the gym too long.

WCT: What do you think of Kameron Michaels, who was also known for a strong drag body?

MT: She's cool, but not a bodybuilder and has not competed. She's a fit person. If someone calls themselves "The Bodybuilder Barbie" they need to have competed onstage at least once. I am a full competitor and have won competitions. I think it's great that Kameron has a brand, but she also hides her physique in drag, so not sure why she has that brand.

You see my bodybuilding in my drag. You see my arms and abs. You see my work in the gym, as opposed to hiding it in a sleeve.

WCT: Where have you competed with bodybuilding?

MT: I competed mostly in Miami and once here in Chicago last year. I am very familiar with the South Florida NPC circuit, which stands for National Physique Committee. I prefer to go to Florida to compete, because I feel more comfortable there. I know the competitors, so it feels very family oriented and welcoming.

I won the Miami Classic in 2018. I had lost that competition the year prior with second place, so it was really gratifying to return and win my class.

WCT: Do you lift onstage or pose?

MT: I do posing. Power lifting is a different competition and this NPC competition is all about physique.

WCT: Is being on RuPaul's Drag Race a goal of yours?

MT: Not really. I think it is great for people that have that as a goal, but I feel I am carving my own path very well by myself without using the show as a platform. I am happy for my friends who have been on the show, but I am forging my own path my own way.

For me, right now, I am focusing on what I am doing. I am putting out the best content and art for people to enjoy safely at a time like this, because we are looking for a moment to disconnect from the world.

Doing drag and giving people drag gives me a mental break to be able to do something creative and put it into the world. People connect with me still, despite not being able to be in the clubs.

WCT: I saw you speak at the Drag March for Change. How was that moment for you?

MT: It was full circle for me. I was looking at the panel that I had looked up to since before even doing drag the first time. I felt validated and in the right place. I have worked very hard to get to where I am. I was sitting on a panel with people that I have admired for five years. I was able to hold my own and hopefully be an inspiration for other Black drag performers, too.

WCT: What inspires your cosplay drag looks?

MT: It is really all over the place. I love horror movies, but I want to stand out as a character. If I watch a cartoon and see myself in that costume, it might spark something where I want to transform the 2D character into a 4D person, but it also has to be a drag look as well. I may put nails on with lashes and bigger hair. I crank it up to the next level.

I feel that is what separates regular cosplay from drag cosplay. There is something special about the way drag performers do cosplay. We are not just making a look, but also a story to the character.

WCT: What is your latest song to lip-synch to?

MT: On the digital platform it is more about creating music videos. Once I make a music video then I run it around to different shows. When I am done I put it on my social media for everyone else to enjoy.

For the Drive-in, I am performing an Ariana Grande song, but with a spooky Halloween twist. I have only performed a few times live since the pandemic and didn't love the experience because I am not comfortable being around crowds currently. I don't touch money and that is part of the issue. Some places that are booking queens still want people to walk around, interact with the crowd and touch dollars. We have to make our money somehow, but I don't feel safe doing that.

This is my first opportunity to perform live onstage and not feel the pressure to be in the audience. I have been working with CircuitMOM for a year now as a dancer, choreographer and in drag. This level of production hasn't been seen in a drag show in forever, so I am looking forward to it!

The Drop Dead Drag Pageant has two shows from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 16, at the Lakeshore Drive-In, 1362 S. Linn White Dr.

Tickets for car passes are available at CircuitMOM.com and LSDriveIn.com .

For more on Toto, visit TheMissToto.com .


This article shared 2676 times since Wed Sep 30, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

A look at Northalsted/Boystown bars since 2020 town hall on racism 2021-12-30
Video below - Zola Chatman began her drag career in 2018 at a drag brunch at Kitchen 17, a local vegan restaurant. Chatman, a Black trans woman from Chicago, entered the drag world thinking she was joining a supportive ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Drag Race' judges, 'Nash Bridges,' Dolly Parton, J.K. Rowling, Britney 2021-12-19
- The guest judges for the 14th season of RuPaul's Drag Race have been revealed, according to out.com. Lizzo, Alicia Keys, Taraji P. Henson, Andra Day, Loni Love, Christine Chiu, Ava Max, Nicole Byer, Ts Madison, Alec ...


