Trixie Mattel

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Trixie Mattel
Rupaul Dragcon 2018-103 (41175949055) (cropped).jpg
Mattel at RuPaul's DragCon LA 2018
Born
Brian Michael Firkus

(1989-08-28) August 28, 1989 (age 31)
EducationUniversity of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (BFA)
Occupation
  • Drag performer
  • singer-songwriter
  • comedian
  • television personality
  • author
  • YouTuber
  • entrepreneur
Years active2008–present
Known for
TitleDrag Race All-Stars Winner
PredecessorAlaska
SuccessorMonét X Change and Trinity the Tuck
Partner(s)David Silver (2016–present)
Musical career
Genres
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • autoharp
  • clarinet
Labels
YouTube information
Channel
Genres
  • Comedy
  • beauty
  • music
Subscribers1.4 million subscribers[1]
(May 2021)
Total views129.2 million[1]
(May 2021)
Associated acts
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers 2016
YouTube Gold Play Button 2.svg 1,000,000 subscribers 2020

Updated: May 29, 2021

Trixie Mattel is the drag persona of Brian Michael Firkus (born August 28, 1989),[2] an American drag queen, singer-songwriter, comedian, author, actor, entrepreneur, and television personality from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mattel is best known for being the winner of the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars. In June 2019, a panel of judges from New York magazine placed her fourth on their list of "the most powerful drag queens in America".[3]

Mattel co-hosts the web series UNHhhh and previously co-hosted its Viceland spin-off, The Trixie & Katya Show, alongside Katya Zamolodchikova. Mattel's first studio album, Two Birds, was released in 2017, followed by her second album, One Stone, in 2018. Her third album, Barbara, was released in 2020. In 2020, she and Zamolodchikova wrote the New York Times best-selling book Trixie and Katya's Guide to Modern Womanhood.[4] Mattel is also the CEO and founder of Trixie Cosmetics.[5][6] Mattel operates a YouTube channel where she showcases the brand's products, reviews products from other brands, posts new music, and posts episodes of her podcast.[7]

Early life[edit]

Firkus was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[2] He is half Ojibwe and comes from a Native American family living in Crivitz, Wisconsin.[8][9] He had an abusive stepfather who would call him a "trixie" when he acted feminine, which would later inspire his drag name. He almost went by the name Cupcake before deciding on Trixie Mattel.[10] After graduating from high school, Firkus attended the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, where he received a BFA in Music Theatre[11] and was introduced to drag while performing in a production of The Rocky Horror Show at the Oriental Theatre.[12]

Career[edit]

2008–2014: Career beginnings[edit]

Firkus first performed in drag at LaCage NiteClub in Milwaukee.[13] Firkus became a staple of the Milwaukee drag scene while also performing in Chicago alongside other acts introduced on RuPaul's Drag Race, such as Kim Chi.[14][15] In 2014, Firkus attended The Institute of Beauty and Wellness before withdrawing later that same year to participate in RuPaul's Drag Race.[16]

2015–2017: RuPaul's Drag Race, UNHhhh, Two Birds, and The Trixie & Katya Show[edit]

Katya Zamolodchikova with Trixie Mattel

Mattel first achieved notoriety as a competitor in Season 7 of RuPaul's Drag Race, She was first eliminated in episode four and later reentered the competition in episode eight by winning the "Conjoined Twins" challenge with Pearl Liaison. Mattel was once again eliminated in episode 10,[17] placing sixth overall and becoming the first queen to last more than one episode after returning to the competition.[17] After her run on the show, Mattel performed her stand-up comedy tour Ages 3 and Up from 2015 to 2017.[18]

In October 2015, Mattel guest-starred in a special edition of WOWPresents' Fashion Photo Review[19] with fellow season seven contestant Katya Zamolodchikova. The positive reception for that episode resulted in World of Wonder launching UNHhhh, a comedy web series featuring the duo. The series became one of the most successful shows on the WOW Presents YouTube channel and earned them their first Streamy Award nomination for Show of the Year at the 7th Streamy Awards.[20] In November 2016 Mattel had a guest appearance as herself on American Horror Story: Roanoke.

