A star was born on day one of the House Intelligence Committee’s public impeachment probe hearings: Drag queen Pissi Myles turned every head on Capitol Hill when she strolled up the steps and into the Longworth House Office Building in a red latex dress and blonde bouffant to cover the historic event for a new tech startup.
The 31-year-old Myles — real name Joe D’Angio — is a full-time drag queen from New Jersey who performs at a number of gay bars in New York City. She was scouted at one of them on Sunday night for the gig of a lifetime. The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Pissi at the tail end of her whirlwind day in Washington.
So let me get this straight. You are a journalist?
I am a drag queen. I’m an entertainer. I’m a comedian and a singer and writer. I perform stand-up comedy and have written stage shows. I was hired to go down as a kind of entertainer/journalist for a startup called Happs TV. It’s basically an open-source, live-streaming TV network online. It’s all done through mobile apps. Anyone who’s a contributor will have the opportunity to report on whatever news is happening in front of them.
How tall are you?
In drag, with heels and hair, around 6’8″. It’s a lot to take in.
Were you nervous?
I was so tired. I got into D.C. very late last night and had about an hour of sleep and had to get up and get ready to be out the door this morning. I guess I was a bit nervous in the car on the way there. Because I knew the gravity of the situation, which is that it was the impeachment hearings. I wanted to do the best job I could, which was give accurate information but in a light, humorous way.
Describe your arrival.
I literally got out of the car and took about two steps, and 20 cameras on the stairs up to the building turned in unison and started filming me. It became very apparent that I had a platform to talk about issues for marginalized people.
You live in Asbury Park, New Jersey?
I live near there with my husband, David. But I work in New York City. I perform at a bar in the West Village called Pieces. I also work every Sunday at Barracuda with my friend Sherry Pie. I’m a full-time drag queen.
How did you choose your outfit?
The political director for Happs, Jack Bury, had come to my show on Sunday and had seen me wearing that outfit. He was scouting for talent to do this event today. And he saw me in that getup and he said, “I want you to come down to Washington. I liked your sense of humor, and I want you to wear that outfit.”
Was it hard to get into the Longworth building? Can anyone walk in?
Um…apparently. They didn’t put up a fight. It was a bit like going through airport security. The police were very nice, but they were very thorough. I had to take off my shoes and some of my larger jewelry. I had to get frisked with a wand. But they were very trusting. I think they trusted I didn’t have a gun in my wig.
How did the frisking go?
It was the most enjoyable part of my day.
Once you got through, how close did you get to the hearing?
I was actually just outside in the hallway during the hearings. I almost got in at one point, but entry was restricted to congressional media. I was amid a lot congressmen and congresswomen. A lot of media. There were a few protesters who were very peaceful. I met a lovely congresswoman from Chicago named Jan Schakowsky.
What did you talk about?
I told her I appreciated her service, and we were both wearing the same shade of red, so we were calling each other twins.
What did other media outlets make of you?
I did a lot of interviews. Even Breitbart asked to speak to me — I thought that was a funny one. At one point I thought to myself, “Wow, I’m probably the most outrageous physical form here.” And it felt really, really empowering.
Besides Rep. Schakowsky, who was the most famous person you saw today?
I was steps away from Congressman Schiff. I was steps away from both gentlemen testifying today [Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs]. They walked right past me. I tried to get them to stop and talk, but I think they were done answering questions for the day.
Did they smile at you?
They wanted nothing to do with me. I think I was the last thing they wanted to see at that moment.
So now you have a bunch of new fans. Where can they see you next?
I’m still doing all my shows in New York City, and I’m actually part of a Christmas caroling group called the Yuletide Carolers. We perform all over New Jersey.
I do that out of drag.
Well thanks for chatting, Pissi. I’ll look for you on RuPaul’s Drag Race one day.
Not any day soon. Take it from me.