Fierth’s i-ON Interview with BEN DE LA CREME #RPDR
Fierth’s Brian Mills sits down with Ben De La Creme who’s a contestant on this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Hailing from Seatlle, Ben De La Creme is also one third of the Production company “DeLouRue Presents”, a member of the internationally acclaimed Burlesque Troupe “The Atomic Bombshells“ and producer of the Seattle based dance/drag event “Tuck.”. Get to know, Ben De La Creme !
Also just Released: Ben De la Creme Presents:
BenDeLaCreme presents the first episode of “Capitol Hill” starring Waxie Moon. Created by the award-winning filmmaker Wes Hurley and inspired by 70s-80s TV shows, “Capitol Hill” follows an innocent young girl, named Roses Smell, who escapes the terrible backwater hell-hole of Portland, Oregon and comes to beautiful Seattle, Washington, in hopes of a better life. But will she find it?
FIERTH: Do you have a nick-name?
De La Creme: My friends call me DeLa. Other people don’t usually call me.
FIERTH: Where do you call home ?
De La Creme: I’ve called Seattle home for the last 8 years. Chicago before that, Boston before that, and the woods in of Northwestern CT before that. I felt infinitely more at home the further West I moved. People are weirder out here.
FIERTH: How tall are you?
De La Creme: 5’8”. 6’2” in heels.
FIERTH: How do you describe your work?
De La Creme: I try not to. It seems to work out better when I just do stuff and other people tell me what it is I’m doing.
FIERTH: What about your work frustrates you ?
De La Creme: I am an over-thinker. It’s my best and worst quality. Sometimes it produces really great results and other times it just produces a headache.
FIERTH: What accomplishment are you most proud of ?
De La Creme: Well that show with RuPaul on it was pretty neat, but other than that I’m most proud of my collaborative work with two of my besties Kitten LaRue and Lou Henry Hoover. We have a production company called “DeLouRue Presents” and have turned out a few shows (“Homo for the Holidays”, “Freedom Fantasia”) that combine comedy, spectacle and camp with a positive social message in a way that, for me, is the height of my form.
FIERTH: What do you like most about what you do?
De La Creme: I love getting to be better than real life! BenDeLaCreme is fictitious, so she doesn’t have to deal with the mundane or the tragic. Because of that she can maintain a more positive outlook and a more generous disposition then I ever could. While I am prone to bad moods and negative thinking, she isn’t, so she can help me out of it. I love getting to spread that outlook to others, giving them something bright and happy in a world that isn’t always.
FIERTH: Who or what inspired you to get into doing drag?
De La Creme: It’s really something that’s always been present in my life. I’ve always been fascinated by showmanship and fantasy and hyper femininity. It’s the most natural thing in the world to me. ALTHOUGH I don’t think I understood that it could really be my career until the first time I saw Varla Jean Merman. I was floored. I leaned over to my friend and said-“THIS. THIS is the job I want.”
FIERTH: Did you enjoy dressing up as a child?
De La Creme: Oh for sure. I was always making costumes out of household objects. Sometimes I used a bath towel as a dress but other times I was being a gargoyle made out of paper towel tubes or an alien made out of tinfoil and a toilette brush. It was all the same to me. Just fantasy. Now that I think about it the woman I would always pretend to be when I was playing with friends was 99 from the TV show “Get Smart.” I don’t know what that says about me psychologically but there you have it.
FIERTH: How do you describe your look ?
De La Creme: Hanna Barbara meets Pee Wee’s Playhouse meets Valley of the Dolls.
FIERTH: What are some of your special talents ?
De La Creme: Brief answers.
FIERTH: How do you keep it real?
De La Creme: Through artifice.
FIERTH: What is the secret to success ?
De La Creme: Don’t try to create what you think people want. Work as hard as you can to create the thing that is right to you- whatever you care about passionately. Find it inside you and dig it out and don’t be scared if it’s “weird” or “uncool.” Don’t be afraid to fail, lose money, be embarrassed. Trust that if you take the time to really perfect your craft, eventually the attention, success, and financial security will follow. And it will outweigh what would have come your way if you skipped that hard, unglamorous part.
FIERTH: If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
De La Creme: To be clear, I CAN learn to do anything, I just choose not to because I am sleepy and hungry and there is SO MUCH TV TO WATCH. But one of these days I am going to be able to play the accordion while riding a unicycle. (Again, to be clear, I cannot do those things separately. But there is a unicycle rusting in my basement.)
FIERTH: What motivates you in life?
De La Creme: The thought that if Paul Rudd met me just once, he would fall hopelessly in love.
FIERTH: If you weren’t doing what you are doing now, what do you think you would be doing?
De La Creme: Living in a wooden shanty in the woods, cultivating my long gray beard.
FIERTH: Have you ever felt hopeless? How did you get through it?
De La Creme: Constantly. I’m actually a very sensitive, introverted person. I have struggled a great deal with depression and anxiety, and I’ve had to find ways to pull myself out of it, which is a very difficult thing when you’re in the midst of those feelings. One thing I think helps is talking about it. I think people are afraid to admit to these dark parts of themselves because they’re afraid it will be perceived as weakness, but the more we realize that it’s a fairly common experience, the less alone we feel. It’s also important to find ways to just force yourself out of it, even if it’s only temporary. That really is one of the reasons I have DeLa. She does not get hopeless. She is an eternal optimist. Some days I want nothing more than to stay in bed and drown myself in a vat of melted Ben and Jerry’s, but if I have a gig that night, I put on that makeup and it forces me to look at the positive. Because that’s who DeLa is. Some people think that sounds crazy. So be it. It’s the crazy that works for me.
FIERTH: If someone wrote a biography on your life , what do you think the title should be?
De La Creme: Hot Glue and Hope.
FIERTH: What are some qualities you value in your friends ?
De La Creme: Loyalty, honesty, kindness, drink tickets.
FIERTH: What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?
De La Creme: I was kind of a goody two shoes when I was young. I got made fun of a lot for playing by the rules. But once I started being a bad kid I was committed to being good at it, so I never really got caught.
FIERTH: The kids today …
De La Creme: Seriously need to put down their phones at live performances. There is a real quality to seeing something live that you instantly loose when you start recording it. It is special to be in a room with a performer who is sharing something with you that is momentary and fleeting. That moment will never happen again. Machines may be able to record images and sounds, but only beings can experience the exhilarating and terrifying sensation of time rushing past them. Just be present and enjoy it. You can check your instagram again in, like, three minutes.
FIERTH: What makes you angry ?
De La Creme: Cruelty. Especially within queer communities. We have been through enough without turning on each other. I detest the idea that kindness isn’t cool.
FIERTH: What brings you the most joy?
De La Creme: Seeing great art, meeting new people, quality alone time, ice cream, Paul Rudd.
FIERTH: What’s the strangest thing you’ve done this month?
De La Creme: I got way more famous just for standing in front of some TV cameras.
FIERTH: Are you a morning or night person ?
De La Creme: Night. If so much of my life weren’t dictated by the hours businesses are open I would never see sunlight.
FIERTH: What were you doing last night at Midnight?
De La Creme: On my couch with one of my best friends talking about film.
FIERTH: What do you think is the meaning of life ?
De La Creme: Community and shared experience. Accepting and giving love. Ice Cream.
FIERTH: What is your beauty secret ?
De La Creme: MORE CONCEALER.
FIERTH: What would be the introduction song to a movie based on your life ?
De La Creme: I have no idea. But I have always wanted to enter a room or exit a limo to Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing.”
FIERTH: Do you collect anything? If so, what?
De La Creme: Taxidermy and coconuts carved into monkeys.
FIERTH: Which stars, if any, leave you star struck?
De La Creme: Any number of super funny ladies; Amy Sedaris, Mariah Bamford, Kristen Wigg, Amy Poehler. Also Paul Rudd because we are meant to be together forever but HOW AM I GOING TO EXPLAIN THAT TO HIM!?
FIERTH: Which celebrity do you suspect is actually a hologram?
De La Creme: RuPaul.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6 Airs Monday nights at 9p ET/PT on LOGO TV