Hellvetika

With killer hair and a sharp tongue to boot, this metal queen is giving us all kinds of sass! 

Illustration: Hari Franny

WHO IS HELLVETIKA?

Hellvetika is like the combination of the lead singer from a hair-metal band and one of their groupies with some dark sorceress fantasy on top, . As a personality, Hellvetika is very cynical, blunt, occasionally straight-up mean, and not super empathetic, with a LOT of opinions to share, which is pretty much just the essence of my personality exaggerated.


IS THERE A DUALITY BETWEEN SASSINESS AND GENDER?

I actually don’t feel like there is. To me, being “sassy” is an arbitrarily gendered term in that we only associate it with women and gay men even though it exists equally across all gender identities under different names. Straight men are often sassy, too – we’d just sooner call them “bold”; “quick witted"; “clever"; or at worst, “an asshole”. It’s inherently feminised, so I think a lot of straight men would take offence at being called sassy. Which is dumb.


WHAT IS YOUR BEST SASSY STORY?

Well… Usually I would just direct anyone to any of my social media platforms. I don’t know if they come across as sassy, but I am extremely blunt and honest in a way that could definitely be interpreted as such. I think the moments I “feel” the most sassy are when I end up blurting something out in an inappropriate situation. I work a day job as a graphic designer in an office setting that although full of a younger crowd is still very straight and can be a bit iffy in terms of what is going to come across as “too much” sometimes. I distinctly remember we were in a company-wide meeting where one of my co-workers mentioned that his sister does voice acting, and without thinking, I immediately said, “That’s weird because your voice is so monotone.” Maybe shouldn’t have said that.


DO BEARDED QUEENS DO IT BETTER?

They sure don’t. I would argue that most (not all, by any means) bearded queens actually do it much worse. I think the accessibility of being able to do drag without having to sacrifice any of your boy appearance kind of lends itself to people who don’t take it too seriously.

. There also tends to be a bit of a trend happening where bearded queens make their entire drag persona all about having a beard and how genderfucky and avant-garde that is, which usually ends up falling a little flat once you get over it in the first few minutes of a show. The beard for me is 100% because I like having it as a boy. There are a lot of really amazing bearded queens who are constantly killing it like Lucy Stoole, Grace Towers, and Pulp, who are dedicated and have made their beards into a part of their look without it being their WHOLE look.

 

SHOULD GENDER CONFORMITY MATTER IN 2018?

Visually, on a day-to-day basis, everyone would consider me a man. The truth is I’m not sure if I believe in the concept of gender at all, so I don’t really care what people call me, although I have no gender dysphoria of any kind. I feel totally comfortable in any form of clothes, any amount of make-up, and acting in any way on the masculine/feminine scale.

 

My belief currently is that gender and the mental difference between the sexes is totally societal and taught in childhood. Men act masculine because of the intense shame we put on them for showing feminine traits as a child; women act feminine because we make it a virtue for them to be delicate and mild mannered.

I don’t think people should have to “choose” a gender to abide by on a regular basis, and I kind of wish gendered pronouns were gone all together. You could probably call me non-binary, but my current belief would make every human on earth technically non-binary, so I don’t bother labelling it. Presenting as a man in day-to-day life when you’re male bodied is the easiest route to take (and also gets you laid the most), and I am super lazy so that’s what I do!


WHAT HAVE YOU GOT COMING UP?

I’m a “part-time” queen at best, so my schedule is usually pretty empty as far as drag goes, but I am working on a few projects, one being developing my merch store at hellvetika.com. I’m a graphic designer by trade, so I’ve always wanted to use those skills to make some really kickass merch. Especially merch that gives gay metalheads something that fits both facets of their personality.


I’m also working on creating a show called ‘Metal Queen’ here in NYC with my friends Crimson Kitty and Lady Bearica Andrews. It's a drag performance night dedicated to queens doing numbers that involve different genres of heavy metal (thrash, black metal, speed metal, power metal, nu metal, symphonic metal – you name it). We had our first test run in April, and despite all odds, it actually went over really well and people were super into it. Slowly, I'm gathering a fan base of queer people who love metal but haven't had the opportunity to experience it in nightlife because the spaces just don’t exist. So, we’re making that space.