Campus Cutie on ATL's drag scene with Biqtch Puddin

Steven Glen Diehl as Biqtch Puddin. Image courtesy of Wussy Magazine. 

Atlanta prides itself on its gay and drag community but not enough people know about it or choose to explore it. So I caught up with drag queen star and SCAD alum Steven Glen Diehl, who graduated last spring with a bachelor’s degree in performing arts with minors in arts administration and film and television. Steven gave us an inside perspective on Atlanta’s sauciest nightlifedrag queen galoreand also talked about his experiences as a single gay man trying to live dual lives as his on-stage persona, Biqtch Puddin, and the chill guy underneath all the wigs, makeup and thongs.  

Emme Raus: What made you first get into becoming a drag queen?

Steven Glen Diehl: I was always into competition shows, probably because gay characters were not depicted on any other television shows unless it was Will & Grace. I was gay but I didn’t like admitting that. But I would always watch Bravo and I was always drawn to stand-up comedians like Kathy Griffith and Joan Rivers. Through shows like Project Runway and Top Chef I got my education in a weird way about what being gay meant because there wasn’t Modern Family. Then RuPaul’s Drag Race came out and I was obsessed with that show. I would watch it and there was a person on there called Willam Belli and she had Joan Rivers’ mouth but she looked f*ckable. I was like “Wait, you can be a dude and get paid to be that? That’s an awesome job.” 

ER: When and how did you come out?

SGD: I came out my freshman year of college. Until I went to college I only knew people who were super flamboyantly gay. I didn’t know there were other spectrums of it. So I got to college and there was this really cute bearded guy and he was gay with really conservative parents who were supportive of it and I was like, “Oh my god, maybe my military dad will be ok with it too.” So I awkwardly told him through a Facebook message. I was so scared. And my mom is my best friend and I was skyping her and I said, “I have something to tell you over parents weekend. I want to tell you in person,” and my mom’s like, “What are you gay?” And I just started to cry and she was like, “Oh honey are you gay? I was just joking I had no idea.” She had no clue but my dad had kind of a hint. My little sister found out a year after I came out when I was dating a boy and she was seven or eight years old. She asked my mom, “Why does Stevie have a girlfriend?” My mom sat down and said, “You know how boys like girls and girls like boys?” My sister’s like, “Yeah.” My mom goes, “Sometimes boys like boys and girls like girls. And that’s ok too because Steven likes boys.” My sister started to cry and my mom asked her what’s wrong and my sister goes, “Does this mean I won’t be an aunt?” So my sister’s biggest worry was if she would be an aunt or not and my mom was quick, she said, “No Steven wants a family, he’ll adopt or something like that”... My first inkling that I was gay was when I would change in gym class and it was awkward for a guy to have his shirt off in front of me but if a girl was naked in front of me I would not give a f*ck. That’s how I think about it now, because I was really weird about changing in front of men and now I understand why.

ER: How did you come up with the character Biqtch Puddin?

SGD: I was challenged to do a charity event and I was like “screw it let’s do a drag show.” Who doesn’t like dudes awkwardly dancing in heels, it’s funny. I directed and produced it. It sold out within the first week and it was a good event. The whole time during the creative process the guys were like, “I want to be a starlet. I want to be a lady.” And I was like, “F*ck that! I want to be the most ratchet scum that’s ever existed.” I remember this really iconic Robot Chicken skit that was a parody of Strawberry Shortcake and she has this ratchet neighbor named B*tch Pudding and I was like “Yo, Biqtch Puddin is the name.” After the show, Professor David Stork and his wife Avery Stork came up to me and said, “you need to be doing this.” That was the first response where I got some kind of “Hey, this is good.” I just kept with it and over the course of time the character developed... I was bullied heavily in middle school and I moved around a lot because I’m a Navy brat. So a lot of the time at home I would play awesome video games and I was drawn to fighting games and getting out my frustrations. I was really drawn to female characters because most people don’t get why Biqtch Puddin walks around in a thong with a sword because that’s pretty much what those girls wore during those video games trying to appeal to those pre-teen men. I think that women in those games, even though they are really scantily-clad, they are actually f*cking empowering, beating up these brawny dudes with hammers with their pixie swords. Now Biqtch is turning into this alien succubus thing and I’ve really developed a following for her. I got people putting up stickers with Biqtch Puddin’s head on it saying “she’ll take your man” and putting them on random bars. It’s funny as h*ll.

ER: Where do you work now?

SGD: I’m actually a professional drag queen. My mom always jokes, “You went to college and you became a f*cking drag queen. SCAD’s a f*ck-ton of money.” I work at The Jungle and I’m cast in “The Other Show,” which is said to be one of the best drag shows in Atlanta. It’s Friday nights at 9:30 at The Jungle. I also work at Tossed Salad, Mary’s in east Atlanta and Costumes Etc.

Steven admiring a photo of Biqtch Puddin at Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery. Image courtesy of Steven Glen Diehl. 

ER: Do you keep your professional life and personal life separate?

SGD: It’s kind of hard when you have a drag queen character that acts like a sl*t and dresses provocatively all the time when you are not that way. I value relationships and I value monogamy in a gay community where I’m always surrounded by the night life and I feel like an alien a lot of the time because a lot of the gay guys around me are very fluid and they don’t value monogamy. That’s totally fine because that’s what they want but that’s not what I want.

ER: How is Steven different from Biqtch Puddin?

SGD: They are both nerds, but Steven does not lead with sex first and Steven is more down-to-earth. I’m not shy but since Biqtch came out and became my source of income, Steven now loves to chill, hang out and be a vegetable. You give a hundred and fifty present of yourself during work, so I like to be more reserved as Steven and I’m not as in your face as Biqtch. Also, Steven wears more clothes... I’m much more confident about my physical body now that I do drag.

ER: Are you interested in dating other drag queens or would you rather not date them?

SGD: I would be open to it. I’m just looking for my best friend. Steven is a very complicated person, not just Biqtch. I’m a Navy brat, I have a huge personality and guys tend to not like in-your-face personalities. I think I would not have such a hard time being single if I was in another city because Atlanta is definitely a hub of the south and what I mean by that is there’s a lot of gay men who come from not the best backgrounds with their personal lives, so they have this definition of what being a man is and what they’re drawn to. Masculinity is so stressed here. I’m also a huge nerd. So my ideal guy is a brawny ginger at 6’2 who has a mullet, tattoos and likes playing fighter games.

ER: You know how there’s those stereotypes with gay couples where one of them has to act like the man and the other has to act like the woman? Where do you stand on that?

SGD: I know we don’t want to fit those hetero stereotypes, but I wouldn’t mind being more of a “mom” in the family. I definitely want to be a dad; that is my goal in life. Despite living off my art or someday being a director, which is my ultimate professional goalI’m going to be in an art history book and I’ll be content with my paragraph. But other than that, I really want to be a dad and I want to have a family and I want to drive my kids to soccer practice. These are values that once again, not a lot of gay men have because back to TV, there was no Modern Family for a while. You didn’t see gay couples in a functional format on TV so you didn’t think that was possible. You just thought about hooking up. That’s not something I want. My parents have been married for 25+ years and that’s rare, but that’s what I want. I just turned 24 and right now I’m focusing on my art. I know I’m talented and I’m trying to figure out how to use my talent and make a living off of it.

Steven now has a YouTube channel, @biqtchpuddin, and he plans on auditioning for RuPaul’s Drag Race this spring. Her Campus SCAD wishes him the best of luck!