After teaching an entire generation of girls, gays, and theys about modern womanhood, Trixie Mattel and Katya are back on the book shelves with a new book, Working Girls: Trixie and Katya's Guide to Professional Womanhood.
The book is dedicated to "all the divas who slay and serve and work the house down boots, hunty" and covers topics such as job interviews, types of coworkers, office lingo, girlbosses, working from home, getting fired, and even retirement. Between Trixie and Katya's signature sense of humor, the book actually includes a lot of great advice from two drag divas who have been through a lot before and after reaching this level of fame and success.
During an interview with Out, Trixie and Katya talked about their new book, evaluated some potential girlbosses in pop culture, and even dished on certain queens from RuPaul's Drag Race in terms of how they operate as coworkers.
Working Girls: Trixie and Katya's Guide to Professional Womanhood is now available for sale.
Out: I want to start talking about the book cover of Working Girls: Trixie and Katya's Guide to Professional Womanhood. What were your inspirations and ideas for this cover image?
Katya: Mostly porn, Brazzers hardcore porn, girl on girl.
Trixie: Well, I don't want to say we went clip art, but... we went clip art. And honestly, when I saw it, I was like, 'It's clip art.' And I was like, 'Yeah, it is.'
Katya: You know what? All art is valid, okay?
Trixie: All art is valid.
Katya: And clip art, macaroni art, contemporary art, it's all art at the end of the day.
Trixie: And given that it's satire, and especially in the corporate world chapters, we're definitely floating some fake information because we've never had those type of jobs. I think it makes perfect sense. Trixie and Katya attempting to look credible by putting themselves in front of the Empire State Building makes sense to me.
Katya: Googling images and then pasting the first ones that come up onto a little clipboard and then saying, 'That's our expertise.'
After teaching the divas and the dolls about modern womanhood, what compelled you to write about professional womanhood?
Katya: Well, it's a logical next step. Once you bloom and blossom into your womanhood, then you have to go out and work it.
Trixie: Yeah. And once you become the perfect woman by learning how to get yourself together, learning how to cook, learning how to be broken up with, all the things we cover in the first chapter... I think that then you take that body into the world, you put on a little knockoff Mugler suit and you walk into that conference room, whether or not you work there, and you start screaming. Start making demands.
Katya: Yeah, and you say, 'Where's my dunkaccino!? Linda, you're fired. Deborah, you're rehired.' It's about embodying the professional spirit of a successful modern tour de force of the working world.
The first book you wrote was a New York Times bestseller, so did you feel any extra pressure putting out this new book?
Katya: Well, we're definitely going to hit the Cleveland Gazette bestseller list. I don't know. We'll see what happens.
Trixie: I would say that that's considered something that, like, we already did it. Been there, done that.
Katya: It's like sex. Once you've had it once, you don't need to do it again.
Trixie: Yeah. We did it. If we're being completely honest, this time, we were interested in making [the book] longer, more words, more pictures. And because we're talking about work, which we both have completely opposite relationships with, we knew that we had a lot more to dissect. We talk about everything, from what to wear to an interview to negotiating your salary to being at work... how to get fired, how to leave your job. I think we even talk about retirement.
Katya: We sure do, honey.
Trixie: We both had sh*t jobs and dream jobs and everything in between. So, for once, we actually know what we're talking about. But don't get used to it!
I heard on your podcast, The Bald and the Beautiful, that the writing process for Working Girls was sometimes a little difficult and draining. I work as a writer, so I can definitely relate. Can you tell me more about the highs and lows of your experience writing a book like this?
Katya: Well, since you're a writer, you're probably well-acquainted with the feeling of cold, hard steel of the barrel of a gun pointed at the back of your head while you click clack at the typewriter. Yeah, it was some days motivating, some days disconcerting.
Trixie: I wanted to do it because I also think that this topic is specifically really interesting to talk about. People have a very complicated relationship with work, especially post-lockdown. [I wanted to be] able to satirize and talk about any aspect of it in a way that's true, but doesn't mean we can't make fun of it. You could have your dream job or you could be working your first sh*t job and you could read this book and get something out of it. We told a lot of true stories and we just slightly changed names. So pretty much everything is real tea in this book.
This book includes a pretty comprehensive list of 'girlbosses,' but I wanted to highlight a few other celebrities and hear your thoughts on whether or not they would also qualify for this category. First up, Vanessa Hudgens in The Princess Switch franchise.
Trixie: She represents dressing for the job you want.
Katya: Yeah. It could be a mafia-controlled indentured servitude type of situation. We don't know exactly what's happening behind the scenes at Netflix, but I would say that she's definitely a girlboss of the straight-to-video, Netflix, lighthearted, rom-com, holiday-themed movies.
Trixie: Totally. Her doing those movies turns into jobs for us, so the trickle-down economy is very real.
Katya: Yeah, Reaganomics.
Second girlboss in consideration: Anya Taylor-Joy in The Queen's Gambit.
Katya: Oh, absolutely, girlboss! Her whole movie career is... Obviously, she's a great talent, but she's also an incredible beauty who works smarter, not harder. She just stares at the camera, purses her lips every once in a while, and it's box office gold.
Trixie: Girl! Also, she knows how to play the game. Literally.
Katya: Yeah, literally, chess.
