An Appreciation Post for Kristi Geggie, Biological Mother *and* Drag Mother to Gigi Goode
A prime, gleaming, glittering example of what could happen when you support your queer child
Learning contestant backstories makes half the charm of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Top of mind, favorites include Miss Fame reminiscing farm life, Alyssa Edwards’ father mending their relationship via video message, and basically everything from that glorious mess of a season nine reunion.
The latest to join the ranks is the story of Gigi Goode: Samuel “Sam” Geggie out of drag. Queen of fashion-meets-camp whenever in it. Runner-up on season 12––a season I believe produced the most charismatic and well-rounded top three in Drag Race herstory (perhaps next to Raja, Manila, and Alexis tied with Bianca, Adore, and Courtney). A 21-year-old who has garnered this reaction from me far too many times: “I wish I was that sure of myself at their age.”
Granted I have an instant soft spot for the fashion queen in each season, liking Gigi Goode was extra easy because there was something more that made them magnetic. They were competitive but not crass, self-aware but not self-engrossed, confident but not cocky. And there was just something about their clear grasp over what they excel in––again, amazing, considering their age––that made me want to learn more about how they got there. (Came for the pirate entrance look, stayed for the backstory.)
Throughout the season, whatever praise Gigi earned, they redirected to their mother. Whether it be about how well-studied or well-versed they were in fashion, their mom was inspiration and reason. “She’s taught me everything that I know,” said Gigi in Episode 4. “She’s made, like, most of the looks that I brought, and she does not give herself enough credit, and she means the world to me.”
Kristi Geggie AKA Mama Goode went from interior designer and theatrical costume designer to unofficial drag mother. This second line of work, obviously one she’s extremely proud of, began when she gave her son a stepping stone toward their dream: by teaching them how to sew. The rest is Drag Race history.
The rest of Kristi and Gigi’s “growing up queer” anecdotes make their relationship more than endearing, too. “I knew that Gigi was always a kid who could sing and dance and really needed somewhere to channel all that energy,” Kristi once told Vulture. “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.”
This might be controversial for believers in traditional parenting. But, evidently, controversial warrants a double-take once in a while. In a world where the early acceptance of a queer child is a touchy subject among parents, Kristi made one life-changing decision simply by supporting her son. Mama Goode, one hell of a good mom, is living, breathing proof that great things can happen when you give your child the room to figure out who they are for themselves. Better this than stifling them in the hopes that they fulfill somebody else’s prejudiced expectations. (To briefly touch on the literature: studies have looked into the link between family rejection and LGBTQIA+ youth well-being, where “rejecting behaviors by parents can increase risks of numerous mental and physical health dangers including depression, suicidality, substance abuse, psychological distress, low self-esteem, HIV/AIDS infection, and others.”)
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Dearest Darlingest Momsie, Today is your birthday! And yet, you haven’t seemed to have aged since my very first memories of you. I want to start by saying thank you for giving me a childhood that I will never take for granted. For allowing me to discover my own identity, for realizing who I was meant to be and feeding the flame, and for bribing me with various dolls to audition for children’s theatre every summer. I don’t have a clue what I would do or where I would be if I didn’t have you in my life. Take today to be vain, spend it with the same love that you pour out into the world- but direct it towards yourself. You deserve it! I love you more than words can say!! Much Love, Sam
“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,” Kristi went on to tell Vulture. “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.”
As the season went on, it was like ticking boxes off a checklist. All of Gigi’s admirable traits began to make sense. The confidence. The drive. The well-cultivated talents. The self-esteem. They all hark back to formative years blessed by genuine support. “I realized at a very early age, luckily, that I don’t care what other people think. It’s just only made me stronger and have more faith in who I am,” shared Gigi in one episode. “I am so thankful to have the mother that shaped me into the person I am today.”
In several interviews and once on the show, they also discussed knowing at a young age that they were gay, sharing how their mom reacted: “When I was 12, my mother brought me to my uncle who is gay… My uncle was the first person to talk to me about gay culture and the LGBTQIA+ community. My uncle was the first person who told me who RuPaul was,” they said. “He’s a big reason why I am so comfortable with who I am.”
But it all circles back to Mama Goode. In an interview with IndieWire, Gigi called their mother their secret weapon: “At age 16, me, a new drag queen, didn’t quite know how to put things together and my mom would see me trying to walk out the door and be like: ‘No, no. No. Let’s go back downstairs; let’s find a different glove for you.’ And that turned into her making…a vintage Christian Dior wedding dress-type style,” they recounted. “And it skyrocketed into me becoming the designer and her becoming the puzzle maker. And it’s just been a team effort ever since.”
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A little inspiration from a certain burger chain.. I had to create the fabric, first sewing strips of red and white then sewing into a checkerboard. The White shirt fabric was embroidered with ‘GIGI’ (shout out to Dilar’s Embroidery in Woodstock) then made into a bodysuit. Thankfully it fit!
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Well, this is it!!! I can’t believe this crazy ride is almost over. You have gone from my little baby to a beautiful, strong, confident queen and I couldn’t be more proud. Your brothers are beyond proud as well and I’m so lucky you guys always have each other’s backs. No matter what happens tonight, you’ll ALWAYS be a winner baby!! #TEAMGIGI forever💕💕💕💕💕
Gigi Goode’s entire journey was such a refreshing story to watch unfold in contrast to the handful of Drag Race contestants who have shared painful experiences about damaged relationships with their parents––of whom some did not know their children joined the reality series or did drag at all. The silver lining is that when it comes to the LGBTQIA+, there is strength and beauty in the family they make along the way (this is said all the time within the community). But of course, the ultimate dream is for the love, support, and acceptance to come from immediate family first. In an ideal world, it starts at home.
So it’s just wildly comforting to know that there are queer people like Sam/Gigi lucky enough to live out that ideal. The hope is that other parents can follow in their good mama’s footsteps.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver