In 11 Questions, The A.V. Club asks interesting people 11 interesting questions—and then asks them to suggest one for our next interviewee.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Big Freedia brought the Big Easy’s bounce music to the masses with albums like Dancehall Queen Diva, Just Be Free, and Big Freedia Hitz Vol. 1. Freedia’s reach has, more recently, extended beyond the music world and into both literature—she released her autobiography, God Save The Queen Diva!, this summer—and television, with the fourth season of her show, Big Freedia: Queen Of Bounce, premiering this Wednesday, September 30, on Fuse.
Big Freedia is touring this fall, with dates all over the U.S.
Big Freedia: I don’t know. Oh, God. Because all of my jobs—I’ve felt like they’ve given me experience in life. They’ve given me the experience to go where I’m at now. I would say, out of all of them, the nursing home was probably the worst. It was picking up a lot of people and wiping shit and piss up and all of that. So that was probably the worst.
The A.V. Club: How long did you do that job?
BF: For about three years.
AVC: So it was bad, but it wasn’t intolerable.
BF: Yeah, it was bad, but they had some really nice people, like family members and patients I dealt with and they loved me, so it was easy for me. A lot of the other workers caught hell.
BF: I felt successful really young when I started working for Burger King. When I became a shift manager, I felt even more successful because I was so young and I was helping out opening and closing the store and running shifts. So, at an early age.
AVC: So you’ve always felt successful, even before you were doing your own music?
BF: Even feeling successful directing a choir in a church is such an awesome feeling.
BF: My plan would be to really stop crime and to try and make the world a better place.
AVC: That’s not a very villainous plan, but it’s okay. I guess it would be villainous to some people who aren’t very great to begin with.
BF: Oh no, they definitely wouldn’t want that, but there’s definitely a lot that needs to be done in the world.
BF: Well, I was a very fat kid so I was very likable and lovable for some people. I was very upstanding and I was very much into a lot of activities. I was very much a people person for everything at school like cheerleading squad, yearbook staff, choir director, student council. I was a part of everything and was always into something keeping my mind focused on something positive as I was growing up.
AVC: Were you coming up with your own music and stuff when you were younger?
BF: I would always kind of creative. I had a gospel song in my own head and would do the arrangement in a certain way so it was just my own arrangement. Being the choir director in so many choirs that sang the same song, I would always try and take something and flip it.
AVC: That’s a good idea.
BF: We had to do it just to keep our different choirs phenomenal. Everybody was basically singing the same songs with any of the hot songs coming out. It was just the way that you arranged them or the way that you made your choir sing it vocally that got people’s attention and we were definitely really good doing that.
BF: My celebrity crush. Oh, God. Male or female?
AVC: It doesn’t matter.
BF: I would say LL Cool J. He was hot; he still is.
BF: Probably something funky from Beyoncé; something hot. That’s my girl. Probably something from the Queen Bey herself.
AVC: Anything specific come to mind?
BF: Probably “Diva.”
AVC: Have you ever met Beyoncé?
BF: Oh, yeah. Definitely. We’ve hung out several times. That’s my girl.
BF: I’m actually still preparing for a video shoot for one of my songs all today. I’m running around and preparing for that.
AVC: What song?
BF: This new song that I have with this artist called Elephant.
AVC: And when does that video come out?
BF: It’s going to be out really soon. As soon as I turn my part in, they’ll be editing it in and then it’ll be out. Maybe two weeks tops.
BF: I don’t think so. There’s just one of me.
BF: Nursing. I’m experienced with nursing, cooking, managing, so I can put a lot of things on my resume.
AVC: Are there any of those you wouldn’t mind going back to if you had to?
BF: I would definitely go back to nursing if I had to. I’d still be helping people and making a difference in the world.
AVC: And people always need nurses.
BF: There are always jobs around the world for that.
BF: I collect elephants. I like elephants, and I have quite a few elephants in my house.
AVC: Why elephants?
BF: It’s a very cute animal and I always did like elephants as a kid; they’re big and they’re soft spoken, but they’re so sweet. I used to collect roosters, but did away with the roosters, and now I’m on to elephants. I can’t have roosters all over my kitchen.
BF: Oh, God. Everything. Like, really, everything.
It would have to be something authentic from New Orleans. Maybe some gumbo, some red beans and rice, some corn bread, fried chicken; something really good.
AVC: Do you have any idea where you’d want it from? Like you want your mom’s gumbo or would you want it from a restaurant you really liked?
BF: Well, I wouldn’t be able to get my mom’s gumbo, so it would probably have to be a restaurant or someone who cooks gumbo really well. Probably my mother-in-law.
Bonus 12th question from Chris Carmack: Has there ever been a moment where you thought you were going to quit doing what you’re doing now?
BF: Of course. Before it even started blowing up, there was always a moment where I had a little doubt in my mind like, “Is this something I really want to do?” Definitely.
AVC: What do you want to ask the next person?
BF: Are you happy with the way you are living with the job that you have? Is it something that you want to be doing?
AVC: Are you?
BF: I am; I definitely am. I’m living out a lot of my dreams that I really didn’t plan out, but I had a vision of things that I wanted to do and that I wanted to make a change in the world and I am definitely living out those dreams.