Derrick Barry: “Life’s too short to worry about offending everyone”

The Britney Spears impersonator and former RuPaul's Drag Race contestant spoke to loaded about War On Everyone.

Derrick Barry with Alexander Skarsgaard in War On Everyone
Derrick Barry with Alexander Skarsgaard Together in War on Everyone

Remember the name Derrick Barry.

A former contestant on the ever-watchable RuPaul’s Drag Race, Derrick was the breakout star from the show’s eighth season and looks on course for big things. 

Most recently cast in John Michael McDonagh’s War on Everyone, Barry put in a memorable turn as the lover of one rather unfortunate hoodlum on the run from the uber-offensive cop pairing of Michael Pena and Alexander Skarsgaard.

With no issue off the table, Derrick spoke exclusively to loaded about how to pull off the perfect Britney Spears impression, working with Hollywood A-listers and why some people need to cheer the fuck up.

 


loaded: What makes a good Britney Spears impersonation – can you give us any tips?

Derrick: The hair and hair flips! Britney is known for her hair choreography among so many other trademarks. She’s really selling sensuality & sexuality on stage. I think it’s important to feel sexy and confident when impersonating Britney. 

loaded: You’ve also impersonated Lady Gaga – what are the key differences between a Britney and a Gaga impersonation?

Derrick: Impersonating Britney was easier for me to channel because I was a fan for years before starting in this business. It came natural to me since she’s bubbly, smiley and happy on stage. Gaga is darker, moody and gritty so I had to dig deeper into my theatre background to find those character attributes. 

loaded: You met Britney for the first time on The Tonight Show – what was that like? A bit surreal?

Derrick: Having Britney lock eyes with me for the first time was magical. It was only the second time that I dressed up. She talked to me while they filmed me dancing in the audience and she even clapped for me! I still can’t believe it was real. It really gave me the confidence to pursue female impersonating for a living. 

loaded: How did you end up working on War On Everyone?

Derrick: I work with a casting director named Jo Edna Boldin out of New Mexico. She has been my angel in the television/film business. She really pushed me for this role. I’m eternally grateful. 

loaded:What was it that attracted you to the script?

Derrick: I was honoured that I got to play a trans character. It never went in depth on how far Kimberly was along in her process, but she was more than a drag queen. She lived her life as a woman. I loved the strength and courage of the character. I hope there’s a sequel! 

“I was honoured that I got to play a trans character”

 

loaded:What was your favourite thing about working on the film?

Derrick: Working with Alexander Skarsgård, of course! Flying to Iceland to film in the town of Reykjavik and at Blue Lagoon was such an incredible bonus. The entire cast and crew were a dream team. 

loaded: War On Everyone has been described as “unapologetically offensive” do you think that’s a fair assessment or are some people being a little oversensitive?

Derrick: I think people need to lighten up in general. The word “offensive” is thrown around and overused these days. Life’s too short to worry about offending everyone and apologizing along the way. I think all forms of entertainment should be remembered as escapism.

Escape your daily rituals so you can take a break and enjoy what’s right in front of you. People may even learn a few things about themselves along the way. 

loaded: Was there ever a moment either during filming or watching it back later that you thought maybe they took things a little too far?

Derrick: No, I believe that’s the point. I think Writer/Director John Michael McDonagh is brilliant and I love the film. 

loaded: What does the future hold for Derrick Barry?

Derrick: Art, dance, music, performing, television, film, etc. I’m not sure that I want or need to pick just one. I’ve always had my eyes set on SNL. Maybe one day. 

loaded: You’ve also featured on RuPauls Drag Race – if you could offer any advice to anyone joining that particular show, what would it be and why?

Derrick: Trust your gut, believe in yourself and please don’t let the criticism of the rest of the cast break you down. 

loaded: You’ve got your own catchphrase “It’s Derrick Bitch” – what, for you, makes a good catchphrase? We could do with some guidance.

Derrick: Well, mine is obviously borrowed from Britney. My real tag line would be, “I’m from sin city and I’m sending you straight to hell.” 

loaded: What would be your dream movie project to work on?

Derrick: Growing up, I always wanted Sally Field to play my Mom. She also has a gay son, but is so proud to be his Mom. I’ve always wanted to tell my story. A small town boy that moved to Hollywood then Vegas to pursue big dreams of entertaining.

I truly went from a black and white world to a life full of color. The story of a gay drag queen living in sin city with two boyfriends. Does it get any more colorful? Coming to a theatre near you…

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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.