In addition to her comedic drag persona, Mattel is also a country folk singer-songwriter. Speaking to Rolling Stone, Mattel listed her primary influences as June Carter Cash and Dolly Parton and states that she grew up on the music of George Jones, Conway Twitty and Johnny Cash. She is also a fan of Jason Isbell, Kris Kristofferson, Aimee Mann, Michelle Branch and Kacey Musgraves.[21] Mattel self-released her debut studio album Two Birds on May 2, 2017.[22] The album debuted at number two on the Heatseekers Albums chart, number six on the Independent Albums chart, and number 16 on the Americana/Folk Albums chart.[23][24][25]

In November 2017, Trixie and Katya starred in a drag stage adaptation of the 1997 cult film Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, entitled Trixie and Katya's High School Reunion.[26][27] Also in November 2017, Trixie produced a video for GQ Magazine Trixie Mattel Makes a PB&J (and More Importantly, a Cocktail),[28] earning a nomination from the James Beard Foundation Awards in the humor category.[29]

In October 2017, it was announced that UNHhhh would come to an end after its second season. Shortly after, a television spin-off of UNHhhh for Viceland called The Trixie and Katya Show premiered. The show ran until March 2018. Midway through the season, Katya suffered a mental health crisis triggered by a relapse into addiction, which caused her to be replaced by Bob the Drag Queen for the remainder of the season.[30][31] The duo later reunited in October 2018 for a third season of UNHhhh.

2018–2019: All Stars, One Stone, and Moving Parts[edit]

Mattel later returned to the Drag Race franchise for the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars, which started airing on January 25, 2018. On March 15, 2018, her fellow competitors voted for her to advance to the final two, where she ultimately won against runner-up Kennedy Davenport in the final lipsync battle.[32][33] In December 2018 she competed on the television special RuPaul's Drag Race Holi-slay Spectacular and won in a tie with the other competitors.[34][35]

On February 3, 2018, Mattel released an acoustic version of her song "Moving Parts" as a tease for her upcoming album. It became her first charting single, peaking at number 83 on the Scottish Single Chart.[36] She dropped her second studio album, One Stone, on March 15, 2018, the same night as the All Stars finale.[37] The album peaked at number 16 on the Folk Albums chart, number ten on the Independent albums chart, and number one on the Heatseekers chart, becoming Mattel's first album to reach the top spot on a Billboard chart.[24][23][25]

In April 2018, she launched her new comedy world tour Now with Moving Parts, followed by the Super Bowl Cut tour later that same year.[38] A documentary film titled Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2019, and screened until May 2019. It documents Mattel as she embarks on her "Moving Parts" tour following her All Stars win, as well as her personal struggles.[39] The documentary was made available on Video On Demand platforms on December 3, 2019. An accompanying acoustic soundtrack was released later in December.[40] Mattel's first comedy special, Trixie Mattel: Skinny Legend, aired on OutTV in Canada on September 26, 2018.[41]

2019–present: Barbara, Trixie and Katya Save the World, and Trixie & Katya's Guide to Modern Womanhood[edit]

In a September 2018 interview with Billboard, she announced that she was working on her third studio album, Barbara, featuring an "electro-folk" sound.[42] "Yellow Cloud" was released as the first single from the album on May 17, 2019, though it did not make the final cut. "Malibu" was released as the official first single on January 24, 2020 and the album was released a week later through Producer Entertainment Group and ATO Records.[43] The album later received a GLAAD Media Award nomination for Best Breakthrough artist.

In January 2019, Trixie and Katya launched the fourth season of UNHhhh.

In June 2019, Mattel was one of 37 drag queens featured on the cover of New York magazine. The magazine ranked the 100 most powerful drag queens in America and placed Mattel at number 4.[44]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, filming of the fifth season of UNHhhh was put on hold. In its place, Trixie and Katya launched Trixie and Katya Save the World, a spin-off filmed from their homes. Trixie also took the time to start building her YouTube channel, which previously featured make-up tutorials and music videos, and expanded to include content reflecting her pastime as a toy collector, with videos reviewing new Barbie collections, talking about doll history, or baking with Easy Bake Ovens.[45]

On July 14, 2020, Trixie and Katya released Trixie and Katya's Guide to Modern Womanhood, a parody of women's self-help books. The book was a New York Times best-seller.

Trixie and Katya resumed filming the fifth season of UNHhhh later in 2020 and launched their podcast The Bald and the Beautiful.[46]

In September 2020, Mattel released a cover of Lana Del Rey's "Video Games", which charted at number 66 on the Scottish singles chart and number 89 on the UK Downloads chart.

