Oh, Snap! It's Miss Toto
Thu. September 1, 2022 12:00 AM
by Steven Koch
The debut of Miss Toto was in Miami in 2015 at a party called, Counter Corner. She was one the first performers at the party and she performed “Fry That Chicken” by Mz. Peachez, and one of her best friends was a prop.
Miss Toto fed her friend Publix fried chicken while performing.
“I always want Miss Toto to be as authentic as I can be, in hopes of other people also living their lives authentically,” she said. “Miss Toto is a party girl, a socialite, a DJ, and your best friend … or your worst enemy, if people get on my bad side. I genuinely want people who experience drag through me to enjoy what I produce because drag is meant to be fun.”
Miss Toto was finishing her master's degree when she ventured into drag. “I started going out to experience the queer scene in Miami and really found a home there,” she said. “The people at that time in Miami really gave me a place to feel like I belonged, which I had never really felt before in my life.”
Now 29, Miss Toto is seemingly everywhere in Chicago. Just consider her schedule:
- One of the hosts at DS Tequila every other Wednesday.
- Is a rotating judge of Fresh Faces at Hydrate Nightclub on Thursdays.
- A member of the collective Unfriendly Black Hotties. Their standing party, with Miss Toto as the DJ, every first Friday at Hydrate.
- She also produces a Y2K party at Berlin on the third Thursday of the month, That's Hot.
- Also, a cast member for the all-Black alternative show at Berlin as well, Black Sheep.
- Is at Splash on most Sundays for SOAKED! drag brunch.
“I moved (to Chicago) because of the Black queer community and I wouldn't be living here and thriving without being a part of it,” she said. “I have traveled all over the world and have never experienced something as powerful and dynamic as Chicago drag.
“I would like to say I'm surprised with where I have ended up thus far, but I am grateful for the opportunities that have come to me because of my creativity and hard work. I have so many ideas in my head and drag gives me a creative outlet to put those things into the universe and the response from the public has been amazing. I am thankful and grateful for where I am now and I just want to keep moving forward, to see where it takes me.”
Miss Toto, who lives in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood, is originally from Maryland. She moved to Miami to pursue her master's degree at the University of Miami in 2014. She moved to Chicago in 2019.
“My biggest (career) moment so far probably would be opening for Rina Sawayama at the Riviera, which was sold out that night,” Miss Toto said. “When I was contacted about maybe having the gig, I didn't think I would get it. Then, to DJ to a sold-out venue for one of my favorite artists and for her to then tell me she loved my set … it was mind-blowing to think about, especially doing it in drag when I started drag a few years earlier just for fun.”
More From … Miss Toto
Looking ahead … 5 Years: “I (have) to be careful because everything I put into the universe happens. I know I am going to be producing my zine, GORE WHORE, again this year and producing a full album with visuals included. Eventually, I would love to get to a point where I am managing artists myself since I have been my own manager from the beginning and as a drag artist and DJ; I understand the business from a different perspective.”
The Real Miss Toto: “I am transparent, but my close friends and partner see a side of me that a lot of people don't. Miss Toto is an extension of me, sure, but she is also a character who I created. Miss Toto and Rock are not the same so some people may only see me as Miss Toto, the party girl, when in my day-to-day, I like to play video games, listen to vinyl, and hang out with my dog.”
Defining Moment: “The moment I knew I was on the right track was when my friend, Devan Shimoyama, did a portrait of me and it was displayed at the opening of his show at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. I flew up and performed at the opening in front of so many people, including my family. Andy Warhol also was one of my favorite artists growing up, so it felt wild to have a portrait of myself in this museum, hung up in the hall with so many other queer artists who inspire me.”
And, Finally: “Be on the lookout this fall for a lot of new things that I'm working. And if you want to find me, make sure you follow me on Instagram where I post all my upcoming gigs.”
Oh, Snap! is a photo-centric column to spotlight some of Chicago's most talented, unique and diverse personalities, such as drag queens and kings, bartenders, DJs and more. Oh, Snap! on GoPride.com features the photography of Steven Koch and stories from local journalist Ross Forman. If you'd like to be featured, please contact the editor.