Ruby Fox is the Ultimate New York Sensation | Grandlife
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Ruby Fox is the Ultimate New York Sensation

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Jack James Busa talks to drag performer and DJ Ruby Fox about their highly anticipated debut EP, events to look forward to, and why it’s time to shake up New York’s drag scene.

In the scorching summer of 2017, in the heart of Brooklyn’s underground party scene, a group of drag performers lit up the night. As the neon lights danced to the music, a brave diva took the stage, only to crash hard as her nose met the floor. Ouch.

Without missing a beat, a bold figure emerged from the shadows, draped in glitter and attitude. Without hesitating, she stepped up to replace the injured performer with a determination that stunned the crowd. In that intense moment, amid the cheers and chaos, I turned to my partner and asked in amazement, “Who is that?!” He said, “You don’t know? That’s Ruby Fox!”

He was correct in calling out my naivety because, as I would come to discover, Ruby Fox is the ultimate New York sensation, a key player in the vibrant mosaic that defines our cutting-edge nightlife scene.

Not only does Fox slay on stage, but they also turn looks on turntables. From death-drops to beat-drops, Fox’s style is as bold as their music; effortlessly outshining those cookie-cutter hoodie-and-baggy-pant-wearing DJs with a single hair flip.

I chatted with Fox about their highly anticipated debut EP, XXXCEDRIN (slated for release this summer), upcoming events, and how they have proven through authenticity and talent that you don’t need a reality TV show crown to be New York City’s crowning jewel.

Hi Ruby! I’d like to hear about your formative years. Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska and I lived there until I was 20. In true housewife fashion, I’d also say I’m a child of the world because I knew I’d leave someday.

What was it like growing up there?

Cold! But also incredible, Anchorage is a city of 200,000 people with a small town vibe, everyone knows everyone. I think that’s where my love for gossip emerged because there wasn’t much else to do.

What inspired you growing up there?

Growing up I didn’t look at home as inspiration. I wasn’t as developed as an artist to see that my surroundings leaked into everything I did creatively. I do think culture had a huge impact and is a reason why I came to do so well in NYC. At my high school alone over 100 languages were spoken and Alaska, primarily Anchorage, is a true melting pot of people and culture.

What music was playing in the house growing up?

Growing up, I listened to the alt-rock of the 2000s, Minutes to Midnight by Linkin Park was the first album I ever purchased and I believe AFI’s Miss Murder shortly after. My mother was a huge fan of 90s hip hop which I feel is reflected heavily in my drag demeanor. Ask for my father Bob Marley, Lauryn Hill, and a plethora of other reggae sounds were blasted every weekend.

When did you move to New York?

I moved in the summer of 2014 when I was 20. All I remember from 10 years ago is that it was the hottest summer I had ever experienced haha—single-handedly moving to Hell’s Kitchen by myself didn’t help.

 

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A post shared by RUBY FOX (@djrubyfox)

What albums, artists, or songs would you consider your personal soundtrack to New York?

Albums would be An Awesome Wave by Alt J, Lewis del Mar’s self-titled debut, and Ye’s Yeezus. Certain tracks from each one instantly remind me of moments that I’ll never forget. Sevdaliza will always be on the soundtrack to my life. I’m so impressed by mixed media artists, people who have tons of different artistic talents that they do extremely well. I not only admire but push myself constantly to that lane.

What music is playing in your house currently?

Vultures 1 is being played heavily, the mixing on that record is out of this world. I also recently circled back to Die Antwoord’s Ten$ion. I have been very inspired by South Africa’s rap soundscape.

Who or what has inspired you recently?

Honestly, especially in terms of drag, models like Gabbriette, Leomie Anderson, and Meredith Duxbury are givvvvving it to me. “Opulence” is also a word I’ve been circling back around to a lot. I’ve grown fascinated with the idea of excess and objects or people being “too much” for the mainstream to handle.

When did you start working in nightlife? What was the appeal?

