I would like to start by saying that I really really really love the things that Trixie Mattel and Katya do, both individually and together. In fact, I’d say Trixie is building the type of public persona that made RuPaul a household name.
I also would like to say that UGHhh really shook up the YouTube game. From the combination of these two queens’ personalities to the editing… it showed that you can do a lot sitting in a basement in front of a green screen talking about Contact.
So, when I heard that Trixie and Katya were writing a book, and that book was going to be a “Guide to Modern Womanhood”, y’all my heart went pitter patter. I am here for the sarcastic analysis of the concepts of modern womanhood by two men who are professional women for a living. I ordered the hardcover because I knew the pictures would be works of art, and I got the audiobook because I knew that these two played off each other so well so the audobook must be awesome.
This book? Is just ok.
“Trixie and Katya’s Guide to Modern Womanhood” is what happens when people who make a living not taking themselves seriously are forced to take themselves seriously, but also don’t want to take themselves seriously. This book doesn’t know if it’s a humorous book or an actual self help book. It is a “Guide to Womanhood” in the sense that it borrows a lot from every other formulaic self-help guidebook out there; look presentable, eat reasonably, don’t be a dick to people. However, there is a lack of real depth of issues; no discussion about safe sex for example. There are also moments of real depth and advice, but they’re bookended with the PG-13 version of UGHhh style humor.
Fuck, they don’t even say fuck in here.
I think my biggest issue with this book is the amount of Trixie and Katya that was injected in there was subdued. And these two aren’t subdued Queens. Case in point:
This was especially noticeable in the audiobook. Both Trixie and Katya were dialed in at a 5 when we’re used to a 50. Katya was downright calm. It didn’t fit with what the expectations are for these performers. There are sections that are written to be a conversation between the two and it’s just… painful. You can tell they recorded it separately (which makes sense because of schedules) and all the energy between them was lost to the ether.
Side note: If Katya ever wanted to leave drag and needed another vocation, her reading voice is fantastic. I’d fall asleep listening her read the phone book; it just did not mesh with this book. She’s more of a novel reader as opposed to a novelty reader.
Before you think I’m here to drag the drag queens, there are some shining moments. The photography in this book is STUNNING. The layout in this book is wonderful as well; it turns like a magazine. I like the way that they divided the topics between the two. Katya reflecting on drug issues and self love was moving. Trixie gave some solid advice on breakups, finances, and makeup. However, right when you think you’re about to get deep with them, it turns to back to being jokey.
Reading and listening to this feels like the editors cut all the edge away to make this marketable to the most amount of people and to get it sold in Target. Which makes sense seeing as Drag has been getting the Radio Disney style marketing treatment over the past few years. Even more sense when you factor in that Trixie has been dropping a documentary, makeup, and music over the past year.
Then again, you have queens like Willam who released his “self-help” book back in 2016 and managed to fill it with some real gritty life advice and not falter at all in his trademark sass and wit.
Ultimately, I’d give this book 3 stars. If you are a massive fan of Trixie and Katya, you’ll probably get this book if for no other reason than to have in your library and marvel at the amazing photography. It’s a coffee table book that probably wouldn’t scare your open-minded grandmother, but if you’re looking for real advice or something that will make you laugh as hard as the web show, you’re not going to find it here.