Gay News

Indiana minister leaves job after appearing with drag queens in TV series 2021-12-12
- The Rev. Craig Duke has been a Methodist minister for three decades, building a reputation as a staunch advocate of LGBTQ inclusion. However, according to ABC News, his pastoral duties have ended—the result of a split ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Kennedy Center, drag series, Bjork, awards, Wil Wheaton 2021-12-12
- Returning to the Kennedy Center Opera House with an audience for the first time since 2019, the 44th Kennedy Center Honors ceremony recently honored a music-heavy class of Bette Midler, Joni Mitchell, Motown founder Berry Gordy ...


Gay News

VIEWS Reporting on queers of color needs to investigate absence as much as presence 2021-11-19
- Earlier this month, I pitched a Windy City Times article that sought to explore how role playing games (RPGs), such as Dungeons & Dragons, enable queer people of color (QPOC) to explore their gender and sexuality ...


Gay News

LGBT History Month: '40s and '50s instant photography gave LGBT people 'Safe/Haven' 2021-10-15
- Two men dressed in drag for a tea party, and two women cuddled up at the beach. Today these might be benign photographs but, in the early 1950s, they were memories shuttered away from public view. ...


Gay News

Kit Kat Lounge hosting Kamayan feast Oct. 24 2021-10-15
- Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club, 3700 N. Halsted St., in honor of Filipino American History Month, will host a special "diva-infused" Kamayan feast featuring Chef Jordan Andino on Sunday, Oct. 24. Andino is the creative ...


Gay News

'Tapping into Ca$h' : CaSera Heining lives double life as DJ Ca$h Era and radio producer 2021-10-14
- Minutes before DJ Ca$h Era hosted Lollapalooza's first drag show, the Black queer woman behind the stage name was pacing nervously behind the scenes and listening to a drag queen animatedly remind her they were "making ...


Gay News

DRAG Utica Queen finds a home in Chicago 2021-10-12
- Ethan Mundt rose to fame as Utica Queen in season 13 of the Emmy-winning show RuPaul's Drag Race. Ultimately placing sixth in the competition, this young, gay 25-year-old showed creativity and personality. Mundt's latest project, Homecoming ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Drag Race' winners, Playboy, punk band, The Dinah, Daniel Craig 2021-10-10
Video below - As part of VH1's #LGBTQHerstoryMonth project, five winners from the RuPaul's Drag Race winner's circle—season one's BeBe Zahara Benet, All Stars 4 winner Monet X Change, season 11 winner Yvie Oddly, season 12 victor Jaida Essence ...


Gay News

Urban Village Church hosting drag worship service, Pride prom Oct. 10 2021-10-04
- On Sunday, Oct. 10, Urban Village Church (UVC) will host a drag worship service at its Wicker Park site, 1012 N. Noble St. Worship begins at 10:30 a.m. (CST) with performances from local drag artists, including ...


Gay News

TELEVISION 'Drag Race,' 'Queer Eye,' 'Pose' among Creative Emmy winners 2021-09-13
- Three 2021 Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremonies took place Sept. 11-12—and Netflix's The Queen's Gambit led the way with nine wins going into next weekend's Primetime Emmys, Deadline reported. LGBTQ+ individuals and shows also scored se ...


Gay News

'Close-Up with Carmen' Sept. 9 at Center on Halsted 2021-09-08
- 'Close-Up with Carmen'—about the intersection of drag and opera—will take place Thursday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m. at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St. During this event, participants will discuss cross-dressi ...


Gay News

MOVES Talking about 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie' 2021-09-08
- The new movie Everybody's Talking About Jamie tells the inspiring story of Jamie New, a young drag artist who overcomes hardship and homophobia in Sheffield, England. Out actor Max Harwood stars as New, who gets by ...


Gay News

MUSIC Upcoming 'Carmen' featuring queer lead, male drag 2021-09-05
- On Sept. 16 and 18 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St., Chicago audiences will have the rare opportunity to hear two world-class dramatic mezzo-sopranos debut new roles opposite one another ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.