There were many breakout stars of the documentary Paris Is Burning. From the sage Dorian Corey to vixen Venus Xtravaganza, so many of the characters needed their own stories told: they all needed their own documentaries.
But, as fans of the film know, the majority of the characters featured in Paris had sad demises at the hands of AIDS or crime, a reflection of the harsh generation they were a part of. Not all of them had sad fates though: Willi Ninja had a fairly successful career choreographing while Freddie Pendarvis was recently at a legacy awarding for the film. They’re still around, albeit limitedly.
My favorite post-Paris anything comes by way of Zachary Drucker’s now #TBT MOCAtv (RIP.) curated selection of YouTube videos. Of the three picked, one is a micro-doc featuring Octavia St. Laurent, the aspiring model with big dreams and a beautiful smile. It’s called Queen Of The Underground and is an amazing slice of “This is what I think and what I think is law.” Set to her song of the same title, the doc functions as a dual interview on what it means to be Octavia and, effectively, transgender. It’s the type of film that gets you hot with queer fire as Octavia quite literally invented the word “slay,” explaining her relationship to the greater world in the best, bluntest terms.
Octavia was one of the longest living Paris cast members, passing away from cancer in 2009. She did speak with Dazed before she died and this film, which won awards in 2010, is a classic. If you think you’re a Paris nerd, this is required related ephemera. “This world is for me too, honey,” she says. “Their problem is: they don’t want you to know about me. Because, first of all, I get too many dicks hard.” Expect all that and more, boo boo. Watch below.