celebrity shopping

What Drag Queen Katya Zamolodchikova Can’t Live Without

Photo-Illustration: courtesy

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hair spray and the electric toothbrush. We asked drag queen Katya Zamolodchikova — who will star in a new unscripted dating show From Katya With Love with Trixie Mattel — about the burnt pretzels, woody perfume, and dish soap-turned-makeup remover she can’t live without.

Trixie Mattel turned me onto these flushable wipes actually. I learned that other cultures regard using toilet paper as literally disgusting. They do other things like bidets and whatnot. I don’t have a bidet, but I was like, Why am I wiping my ass with these dry-ass rolls of tissue? Then I switched to Cottonelle. They’re moist, and they flush well. I have had no plumbing issues. I don’t even know how I lived without these. What kind of savage was I, using those nasty, unhygienic pieces of paper? Now my butt is cleaner than ever.


Teeth are so important. I forget how I learned about a water flosser, but I had an aversion to flossing, and a Waterpik is a great way to get the chunks out of your teeth fast, especially if you’re in a hurry or just had lunch, because you don’t have to full-out brush your teeth. If you eat a nasty pulled-pork sandwich with corn on the cob for lunch, you can take your Waterpik to the bathroom, spray your teeth down, and walk out without crap in your teeth. It’s very strong. I can squirt it across the room. It has a very thin, tight stream of water, which can be quite dangerous. Like, if a killer came into my bathroom while I was flossing, I’d spray them right in the eye. I also gift the Waterpik to a lot of people — not to use as a defense tactic, but to help them take care of their teeth. One friend mentioned to me that he hadn’t gone to the dentist in years, uses a manual toothbrush, and doesn’t floss. I was like, “Oh, my God, dental intervention happening immediately.” He might as well have told me he uses regular toilet paper. Or heroin.

There is not one ounce of guilt in me when I enjoy these pretzels. I found them randomly at a supermarket back in Boston. But they’re so hard to locate in grocery stores for some reason that I actually now have to order them online. I love pretzels, but I’m very particular about what type of pretzel. They’re a thick sourdough with chunks of salt and are cooked extra long so they’re almost burnt. Some batches are less burnt than others, and I experience a significant level of disappointment when I get a lighter batch. But when I do get one that looks like it has been on a grill for three weeks, I’m like, Oh, wow. They taste better burnt. I love burnt toast, burnt pizza — there is no nutritional value to burnt things at all because it’s just ash. But it’s tastier to me.

Well, I smoke, so there’s that. I smoke probably a pack a day. But here’s the thing: When I go out to a party or dinner or whatever, I’m typically with some friends who smoke every once in a while, but because I smoke habitually, I’m usually the only one with a lighter — this black BIC lighter. So I don’t just carry it around for me, I’m doing everyone a service by keeping it on me. Also, it’s good to have one on hand, because what if the power goes out and you need to light a candle? What if you need to burn a letter? Or you have to set a house on fire? This is all hypothetical, but the BIC lighter has a lot of purposes besides lighting cigarettes.

When I started to make a little bit of money — i.e., when I crept above the poverty line — one of the things I wanted to get was a really nice perfume because I decided I needed to smell really good doing drag, especially when we’re at a meet and greet. The first boy I fell in love with always smelled so good and unique. He wasn’t wearing Drakkar Noir or Axe or any of those typical boy scents. He wore a mix of patchouli oil or something like that, and I always loved how he smelled, so I wanted something like that. I remember when I bought the first bottle of Tom Ford, which is like $300 or something, I was like, Fuck. It’s so expensive. But then I quantified it by thinking it’s a gift for 200 people in one night, so if you really think about it, it’s not a nonsense splurge. Just a few spritzes, and I smell amazing. I’d rather wear shitty shoes and smell like heaven than smell like a dumpster in Louboutins. Also, because I smoke, the oud, woody, earthy scents turn me from an ashtray to a Cuban cigar. At pretty much every meet and greet, People are like, “Wow, you actually smell good.” It’s very backhanded because they’re like, Oh, you’re a trash gutter hooker — I was expecting you to smell like shit. But I don’t! Kate Beckinsale once complimented me on my scent too.

I do wash dishes with Dawn, but I also wash my face with it. I take my makeup off with it. There was one queen in Boston who told me she washes her face with Dawn at the end of the night, and I was like, “Excuse me?” And she’s like, “You’ll see.” So I got in the shower and tried it. My makeup was gone in 90 seconds. It’s harsh, but I’m wearing tons and tons of makeup all around my chest and neck — like, full Cirque du Soleil makeup. And when you want to get out of drag, you want to get the fuck out of drag, and Dawn does it right. I avoid my eyes, though. It’s not good for your skin because it’s very harsh, but makeup wipes and remover take forever. Then, also, you’re scrubbing, scrubbing, scrubbing your skin raw, which is just as irritating, honestly. If you use Dawn, you just follow up with a strong moisturizer, then you’ll be fine.