How Steak Diane Is Bringing Drag to the New York Food Scene
From the ingredients they share to the rich cultures they reflect, the worlds of beauty and food — and the people who merge them — are in constant conversation. Welcome to Well Fed, a column that celebrates how we nourish our bodies, from face to plate. In this first edition, Todd Haim opens up about his extravagant alter ego, his shellfish-themed manicures, and why he’ll never shave his beard to do drag.
When I meet Todd Haim over shrimp cocktail and dirty martinis at Cervo’s, a mutual downtown haunt, there’s a third party there in spirit: Steak Diane, Haim’s cocktail-swilling, crustacean-loving alter ego. Her entire essence is based in extravagance, and though you won’t find her dancing on stage, her lust-worthy tablescapes, made-to-order diningwear, and content creations on Instagram are their own form of performance art.
“I’ve always considered her as a sort of grand New York hostess,” said Haim of his drag persona. “She’s a little bit older, she’s maybe once divorced. She’s got a piano lounge singer vibe, and she could honestly be like 50. I’ve never said that before, but she could be!” Steak Diane is the manifestation of Haim’s of-the-moment passion for seafood towers, sewing experience, and a social post after the 2016 election.
“I had been Jackie Kennedy for Halloween that year; I made the pink suit. I made a video on election day, and after [Clinton’s loss], I just feel like people on Instagram really responded to it,” Haim recalls. “It felt like such a time where making people laugh felt so important, so I just went from there.”