I started drag 10 years ago but started working in nightlife years later. I started working under legends such as Susanne Bartsch, Ty Sunderland, LadyFag and Frankie Sharp. Drag for me seemed like another business venture and an avenue to showcase many different skills I had devoted my life to. My years in makeup, hair, design, and dance all meshed together in one package.

Where are your favorite places to spin?

Anywhere where drunk patrons don’t come up to the booth asking for the same top 40 pop song to be played for the fifth time.

Why do you DJ in Drag?

I DJ in drag just for the effect….I think on top of my skill behind the decks, seeing one of NYCs strongest queens spinning is such a flex.

The first time I ever saw you was in 2019 at a drag show in Brooklyn. A girl came out to do her number and almost immediately broke her nose doing a trick on the concrete floor to which you swiftly jumped in and finished her number while she took care of herself. I found that not just impressive but professional. With instances like that and so many others, you’ve made a name for yourself as one of the premiere drag artists in New York City. What is your relationship to Drag currently?

Currently and for years now I’ve been soooo bored with drag. I feel as if I’ve done everything I can do with it. Multiple magazines, press, viral videos, opening for tons of pop stars, touring across the country. I guess I just don’t feel challenged anymore with drag. I don’t see many queens right now inspiring me to go hard or showcase what I can really do. It’s almost like I’m stuck until the landscape of drag artistry changes.

You once posted on Instagram that RuPaul’s Drag Race Premiere day was always an emotional one for you. Why did you say that?

All I’m going to say about the topic is casting needs to be reevaluated. Many queens just in NYC have the skills to not only win that competition while yawning but carry that legacy onto something greater. I know my career resume is greater than even some winners of the show. I hope that they open up the show to more local legends.

You’re hosting DRAG The Oscars alongside Jaime CD at Roxy Cinema. You’ve worked with CD before, are there any funny stories you’d be willing to share about your friendship?

Jamie CD is a hoot. It’s so funny because we’ve been good friends for years, she’s my best friend Jessa’s boyfriend. I know, it’s giving NWO. I think my greatest memory was when we all stayed on Fire Island together and Jamie let another friend borrow a wig for the night. At the club they were swinging it around and throwing it on the bathroom floor and stuff while at Pavillion. I have never seen a more distraught face, I couldn’t help but laugh about it all week.

 

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A post shared by RUBY FOX (@djrubyfox)

Any other events of yours we should be looking forward to?

Yes, I have been throwing a monthly event at Metropolitan Bar in Brooklyn called Sessions. It showcases queer musicians in our scene, most often many don’t have spaces that let them perform their creations and just bond with their local community. I feel as if most queer bars are so drag-focused, so I’m aiming to change that.

You’ve hinted at an upcoming EP. What can you tell us about it? Furthermore, why have I not been asked to feature?!

XXXCEDRIN is an alt pop rock record that’s been in the works for a while now. Everything I do I want to make sure I’m a huge part of the creative process so that’s why it’s been so dragged out. From beats to writing, to vocal arrangement I’ve had hands in it all. Feeling like something with my name on it is actually mine is very important to me. XXXCEDRIN is a journey on the headaches of all my exes. Each track specifically references a time in a relationship where I felt like I was going to lose it. It’s sexy, provocative and aggressive. “<3<3<3’’ my lead single will be released this summer and the rest of the record shortly after. Look out for tracks such as “STARK TREK” and “HIS LAKE” that have been in production for almost 2 years.

What is your favorite word?

Loser

What is your least favorite word?

Please

What turns you on?

Honesty

What turns you off?

Disloyalty, I’m a true Sagittarius

What sound or noise do you love?

I’ve always really loved the sound of rain and waves because I grew up on the ocean.

What sound or noise do you hate?

Screeching dogs.

What is your favorite curse word?

Fuck, and that will never change.

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

God would definitely give me a, “Now Gurlll” because we both know I carried.

Instagram: @djrubyfox

WORDS Jack James Busa @jackjamesbusa

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