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Ross Mathews brings bubbles and brunch to Chicago
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2019-08-13

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Ross Mathews Presents Dragtastic Bubbly Brunch is a new endeavor for the television personality that combines local drag and a buffet brunch together in an intimate venue.

Many will know Mathews from his numerous TV appearances beginning as Ross the Intern on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, then on Celebrity Fit Club, E! Network and Chelsea Lately. He also wrote a book called Man Up! Tales of My Delusional Self-Confidence.

He finished second place on the first American edition of Celebrity Big Brother where he took home $50,000 and was voted America's Favorite Houseguest earning an additional $25,000.

Mathews is currently judging on RuPaul's Drag Race and hosting a podcast called Straight Talk. He kicked off the first Chicago drag brunch in July and talked about it before the show.

Windy City Times: So, you have been throwing drag brunches all over the United States?

Ross Mathews: We started the over a year ago because I love drag queens and brunch. As I was at brunch one time and knew I could do it better. I started it up just for funzies and it sold out every week.

I would go to brunch on Saturdays in LA and then Palm Springs by my house on Sundays. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and franchise the brunch in Palm Springs. We have been sold out there every weekend. We put together a business model on how it could work.

We began in Brooklyn and had a line around the block. Now we are doing Bakersfield, San Diego and now Chicago. We are about to announce 12 cities across the country. Next I want 12 more, then I want 50!

WCT: Drag brunches are such a big thing in the Midwest these days.

RM: They are and so much fun. If the two words drag and brunch are in the title, you are guaranteed a good time.

WCT: What is unique about your brunch?

RM: We have the stamp of approval because I come from Drag Race. I think we get great queens. I like that our brunches are 360 degrees. Everyone is in the splash zone!

I really want to be able to shut the door on the outside world and make people smile for about an hour and 40 minutes. I think we accomplish our goal every single time brunch by brunch.

WCT: Is it easy to book the RuPaul Drag Race cast members for the brunch?

RM: Yes, because I know them all. People know with my name attached that it will be quality because I come from that world. What peopler don't know is that I am curating every queen, every menu item and the songs. I want it to have a very specific vibe. I don't want it to be a bitchy experience or anyone to go home feeling they were read. I want it to be fun. Everyone is welcome.

WCT: Are there different brunch themes?

RM: We just started doing theme weeks. We did gospel in LA recently.

WCT: Do you have a favorite brunch food?

RM: I can't say no to a piece of bacon! I'm only one man and only so strong…

WCT: Have you ever done drag yourself?

RM: I have played female characters in sketches, but I have never done drag. Ru just asked me that the other day and his jaw was on the floor when I said no. Stay tuned!

WCT: Was there a contestant on Drag Race that you feel particularly close with?

RM: Yes. I don't want to go into who I am closest to, but I fall in love with all the queens. When they are on the stage and I can see into their eyes, I can't help but fall in love with those talented people. They are just there under incredibly difficult circumstances trying to keep their head above the water and show the world what they do.

WCT: You have clashed with Michelle Visage on the judging panel of Drag Race in the past. Are there any hard feelings?

RM: No. We text just about every day. Michelle is like family to me. I really love her so much. Two days ago she knocked on my dressing room door and brought me snacks. We just take care of each other, whether it's on the show or in life.

WCT: Who is the latest celebrity you are obsessed with?

RM: I can't wait to meet Dr. Now from My 600-lb Life. I don't want to become 600 pounds to meet him, but maybe we can do a brunch in Houston where I can take a picture in front of Dr. Nowzaradan's clinic.

WCT: Talk about your podcast Straight Talk with Ross Mathews.

RM: It has been on five years with about 300 episodes. I do it just for me. It's the most selfish thing I do. It makes me laugh. I can't believe hundreds of thousands of people listen to it. We have so many loyal listeners. We do live shows in packed places. It's crazy!

WCT: I listened to your segment on Little House on the Prairie.

RM: Listen, I think Little Homo on the Prairie is a show I will pitch. Watch out Hollywood!

WCT: That sounds like a Drag Race skit.

RM: Picture it, I could be a gossip columnist that goes into Walnut Grove.

WCT: Have you met Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie Oleson?

RM: Of course! I saw her at Drag Con this year. I looked up and Alison was in my line to meet me and I yelled, "Make way!"

WCT: Do you live in Palm Springs now?

RM: I've had a house in both places for about 10 years now, but just bought a new place in Palm Springs. I never want to leave my home in Palm Springs. My goal is to retire in about 45 seconds, stay in Palm Springs and work at a local AM Radio show two or three days a week. I will spend the rest of the time in the pool and playing the penny slots.

WCT: Are you writing another book?

RM: I finished my second book. It's so juicy and good. I am reading through it now to do the final edit. The pre-sale for it begins in mid August.

I can't believe I wrote it. It's about when a super fan goes behind the velvet rope and what happens. We just shot the cover and it comes out in February. I haven't released the title yet, so stay tuned!

The next drag brunch is scheduled on Sept. 15 at City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph St. starting at noon. For tickets, strut over to CityWinery.com/Chicago .


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