by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
After seven years performing in 'An Evening at Le Faux,' the wildly successful female celebrity impersonation show at Julia's on Broadway, superstar drag queen Isaac Scott is going to do something she has never done before - headline a weekly show at the legendary Neighbours Nightclub (1509 Broadway).
'HollaBack Thursdays,' produced by Sinfinite Productions ('ElektroPop,' 'Mischief'), debuted April 17, officially taking over Thursday nights at Neighbours from the iconic 17 year-old 'Rock Lobster' '80s dance night. Isaac Scott is the host of 'HollaBack' and DJ Bret Law has compiled jams from the early millennium. Remember how awesome that music was?! Doors open at 9 p.m. And although Neighbours usually closes at 2 a.m. on Thursday nights, 'HollaBack' will keep the party going until 3 a.m. ever week. The night also features $4 double wells all night long and all for just a $3 cover - free before 10 p.m.
Seattle Gay News caught up with Isaac Scott on opening night to discuss her career choice, the Gayborhood, and why she doesn't mind if you call her a 'HollaBack' Girl.
Isaac told SGN that 'HollaBack Thursdays' is 'such a wonderful opportunity.'
'I look forward to growing as an entertainer and reaching an audience of people that might not know me yet,' he said, adding, 'I am nothing but excited. We've got a wonderful show planned for everyone.'
Aside from the music of people like Madonna, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Nelly, Mary J. Blige, Tony Braxton, Outkast, Deborah Cox, and more, Isaac will get out of his comfort zone - 'I'm really an introverted person,' she said - and walk around with a camera to take photos of club-goers and with club-goers for something she calls 'Isaac's Kodak Moment.'
Although Thursday is something new for Isaac and he expects that he will be a little nervous, the music from the 1990s and early 2000s that he adores that will be playing throughout the evening will be strong enough to carry the night on its own - and having Isaac host will just be icing on the cake.
'I was such a Gay boy,' Isaac says laughing, while pointing out that she typically was obsessed with the pop divas of that time period: Jessica Simpson, Christina Aguilera and, of course, Britney Spears.
Nobody can touch Isaac's Britney - simply the absolute, hands down best Britney Spears impersonation you are ever going to see. Although Isaac played other characters, notably Lady Gaga and Pink as well, she would bring the house down and the dollars out at 'Le Faux' whenever she performed as the pop superstar that took over the charts in the late '90s and again in the 2000s. Every move was just like Britney's; from the wispy fan-blown bangs to the body hugging outlandish outfits, you'd forget that you were watching a drag queen and not the real thing. It's Britney, bitch!
So why leave? Why, as a drag queen, (so many of them have to fight tooth and press-on nail for regular paid gigs) would Isaac walk away from a sure thing? After all, 'Le Faux' regularly fills each and every seat of their 150-person showroom and the fan base stretches as far back as the beginning of the last decade. Isaac's characters were some of the best received by audiences and, up until a few weeks ago, he was filling in as host of the show, a duty bestowed on such grand entertainers as Jinkx Monsoon, Shanelle, and Sean Paul.
'I have nothing negative to say about Julia's or 'Le Faux',' said Isaac. 'I left because I have been there and done that and got all the t-shirts.'
Simply put, says Isaac, 'it was just time for me to move on. I didn't want to end it, you know, after seven years, in anger. I am so proud and happy to be leaving on my terms.'
Isaac says 'Le Faux' is where 'I learned a lot. That is where I grew up. It is where I became an adult. That show taught me a lot about myself.'
'The producer of the show, Eladio Preciado, was very good to me,' Isaac points out. 'He took a chance on me even when maybe he shouldn't have (laughs). The different casts over the years were like a family there to support and encourage me. I spent some of the best moments of my life at 'Le Faux.'
Last Christmas, Isaac said he knew he had reached the ceiling as an entertainer at 'Le Faux.' 'I really wanted to shoot for the stars,' he recalls. 'So I did three different celebrity illusions in one show. And it isn't easy to change from one different character to the next in a two-hour show. I mean Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and Mariah Carey are all uniquely different from each other. I was very proud of myself. I felt accomplished. And I felt it was time to leave.'
Of all the characters Isaac has impersonated over the years, he says Britney Spears is his favorite. 'Her music just speaks to me,' he said. 'Plus, whenever I perform Britney, everyone seems to have a good time. I'd look out at the people in the front row and they would always have a smile on their faces.'
Now, without the illusion of Britney Spears on her side, Isaac has got to prove to the Hill that she's got what it takes to keep a weekly show afloat. That's a challenge Isaac says she is ready for. 'I get to be producer and director of my own character,' she said. 'I've been looking forward to this for some time now.'
Isaac told Seattle Gay News that the fact that 'HollaBack' is at Neighbours is icing on the cake.
'Neighbours will always hold a special place in my heart,' she said. 'When I lived in Lynnwood and I was 18 years-old, every Friday and Saturday night, my friends and I would go to Neighbours Underground for the 18+ dance party and just dance the night away and have so much fun. Really, those were the first times I'd ever been in a Gay club. Neighbours was my introduction to Gay life. So in many ways it feels like home.'
'Plus, it is just a great club with proven staying-power,' she continued. 'They've always had great DJs, a great dance floor, and lights. It's a great place to be and a great place to work.'
Isaac Scott the drag queen turned celebrity impersonator turned host has come a long way since she was born (and raised) in Bothell.
'I moved down to Seattle right before I began doing drag,' she said. 'When I turned 21 I realized I was going out to Capitol Hill with friends all the time and wanted to get out of the suburbs anyway, so I jumped at the chance when I saw one and moved my butt to the Gayborhood eight years ago.'
