The Unsinkable SHELLEY NOVAK
by Herb Sosa, cover photo by Jamie Robinson
with excerpts from mikejeknavorian.com 120 seconds interview
South Beach legend Shelley Novak talks
about what’s unique about Miami Beach, and
how drag can change the world
Where did you grow up?
In a little town called Saugus, which is just south of Boston.
I think the name is Native-American for “I have to move the fuck
out of here.” But it was the perfect Currier-and-Ives-type childhood.
How long have you lived in South Florida? Since 1992.
Why did you move here? After my first long-term relationship
broke up, I had to reinvent myself. All of my friends from home
had moved to South Beach, and they told me that if I had to start
all over, that Miami Beach was the place to do it. When I first
moved here, we all ended up living in the same building, and we
joked that it was our very own little Melrose Place. New England
is a great place to be a kid, but Miami is a great place to be an
How do you most enjoy spending your time? After all those
years in the clubs, I love my quiet time. At this age, it all seems
to revolve around film, food and naps (laughs).
What celebrity would you like to sleep with?
It would have to be a three-way with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
and Miguel Gomez from FX’s The Strain.
Who do you admire?
My mom, because she’s the strongest person that I know.
If you could bring one person back from the dead, who would
it be, and why?
I think it would be Divine. She was such an inspiration. And the
punk scene stole the mohawk from her.
How did Shelley Novak come about? The name, look, etc?
I derived the name from two of hollywoods brashest , most
outspoken and talented actress of the 1950s’ Shelley Winers
and Kim Novak
What has been the secret to her longevity & popularity?
I refuse to go away!! lol but seriously its all I know how to do at
this stage of the game, also always be on time and be happy
and be someone that people will want to work with, no one ever
says “quick get me that uncooperative asshole on the phone".
What are 3 things you NEVER leave the house without? As
Tommy and/or as Shelley?
My phone, My dog and a plastic bag to pick up his business -
I'm glamorous AND practical.
If I could give advice to a new
performer, I would say…
Learn to be able to say no to things
you don’t feel right about doing, don’t
wait around for others to give you a
platform and or a stage you must
make your own. Be nice to people
and most importantly get paid in cash
up front before you get in the car.
What are Shelley’s eternal beauty secrets? Diet regime?
Eat less red meat and ALWAYS, ALWAYS no matter how drunk
you are wash your make up off before bed.
Tell us about the Shelley Novak Awards… how did they start, when, why and for who?
In 1992 before the internet - I said to myself “how can I get my name in all the papers ?”. I figured they have the Emmys and the Tonys
and the Oscars, why not the Shelleys? I wanted to celebrate all the queens on South Beach that don’t get the recognition they deserve
and give them a platform from which to thank the community and their peers - if someone isn’t nominated then I have them present an
award - I go out of my way to included everyone in town in some way.
When is the next Awards, and how can one go?
The 27th annual Shelley Novak awards will be held February 29th at las Rosa from 9pm-5am the awards start at 10pm and the entry is
free - im very excited about this year not only do I have Yoko Oso and Madonovan as my cohosts we have three live rock bands! ...and a
sound guy and we are being produced by Panther Cordetz and the good people at the black market las Rosas.
Who will you be wearing on Feb 29th@LasRosas?
I'm like Jane Fonda I will go in the hamper and smell the pit’s and if they don’t offend ill throw it on.
Before I sign off id like to say to the public thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me the honor of making you laugh and to
have the chance to entertain for 27 wonderful years - XOXO love Shelley.
Follow me on instagram at @JUSTSAYSHELLEY
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