The Untold Truth Of Trixie Mattel

This article contains references to child abuse, hate crimes, and gun violence. 

Ever since appearing on Season 7 of "RuPaul's Drag Race," Trixie Mattel is one of the most well-known drag queens in the world. She's sparked numerous recognizable memes both in drag and in various states of half-drag, and the viewership numbers for her frequently-raunchy, often-surrealist web series "UNHhhh" regularly climb into the millions. And that's only a small part of what she gets up to — after all, the woman once rode a giant tube of lipstick into a drag convention. 

When a viewer seemingly unaware of Trixie's power stumbled upon a BuzzFeed Video clip of her and Katya Zamolodchikova giving people haircuts, they commented, "The pink one so terrify." Fans, of course, were tickled pink and Trixie has since spun it into a catchphrase of sorts, leaning into all the reasons why fans love to watch her every move. 

But what is the drag superstar really like? And how has she become so successful in areas of the entertainment business that previously only RuPaul herself could break through into? Well, as Trixie explained it to PopMatters, "Because I'm from the country, everything I'd always wanted to do I had no access to — no money, no connections to people ... It really made me an autodidact. If I don't know how to do something, I will figure it out."

She sure does seem to have figured it out, and we've figured her out, too. Grab your Barbie dolls and clutch them close, because this is the untold truth of Trixie Mattel.

Trixie and Katya have the same first name

The artist who would become Trixie Mattel was originally born Brian Firkus (while Trixie uses she/her pronouns, Brian goes by he/him, per Rolling Stone). The drag superstar told Milwaukee Magazine that she took the name "Trixie" from two sources. The first is that she had a formative experience playing the role of Trixie in a production of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" as a 19-year-old. The second stems from her difficult childhood. "I had an abusive stepfather. He would call me a Trixie when I was acting too feminine or gay or being emotional," she explained. 

Since her time on "RuPaul's Drag Race," the star frequently collaborates with her Season 7 sister and "UNHhhh" co-host, Katya Zamolodchikova, a Russian-themed drag queen who once famously used the "All Stars 2" tune, "Read U Wrote U," to describe herself as "Lenin in the streets, Dostoyevsky in the sheets." Coincidentally, the two creative partners share the same first name out of drag. Katya was born Brian McCook, and she still sometimes refers to herself by that name on social media. It's cool if you can't remember all that, though. After all, your dad just calls her Katya.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

She had a troubled childhood

In her well-received documentary "Moving Parts," Trixie Mattel discussed her troubled childhood growing up in Wisconsin where she was raised by an abusive, homophobic stepfather. He even once put a gun to her head, and she was ultimately removed from her home by childhood protective services.

Trixie discussed how difficult it was to open up about her past for the documentary in an interview with Observer, insisting that she doesn't often talk about what happened to her because she doesn't like considering herself a victim. "What victims forget is that they're not special," she said. "Everybody has something bad happen to them. And the most prideful thing you can do is — I want people to think I was born at 18 years old. I don't identify with anything that happened before that, because I don't wish to carry it into today."

Nowadays, Trixie wears a lot of pink and frequently dresses in hyperfeminine costumes, projecting an outwardly happy appearance despite her past. Her comedy, however, is often acerbic, and her wit extremely dry. In an essay she wrote for Playboy, she suggested that this was all very intentional. "The look lubricates the material," she explained. "It's this sort of childhood toy box, but the material in my stand-up and music is a rather dark perspective on the human experience. It's the ultimate one-two punch. Trixie is a crying clown."

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Trixie has Native American heritage

Trixie Mattel's mother Val is Native American — specifically, she's Ojibwe. While speaking with Milwaukee Magazine, Trixie talked about how her identity shaped her character, noting that growing up in Wisconsin, she had to confront a lot of the experiences that the community at large experiences. "Native Americans have so many social issues," she said. "They're disenfranchised. Alcoholism is huge in the community. A lot of people experience the loss of a parent." When she developed the Trixie persona, she chose to lean away from that heritage. "There's something to be said that I grew up in a Native American family and poor, and I portray a character who is full-on white, Valley Girl and rich," she noted.

However, because the Trixie character is white-presenting, the drag queen sometimes draws criticism when she does play into her ancestry. "I have a costume in one of my touring shows that's a headdress, and people are like, 'How dare you!' just because I have a blonde wig on," she told Observer. "The character of Trixie is more of a critique on Caucasian-American consumerism."

