The Greensboro queen slaying the scene: Mrz. Ivy Carter
In a relatively short amount of time in Greensboro’s drag scene, one queen is dreaming big and has had her share of success through the art of drag.
Mrz. Ivy Carter has lived in Greensboro for 11 years but was born and raised in Japan as a “military brat.”
Carter has been doing drag for two years, despite thinking she wouldn’t do it.
“I have a lot of friends and a lot of legendary queens I have seen always told me that I would be a drag queen,” Carter said. “And I was like, ‘No I will not, that will never happen.’ I J-setted a lot [which is a type of dance], and I liked to vogue. I started watching how all the queens interacted with people and smiled in their faces, and I decided that I was going to try it out. My [drag] mother, [Miss Charlotte Gay Pride 2019] Giselle Cassidy Carter, is the one that helped me out, got me started and pushed me out of the door.”
Mrz. Ivy Carter can be described as a “spirited and uplifting person who enjoys herself and loves everything about herself.” She “keeps it real and keeps everyone on their toes.”
“She is just an enjoyable and fun person to be around,” Carter said. “She is not there for herself; she is there for the community.”
Carter hosts the popular drag showcase Ivy’s School of Shade on Thursday nights at Chemistry Nightclub.
“You gotta throw shade sometimes and keep the queens in line,” she joked. “It is something I opened up for the new queens coming in trying to make a name for themselves. And show them that it is OK to come out and be yourself. But at the same time, if they really want to take this route and be an entertainer, there are things they have to progress in and learn.”
Her School of Shade is also Chemistry’s college night, so the theme is on-point.
“Since it is college night, why not it be a school of shade and be about everyone coming together and be themselves?” Carter said. “And of course, I am Mother of the UNCG Spartans, so they all come and look up to me, and I help them any way I can. Just the same way I was helped.”
It is impossible not to hear or see Mrz. Ivy Carter’s name in the Greensboro LGBTQ+ community. She is not just a drag queen; she is also an emcee and in YES! Weekly’s 2019 readers poll, she was voted as the Triad’s Best Karaoke DJ and her School of Shade was a runner-up for the Triad’s Best LGBTQ Night Out or Event.
“I was kind of shocked about it, to be honest,” she said. “I was not expecting it.”
Other than hosting a wildly successful drag night at Chemistry, Carter made an appearance on the Netflix original series Insatiable.
“I went and did an audition for it, and a few other queens did as well,” she said. “But they saw me, and I stood out the most for them. Then the agency people contacted me and said, ‘they’d love to have you, would you take it?’ I wasn’t looking at that route, but I was like, why not? You only live life once. I didn’t know it was going to be on Netflix until after the fact.”
Which made it even more exciting, she added.
“I don’t talk about it much; I am not trying to throw off that I have been on Netflix because I am not the type of person,” Carter said. “ I really just keep it low-key and quiet. And the people that watch it notice. I have gone places before, and people are like, ‘I notice you from somewhere,’ and I try to play with their heads a bit before I tell them.”
After her appearance on Netflix, she said a few doors of opportunity are cracking open for her.
“I am just waiting to hear the definite answer before I open my mouth,” she said.
I asked if those opportunities are in the realm of a certain well-known and beloved Emmy-award winning drag reality show.
“I can’t really say anything,” Carter said.
(But she assured that yours truly and the readers of YES! Weekly would be the first to know when she can announce it publically.)
Since Carter has been all over, I asked her what she thinks about Greensboro’s drag scene.
“Let’s be real, in other cities, it is a lot more fun,” she admitted. “And the only reason I say that is because there are more clubs and all the bars actually get along with one another. They are not trying to fight with each other…Everyone is open and gets along and goes to different spots.” She said that the Triad and Greensboro should be expanding the drag scene, and opening up doors for everyone- not keeping it all the same, because “people get so tired of the same thing.”
With all art, there is always a challenge for novices. The most challenging aspect of drag for Carter was doing her own makeup.
“I could never do my face. It was very hard at first for me. I looked crazy, and as I look back on pictures I am like, ‘Y’all made me go out looking like this? Y’all are no friends at all,” she giggled. “You know, you have to learn at some point and get it together.”
Carter said her drag mother would do her makeup for her when she first started. Then one day, her mother gave her some tough love.
“Then my mama got on to me and was like, ‘Alright, now you are letting all these people do your face, but you have to start doing it by yourself. If you want to make a name for yourself, you will have to bring it. If you are going to be my child, you are going to bring it.’ She said, ‘I believe in you, I know you have it, it’s there. Work it out.’”
Carter said as she was cleaning one day, she saw her makeup bag and just started practicing and experimenting. She has her technique down now, but “Mama got some issues still, too,” she joked and admitted that she still struggles with painting on eyebrows.
(Which in my opinion, is a tough art to master within itself.)
Carter is presently competing in Legends Nightclub Drag Race in Raleigh. She said she won the first challenge “bring it as feathers and flowers” and “bring it in all red,” and was very excited about her wins.
Carter said the competition is every first Tuesday of the month.
“It is just like RuPaul’s Drag Race; they do it just like that,” she said. “We have challenges, and we have to bring it.”
Speaking of RuPaul’s Drag Race, I asked Carter what her favorite episodes and queens were.
“It is sad that I hang out with all these RuPaul girls and I meet them and perform with them,” she said, “I have seen a few [episodes], but I haven’t watched the full seasons yet. I just watch bits and pieces.”
“They are all amazing,” she said of the RuPaul queens. She named Shangela and Jaidynn Diore Fierce as two of her all-time favorites to kiki with.
“I plan on going next year,” Carter said when I asked if she ever thought about auditioning for RuPaul’s Drag Race. “I got to get my sewing down because that is the only thing that is stopping me. But there are a few queens that went on there that didn’t know how to sew, and they made it pretty far. So if they can do it, so can I. But I am still going to practice my sewing. My personality, I am not worried about, the only thing is sewing.”
She said she also got an email from America’s Got Talent inviting her to come on that show.
“I am not ready to take that leap just yet,” she said. “There are still some flaws and things I need to work on.”
She said that going on RuPaul’s Drag Race could help her work on those flaws.
“And it would just be a dream for to have somebody from Greensboro, North Carolina, to be on there,” Carter said. “Pray for me, mama.”
The best advice Carter has for aspiring drag performers is to “love yourself and be yourself.”
“If you don’t love yourself, like RuPaul says, how the hell are you going to love somebody else?” Carter said. “Just always be yourself, always keep it 100, and just go out there and do you. Stay focused on what you are going after. If you stay focused, you will succeed to that level. If you put your mind to it, it can happen. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t make it because you can…And remember that mama always loves you and if you need help with anything, you know how to reach me.”
See Mrz. Ivy Carter at Chemistry Nightclub on Thursday nights and at Chemistry’s Sobriety Party on Sept. 9.
Katie Murawski is the editor of YES! Weekly. She is from Mooresville, North Carolina and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in film studies from Appalachian State University in 2017.