New York City's Ballroom Performers Turn It Out

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders shot and Timothy Reukof styled members of New York's Kiki and Mainstream house ball scenes for Paper's October nightlife issue. For an explanation of the scene, and why we're choosing to feature these voguers now, go here.

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Twiggy wears a coat by Ohne Titel, top by Maison Martin Margiela, pants and shoes by Louis Vuitton, cap by Albertus Swanepoel and belt by Lanvin.

Pony wears a jacket by Maison Martin Margiela, vintage Jean Paul Gaultier vest from Screaming Mimi's, skirt and jeans by DSquared² and boots by Kenneth Cole Collection.

Trace wears a dress by Lanvin, earrings by Alexis Bittar, ring by Noir and shoes by Christian Louboutin.

Tyra wears a jacket by Prada, shorts by Viktor & Rolf, leggings by Jean Paul Gaultier, jewelry by Alexis Bittar, Noir and Eddie Borgo and vintage Vivienne Westwood shoes from Screaming Mimi's.

Shantel wears a dress by ThreeASFOUR and jewelry by Noir.

Trace wears a dress by DSquared², stockings by Wolford, gloves by Bottega Veneta, jewelry by Alexis Bittar and shoes by Christian Louboutin.

Chi Chi wears a blazer by Thom Browne, top by Prada, shorts by Y-3, stockings by H&M, belt by Viktor & Rolf and sneakers by Christian Louboutin.

Jocques wears a jacket and shirt by Kenzo, shorts by Raf Simons, leggings by Patricia Field, glasses by Linda Farrow for Kris Van Assche, stud by Marc Jacobs and sneakers by Adidas Y-3.

Tyra wears a jacket by Viktor & Rolf, skirt and tights by Thom Browne, earrings by Noir and vintage shoes by Vivienne Westwood from Screaming Mimi's.

Pony wears a jacket by DSquared², vintage corset by Henry Duarte from Screaming Mimi's, pants by Givenchy and gloves by Belstaff.

Chi Chi wears a jacket by Gucci, top and shorts by Y-3, leggings by Givenchy, gloves by Burberry and shoes by Christian Louboutin.

Precious wears a vintage coat by Isaac Mizrahi from Screaming Mimi's and jewelry by Noir.

Shantel wears a coat and dress by Maison Martin Margiela, jewelry by Noir and boots by Christian Louboutin.

Jocques wears a coat, shirt and gloves by Jil Sander, tie by Yohji Yamamoto, collar by Louis Vuitton and necklace and earring by Noir.

Titi wears a sweater and leggings by Ohne Titel, top by Viktor & Rolf, rings by Alexis Bittar, cuff by Eddie Borgo and earrings from Screaming Mimi's.

Twiggy wears a jacket and shoes by Burberry Prorsum, sweater by Jean Paul Gaultier, pants by DSquared², cuff by Alexis Bittar and sunglasses by Linda Farrow for Jeremy Scott.


Name: Twiggy Pucci Garçon
House: Founder of the Kiki House of Pucci and New York City Princess of the Mainstream House of Comme des Garçons
Categories: Butch Queen Drag Face (Kiki) and Butch Queen European Runway (Mainstream)
Lives in: Jersey City
Day job: Community health specialist at Faces NY, filmmaker
How'd you come up with your name? "The fact that I walk runway, the fact that I am so small (in school, I was the smallest boy) and the fact that I was always interested in fashion--I combined those things: Twiggy."
What drew you to the scene initially? "The sense of family--especially because I am not close to a large portion of my biological family. I'm currently working on a documentary with Sara Jordenö, about New York's Kiki ballroom scene called Gesture. I love the film Paris Is Burning, but we want to take a different avenue. This isn't a sequel; it gives a much more insider point of view.

Name: Mother Trace Mizrahi
House: Overall Mother of the Mainstream House of Mizrahi
Categories: Fem Queen,  Face, Realness, Sex Siren, Perfect 10s
Lives in: Harlem
Day job: Makeup artist; stripper and go-go dancer at a gentlemen's club.
How would you describe your style? "It's kind of my signature to give classic old Hollywood, pin-up girl."
Most memorable ballroom moment:
"It was at the Awards Ball 2012. I was emulating Marilyn Monroe, I was paying homage to her. And I didn't think twice about it, I was just like let me do Marilyn. My hair was dyed platinum.  I didn't expect the crowd to erupt the way it did. I hit  the runway and it was just people pounding on the floor, clapping, and I kind of didn't know how to receive it. I guess Marilyn Monroe has that effect on people!"

Name: Tyra Allure
House: Mainstream House of Allure
Categories: Runway
Lives in: Harlem
Day job: "Of course not."
What drew you to the scene initially? "I was coming out and had no support. I went to a Lambda Rising meeting in Baltimore one night, and I heard about the balls. I saw a group of people who were told by society that they were abominations, and here in this scene, they were told they were talented and beautiful."
What's the craziest thing that's happened to you at a ball? "One time the people who thought they should win didn't, and they started throwing tables, chairs, it was like a tornado! And at six-feet-two, in heels, I was cramped under this table with other house members, just going 'Oh my God!'"