Though Trixie had a difficult childhood, she and her mother have remained close. In 2019, her mom appeared in one of Trixie's YouTube videos titled, "My Mom Gets a Drag Makeover." In it, the star recalled that when her mother saw her stage show, she said, "I didn't get a lot of the jokes, because I'm not in the lifestyle." We stan a mom who's supportive anyway!

She's a bestselling author

Like the original drag media mogul RuPaul Charles, Trixie Mattel has built a successful career in a number of different areas. She sings, she acts, she hosts, she judges, she performs, and in 2020, she became an author. Along with frequent collaborator and creative partner Katya Zamolodchikova, the star published the self-help book, "Trixie and Katya's Guide to Modern Womanhood." In an interview for Nylon, Trixie agreed with Katya's tongue-in-cheek mission statement for the book: "Just be yourself and if nobody likes that, change." However, she expanded on their point of view, adding, "Through comedy and observation, I think we're trying to say that all the things wrong with you are fine, but there are lots of tools you could change with."

The book was a massive hit, debuting at #2 on The New York Times Best Seller List. She told Entertainment Weekly that the newfound publishing success hadn't changed her at all, joking, "I already love myself and walk around like I was f***ing Stephen King mixed with Dean Koontz mixed with Janet Evanovich, so this is a pamphlet ... an important pamphlet!" Thanks to the book's bestselling status, the "UNHhhh" co-hosts followed it up in 2022 with a sequel focused on women in the workplace, called "Working Girls: Trixie and Katya's Guide to Professional Womanhood."

She doesn't want to return to Drag Race

Trixie Mattel first competed on Season 7 of "RuPaul's Drag Race," which aired in 2015. Though she was a fan favorite, she came in sixth place, ultimately losing to that season's winner Violet Chachki. Trixie returned for the third season of the franchise's "All Stars" spinoff, and this time she emerged victorious, snatching the crown from fellow finalists like "A Star is Born" performer, Shangela. "I know you guys are looking for somebody who can carry a legacy," she said upon being crowned. "As an All Star, I feel like I've been carrying that legacy since I left the first time, so this means a lot." She even returned to the Werkroom one final time as a contestant on the "Holi-Slay Spectacular," — but maybe the less said about that special, the better.

For Season 7 of the "All Stars" series, the cast was made up entirely of previous winners, and some fans hoped Trixie would be among the cast. However, she declined the opportunity to compete again, telling PinkNews that she was simply too busy with everything else she has going on in her career. She told Insider that, while she wouldn't be a "Drag Race" contestant again, she would be interested in coming back in a judging capacity of some sort, suggesting she could finally host the queens in a crossover with her Discovery+ series "Trixie Motel." A motel renovation challenge? Why not!

She hates hugs

Drag queens are often approached by fans in clubs, at meet and greets, and at the ever-popular RuPaul's Drag Con, which brings thousands of fans to convention centers around the world to meet their favorite queens. In other words, being a drag queen can sometimes involve hug after hug after hug. Trixie Mattel, it seems, isn't a fan of that part of her job. 

Fans have noticed that she often looks awkward when forced to hug other queens on camera, including when she appeared in a behind-the-scenes video for "All Stars 5." In the video, the "C'Mon Loretta" songstress seemed to not be enjoying hugs from contestants like Miz Cracker and Blair St. Clair, shooting uncomfortable glances to the camera as she endured an affectionate squeeze. During one show in London in 2019, Trixie even mimed vomiting while stiffly patting a fan on the back during a hug that went on far too long.

She has tweeted about her dislike of hugging several times, including in 2018, when she wrote, "Let it be known that while I am not an embracer I do enjoy a side hug!" At the end of 2020, a year when many people were extremely touch-starved, the "All Stars 3" winner tweeted, "​​Say what you want but the no hugging of 2020 was [three trophy emojis]." So remember, folks — if you wait in Trixie's formidable Drag Con line, side-hugs only.

Trixie has a thriving country music career

Fans who only know Trixie Mattel from "Drag Race" may not be aware that she has a thriving country music career, having released numerous country albums since winning "All Stars 3." With influences that include people like June Carter Cash, Dolly Parton, and Michelle Branch (per NPR), she's been so successful that the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel named her the 36th Most Impactful Musician from Wisconsin. Not everybody has that!

She told Esquire that she was worried her drag career would have pigeonholed her when she tried to move into country music. "Honestly, I thought drag would prevent me from being taken seriously. I thought, 'Well, kiss your music career goodbye because once you do this, you're just going to be seen as a drag queen, not a musician. You're going to be a novelty. Nobody's going to take your work seriously.'" However, that's not been the case as her music career has yielded some impressive results.

