NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)- About 20 years ago, Roy Haylock was backstage in theaters, making costumes with his own sewing machine for beloved local actors like Becky Allen and Ricky Graham. Then one day he was asked to step into the limelight himself- in the role of a drag queen- and the rest is RuPaul history.
Today, Roy's alter ego, Bianca Del Rio, is one of the biggest performers in the world.
Her crowds are big, her laughs are big, and her hair is big. Really big. She's been an outrageous blonde, a la Marilyn, and an outrageous red-head, like Lucille Ball on steroids.
But under the wigs and the false eyelashes as big as caterpillars, and beneath the chiseled cheekbones and lacquered lips, is a down to earth performer who knows exactly who she is and what she wants to say: "Not Today Satan!"
That's the name of the "hilariously hateful" show that Bianca is performing in destinations around the world, including a stop here in her hometown, Friday night, at the Mahalia Jackson Theater.
The show is standup comedy with a snarky side- as Bianca puts it, a show about things "everybody is thinking but everybody can't say." Her material is the result of a long journey, filled with "airports and dealing with (other peoples') children" that took off when she won season six of "RuPaul's Drag Race" in 2014.
Bianca says she was still making costumes for Broadway and Disney productions in New York when she entered the competition on a whim. But winning it brought international infamy, and the obligatory move to Los Angeles, land of starlets.
Through it all, Bianca remains the kind of performer who schleps her own suitcases to photo shoots, and makes time to see family in Baton Rouge-all while amazing mere mortals in 93 cities and counting.
"We do meet and greets before the show," she says,. "You get two types of people. You get people who are completely terrorized by your face-- or people who are so excited they just want to touch you." Bianca says she's "fascinated" by the reactions to her fabulousness, because she "forgets (the makeup) is on half the time," since wearing it is "just so normal."
She also says audiences have changed over the last 20 years- they're more accepting of LGBT issues and more willing to laugh at comedy that pokes fun of social stereotypes.
"Usually a girlfriend will bring their boyfriend to the show," she says. "In the beginning, (the men) are a little nervous, and then at the end of the show they're like, 'He's funny. He's funny!' I think it scares them initially, and then they get over it."
Bianca's show, "Not Today Satan" has "a lot of madness and a lot of negativity," she says. "But fun."
Fun, indeed. For tickets to Friday night's show, go to thebiancadelrio.com.