Speaking on how some people claim that Capitol Hill is not 'Gay enough' anymore, Isaac jokingly quipped, 'If I go outside and swing my purse, I'll knock over at least five homos.'
'But in all seriousness, I do think that Gay culture has evolved as everything does over time,' she said. 'Fads, style of clothes, and times all change. It is progress. And that is not a bad thing.'
Isaac is quick to point out that drag has its place in and out of politics - both on and off the stage. 'Drag in Gay culture has traditionally been the voice of the community. We have certainly been the face of the community at many rallies or events for equality ever since Stonewall.'
'I have been blessed to work with queens that have been around and helped teach me about our history. Queens like Aleksa Manila who is never afraid to stand up and say what's right.'
Isaac said she would have never gotten into drag if it weren't for Lady Chablis and Sharon Husbanz. According to Isaac, she started at R Place in 'Lashes,' the Friday and Saturday drag show there.
Another person who mentored Isaac is Sean Paul. 'He is the one who taught me about celebrity impersonation and gave me the opportunity to work with 'Carnival Cabaret' and travel around the country and work as a celebrity entertainer.'
Drag is different now. Even from when Isaac got her start some seven years ago. One of the reasons would be the fact that drag legend RuPaul created 'RuPaul's Drag Race' and has successfully taken the art form out of a dark bar and into mainstream America's living rooms through LOGO network. For some local drag queens, getting on the show becomes sort of a sick obsession; consuming their every conversation.
'Oh, I think it is entertaining,' said Isaac. 'I think a lot of people forget that 'RuPaul's Drag Race' is just a glimpse of what drag is about. I want to do this for a living. But it is so much more than just being on TV. But I did audition for the show myself. I would be a liar if I didn't tell you that. I did it because I think it would be fun and a really good time. But whoever thinks that the only way to get ahead in this profession is by getting on TV, they are wrong.'
Once, when Isaac first left 'Le Faux' back in 2011, he went to work for a casino in Lake Tahoe, Nevada doing celebrity impersonations. She says it was beautiful and the lake was the 'clearest and most gorgeous lake' she'd ever seen. Isaac also performed in Las Vegas at the Rio, saying, 'Nothing more can make you feel like a professional entertainer. Playing Las Vegas is the best. It was really cool.'
One day, though, the casino gig abruptly ended. 'It is always a better day when I have a smile on my face,' Isaac explains. 'I am a recovering alcoholic.'
Isaac told Seattle Gay News he has been sober for 18 months.
'It just wasn't worth it,' she said, referring to the toll that alcohol can take on your friends and family. 'I'd rather keep it light, keep it Gay and keep it funny.'
When asked what it was, in particular, that seemed to bring on the binge drinking, Isaac said, 'for me it was all of the above.'
'Alcoholism runs in the family,' she continued. 'Plus I went through a time where I was angry, and turned to booze for a crutch. Booze is acceptable in the Gay community and it is everywhere. Most people can handle it. I can't.'
The real reason that Isaac says she was angry had to do with the casino gig ending. 'I was really excited when I worked with Carnival Cabaret doing celebrity impersonation shows. It came to a very abrupt end. I came back to Capitol Hill because I had to come back, not because I wanted to. I thought when I got the casino gig, 'I'm somewhere now.' And then it all got taken away.'
'I took four steps forward just to be knocked back ten,' said Isaac. 'That is hard to deal with.'
At the time, Isaac says he didn't see the opportunities she had around her. 'That is when my drinking got really bad. I was out 'til 2 a.m. every single night.'
There isn't one reason in particular that Isaac says you could pinpoint for him getting help. But for whatever reason it was, Isaac went to recovery through Seattle Counseling Service. 'They were a great support system. I don't know if I would have made it if it weren't for them.'
Healthy, happy, and on the right track, Isaac told SGN that 'at this point I have seen so much positivity from being sober that I don't want to go back to booze. It's not even a second thought anymore.'
Going to Seattle Counseling Service was a brave thing for Isaac, especially because she is naturally a very shy and quiet person. 'When people see me on stage, they see a character that I put on.'
Being an introvert can have an upside, however. Although Isaac has been in the community - and lived in the Gayborhood and partied in the bars - most of her life is a mystery. 'I think a lot of people don't know that I have a very extensive drag collection. I am obsessed with wigs and I have about 120 of them.'
Isaac Scott shares an apartment with 'Le Faux' cast members Fraya Love and Jaxen Brown where she says it is 'all drag all the time around here.'
It's been said before that you should never have a friend as your roommate or go into business with them. Still, Isaac, Fraya and Jaxen seemed to have found the secret to it. 'I honestly don't know why it works,' said Isaac, referring to their apartment as the 'Drag Compound.' 'We are all three just crazy enough to get along.'
Life is good for Isaac Scott in or out of drag. Still though, the 'drag' thing makes Isaac giggle a bit, because when he graduated high school, he told SGN, he started going to college to be an architect.
'I was a drama geek in high school,' Isaac admits, then laughs, 'I can't sing though. So the next best thing was to be a lip-syncing drag queen.'
'I have had no formal training,' says Isaac. 'For me, I am just really fascinated by every form of entertainment. I want to get into acting more. It is never too late to pursue your dream, they say.'
At the end of the day Isaac Scott says she just wants to be known as a great entertainer.
'It is my goal to have people smile when they see me and have a good time whenever I perform.'
For more information or to book Isaac Scott, send email to IsaacScott101@gmail.com.
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