Name: Precious
House: Kiki House of Old Navy
Categories: Female Figure Performance
Lives in: The Bronx
Day job: Security guard
Pre-ball ritual: "Don't laugh, but I love to eat celery with Nutella. I really love it!"
How did you pick the name Precious? "I picked Precious because I feel like I am a very precious person, and  you won't meet someone as nice as me, or someone just  like me when I am gone."
Are you a fan of the movie Precious? "I actually met Gabourey Sidibe once. She was at Cold Stone Creamery,  and she was just a really nice person. I think that because of her weight, the film community kind of gives her  problems. We can do anything a skinny girl can, honey!"

Name: Pony Zion Garçon
House: Mainstream House of Comme des Garçons
Categories: Legendary performance
Lives in: Harlem
Day job: Choreographer and stage coach
What drew you to the scene initially? "My desire to be recognized and to entertain. Nowhere else in the world do I feel like a star."
Most memorable voguing moment?  "It was at the POCC ball, and I was wearing a black cat suit with a sequined vest and these sequined arm warmers.  I was just lying there on the runway and I felt... just like a showgirl."

Name: Jocques Unbothered-Cartier aka Prince Charming
House: Kiki House of Unbothered-Cartier

Categories: Face and Pretty-Boy Realness
Lives in: Brooklyn
Day job: "I don't work."
How did you get the name Prince Charming? "I am very quiet, like to keep to myself and am very nice to people. So, some of the people in the Kiki scene started to call me charming, like, 'You're so handsome, you're such a gentleman, you're so charming.'"
How long does it take you to get ready for a ball? "Usually it takes me two weeks to get ready for a ball because I need to get my effect made. I don't buy my effects, I get them custom made. And I pray of course, for luck. And drink a lot of water, since I am walking Face."

Name: Titi Juicy Couture
House: Overall Mother of the Kiki House of Juicy Couture
Categories: Women's Face, Best-Dressed and Runway in both the Kiki and lesbian scenes
Lives in: The Bronx
Day job: Staff member at a community center
What drew you to the scene initially? "I liked the fantasy of it, the fantasy of being somebody else for that second."
How did you end up in the Face category? "When I started in the scene, I was 17, and one of the legendary people who walked Face, Luna, he saw me out there when I was walking Runway. He was like, 'No -- Face! You're a Face, child. You should walk Face.'"

Name: Shantel Pucci
House: East Coast Mother of the Kiki House of Pucci
Categories: Female Figure, Face
Lives in: Brooklyn
Day job: Makeup artist
How long does it take you to get ready for a ball? "Two to three hours. I want to make sure everything is perfect. I want to make sure that I'm ready to serve."
Who are your idols? "I look up to Ciara. She's one of my favorite artists of all time."
What do you think about the ballroom scene getting newfound mainstream attention? "People are so judgmental, but if they see it, they will understand that this is who we are. So I think if we can get it out there, let's get it out there."

Name: Chi Chi Mizrahi Unbothered-Cartier
House: Mainstream House  of Mizrahi, Founder of the Kiki House of Unbothered-Cartier Categories: Vogue Fem (Kiki and Mainstream)
Lives in: Harlem
Day job: Community health specialist at Faces NY
How did you get the name Chi Chi? "I was watching the movie To Wong Foo with friends, and my friend heard Chi Chi Rodriguez, and goes, 'Miss Chi Chi, girl! That is your new name, it's Chi-Chi Rodriguez, the Latina Marilyn Monroe.'"
What drew you to the scene initially? "I was dating someone who was affiliated with the house ball scene. At first I didn't understand it, but I was intrigued by the competitive side. Then there's the creative aspect of it, and the networking you do with people from all over the country. It's just amazing what dancing can bring people together to do."

Go behind the scenes at the photo shoot:

About the photographer: 

This style feature wasn't Timothy Greenfield-Sanders first time at the rodeo, so to speak. Back in June of 1988, the iconic portrait photographer shot members of the House of Xtravaganza for the original incarnation of Details magazine. "I also had Dorian Corey [of Paris Is Burning fame] over to the studio, in June 1991, for a portrait. That was an unforgettable day." The photographer and filmmaker was in the news recently for his acclaimed HBO documentary, About Face: Supermodels Then and Now, featuring Carmen Dell'Orefice, Paulina Porizkova and Beverly Johnson, among others. Shooting the voguers, who take their inspiration from those very same high fashion models, was an interesting juxtaposition for Greenfield-Sanders. "I think they'd all love each other -- they'd get along like a 'house' on fire." His latest film, The Latino List: Volume 2, premiered on HBO in September.

Photograph of Greenfield-Sanders and Tyra Allure by Timothy Greenfield- Sanders.

Market Director: Luigi Tadini
Hair by Monet Moon for Arena Salon
Makeup by Theo Turner using Nars and Camille Thompson using Lime Crime Cosmetics
Photographer's assistants: Charlie Watt Smith, Michael Della Polla, Nicholas Bibbo
Aide-de-camp: Beauregard Houston-Montgomery
Fashion Coordinator: Kelly Govekar
Stylist's Assistants: Patricia Tremblais, Tara Homeri, Simone Francese, Noema Kosuth
Reporting by Alex Bedder

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