An Appreciation Post for Kristi Geggie, Biological Mother *and* Drag Mother to Gigi Goode
A prime 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, Gottmik’s journey as the first trans contestant on the show and pretty much everything from that glorious mess of a season nine reunion.
The story of Gigi Goode is one of the latest to join the ranks. 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, well-rounded top three in Drag Race herstory (perhaps next to Bianca, Adore and Courtney). Lastly, a 23-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. On the show, they were competitive but not crass, self-aware but not self-engrossed, confident but not cocky. And there was always 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 most of the looks that I brought, and she does not give herself enough credit, and she means the world to me.” It’s equally heartwarming to learn that fast-forward to 2021, she, too, was very hands-on with Symone, Gigi’s drag sister and the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 13. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and backtrack:
Kristi Geggie AKA Momma Goode went from interior designer and theatrical costume designer to unofficial drag mother. This second line of work began, unwittingly, when she gave her son sewing lessons. The rest is Drag Race history.
Kristi and Gigi’s “growing up queer” anecdotes are what make their relationship extra 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 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, controversy 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 a life-changing decision by simply, unequivocally supporting her son.
Momma Goode is living, breathing proof that great things can happen when you give your child the room to figure out who they are for themselves. And 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.”)
“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,” Kristi went on to tell Vulture. “[But] 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 made complete 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 again, it all circles back to Momma 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.”
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 home first.
So it’s just wildly comforting to know that there are queer people like Sam/Gigi lucky enough to live out that ideal (and Symone, to an extent, who also got to experience a similar kind of love and support via the surrogate drag mom). The only hope is that other parents can follow in this good mama’s footsteps.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver