"Hello everybody, this is TS Madison, and I'm coming to you loud and laughing from PAPER Magazine. I am really so excited to be here and get asked all these wonderful questions by my friend, Mario."
Thee internet queen herself uttered those words loudly and proudly when I told her this Zoom interview was being recorded for audio purposes and not, as she had originally assumed, for visual purposes (her hair and makeup artist continued to beat her face throughout our chat, regardless).
Madison and I linked up to chat about the latest episode of Coach Conversations on YouTube, where she and cohosts Jack Mizrahi and Bob the Drag Queen kiki about all things Pride, comedy, music, identity and just all-around kitchen table talk. It's a hilarious and intimate look at three beloved queer personalities who were born to command a stage together and whom we hope to see more of in the future.
This is the latest string of non-stop gigs for the YouTube star, who's also featured in the upcoming film Zola and recently launched her own talk show on We TV. But to me she'll forever be the source of all my morning affirmations when she told us to "be yourself bitch, step your pussy up honey, get a job, own a business and suck a dick" (I'm still working on three out of those five). And yes, I still watch old clips of her on The Queen's Court when I'm in a rut.
"People can't say, Well, I haven't heard of her, because honey you have," she says of her ubiquity on all platforms now. "I'm on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, every place that I need to get the message out that no matter what is going on in your life, I need to be in those places to make sure that you get that message."
Anyway, read on, below, where we expand on that and so much more.
So first order of business, what was it like to film with Bob and Jack? And what's your history with both of them?
Jack and I met Bob back when he had won RuPaul's Drag Race and I've known Bob for a very long time. Bob told me that he was a really big fan of mine. And it's always funny when you meet people who tell you that they're a fan of yours and you've been their fan too.
Jack is, of course, a legend. I mean, he transcends ballroom and he makes you want to know more about the ballroom scene. We first met via social media. Maybe back when I first hit the scene as Thee TS Madison. Then we didn't get an opportunity to work together until I had done something in Vegas, I think it was A Cinderella Story, and I got a chance to work with Jack and it was so great.
He asked me to get involved in Coach Conversations, and in the midst of the conversation we talked about chosen families, we talked about houses, and we also talked about how all of our lives in the public have really shifted and reshaped the way that culture moves around every different facet of queens. You know, there's the drag queen, there's Jack, Ms. Rocky, and then there's TS Madison, honey, the queen of social media. So it was a really great conversation.
What can you tell me about your new talk show, The TS Madison Experience, and what it was like to finally share yourself with a wider audience?
I have been working on my own television show for a number of years. And it just took the social climate to shift because everyone knows that I have a sorted path that I'm very vocal about because I do feel like that if you don't embrace your past, how can you seize your future?
It's about owning your past and embracing your future and making sure that you appreciate every pebble, every bump. And I have the opportunity to work with Tiffany New York Pollard. She was like my fairy godmother, she's mainstream. And she's been in a place where I'm just tapping into. And it was such a great thing for the culture, for queens of all colors, races, creeds, and beliefs, because it showed a different dynamic. It also showed pieces of how my father accepts me as a trans person.
I'm queen enough to have catty drama over throwing a bottle or a glass, but it was my duty in this situation to educate my audience on the issues that's going on in our community and our LBGT community. And it's a great thing.
Let's talk about Drag Race because I think most fans will agree that you are by far one of the most informed, measured and helpful guest judges to ever sit on that panel. Why do you think it's such a good fit for you?
It's in my blood to be a guest judge. I'm like a chameleon and I could fit into anything. But drag racing is something that is so serious to me because I've watched it since its inception. I was there from season one with Bebe Zahara Benet. And Ru has been a huge inspiration to me. When I have the opportunity to go there and judge the girls, I'm going come as a fan who watches the show but also a queen who knows drag and is just watching this stuff like, Girl, you need to step your pussy up, honey.
And so it was imperative that when I went in to work with the girls to say thank you for coming here and lending your experience to the show because it just shows people that drag is truly an art form.
You've had your fair share of viral moments on the apps. Do you have a secret to viral fame?
I'll tell you Mario here, listen. Every time that you've seen a video go viral, for me, that video has consisted of me reading a bitch. My most viral of moments has come from me coming forward and just saying hi. But the most iconic one that I live by as a mantra now is the Honey, get a job. That was birthed from me reading somebody that was cat-fishing me. Every time you've seen a video go viral from that to New Weave 22 Inches to The Haters Are Chasing Me or Come On In, it has always started from I'm about to let somebody have it. So it came from a real place. And that's why I think the people have really resonated with that.
I saw that Wendy Williams covered your upcoming film Zola on her show and you were featured in the little screen!
What was so funny to me is when we were trying to do press for the TS Madison Experience, Wendy was one of the few stops that didn't want to cover the show for whatever reason. Well, it could be that I've called her many things. [laughs] And for me to wake up that morning to phone calls about Zola I was like, Look how God works. He will wink his eye right in your face, girl.
Ok but now we need the girls to book Madison on Wendy's purple couch!
Here's the thing, if Wendy lets me on her show, I'm going to respect her. She is an icon. If you're a gossip blogger, or like myself, that's always in business and that's how you make your money, you lean to Wendy, she's the one starting shit. And so because of that, you have to respect her. But honey, listen, no one's above anyone. The girls read me and I read them back. It doesn't make us enemies. She's lived her life and public things have happened to her. We've all spoken on things that have happened in her life and, you know, shit. I can be shady too. But I still love her and respect her. She's the queen of that.
So other than reading a bitch, how do you deal with any negativity or trolls who come for you online?
Well, to be perfectly honest with you, when I feel like responding to any of that stuff, I make sure that it's in a place that I can monetize from it. I really found out that it's not really worth addressing if you're not being paid. And that is one of the things that I have learned from Wendy Williams. I want to get the opportunity to sit on her sofa and tell her how the things that I have taken from her is the way you deal with your haters.
Pay me for my pain, pay me to have your opinion about me. Now you're watching this, like the Kardashians. Everybody loves and hates them at the same time. And they also monetize. There's no way that the Kardashians are going to walk into the room and not be paid.
Lastly, Madison, you know I gotta include another Coach plug. Do you have any early memories of the brand?
Listen, I'm a girl from Florida. And honey, there were only a few bags then that made you a gworl and Coach was most definitely one of those bags. My first one was a Coach tote that had the illustration with the original Coach colors, that beige and cream and it had the Cs all over it. Honey, I thought I was pumping through the airport and really doing it, tearing the girls up with my coach pocketbook. And ever since then Coach has always been one of my go-to's.
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