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NUNN ON ONE, TV. Silky is latest Chicago contestant to rev up 'Drag Race'
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2019-02-24

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Silky Nutmeg Ganache is the stage name of Reginald Steele, the latest Chicago queen to join the ranks of RuPaul's Drag Race contestants.

The popular Worlds of Wonder produced VH1 competition series is now in its 11th season and shows no sign of slowing down. Drag Race continues to win Emmy Awards and bring more backstage drama with Untucked's bonus content.

RuPaul Charles, Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley and Ross Mathews are all back as judges, with special guest judges this season including Miley Cyrus, Troye Sivan, Fortune Feimster, Cheyenne Jackson, Adam Rippon and Wanda Sykes.

Ganache brings pageant experience, with Miss Continental Plus to the table and some surprises in this early interview before the race began.

Windy City Times: With your original name being Lasagna Frozeen, what inspired your later drag name of Silky Nutmeg Ganache?

Silky Nutmeg Ganache: I went to an all men's college called Wabash College. It was around season one of RuPaul's Drag Race that one of my mentors named me Silky, because he felt I was classy. I was watching the Food Network one night and they said, "silky ganache." I decided that would be my name. I later added Nutmeg, because it was one of my nicknames at college.

WCT: Where are you from?

SNG: I was born and raised in Moss Point, Mississippi.

WCT: How was being gay in that area for you and how did you get to Chicago?

SNG: Growing up in the South was a challenge. I was raised in a family that was very religious. I didn't want to disappoint anyone so I didn't live my life the way I wanted to live. It was hard because people didn't understand. It got so hard in high school that I confided in my older brother. I am very close with my family, but just telling my family who I was and what my plans were was difficult.

I wanted to go to college and live far away so I could live the life I wanted. That is when I moved to Wabash College—in Crawfordsville, Indiana—in 2008 after graduating high school.

My senior year in college I did a charity drag show at another college. I made a lot of money and it was so much fun. I didn't necessarily want to do drag. About a year later I was challenged to do a pageant in Lafayette, Indiana. I was first runner-up and, from that moment, I was hooked on drag.

I moved to Chicago about two years ago. I moved here because I have gotten my bachelor's degree and my master's degree. I'm actually a smart girl, honey! Chicago had better opportunities, but unfortunately I couldn't get a professional job, meaning a nine-to-five, with my degree. I began to do drag more and more and ended up becoming a full time entertainer.

WCT: What did you study in school?

SNG: In undergraduate, I was a music and rhetoric major. In master studies, I have a degree in organizational leadership.

WCT: Where did you begin performing in Chicago?

SNG: After moving to Chicago, two weeks in I got the position as entertainment director in a small bar named Venicci Pizza next to Sidetrack that's not open anymore. I had the best drag brunch in Chicago and packed the house every week. I gave it my all. There's a video on my Instagram where I was dancing on the street when cars were coming. I jumped on a postal truck, so I was fearless in my entertainment!

WCT: You were out there risking your life for audiences!

SNG: It is our job as entertainers to make people forget whatever is going on in their life and give them a sense of freedom. That's what I was doing hosting the brunch every Sunday. I wanted to impact people for the rest of their week.

I worked at Splash, [which] opened over the summer; also, I worked at Charlie's, Hydrate, Berlin and Roscoe's. I have done it all, and partially because I am different. I am a dancing queen. I do disco numbers. If you want to see Taylor Swift, there are a million girls on the strip wearing a pastel wig that will do that for you. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that, but it is just not what I do and give. There was not a chance in hell that I was going to submit the same music that other people do. I have not had that problem ever.

WCT: What makes you different than the other drag queens on RuPaul's Drag Race this season?

SNG: I know who I am as an individual. I don't seek validation with likes on social media or hearing all the time that I am the best. I enjoy receiving constructive criticism and hearing feedback. I don't mind trying anything.

I am one of two plus-sized queens this season. We have yet to see a plus-size queen win yet…

WCT: Are you ready for all of the social media that will be coming your way?

SNG: I have received the worst already, so the only thing that can happen now is to go up. The show has been announced and people are so critical without even knowing who I am or seeing the first episode. I have received many criticisms already and I understand it.

One of my critiques is that I am a fat girl and don't walk around in a corset every day. I am a large girl with a round stomach and I embrace it.

This is the most diverse cast ever of RuPaul's Drag Race. We have seven Black girls, two Asian girls, two Latina girls and four white girls. The cast of Drag Race have been predominately white. We are getting some of the harshest critiques ever. I have received the harshest critiques simply because I am Black. I am okay with that because I am strong enough to fight it and smart enough to rebut it.

WCT: Was it a difficult process to get cast on RuPaul's Drag Race?

SNG: This was my first time submitting an application. I think it was easier for me because I was ready mentally, physically and emotionally. I wouldn't say I am at the prime of my career in drag, but I am doing well.

WCT: What did you learn from the experience of Drag Race?

SNG: I learned there is a true lack of sisterhood and love. It's going to take someone like me to bridge the gap and help people heal.

In this political climate there are people that are hurt. We can understand that hurt people will hurt other people. I am willing to do anything and everything to help people through education and self care. Being Black, I wasn't always taught to take care of my mental health; not only Blacks, [but] also gays and [transgender people] are not told to go seek help sometimes. I have learned to be the voice for others and heal this nation. It will happen through loving energy, a comedic tone and entertainment.

Join Ganache and 14 other queens ready to slay on Thursday, Feb. 28, at 8 p.m. central on VH1. Roscoe's Tavern is hosting a viewing party with Ganache and Soju opening night with seating beginning at 6 p.m. A second night of performances with the two is scheduled on Friday, March 1, at 11:30 p.m. Visit Roscoes.com for details.


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