North Carolina Entertainer of the Year: ‘Let me entertain you!’

Dishing with Buff Faye

Hopefully one thing we can all agree upon is that drag is entertainment. There are many forms of drag and ways to express gender through the art form known as drag. But at its core, drag continues to be entertainment.

For this months column, I interviewed the North Carolina Entertainer of the Year (EOY) Court (which includes myself) — Buff Faye, NC EOY, FI; Charlton Alicea, Mr. NC EOY; Vivi VanDank, NC EOY Femme; and Lochland Scott, NC EOY, King. I asked each a range of questions about drag entertainment and what makes the Entertainer of the Year system different. Listen up and hear from the North Carolina Entertainer of the Year titleholders.

Question: How is Entertainer of the Year different from other pageant systems?

EOY allows a space for individuals full creativity to shine through. If you conceive it, anything is possible. And EOY celebrates that. And this allows individuality to be front and center.
Charlton Alicea, Mr. NC EOY

I’ve loved the EOY system ever since I knew drag pageants were a thing. It allows you to express your fullest creativity with no boundaries or rules. It gives you complete creative control of your art, whatever that may be. EOY is also one of the few systems that offers a Femme title, so naturally it means a lot to me.
Vivi VanDank, NC EOY, Femme

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EOY does not stifle your individuality and inspires you to go way outside the box.
Buff Faye, NC EOY, FI

Question: How do you define entertainment when you perform?

I like to take the audience on a journey. I want them to be able to tap into their own emotion while watching, whether it be joy or sadness, to laugh or cry.
Charlton Alicea, Mr. NC EOY

Being an entertainer to me is like being an actor. I’m putting on a performance for you! I want to make sure everyone in the room feels some type of way when I perform — if my song made you dance, or when I sang a verse to you — it just made your night. Or at the end of the show, I get to talk to you outside, or be a role model for anyone. That’s what I believe an entertainer is.
Lochland Scott, NC EOY King

To me, entertainment is based on personal preferences and can’t really be defined. Now, categorically, I like weird things. Something different, new and creative is always fun and interesting to watch.
Vivi VanDank, NC EOY, Femme

Question: Why did you want to compete for the North Carolina Entertainer of the Year title?

I wanted to compete for NC EOY because I wanted a platform to help me build up the femme drag scene. I’ve been working on it for a while now, and this title gives me the voice and exposure necessary to spread the word, engage the community and get everyone excited about femme drag and what’s to come. Now that I have the title, I hope to spread the message: You want to be a drag queen? Be a drag queen!
Vivi VanDank, NC EOY, Femme

This year was my third time competing for North Carolina Entertainer of the Year and the third time was the charm. Each year I came back I wanted it more. Now it is off to Nationals where I feel the most prepared I have ever been to make North Carolina proud.
Buff Faye, NC EOY, FI

Question: What do you think entertainment is — or is not?

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Entertainment is the ability to bring enjoyment to others. For just a moment someone watching can forget about everything else going on and simply enjoy. They can be transported to place [they’ve] never been before.
Charlton Alicea, Mr. NC EOY

Entertainment is meant to evoke emotion — whether that be excitement, celebration, love, passion, sadness, reflection, etc. If it inspires you, makes you smile or brings a memory, then I have done something very special as an entertainer.
Buff Faye, NC EOY, FI

Question: What advice do you give to other entertainers that you have learned?

I would tell any of my fellow entertainers, “don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.” Whether it’s a song choice, a talent, an idea for a costume or even a new makeup style or hairstyle. At the end of the day this is your performance, your time to shine.
Lochland Scott, NC EOY King

Sometimes short and sweet with a performance is better. If it’s too long, it’s hard to maintain the audience’s attention. You want to be able to lift and deliver your message and have [the audience] wanting more. And when choosing a piece to perform, always remember to pull from within. Think about all the things that you have inside that are dying to come out.
Charlton Alicea, Mr. NC EOY

Don’t care what people think; do what makes you happy.
Vivi VanDank, NC EOY, Femme

SHOUT OUTS: Wish the entire North Carolina Entertainer of the Year Court good luck at Nationals in Louisville, Ky. the week of July 24-30!

info: Buff Faye calls the Queen City her home and believes entertainment is what makes the world go round (and likes to raise money for charities). Find her at your favorite bars and hotspots. Plus don’t forget her weekly Saturday-night show with Patti O’Furniture, monthly drag brunch and regular Friday-night party bus. Learn more at AllBuff.com. Follow on Twitter @BuffFaye

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Posted by Buff Faye

Buff Faye calls the Queen City her home and performs to help save the world from Republicans (and raise money for charities). Find her at your favorite bars and hot spots. Plus don’t forget her monthly Sunday drag brunch and regular Friday night party bus. Learn more at AllBuff.com. Follow on Twitter @BuffFaye.