As she explained to AltPress, she also likes making country music because it gets a reaction out of people. "I'm a drag queen, so I like poking the bear, and I'm excited that a genre like country music isn't supposed to be for me." The star also noted that she and collaborator Orville Peck, another openly gay country star, intentionally dressed flamboyantly in the music video for "Jackson." "We're not supposed to be doing that, and it makes a lot of people's skin crawl," she said. "That's why we like it."

She wanted to be in Greta Gerwig's Barbie movie

When many Drag Race fans hear the word "Barbie," Trixie Mattel is the first person they think of (well ... after Nicki Minaj, of course). After all, the drag queen takes her last name from the maker of the popular toy, and her love of pink and all things girly makes her seem like a life-size, over-exaggerated Barbie doll. That's why, when Greta Gerwig's live-action "Barbie" film was announced, Trixie came to mind for a lot of fans. "If you feel the desire to text me updates about the 'Barbie' film, I already know the tea before you know the tea," the Trixie Cosmetics CEO tweeted. "I have already processed the Ryan Gosling photo for a thousand lifetimes." She also shared a photoshopped rendering of herself in Margot Robbie's place from the first-look still from the movie.

When she took a lie detector test for Vanity Fair, Trixie admitted she wanted to be in the film. "I'm disappointed I wasn't asked, but let me tell you, when it comes time to promote it, guess whose DMs they're gonna slide into," she griped.

Speaking with PinkNews, the star admitted that she understood why she didn't get the lead role. After all, she's just too beautiful. "This [movie] is more for every woman. When you think 'Margot Robbie,' you think relatable; that's your mother, grandmother, aunt," she joked. "When you think of me, you're like, 'Oh god, that hot girl from porn I watch.' It's a little dissonant."

She was criticized for a racist joke at a roast

Some people would say it's a drag queen's job to be provocative, but sometimes, they get in hot water when they go too far. Back in 2018, Trixie Mattel appeared as part of the cast of The Hater's Roast Tour, in which queens from "RuPaul's Drag Race" roast one another on-stage. According to Towleroad, the superstar made a joke at the expense of fellow Drag Race legend Latrice Royale, which inferred that she had picked the cotton for Trixie's dress.

When clips from the show went viral, there was swift backlash from fans who noted the joke was racist and unacceptable. As the Internet does, there was also backlash to the backlash. "No one is saying Trixie is a full-time racist and enthusiastic member of the local klu klux klan [sic] that meets twice a week," one person tweeted, trying to untangle the mess. "We're just saying what she said was unacceptable and u need to shut up with ignoring n justifying her mess over n over." 

On Twitter, Trixie insisted that she would not be apologizing. "If you think drag queens apologize for jokes at a roast, you watch too much TV," she said, refusing to comment further. Despite the online furor over the joke, it seems that Latrice took it in stride. "STOP TELLING ME HOW TO FEEL!!!! I'M COOL!" she wrote on Twitter, adding that she would speak to Trixie directly if she did have an issue.

She doesn't like kids at her shows

In the 2019 documentary "Drag Kids," about young kids learning the art of drag, one of the doc's subjects goes to a Trixie Mattel show and sits in the front row. Though she was excited to see one of her favorite Drag Race superstars, the performer goes on a rant about how she doesn't like children at her shows. "Wanna know why I started doing drag?" she asks the audience, before answering her own question. "Not to f***ing fraternize with children!" It's a line she's repeated at Drag Con, seemingly uncomfortable with the event as an all-ages party.

Trixie frequently tweets about her dislike of kids. In 2022, she wrote, "Now that I have your attention just know this: I can't stand children." A few months later, during Pride Month, the US experienced a moral panic over drag queens reading storybooks to children. In California, a Drag Queen Story Hours event was even disrupted by people yelling slurs. You won't find Trixie leading such an event. When a Twitter user told Trixie to stay away from kids, the star responded, matter-of-factly, "Girl I hate children."

She proved it when her documentary "Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts" premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. After Trixie tweeted that she wouldn't be engaging with kids at the fest, the Kids Access Press Team — which had sent child reporters — tweeted a photo of them looking sad with microphones, while Trixie scowled in the background. Ouch.

