Interview with Dro Tisci from the Haus of Tisci

Justin Singh

If you live under a rock, then you probably don't know about Legendary on HBO. Legendary is a competition show that showcases the talents of Underground Ballroom Houses. The Ballroom Scene originated in New York and has since been on peaks and valleys of popularity starting from Madonna's Vogue single from the 90s, and now will popular television shows like Legendary and Pose. 

Ballroom Culture is known for setting trends in all aspects of life by the Black LGBTQ+ community, specifically Black Trans Women, who also dominate in Ballroom. Legendary provides a platform for these underground houses to showcase their talent and skills in dance, performance, and star quality. 

A popular house from Season 2, Haus of Tisci, is one of those houses that was able to use the platform and showed the world that they are a force to be reckoned with. We at JJ Malibu had the opportunity to speak with one of the members, Dro Tisci. Check out the interview below:

Hello Dro, thank you so much for speaking with us at JJ Malibu. We are huge fans of the Haus of Tisci and your work as an individual. 

When did you first become interested in the underground Ballroom scene?

I was first introduced to the scene when I moved to the east coast in 2012. I attended University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and that is where I was first introduced to vogue. My Bestfriend (Legendary Pusscee West @swanofvogue) was always practicing with Stanley Tisci @stanleygloverjr, DYU Marc Jacobs @davondyu, Yummy Prodigy @yumsgum, Allison Prodigy @. She invited me to a ball because she wanted to walk (Philly’s First Friday’s) and I was so resistant but she really wanted me to go so I went. I was there from 12am-6am, fell asleep, and when I woke up the ball was starting and I will never forget the energy that was in the room. Everyone was so lively, so flamboyant, was so free, and I loved being surrounded by that vibe. She finally walked and everyone wanted to know who she was, inviting her to join their houses, and I was standing on the side happy for her, but so uninterested. Fast forward to 2018 I walked my first ball as a 007 and Legendary Renaldo ex Milan, Tisci, Now Overall Father Alpha Omega saw me and made me his personal gay child, and I joined The Impeccable Haus of Tisci.

Was there a lot of practicing and training involved? What was that journey like?

I am a technically trained dancer. I’ve been training technically since I was 8 years old. I still as a professional sometimes feel like a student. I am always learning something new about the art form in itself, and my body as its changing with time and age. I started training in tap, and days later moved into ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, African, salsa, etc. I trained through middle school, and high school. I took a year off after high school to continue my training, and flew to UArts for one year of college. I trained with Debbie Allen @therealdebbieallen, Monica Guy (Jasmine Guy from a different world’s sister), Arthur Mitchel, Otis Sallid, Kyme Sallid, Alonzo King, Chester Whitmore to name a few. Yes I still practice til this day in every style. Once I put voguing under my belt and started walking balls, I’m always practicing and playing around. My journey has been a whirlwind. Dance in general has taken me to places I never would have imagined visiting.  

Did you receive support from your family and friends when you first started out? How about now?

I received support from my family when it came to dancing. Once I joined the ballroom scene I didn’t tell my family at all. I didn’t want to be judged, and I just wanted to be free so initially when I started walking in 2018 I didn't tell my family. My friends were extremely supportive, and loved it, once my family found out after I posted it on social media I did get some backlash from my mom, but over time, my mom understood what was going on and all of my family became supportive. I had a heart to heart moment before I got on Legendary so everything was clear and out in the open. My family has always been supportive of what I do.

Who are some of your biggest inspirations in the Ballroom scene?

Some of my biggest inspirations in the ballroom scene are Jack Mizrahi Gorgeous Gucci, Dashaun Wesley Basquiat, Kevin JZ Prodigy, Leiomy Amazon, MC Debra, Sinia Alaia, Mercedes, Pusscee West, Boogie Revlon (RIP), Legendary Renaldo Alpha Omega, Tamiyah 007, Kristina Tsunami, just to name a few. 

Who are some people/celebrities that inspire you outside of Ballroom? Do they inspire your craft in any way?

Beyonce, Keke Palmer, Jay-Z, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube. 

