Miami drag queen Miss Toto is no stranger to Internet attention for her cosplay -- her iconic cosplay looks as Spongebob Squarepants' Mister Krabs and Powerpuff Girls' HIM both went viral thanks to her irreverent interpretation and high-energy performances. But Toto's most recent look as the Hormone Monstress from Netflix's beloved animated series Big Mouth has caught the attention of the show's creator Nick Kroll and Maya Rudolph, who voices the character. OUT caught up with Toto moments after she received a DM on Twitter from Rudolph to find out just how many times she had to hear the words "bubble bath" to create her now-legendary drag mix.
What inspired you to do this look?
I had the idea months ago, I've had the bodysuit since September and I wanted to do the look, but I wanted to make sure it was going to be right, because I know people have done it before, but I wanted to make it spot on. I was practicing the eye and the lip and once I got the mix together, everything just worked.
Were you a fan of Big Mouth or specifically this character?
I love Big Mouth but once I was introduced to the Hormone Monstress, that's me. I am her, she is me and that's why I wanted to bring that character specifically to life. The male Hormone Monster is cool, but it's not the same bossy, femme vibe as this monstress who is so sickening.
Your look and performance have gone totally viral and been retweeted by the show's account and creator Nick Kroll, when did you realize it was blowing up?
[I posted the look the night I performed in it], and I thought, oh wow it's 2 a.m. and it already has 2,000 favorites, that's cool. Once I posted the video, I didn't think it was gonna blow up like that. The last video I had do that was Mr. Krabs, which makes sense because Spongebob has a huge cult following, and I thought this was a little more niche. But what catapulted it was having Netflix retweet it. I woke up and posted it and within the hour it was blowing up.
Netflix responded to your tweet joking that you'd like free Netflix for life, did that actually happen?
I do have free Netflix now, not for life!
Has Maya Rudolph seen it?
She actually DM'd me, which I thought was wild. I thought she'd retweet or something simple, but she messaged me and said, "My work on this earth is done, I've been immortalized in drag. Thank you Miss Toto, you are my hormone monstress, xoxo Maya." This was 10 minutes ago. I'm a huge Maya Rudolph fan and I have been for years. I didn't think I needed the validation but she was the last person I was waiting for to see it, so it feels so wild that she liked what I did.
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This isn't the first time that you've done a cosplay look, is that something you're drawn to in your drag?
I find these characters and I think, how am I going to make this into a performance or how am I going to make this into drag. I took Mr. Krabs and made it drag, the Hormone Monstress is pretty much a drag queen anyway. I've done HIM from Powerpuff Girls. I like to take these characters that I'm really drawn to and find ways to give the most authentic cosplay that I can or make it a draggy cosplay with a spin to make it into a really loud performance that's gonna make people laugh, bring the screen to life.
You tweet a lot about how much harder it is for local drag queens to produce big numbers, especially with Drag Race culture, where money is mostly funneled towards queens who have been on TV.
It mainly comes down to money and performance spaces. In Miami, I'm one of the more booked queens so I do have more income, but imagine if I had the resources of being paid $500-$1,000 for a gig, I could have bought everything I needed in one fell swoop. Instead I had to get everything in piecemeal, the costume first, then the horns then the contacts. You learn to do it for yourself -- validation from the internet is great -- but you're really doing this art for your community and yourself. I would have been happy just having everyone at the bar love my performance, so being able to have a reach that most local queens don't get is really cool, but it's also rewarding when I see other local queens go viral, like Kat Wilderness and Florida Man.
It's important as a culture to realize Drag Race isn't the pinnacle of drag, that's not the only outlet that we have. There are thousands of queens across the nation putting so much hard work into what they do and they deserve credit and attention.
What is the Miami queer scene like?
It is so wild. It's blown up in the past three years, you look around and everybody is so diverse, you have drag kings, drag queens, drag things. It's a very eclectic scene to where you can't come in and only have an expectation to get one type of drag thrown at you. What I've noticed is that a lot of these people, including myself, your booking fee may only be $50, but you're putting in $150 of your money, not even counting your time, to put out the highest quality work you can. Everybody works so hard to put Miami on the map, because as much as it is a big city, it's not recognized as one of the drag centers of the country. When you think about drag, you think about New York, L.A., Chicago and Miami has so many amazing performers that I'm confused as to why it's not a drag capital, but we're working on it!
What do you do outside of drag?
I'm a personal trainer and a bodybuilder. I work for a tobacco-free campaign called This Free Life, and I also work with the University of Miami shark tagging program -- she's fish!
How many times did you have to hear Maya Rudolph saying "bubble bath" to make that mix?
So many, when I was making the mix I wanted to find different iconic clips to use, and listening to her saying "bubble bath" over and over again was still funny to me! [But I probably heard it] over 3,000 times.
That is commitment, honey. Are there any other characters out there you'd want to cosplay as?
I don't want to give it away, but these is one coming up soon from another cartoon that's very LGBTQ+ friendly. I'm so excited because I love cosplay and it's great, but now that my looks have been pretty successful, it's giving my hope that I can keep doing this and people are going to enjoy it.
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