Since appearing on Ru Paul’s Drag Race in season three, Venus has been growing in popularity, with Adam going to new measures to make sure she’s perfect – including pouring funds into nearly 20 cosmetic surgeries to emulate Madge.
So, Adam, how long have you been transforming into Madonna through Venus D-Lite?
This year it will be 17 years. I would have to say it’s the joy that comes out of it that keeps me going. I’m a very social person and compared to right now when I first started drag it was very different. Nobody wanted to do it, we were the clowns of the club. If there was a drag show and a strip show at the same time, the drag shows would get no money. It was like that for many years, but if you had a joy for the art you wanted to do it.
I started winning these contests, I had my own show, then Ru Paul’s Drag Race changed everything about drag, it’s now pop culture. Everybody wants to do it.
It’s now an appreciated form of entertainment. And I get to be witnessing the revolution and I feel I was part of it as well as I was on season three of Drag Race before it got very, very big.
Do you get booked more when she releases music?
Yes and also during her birthday month. But as far as my weekly schedule, I perform two days a week as Madonna in Palm Springs. I drive from Rosarito Beach in Mexico to California – it’s not too far.
You ace the costume, by the way. What have you done throughout the years to look like Madonna?
Cosmetically, I’ve had 18 surgeries, and it’s getting to $100,000 (£76,000) spent on surgery and upkeep.
I’m in the works of possibly getting more surgery, but I’ve had pretty much my whole face done. I’ve had cheek bone implants, chin implants, jaw implants, fillers, Botox, a nose job – all to look like the queen of pop.
I’ve also spent thousands and thousands on costumes. For me, I can’t order something from the internet and throw it on, it’s always been an exact replica of Madonna’s costume, and to find the exact replica of jewellery.
Not cosmetically, but I studied a little Kabbalah; I do the research. I’m a Buddhist but there is a lot of Kabbalah that I do admire and it makes sense and has some parallels to Buddhism.
So Madonna has re-emerged as Madame X. What do you think about this new era?
Madame X is so right for her image and for her age. I think her collaboration with Maluma is genius.
This look is the eye patch. I always had a fetish for eye patches, I think they’re sexy on men, very James Bond.
I’m definitely going to be dressing as Madame X in a couple of weeks after I get the outfits together. I was waiting for the video to come out, then I give people a few weeks to watch it then I come out with the outfits.
Big question, have you ever met Madonna?
No, but I’ve met her manager, he follows me on Twitter. He loved my photos.
Madonna is my life. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have got to do anything or feel comfortable expressing anything.
My husband gives me the world and emotional support and we travel places, he completes me, and for Madonna I wouldn’t be able to travel the world too and express myself or even be given the confidence to do something.
I don’t want to meet her as a fan waiting in a four-hour line to have an autograph, she means more to me. I would like to give her a card and some rosé, I know she likes rosé.
So I want to tell her, ‘Thank you for my life and for giving me this opportunity to live this dream life’. I’d want to have a moment with her – I’ve been waiting for the right time.
And you go to all her concerts I take it?
I do and I go dressed up. I notice that she appreciates when I go dressed up in the iconic older styles. I think it’s maybe because she doesn’t want people to confuse me for her, and that that’s the style she’s wearing right now.
What is your favourite era of Madonna?
I have two, the Blonde Ambition era and the Confessions tour era. They’re my favourite because in Blonde Ambition I thought she looked beautiful and immaculate and it’s so iconic.
The Confessions tour was the first time I saw her front row, and I perform that era non-stop because it was such a popular era. Everybody wanted Hung Up to be seen and played, it was an amazing era for me.
What’s the most surreal moment as being Madonna?
Three years ago Vogue magazine invited me to their Christmas party to perform as Madonna. I was looking at this email; I opened it before my manager did and I was so emotional because they were so nice to me and wanted me to be there. This is Vogue magazine. Madonna, Vogue!
I’m sure they could have had the real Madonna if they wanted to, but they wanted me!
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