The Pacific Northwest is known for many things—excellent legal cannabis, of course, the rain that doesn’t stop for months on end, good coffee and good beer. One thing we’re less famous for, but those in the know are privy to, is our one-of-a-kind, world-class drag culture. One locally famous drag queen, Indika Haze, marries the region’s love of cannabis and drag to create a persona that’s uniquely her own.
Before becoming the drag performer she is today, Haze was a professional dance teacher. Unfortunately, health issues halted that journey, but she still strived to channel her creative energy elsewhere, and thus Indika Haze was born. Haze was kind enough to have a thoughtful chat with CULTURE about her origin story, her inspirations and of course, the cannabis that makes it all possible.
How did you become Indika Haze?
I started drag as Indika about four-and-a-half years ago. A friend of mine was transitioning from female to male, and he was wanting to go out, and he wasn’t comfortable going out on his own at first. So I put on some of the tackiest, most busted drag I possibly could, and went out with him because I wanted him to feel more comfortable. So Indika came from a place of giving other people space to be who they want to be.
Who are some of your influences as a performer?
Always been a big fan of RuPaul obviously, as a performer. I think I’m most inspired by local talent that we have out here, because we have some phenomenal talent here in the Pacific Northwest. The people who have inspired me to really go for it and push myself to be the best artist I can would be people like Cucci Binaca, Isabella Extynn, Lady Chablis and Mama Tits. They all have a very different aesthetic, but they’re all very strong in their different modalities, and they are all a force to be reckoned with in that community and people look up to them and respect them. More recently I’ve become obsessed with the theatricality and the intensity of makeup that people like Irene Dubois are bringing to the stage.
“Also when I’m deciding on my music, [cannabis] helps me get into a creative mood. I’ve always used weed when I’m choreographing my song choices and memorizing, and coming up with dialogue for when I’m doing my hosting events.”
How has cannabis influenced Indika Haze?
For a little while, I was actually sponsored by a couple different cannabis co-ops here in Washington, before it went recreational . . . So I was a rep for them and would go to events and pass out fliers.
One of the things that I love nowadays is that people know who I am and they know that I’m a pot smoker. So they’ll come to my shows and not only will they tip me in ones, but they’ll bring joints and tip me in a bag of weed or whatever. So it gives me a chance to really hang out with a lot of people who come to our shows, our patronage, which is lovely. Also when I’m deciding on my music, [cannabis] helps me get into a creative mood. I’ve always used weed when I’m choreographing my song choices and memorizing, and coming up with dialogue for when I’m doing my hosting events.
So it’s something that’s inspired me, but I also use it on a more practical basis for my health condition. I have Osteochondritis dissecans, a degenerative joint disease. My family has a history of being addicted to pills, so I don’t want to take pills if I don’t have to. Weed is the only thing that I’ve found that subdues the aches that I get and make it not as painful, especially when I’m running around in six-inch heels and a bunch of padding for eight hours at a time.
“Weed is the only thing that I’ve found that subdues the aches that I get and make it not as painful.”
What’s your favorite thing to watch when you consume cannabis?
Well, it depends if I’m getting ready or winding down for the night. If I’m getting ready I have my setlist and I watch the music videos for them, or I put on effed up Trixie Mattel songs. And then at nighttime, I get really stoned and watch Planet Earth 2.
Catch Indika Haze Live @ The Mix in Tacoma
The Mixtape: Every Saturday, 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
Queens of the Night: Every third Saturday, 7 p.m.-9 p.m.