For over two decades, the legendary New York based House of Xtravaganza has been vogueing its way to fame and glory. Adding to their iconic resume, the Xtravas have recently been featured in the January 2013 issue of Vogue Japan with non other than the beautiful top model, Joan Smalls.
We caught up with budding model and house member, Juan Xtravaganza, to chat about such an accomplishment with not only the fashion world, but for the undergound world of Vogue and the Ballroom Scene as well.
-So first thing’s first; How crazy was it to be a part of not only Vogue Japan, but to work with one of the industry’s top models right now, Joan Smalls?
It’s not just crazy, it’s out of this world! I could have never imagined being a part of such a prestigious project at this point in my career. A spread in Vogue is what every real and dedicated model aspires to book. Working with top model, Joan Smalls, was truly a pleasure. She has an incredible energy on set and embraced the concept of “vogueing”. It was also an honor to shoot with a renowned photographer such as Terry Richardson, who is amazing at what he does.
-The House of Xtravaganza has a long history of rising into mainstream media and representing inner city ballroom culture in a positive light. In what ways do you feel that the house serves as a role model for other younger gays of color?
The concept of a house family is to support and nurture its members. The house of Xtravaganza does just that. We as a unit, encourage each other to be the best at whatever it is we do. We strive for greatness. Giving back to the community, and teaching younger kids the history of gay culture are just the half of it. We also show that just because you are gay and a person of color, that doesn’t mean you can’t rise above your circumstances.
-Do you believe there are/will be any negative backlash for the House in regards to integrating into Pop Culture?
I don’t believe so. It hasn’t in the past. Madonna proved this with her 1990 release of “Vogue”. The House has taken part in an art form that has gone from underground to mainstream within music, movies, and television. The ballroom scene has also grown immensely and is now something that spans world wide. Pop culture has come a long way since then. With acts like Lady GaGa and Nicki Minaj, the envelope has been pushed once more.
-You come from a line of house members that found fame and success in the fashion world. In what ways will Juan Xtravaganza leave his mark?
I plan on creating a legacy of my own, leaving my own mark by creating not just a name, but a brand for myself. Building a name that would be known and respected, not just in the ballroom scene, but in the industry as well. Juan Xtravaganza, the model is only the beginning.
You can finally find a copy of Joan covering Vogue Japan in US stores across the country. Congratulations Juan and the entire House of Xtravaganza! Continue breaking boundaries and keep us entertained.