How Biblegirl Is Leveling Up
This merch queen talks video games, graphic design, and imposter syndrome.
To call Biblegirl “enterprising” would be a massive understatement. This ever-evolving fixture in the drag world is the founder of Drag Queen Merch, a platform supplying merchandise for more than 100 drag performers and brands. Currently living in Los Angeles, she chatted with us about video games, impostor syndrome, and deranged mid-2000s internet microcelebrities.
John deBary: What’s kept you going in the last year-and-a-half of the pandemic? It must have been extremely challenging for people who rely on in-person settings for work to be shut in for so long. What was your saving grace?
Biblegirl: My mantra is treating life like a video game and being like, ‘Okay, how do I level up?’ And so I tried to apply that even when in a static space, like just being in my apartment. Beyond just being a drag entertainer, I think as an artist, as a creator—I’m sure you can relate to this, too—there comes this level of impostor syndrome, so there as always the little voice in my being like, No one’s gonna like you; everything’s gonna open back up and you won’t have space back in the industry. There was nothing actually pointing to that, but that noise, or those internal voices don’t necessarily go away as an artist. It doesn’t matter how much behavioral modification or self-work you do, it’s just that constant journey of working on mitigating it. You’re channeling and filtering that noise to more of a positive output.
One of my main challenges during the pandemic was I didn’t want to create anything outside of my apartment. So the challenge that came inherently with that was how you create your own “cinematic universe” without becoming stale. How do I look at things differently? That was a fun challenge for me.
JdB: Okay hold on. You mentioned video games. What’s your favorite?
BG: I love Legend of ZeldaMajora’s Mask. That’s my absolute favorite start to finish. I’m a big Nintendo nerd in general. Back in the day, I used to take more cartoony inspiration for my makeup, and it was just because video games were such a big part of my life. Side note, I recently found out that Nintendo started in the 1800s and, when I found that out, I looked up when specifically. Serendipitously, I have the same birthday that Nintendo was founded on. The stars kind of aligned.
JdB: I feel like video games are so draggy in a way with the fantasy and the suspension of disbelief.
BG: 100%. And I’ve also seen a lot more video game-adjacent drag recently. On a generational level I noticed a lot more performers in my age range output video game type stuff. So it’s like, we were all reading into the same stuff as kids—here we are on the same frequency, which I think is cool. It’s almost the social consciousness of the kind of stuff that all really resonated with us, like...
JdB: Wanting to bang Cloud from Final Fantasy VII.
BG: Oh my god. Absolutely.
JdB: Exactly….okay, so Drag Queen Merch. How did you get started with that?
BG: I grew up learning graphic design through my dad—it’s always been in my DNA. And when I started doing drag, it was my sink or swim moment. I was leaving in the midst of my bachelor’s program at college and I grew up having to have answers for my parents’ questions before they asked them. I needed to think fast about an industry that was not on the precipice of mainstream just yet, and I need to justify that this move was in my heart of hearts the right one.
I told them I am pursuing drag for what I aspire to be full time. Here’s how it works. Here is my merch plan. I was in PhotoShop creating assets and, by December of 2014, I launched Biblegirl666.com to sell stuff for myself. That was right before the first DragCon LA, and a girlfriend of mine suggested that I do it. I got a booth and brought enough merchandise for two days. Honestly I was humbled and overwhelmed by how many people actually did show up to the booth to see me. I sold out of all my merchandise in the first few hours of day one. That was my indication that something was there. Then this drag mainstream boom happened, and needed to act fast, and that’s how Drag Queen Merch was conceived.
JdB: I love the name “Biblegirl666” because I get such a deranged 2007 Tumblr vibe from it. Tell me about how you developed the aesthetic.
BG: You hit the nail right on the head. The username vibe is what I wanted to navigate my drag character through. The internet and online platforms evolve and shift and are very nebulous places—I wanted to have a character that lent itself to reinvention. I was not only inspired by video games but also my own respective pop girls, you know? Madonna, Janet Jackson, Britney, or Kelis. All of these strong powerful women and they’ve all mastered the art of reinvention, and that was always the impetus for my drag career. I always wanted to do stuff with eras, and do this kind of MySpace-ey…I don’t know if you’re familiar, do you know Allison Harvard from America’s Next Top Model, Creepy Chan?
JdB: Yes, I absolutely do remember Creepy Chan.
BG: I was just kind of enjoying the irreverence from internet culture back in the day and trying to channel it into a more digestible format.
JdB: It seems like you always have a plan for everything. Looking into your crystal ball, what’s next in terms of the future of drag as it relates to popular culture, but also for you?
BG: I keep looking forward to working in more physical spaces as things are opening up. I have DragCon coming up next year and we’re already planning on that. Trying to keep production volume up and client acquisition up. More is more, so if you know someone out there looking [to make merch], please hit us up. Beyond that, more touring, pushing past boundaries, and the overlap of the drag industry and the pop culture world. At this point, I look forward to continuing to blur the lines while staying authentic to myself.