Those of you who are fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race — more specifically, season seven— will doubtless be familiar with the names Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova. These two fan-favorite queens, the drag personas of performers Brian Firkus and Brian McCook, respectively, have achieved great success in and out of the Drag Race community. Their meteoric rise in the entertainment community post-Drag Race can be evaluated in the form of their Netflix produced web series titled I Like to Watch, an independent web series starring the two and produced by WOWPresents called UNHhhh, and, my personal favorite, their biweekly podcast produced by Studio71 and cleverly entitles The Bald and the Beautiful.
With episodes packed with hysterical topics like “Building a Fake Hospital in Your House” (the title of episode 67) and endless amounts of wheeze-laughing, the podcast is, as described by the queens themselves, as, “… a pair of grizzled gay ghouls exploring the cultural boundaries of modern beauty…” I couldn’t describe it better myself. While the podcast as a whole explores modern beauty through the eyes of drag performers, the tangential conversations, stories, and jokes that end up in each episode are enough to make one carefully ponder societal standards whilst simultaneously cackling. I’ve truly never come across a podcast that manages to do both. Somehow, Mattel and Zamolodchikova achieve a sort of comical chemistry that feels electric and never gets old, even after 71 episodes.Almost every episode of the podcast features a famous guest from drag, film, or pretty much any category of entertainment. Guests have ranged from Drag Race alum Kim Chi to famous Boston-based queen Fena Barbitall. Episode 59, entitled “All Vampires Are Queer” featured actor Harvey Guillén, who portrayed Guillermo in the popular FX mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows. Another featured Brittney Broski of TikTok fame. Whoever is on the show and whatever the topic, The Bald and the Beautiful consistently leaves me keeled over in laughter every other Tuesday morning when episodes are released. You can listen to The Bald and the Beautiful wherever you get your podcasts and on Mattel and Zamolodchikova’s joint Youtube channel. — Isabelle Williams