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Designing Drag Race’s GiGi Goode, Featuring Mama Goode

Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images

If Gigi Goode is the breakout look queen of Season 12 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, then her designer is the season’s breakout drag mother. She also happens to be Gigi’s actual mother. A costume designer in Woodstock, Illinois, Kristi Geggie collaborated with Gigi on all of her runway looks this season, taking Gigi’s illustrations and bringing them to life. As Gigi has continued to slay on the runway all season long, she’s repeatedly made a point of crediting her mom with helping her create her stunning runway creations.

So a couple days after Mother’s Day, we spoke to Gigi and her mom (Mama Goode?) about their process, making drag a family affair, and the time Baby Gigi was bribed into doing High School Musical. 

Gigi, how did you break the news to your mom that you were going to be on Drag Race? 

Kristi Geggie: I remember! I believe that you were in a drive thru at Jack in the Box.

Gigi Goode: Yes! Okay. I should’ve remembered that. She was the first person that I called when it happened. And Maggie, who’s my roommate and best friend from high school, we had just gotten Jack in the Box, and I was just about to take my first bite into my chicken tenders and then I got the call. It was quite the exciting day. I did not finish my chicken tenders combo.

Kristi Geggie: And I did a lot of screaming. Very exciting.

What is your collaboration process like? How do you both take an outfit from concept to the runway? 

Kristi Geggie: Usually, Gigi and I will talk about something, Gigi will come up with an idea and send me the design. Gigi does all the designing. I did actually try to design stuff for her, and she’s always like, oh, that’s cute. My expertise is more in theatrical costumes. I do children’s theater. So I can take a story and make costumes for the story, but in terms of fashion, it’s not really my strong suit. So I take the design that Gigi draws and I have a dress form at home that is exactly her size. I’ll pick fabric, and we’ll go back and forth. On my Instagram page, it shows pictures of the process. I live in Illinois, and then I FedEx things to Gigi, and they usually fit.

Gigi Goode: This is why I talk about it so much on the show, and really any chance that I get. Because it’s something so unheard of, and picture perfect. My mom is really good at getting the fabric, the materials, and putting the puzzle together. I can make a garment, but up close, you can’t really look at the inside of it. It’s never lined, anything like that. Designing’s what I love to do.

Kristi Geggie: I don’t know how other costume designers are able to do it. I have people ask me all the time if I’ll make costumes for them, and I’m like, if I had a dress form exactly your size at my house in Woodstock, Illinois, I might be able to do that, but I can’t take somebody’s measurements and make something that fits them perfectly. It is the most fun thing ever to get a picture and make something and see something that you’ve created come to life.

The theatricality comes through in these outfits on the runway, for sure. Gigi, you always back them up with movement that I think tells a story about these characters. 

Gigi Goode: Oh, yes. Theater has always been in my life in some way or another. Whether it started from watching the Wizard of Oz movie for the first time, and then moving into my mom bribing me with American Girl dolls in childhood to do summer theater. One thing led to another, and that snowballed into my love of being on stage. And then when I found out that I could be on stage and not have to sing, I could just do whatever I wanted….

What plays were you in? 

Gigi Goode: Well, the very first play I was in, that my mom bribed me to be in, was High School Musical Jr. I was Skater Boy #2. I wasn’t the one who played cello. I didn’t really have any speaking lines. But I was in the fifth grade.

So Kristi, are you a stage mom who had a dream of raising a perfect Drag Race contestant?

Kristi Geggie: [laughing] No! I’m definitely not a stage mom. I knew that Gigi was always a kid who could sing and dance and really needed somewhere to channel all that energy. So there’s a program in Woodstock called Woodstock Children’s Summer Theatre. And they happened to be rehearsing at a church where my uncle was a minister. Gigi did not want to audition, so I did buy an American Girl doll as a bribe, for her, to get her to audition. But in terms of having a drag daughter, I didn’t know what drag was. And when Gigi started doing it, I was really not sure. I had a problem with the idea of appropriating other cultures, and stuff like that. It was more of a philosophical question I had. But I’m on board. I’m totally on board now. I’ve always been very supportive of Gigi, and Gigi Goode, but I never paid any attention to drag until her.

And I think that’s so funny, because now you’re all in. I heard you wrote a letter into Willam and Alaska’s podcast Race Chaser

Kristi Geggie: I can’t believe they read that! I just wanted them to know how much I appreciated them. It’s almost like being a voyeur. It’s a life I don’t know a whole lot about — especially Willam, who talks so much about sex and stuff like that. I just wanted them to know I appreciate them.

You also mentioned in that letter that you and your sons were going to help with Gigi’s booth at DragCon before it was canceled, and you were working on costumes for them?

Gigi Goode: Yeah.

Kristi Geggie: It’s such a bummer. I made them some shirts that I sent to them. But I am just so fortunate that all three of my kids like each other, and are supportive of each other.

Gigi Goode: It was such a shame. My brothers were gonna be in on it, my mom was gonna be in on it, it was going to be a whole family affair. But 2020 had to get in the way.

Kristi Geggie: I was so looking forward to meeting all the other drag queens. I feel like I know them all. I don’t, but I feel like I do.

Gigi, considering how everything is shut down right now, you’re doing a really good job bringing self-isolation entertainment. I’m thinking about that “cocktail tutorial” you did on Instagram, recently. I was rolling. 

Gigi Goode: It’s in my nature to make light of a bad situation, so there’s no way in hell that I’m doing nothing, wallowing in my own sadness that I can’t go outside. No. I have resources, I have friends who I’m lucky to be quarantined with. I’ll do whatever I need to do to keep doing drag.

Gigi, you mentioned on Untucked that you had brought that makeover challenge look with your mom in mind. Did you think it was going to be a family makeover episode, and how did you both prepare for that?

Gigi Goode: Me, as a conspiracy theorist, and watching past seasons, I was like: okay, well last season they did the makeover challenge this way, and then in All-Stars, they did family. So it’s been a couple seasons. So there’s a chance that it could be family again. So I’m just gonna make it, just in case. I had definitely made that outfit with my mom in mind, because I knew that we could look so similar, because I get all my looks from her. I’m pretty sure she produced me asexually.

Kristi Geggie: [Laughs.]

Gigi Goode: Those costumes are kind of like the ultimate mother-daughter, sister-sister fantasy, to me.

Kristi Geggie: But also if your mother’s gonna be on TV, and not to be the center of attention, you’re gonna have to find an outfit that did a good job of hiding all the parts of the body that I don’t want people to see.

Gigi Goode: It is just a fur box and legs.

Who are each of your fashion inspirations: past look queens from Drag Race, or from the fashion world, or theater world? 

Gigi Goode: Well I could easily say that mine is my mother. She —

Kristi Geggie: I am not a fashion icon. Even a little bit.

Gigi Goode: Hold on! Growing up with a sewing room, or craft room, is a blessing in and of itself. Because there were always sewing patterns with images of women on the front of them that always just had the most unrealistic proportions. So it’s because of my mom, who I guess is not necessarily my fashion icon, it led to me discovering the illustrations of women that really inspired my style. I like to think that my drag is inspired by things that aren’t necessarily in the world of fashion. I’m really heavily inspired by intangible women, cartoon women like Daphne from Scooby Doo, who I just did a look on. Things like careers, and household objects, anything can inspire me.

Kristi Geggie: I’m really specific to production-based stuff, so I don’t think I have a lot of fashion icons. I think I’m inspired by vintage fashion. Anything mid-20th century, any period pieces, I love to create.

The theatricality, and those cartoon women, that really comes through. 

Kristi Geggie: Gigi is a really good visual artist. She always studied art in high school. I can actually sketch, too. So between the two of us, we can show each other visually exactly what we want. I also work in interior design, and I find that a lot of times, people have a picture in their heads, and they can describe it in words. Whereas Gigi and I, we can exchange visual ideas to make sure that we’re getting exactly the right finished product.

Gigi Goode: Yeah. It’s very rare that I’ve gotten a piece from my mom in the mail and tried it on and it was not what I thought it was going to be.

Do you remember the first outfit that you collaborated on in this way? 

Kristi Geggie: When you left for L.A., you had no job, you had no source of income. And I said if you need costumes, I can make them for you. It can be my contribution. So it was either the pink coat and hat or the tux pants with the collared shirt.

Gigi Goode: I think it was the pink jacket and hat. That was one of the very first times I went out in L.A. and started to get noticed. It was one of the first nights that I got people to stop and ask for pictures with me. It was a super cute little Carmen Sandiego, Pepto Bismol pink trench coat, and the hat was a big wide brimmed hat. It’s super cute.

But I really remember when I dropped out of college a few years ago, you and dad told me, “you can drop out but you just need to know that we will not give you a penny from here on out.”

Kristi Geggie: It wasn’t that harsh!

Gigi Goode: It was not that harsh. But it’s leading to: Now I’ve got these incredible handmade, one-of-a-kind garments that definitely cancel out the financial situation.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Designing Drag Race’s GiGi Goode, Featuring Mama Goode