In December 2020, it was announced that Trixie and Katya would co-host the 10th Streamy Awards in Los Angeles. In the same ceremony, the duo was nominated for Show of the Year and Unscripted Series for UNHhhh, winning the latter category.[47]

In February 2021, Mattel released a cover of the Violent Femmes track "Blister in The Sun", as the lead single from her EP, Full Coverage, Vol. 1, her newest material since "Barbara."[48]

In May 2021, it was announced that Mattel would star in Trixie Motel, a reality series on Discovery+ that will follow Mattel's efforts to renovate an old motel in Palm Springs.[49][50]

Personal life[edit]

Firkus is openly gay.[51] Since 2016, he has been in a relationship with filmmaker David Silver, who also produced his documentary Moving Parts.[52][53] He is a vegetarian.[54][55]

Firkus's Trixie Mattel persona is largely based on his love of Barbie Dolls. He owns a large collection of Barbies, which he has shared in various videos on his YouTube channel.[56]

Other ventures[edit]

Trixie Cosmetics[edit]

On May 1, 2019, Mattel announced that she would be releasing her make-up brand "Trixie Cosmetics" later that month and would be available at RuPaul's DragCon LA on May 24, 2019.[57] Mattel had previously dipped into the makeup industry with her Oh Honey! collaboration with independent makeup brand Sugarpill Cosmetics in 2018.[58]

In 2020, Trixie Cosmetics launched a collaboration collection with Katya called "Red Scare".[46]

This Is It![edit]

In February 2021, Mattel announced that she had become co-owner of Wisconsin's oldest LGBTQ+ bar, This Is It!, located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[59]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2019 Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts Herself (in and out of drag) Documentary [60]

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2015 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself (contestant) Season 7, 6th place [61]
2016 Herself (guest) Season 8, Episode 10: "Grand Finale"
2015 RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked Herself Season 7
2016 American Horror Story: Roanoke Herself Season 6, Episode 10: "Chapter 10" [62]
2016 Gay for Play Game Show Starring RuPaul Herself Season 1, Episode 5: "Featuring Mindy Cohn"
Season 2, Episode 2: "Featuring Frankie Grande"
2017–2018 The Trixie & Katya Show Herself (co-host) 14 episodes [63]
2018 RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars Herself (contestant) Season 3, Winner [33]
2018 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself (guest) Season 10, Episode 1: "10s Across The Board" [64]
2018 Super Drags Champagne (voice) English dub; Main cast
2018 Larry King Now Herself Guest
2018 RuPaul's Drag Race Holi-slay Spectacular Herself (contestant) Joint Winner
2019 RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars Herself (guest) Season 4, Episode 10: "Super Queen Grand Finale"
2019 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself (guest) Season 11, Episode 5: "Monster Ball"
2019 Trixie Mattel: Skinny Legend Herself Television special [41]
2020 RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race Herself (mentor) Season 1, Episode 1: "Secret Celebrity Edition #101"; Winner [65]
2021 Crank Yankers Herself Season 6 [66]

Web series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref
2015–2017 Hey Qween Herself (guest) 3 episodes
2015 Transformations with James St. James Herself Episode: "Trixie Mattel"
2016 Gay of Thrones Herself Season 6, Episode 4: "Thrust of the Stranger" [67]
2016–present UNHhhh Herself (co-host) 5 seasons, 143 episodes (incl. specials)
With Katya Zamolodchikova
[68]
2018–present The Pit Stop Herself (host) All Stars 4, Canada season 1 and Season 13 Host [68]
2019 The X Change Rate Herself (guest) Episode: "Trixie Mattel"
2019 That's Our Sally Herself Queerty Production
2019–present I Like to Watch Herself (co-host) Netflix YouTube show [69]
2020 Trixie Mattel: One Night Only Herself Musical comedy special [70]
2020 Trixie & Katya Save the World Herself (co-host)
2020 Gayme Show Herself Guest judge [71]
2020 Instant Influencer Herself Guest judge [72]

Discography[edit]

Tours[edit]

  • Ages 3 and Up (2015–2017)[73]
  • Now with Moving Parts Tour (2018)[74]
  • Super Bowl Cut (2018)
  • Skinny Legend Tour (2019)[75]
  • Grown Up Tour (2020–2021)[76]
  • UNHhhh Tour (with Katya) (2021)[77]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Trixie and Katya's Guide to Modern Womanhood. Plume. 2020. ISBN 9780593086704.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2017 Streamy Awards Show of the Year UNHhhh Nominated
2018 James Beard Foundation Journalism Award Humor Trixie Mattel Makes a PB&J (and More Importantly, a Cocktail) Nominated
2019 Streamy Awards Unscripted Series UNHhhh Nominated
2020 Show of the Year Nominated [78]
Unscripted Series Won
2021 GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Breakthrough Artist Barbara Nominated [79][80]
The Queerties Podcast The Bald and Beautiful Won [81]
Indie Video Trixie Mattel - "Malibu" Won

References[edit]

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External links[edit]