Brooklyn's Backyard Drag Queen
On stage and off with Horrorchata, New York’s preeminent tattooed, orange-eyed, unabashedly unshaven drag performer.
For a man who appears onstage several times a week dressed like a woman who stuck her finger into an electrical socket after getting bitten by a zombie, Matthew Mendoza is shy. His voice is a whisper. This is surprising because Mendoza—known to his friends as Matty and to a fan base that inhabits dozens of bars, performance halls and coffee shops across a swath of fashionably shabby Brooklyn neighborhoods as Matt.com, Matty Beats and Horrorchata—is currently the most popular hairy, tattooed, horror-movie-character-turned-drag-queen in New York.
“We’re backyard drag queens,” says Mendoza, twenty-eight, who smiles often but avoids direct eye contact. “The Manhattan queens are all about polish, and we’re definitely not. You can have a beard and put on some glitter and call it drag.”
Mendoza is a founding member of House of Bushwig, an informal group of about forty drag queens and a few kings and their friends. Bushwig evolved out of a series of regular parties with…