Celebrating DiDa Ritz

Thu. December 14, 2023 7:40 AM by Ross Forman

dida ritz

photo credit // brad gebbia

Birthday party for the beloved RPDR alum on Saturday at Hydrate Nightclub

DiDa Ritz, a popular local performer and host who has been doing drag for close to 20 years, is celebrating her birthday on Saturday, December 16, at Hydrate Nightclub (3458 North Halsted Street) in the Lakeview area commonly called Boystown.

“(I am) taking it day by day … those two-day hangovers are no joke anymore,” DiDa Ritz said, laughing – fittingly.

When asked what partygoers can expect on Saturday night, she said, “Lots of love and laughter.”

DiDa Ritz has lived in Chicago since 2004 and now calls Rogers Park home.

She is a regular at Hydrate.

“Come ready to have fun,” said DiDa Ritz, who admitted she has not yet finalized her plans for the Saturday party but has a list of options.

“I’m extremely focused on my art and the business that comes along with it, and also evolving with the times and constantly learning new aesthetics to play with in my craft,” she said. “I’m still learning that there is a big fanbase/Stans (The DiDdles) out here rooting for me, and I’ve always maintained a more private low-key image with my life. So, I am learning how to connect with them and let them in a little more. I’m grateful to be doing drag for 20 years and I’m almost 40.”

DiDa Ritz shot to worldwide fame in early-2012 as a contestant on Season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. She was eliminated on the 9th episode of the show, placing 6th.

In the season finale of Season 4, Sharon Needles was crowned the winner, beating runners-up Chad Michaels and Phi Phi O'Hara. Latrice Royale was awarded the season’s Miss Congeniality.

DiDa Ritz said it never gets old talking about RPDR, but banter about All Stars is another story. So many want her to shine against some of the show’s elite.

“(It’s) certainly a privilege to being a RU girl. But it’s also extremely hard at times,” DiDa Ritz said. “The only way I can describe it (is), it’s like being part of a sorority, but being left out of the weekly meeting. You’ve gone through rush week, you’ve been initiated, you prepared for all the events. Then are told you’re not good enough or rich enough. I’ve just learned to smile and nod my head in silence and be thankful that I can work in these rough times with RuPaul’s name and tails. Thanks Momma Charles.”

When asked about her season, DiDa Ritz said, “The talent was there.”

She added: “I’m super proud and honored that I got be to a part of what was really some of the most iconic Drag Race moments.”

Dida Ritz said she does not watch RPDR nowadays unless she knows a contestant.

 So, who is the DiDa Ritz that we may not know?

“My favorite thing about Beyonce is her privacy,” she said. “I didn’t realize until a few years ago, but I really respect how private she is and that she doesn’t feel the need to give us everything. We live in a world now where people want to share a lot and I kind of still like laying low and doing my job.”

Now On-Stage … Dida Ritz

Single or Dating: “Am very happy the past five years with someone.”

What Got You Started in Drag: “Fashion” 

First Drag Appearance: “Halloween, like most of us.”

Favorite DJs: “Anyone shirtless” 

Favorite Drag Queens: “Any Queen who smells like laundry detergent.”

Hobbies: Doll-making 

Passion: “Peace on earth, and I mean ‘Legit peace for everyone.’ We all deserve it.” 

Favorite TV Show: Living Single 

Favorite Movie: Dunston Checks In 

Favorite app: Shazam 

Favorite Sport: Fencing 

Little-Known Fact: “I’m in the process of reading three books (Jackie & Diana, the new Jim Crow and Frankenstein) 

Many Will Be Surprised to Learn: “I enjoy cooking on the side. All the channels I subscribe to on YouTube are cooking channels of some sort.” 

Boxers or Briefs: “Depends on what I’m wearing.”

Chicago’s LGBT Community: “Unique, in my Beyoncé voice.” 

Favorite Events/Nights Within Chicago’s LGBT Community: “A lot of them are gone, such as Boom Boom Room and Wangs. But the one that comes close (to the top of the list) is ‘Queen.’ I don’t go often, (mostly just) when I’m hosting, but I always have such a good time there dancing in the DJ booth.”

More Within Chicago’s LGBT Community: “I feel like I have become a community aunty to the younger generations. I notice a lot of people come to me for advice or trust me with secrets to keep, or just for my opinion on community issues. In the past, I’ve had to sit down and facilitate mediation in between entertainment and bars mangers/owners on better work environments. I’ve always seen that as a sign of respect. What it tells me is that you trust me because you know. I’ve put in the time and work for the community.”