We had the good fortune of connecting with Robyn Banks and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Robyn, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I think life is one big joke. We work so hard but seems like we are never at the point of enjoying the stuff we work towards. I like to have fun make people laugh. I also like to think that I am “someone”. To me, that means I do everything 1000 percent. I treat all my stuff (website, social media, interviews etc.) as if I am some B list celebrity LOL. I work hard for what I want and I push down doors because I want you to see me, I want you to notice me, I want you to know who I am. I also think giving back to the community is something that also helps. When people see you doing thing that is for the community, it make them want to take an interest in you. Don’t be a push over know your worth, but let people know you are here for them whenever it is needed.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It was not easy to get to this point. In New York everything is a dog eat dog kind of situation. Everyone wants to be on top, in all the bars, on everyones lips and things of that nature. I was thought that is what drag is! you go hard and there would be no hate towards you. Boy was I wrong! However, I don’t have to prove anything to anyone and once I realized that I enjoyed drag a lot more. I think you connect with people a lot more when you are being yourself. I want people to know that it is okay to be different when it comes to drag. You don’t have to be the best makeup artist or have to do splits or death drops. To me drag is living the fantasy! Telling a story connecting with people via the music. I can pay someone to do my makeup, or to make my costumes. but you can not buy talent. I have a thing that I do every Wednesday. I sit on my computer and I send out emails to different place to get different sponsorships or opportunities. I show them my work, My press kit, my social media, my official website, all my links and things of that nature. It is just another way to think outside the box to get myself out there (and to get free stuff, no shade) but this is something anyone can do. I am not some world known star but I have to treat myself like I am. My career has spanned over 13 years. At first this wasn’t a thing I wanted but as I got more into it it has become something that is just apart of me that I enjoy. Ive always loved entertainment, I love entertaining people. if I can make you laugh, bring you into my world, show you a good time and you leave a show happy then I am here for it, my job is done. We all don’t want to go to the bars and see the same thing. I want to see people pop lock and dropping’ it! twerking to some real good urban music. and that is what my drag is about. I want you to hear songs that take you back like Missy Elliott, Danity Kane, 3lw, early 2000’s Whitney and Mariah. My favorite thing is to do a number, the music starts and you hear the crowd go off and then hear that one person saying “omgggg this is my Sh!t” then you come out and they are really into the song and singing it. That is why my tag line is “Harlem’s Drag Princess, Classy but ghetto” if you need me to slow it down and give you something soft I can, BUT I can also give you something hard hitting!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take them to see the different places of NYC. I recenly went to Time Out Market New York and it was amazing. There are so may different places to eat on the inside. There is ice cream, vegan options, the rooftop give you an amzing vew of the skyline. I would also take them to do some shopping in Time Square, Union Square ALL THE SQUARES LOL. one of my favorite places as well is Block Heads. the food is great but their drinks are good as well. 123 Burgers and Shots is another great place. The good is good as well as affordable. I am not a fancy 5 star dinner person. I am always on the go so I don’t have time for 3 course meal! once we are done with that and have some down time I would then have a good night out. I love to bar hop. Stonewall Inn, The Ritz, DBL, random bars we see in the passing. Nothing is ever really too planed for me. I think that is when you have the best time. These are the memories we build and that last. I take a ton of photos and videos and then I would create a scrapbook. The person would then have something to take back home from their amazing new york city time!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I owe my drag career to my high school, Harvey Milk High School. When I attended it, it was know as ‘The school for gay youth that were having trouble in their regular school.’ However, I went there because I needed the credits. In a regular high school you get a half credit. But in this school you get a credit and half. This is to help you get out of high school sooner. In this building there is also a after school center. The Hetrick Martin institute, This was the after school for you to further your creativity. This is where I met my two best friends, and got countless opportunities. This is where I started my drag career! My two best friends Matt & Day have been there for the whole ride, They are also my backup dancers when I have performances. They are the ones that push me and are always around for my creative process. I also would love to shout out my long time Producer Kali D. I also find it really amazing when someone who is straight can connect with me on a different level. He has produced my entire musical career. I would have never though that we would work together and make magic. Kali is another person that pushes me to do better. To me it is a great feeling knowing that to him music is music. It does not matter if I am a drag queen, we just want to make feel good music. Ya’ll stay tuned we have a bunch of amazing things and projects coming up.

Website: www.RobynBanks.com

Instagram: AyoRobynBanks

Linkedin: Someone just told me I should get one of these for my drag career. Now I am starting to think it is not a bad idea!

Twitter: AyoRobynBanks

Facebook: facebook.com/AyoRobynBankss

Youtube: AyoRobynBanks

Image Credits
Amanda Rae Gabri Torres Dionel Rodriguez Jesus Baez Martyn Szczean

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.