Trixie Mattel's makeup has ... evolved

Trixie Mattel is known for her over-exaggerated makeup, including dark blush, a harsh contour, and massive eyelashes. Believe it or not, her look has actually softened over the years, and we may have Acid Betty to thank. During a Season 8 episode of "RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked," the freaky drag queen insulted Trixie's makeup, saying, "That nose contour is atrocious." At the finale that year, the "UNHhhh" co-host famously confronted her critic, asking, "Did you or did you not come for me?" Acid Betty shot back, "You still haven't fixed that contour!" As fans on Reddit noted, Trixie's makeup style changed shortly thereafter, with her ditching the blue contacts and softening some of her lines.

On her YouTube channel, she went back and reacted to an old makeup tutorial she'd created as a young drag queen, first starting out. Reflecting on her formative approach to makeup, she said, "I really fancied myself a professional at what I did. A serious. Professional. Woman." As she rewatched her old work, however, she was shocked by the way she used to look. "This is humiliating," she laughed. "I hate myself." In another video, looking back at how she used to do her makeup during Season 7 of "RuPaul's Drag Race," she pointed out, "That eyelid is so big... and so crazy." Cue a note on the video suggesting her look is much the same now. Listen, we said it's changed, not that it's changed a lot...

She's the co-owner of a legendary bar

Though drag now takes place on some of the biggest stages in the world and airs pretty much year-round on VH1, the art form came up from bars and clubs, and that's where most drag queens got their start. Trixie wants queens to remember these roots and keep it real, telling Observer, "I think drag queens get on television, and then they're like, 'I just started doing drag to make a difference!' No, you didn't! You started drag for free drinks and attention, just like the rest of us."

In February 2021, the star announced on Instagram that she was now a co-owner of the bar, This Is It! Sharing a snap of a Trixie painting propped up among a wall of bottles at the premises, she wrote, "[It's] the oldest and most iconic gay bar in Wisconsin." Speaking to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, she revealed that she was proud to own such an establishment in her hometown. "I'm lucky enough that when people think of Milwaukee they do think of me a little bit, and if somebody comes to Milwaukee they may go, 'Oh my God, doesn't Trixie Mattel have a bar here? We have to go.'" All sentimentality aside, the star hadn't lost sight of her core agenda in buying the joint. As the drag superstar told ET, "I'm a capitalist. That is the Trixie Mattel way."

Trixie Mattel is the richest Drag Race alum

In an essay written for Playboy, Trixie Mattel once asserted of her youth, "I was by far the poorest kid in school (maybe even the entire state)." Before drag as an art form became mainstream and popular, she would also only get paid $40 a gig when she first started out, telling Rolling Stone, "Not even the guys in the gay bar wanted to talk to you because drag queens were weird."

However, thanks to her unprecedented success as one of the most prominent "RuPaul's Drag Race" alums, Trixie is now the second-richest drag queen in the world, behind only RuPaul herself, according to Slice. Meanwhile, Celebrity Net Worth estimates that the star is valued at around $10 million. That's likely thanks to a number of lucrative endeavors, such as her television deals, music career, books, tours, motel, bar, and ownership of the popular makeup brand Trixie Cosmetics.

Has all of her success changed the "Queen of the Universe" judge? Well, on a money-focused episode of "UNHhhh," she joked, "The only reason money helps me sleep at night is because instead of a bed, I have just a big stack of money ... Just to align my spine, I put rolls of Sacagawea coins between my knees." In all seriousness, she told Milwaukee Magazine, that it was nice to now live comfortably. "I would, back in the day, save money just to buy tights and lipstick. And I can buy those things now."

She's expanding her media empire

In addition to appearing on both "RuPaul's Drag Race" and "RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars," Trixie Mattel has moved into a number of other on-screen ventures, expanding her media empire. In 2017, she and Katya had a show on Vice called "The Trixie & Katya Show." Sadly, when her Russian-themed co-host had to leave to go to rehab, the show was canceled. "I was afraid at one point that Sonny and Cher would have to become just Cher," Trixie told ET. "But um ... not yet!"

Since the  Viceland show ended, she and Katya have continued to appear on their hit web series, "UNHhhh," which airs on YouTube and Wow Presents Plus. They were also hired by Netflix to host "Drag Queens React," a web series where they watch and respond to hit Netflix properties like "Stranger Things." They also host a podcast together called "The Bald and the Beautiful," where they invite guests on to riff with one another.

Considering the fact that she is one of the most successful "RPDR" alums to launch a music career outside of the show, it makes sense that Trixie is also one of the judges on the Paramount+ drag singing competition "Queen of the Universe." Perhaps more surprising is the fact that she's a real-estate maven, too. She hosts the Discovery+ show, "Trixie Motel," which chronicles her renovation of a Palm Springs motel in her own image. So basically, we have to ask ... does this woman ever rest?!