ALL of these individuals have amazing talent, but they are all business oriented, self made, and have inspired so many across the world with their talent. I have also met, and either worked with or had short conversations with 6 of these individuals and they are all so down to earth and beautiful humans beings. They inspire me to continue to push and strive, fight for what I want and push boundaries.

Do you have a favourite category that you’ve walked?

I walk schoolboy realness, I walk twist, and on legendary I walked European & All American Runway. I love walking schoolboy realness and twist. Those are honestly the only 2 categories that I have walked in the ballroom scene so they are both my favorite. I can’t really walk one category without the other.  

What’s a Ballroom moment that you will never forget?

2 moments! First moment was winning Schoolboy realness, and a pool of schoolboys in 2019. 
Another moment was walking the Give Me A Clip Ball in 2019 as well where I had to sit (battle) 3 people before I was able to sit down and move on to the next round of battles. I didn’t win but it was a huge moment for me to have sat some major people in the ballroom scene for me to have been so new. 

Do you think shows like Legendary and Pose accurately depict the Ballroom scene? What are some things that the shows are missing?

I will start with Pose. I think that Pose depicts Ballroom in its best light. It took you through peoples journey in the scene and is a great representation of how ballroom began and what it was like back in the day. I also appreciate that they brought ballroom Icons, Legends, Statements, and Stars to be apart of the production. 
Legendary I think is a great way for people to be introduced to what ballroom is and the competition aspect of it. I don’t think that it is a good depiction of ballroom. Even though its people on the show that are in ballroom, I don't think that it depicts the actual essence. It is a voguing competition show made for television. You will definitely have a general understanding of ballroom, but I think for both Pose and Legendary, its made for television and in order to get the real essence of ballroom, you have to go to an actual ball.

For those who haven’t been to a ball but are interested, what are some First Timer Tips and Etiquette you can share?

If you have never been to a ball I think the best advice I can give you is find a good place to stand so you can see everything well enough and understand what is going on, if you have friends in the scene, go with one of them so they can explain what exactly is going on. Etiquette never stand in the runway, try not to be in peoples way, and just have a good time. Going to a big ball for your first time may or may not be overwhelming but you will definitely have a great time. Also if you want to walk a category make sure you are ready. I remember on a few occasions girls would try to come out and walk but didn't come in what the category was calling for or was walking the wrong thing at the wrong time. So if you want to attend come on out, if you want to walk make sure you are prepared and ready. 

How do you genuinely feel about your elimination on Legendary? Would you do anything differently?

I don’t think that we should’ve been eliminated in all honesty. Our performance wasn't the strongest of the night, but it surely wasnt the worst. I think since we won 25,000 dollars for the money ball, they had to find a way to make the season interesting and get us off the show, because we were ready to make it to the finale episode no questions asked. Honestly I wouldn’t have done anything differently. Everything happens for a reason and I am actually proud of my house and what we did. The fans speak for us and show our outrage, so it feels good, extremely satisfying I must say. 

Would House of Tisci return to Legendary if asked?

I’m sure #Teamtisci would return to legendary for an all star season, ABSOLUTELY. Now would we return to do the competition all over again absolutely not, but for an all star season, sure we would show up and show out! 

If you had to select the judging panel, who would you choose?

Honestly I would choose More people in the ballroom scene that are notable. I like the judges now, Law is controversial but has some really good things to say sometimes, Leiomy is ballroom, Jameela is amazing I just love her, Meghan is cool, but to add I would add Amiyah Scott to be on permanently, I would add Kevin JZ Prodigy, and I would add Tempress Maison Margiela or Pony Zion from ABDC (Americas Best Dance Crew) 

What’s next on the agenda for you? Do you have any exciting projects or shows you can share with us?

Yes as a matter of fact, I am currently working on Legendary Season 3 as An Assistant choreographer. SO dope to be back with the Legendary family. I also have some award shows and projects coming up as well. Can’t say too much about them but I most certainly will be on a television screen near you ❤️❤️❤️ 

Thank you so much for speaking with us! You can find all of Joshua’s social medias linked below!

Instagram: @Drotisci
Facebook: Dro Tisci
Twitter: @Hydro_licks
Youtube: Dro Tisci 

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