Trixie: She also uses her trauma to fuel her expertise in this field. And it's male-dominated. Girl, there is that fierce scene where she's playing three guys at once and beats them all, and I'm like, 'Work.' It makes me think of the bukkakes where I have three men standing over me and it's kind of like the three bears, because they are three bears, and I play 'Rain on Me' and I get rained on.
Katya: I was going to say Brazzers, yeah.
That's girlboss behavior.
Katya: A real girlboss walks into a room filled with men and she doesn't say, 'How are all those going to fit inside me?' She's like, 'How are they going to handle me?'
Trixie: Totally. 'I'm a ride he's not going to survive.' I almost just said, 'He's a ride I'm not going to survive,' which is different... that's a death wish. 'Hi, I'm looking for a ride I won't survive.'
Third potential girlboss up for evaluation: Regina George in Mean Girls.
Katya: I'd say no. She's too stupid.
Trixie: Well, she's got the look.
Katya: She's a girlboss wannabe.
Last girlboss for consideration: Regina King on Watchmen.
Katya: Ooh, crack the egg, b*tch! That is the girlboss of them all.
Trixie: Girl, she is the true girlboss. Whether or not she became Dr. Manhattan at the end, she is the ultimate girlboss. She's selfless, she's strong, she's compassionate, she's a great guardian to the kids, she cares about doing the right thing.
Katya: She owns a Vietnamese bakery.
Trixie: Yes, icon.
Trixie: She's the African-American, Asian-American hero.
Katya: She is the diva.
You also list several types of coworkers in the book. So I wanted to gather your thoughts about certain queens from RuPaul's Drag Race and how you would describe them as coworkers. Let's start with Alyssa Edwards.
Katya: The elusive chanteuse.
Trixie: 'Does she work here?' 'When is she going to show up?' 'When was her lunch?' 'Did she just go home?' 'Did she steal my food from the fridge?'
Katya: She's like the mist. You know when the fog rolls in and all those ghost sailors kill everybody in the town and then it leaves and you're like, 'What happened?' That's Alyssa.
Trixie: However, when she decides to do it, she does the damn thing. She's not exactly reliable, but when it happens, it's spectacular.
Next up, Kelly Mantle.
Trixie: Oh, girl.
Katya: If you want a job to get completely assassinated, Kelly is your girl.
Trixie: Is she going to smile? No. Is she coming to work hungover? Absolutely. She may be drinking at work, but you know what? She's getting it done.
Katya: She gets it done and, if there's a bottle of dry white by her side, then hey...
Trixie: Oh, my god. We were in a show in Australia and it was between acts, it was the intermission, and I go, 'Kelly, should we get a little drink of wine before the second half?' And Kelly goes, 'I think we should bring it on stage.' I was like, 'Okay.' She was just like, 'I thought you'd never ask.'
Third coworker up for your assessment: Violet Chachki.
Trixie: She might not be right for every job, but when she does the job, she redefines it forever.
Katya: Yeah. She's the ballbuster who comes in after the merger, fires half of the company for being redundant, and then manually rips off the sign at the front of the building. Then, within six months, productivity and profits have never been higher.
Trixie: And you know how some bosses are afraid to get feedback? Not her.
Katya: Oh, no, no. No, no, no. And if you're doing a good job, you might get a, 'Huh.'
Trixie: She's Miranda Priestly.
Katya: But much thinner.
Last coworker for evaluation: Gia Gunn. High expectations for beauty and glamour.
Katya: Oh, gosh.
Trixie: Absolutely, high expectations. There's a push and a pull there. She's not afraid to ask the hard questions.
Katya: No. She's the one you'd want to sit next to at the front row of Fashion Week, but she's not the one you want to be sitting across the desk from in an interview.
Trixie: And again, she's the opposite of someone at work who's afraid to speak their mind or afraid to give honest feedback. Gia is like, 'Let's just do it and let's move forward,' but she has a heart of gold.
Katya: Yeah, she's no-nonsense.
Trixie: She knows when to be a b*tch...
Katya: ...and it's always.
Trixie: ...and it's all the time.
I love that there's a whole chapter dedicated to reasons why someone shouldn't start a career in drag. When new people start doing drag and ignore this advice, do you ever just want to tell them "I'm not joking, b*tch"?
Katya: Well, sometimes you have to let people make their own mistakes and forge their own way. Sometimes, if someone wants to get their foot caught in the bear trap and you say, 'No, that's not going to be fun, but go ahead and try it out for yourself, I guess,' they've got to do it.
Trixie: Yeah, nobody cares what we think, anyway. I think, to most drag queens, we represent a lot of questions.
Katya: Yeah. They think Trixie has f*cked RuPaul and they think I made a deal with the devil.
Trixie: They're like, 'I'm happy for you. People come to see you. Why?' And I'm asking the same question.
If you had to pick one piece of advice that you really want readers to remember from this book, what would it be?
Trixie: Well, I'm just going to say that we talk about our dream jobs, which we currently have, and we complain about it. We talk about the worst jobs we've ever had and we recall things we liked about it. So, I think it's all about perspective and, ultimately, no workplace should make you feel like you don't have the power at all times. Don't spend your time at a job you hate.
Katya: Yeah. That cliche about people on their deathbed never saying, 'I wish I had worked more,' I firmly believe that. But I think that should be applied to our regular beds, not just the deathbed.
Trixie: I don't think you're in danger of saying that.
Katya: No, no, no, no.
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