With over 60 million views and counting, many of you are already familiar with her viral YouTube hit, Bon Qui Qui at King Burger from “MADtv”. What you may not know is Anjelah Johnson has starred in such films as “Our Family Wedding”, “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” and “Marmaduke”. Johnson, a former Oakland Raiders cheerleader, comes to Nashville Saturday March 9th for a show at the Andrew Jackson Hall. I was lucky enough to catch up with Johnson where she shared Hollywood’s craziness, talked about Bon Qui Qui’s latest plans and her love for the GLBT community.
Last time we chatted you were going to hang back in LA a bit for pilot season. Has anything happened since then?
You know what’s funny is we must’ve been talking about this time last year because it’s pilot season again. (laughs)
Nothing too productive came out of last year so who knows this year but this is how it works in Hollywood. You just never know. You hear these stories about people who were doing this and then all of a sudden their star blew up the next day—I think a perfect example, what’s his name that plays Cam of “Modern Family”?
Yeah. In giving his acceptance speech he was saying to all the actors out there who have an audition tomorrow at 5:30 in Santa Monica-- keep going for it. I went to every single audition and he’s whatever age he is and has finally broke in and made it. You never know what can happen.
Even my story is a perfect example of that—moving to LA and starting as an extra on TV and not knowing anything about acting, getting an agent being in a union to where I am today to having been on “MADtv” and different films. It’s a crazy journey being an actor here in Hollywood but it’s a lot of fun and exciting. You never know what’s going to happen.
Well in only 6 years you’ve had a Comedy Central special, DVD, CD and viral Internet videos- does it seem like it has happened over night for you?
Yes it does, actually. I’ve been in LA for about 9 years now but it still feels like I’ve only been out here for a few years. I feel like I’m a kid when it comes to the concept of time. They don’t understand what time really is.
Last year when we spoke, you had filmed the music video for Bon Qui Qui’s first single “I’m a Cut You”. Now that it’s been released what was the reaction?
It was great. Some people were absolutely surprised to hear from Bon Qui Qui and were like ‘What? She’s back and she’s a rapper? And her music is actually good? That’s crazy.’ People were really excited about it and she came out with a new look—she’s different, she’s kinda upgraded. People were really receptive of the music and the video.
Speaking of Bon Qui Qui, you’ve said part of the inspiration for the character came from your brother, who you’ve described as ghetto fabulous gay . . . is he your go-to?
Oh yeah, he’s my go-to for sure. Ya know, I have a lot go-tos; let’s keep it real. My brother, he does my hair, he’s my guy who I call if I’m having an issue and I don’t want a realistic resolution but if I just want somebody to be mad with me or talk crap with me or something. He’ll be like, “what, how stupid,” and be with me in my little pity party and then we’ll get over it.
He’s hilarious. He doesn’t take crap from anybody so that’s kind of where Bon Qui Qui comes from. She says what everybody wishes they could say and that’s kind of who my brother is.
So he’s the funnier one?
Yeah, he is. Here’s the thing; he’s funny but if you put him on the spot, forget it; he’ll close up.
So what’s next for Bon Qui Qui?
Well, we came out with another video with Bon Qui Qui in New York. It has some really great cameos in there. A$AP Rocky is in there, Victoria’s Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio is in there. Basically Bon Qui Qui now works for Alexander Wang at his flagship store in New York and of course she’s up to her same old antics and gets fired again.
We’re getting ready to shoot another music video for her other song “No Boyfriend” where it’s actually Bon Qui Qui and another character of mine named Tammy from the Nail Salon. They teamed up together for a song, so we’re gonna shoot that.
You have a huge gay following and I don’t want to use the word crazy but do you have any favorite gay fan stories?
I don’t know about crazy but my favorite was one guy came to my show in Dallas total in full-on Bon Qui Qui drag mode. I guess he won a contest but then he started performing as Bon Qui Qui or something. So he came to my show decked out and I brought him on stage and he was working it—like he was a better Bon Qui Qui than I was. That was a lot of fun. I like to see people embrace her.
Well we’re very excited about your Nashville show. It’s actually a very gay night in Nashville. The Indigo Girls, The HRC Dinner—
Seriously, you’re telling me I have competition?
Yeah, I may have to sneak out of somewhere to get my laugh on.
You have to.
Well thank you for catching up. Best of luck with your Nashville show!
You too! Tell all of my gays hi and that I love them.
For more information on Anjelah Johnson or to purchase tickets for her upcoming show in Nashville visit her website.