Vincent Hill, a highly regarded wig and makeup artist at D.C.’s Arena Stage Theater and a longtime local drag entertainer who used the stage name Vicki Voxx, died May 1 at George Washington University Hospital of complications associated with cancer. He was 53.
Friends and associates describe Hill as a loving and caring person who seamlessly carried out his dual role as a popular and sought after drag performer at D.C. gay bars since the 1980s and his work since 2010 in helping to enhance the appearance of cast members at Arena Stage.
“If you have seen almost any Arena Stage show in recent years, then you have seen his outstanding work as our Wig, Hair and Makeup Supervisor,” a statement posted on the Arena Stage website says.
“Everyone who knew him, had the privilege to work with him, or were blessed enough to call him a friend will miss him terribly,” the statement says. “Vincent was an important part of the Arena Stage family whose kindness, caring attention, and talent as an artist and performer were at the core of what makes Arena what it is.”
Jazz musician Aaron Myers, who met Hill about seven years ago shortly after moving to D.C., said Hill’s warm and friendly demeanor and sincere interest in those he knew made it easy for the two to become close friends.
Myers said Hill was born and raised in D.C. and attended the city’s H.D. Woodson High School.
He said he came to learn that Hill’s persona as Vicki Voxx had long ago become a legend in D.C.’s drag community. In addition to establishing close ties to fellow drag performers, including Ella Fitzgerald, Kristina Kelly, and the late Mame Dennis, Hill was among the drag performers who supported community causes.
“At the time of the ‘80s and early ‘90s it was the drag community that was helping to raise money for those who were dying of HIV/AIDS and who needed assistance,” Myers said. “And they would do these shows all over raising money for the cause when the federal government had not yet designed a system to offer assistance.”
Vicki Voxx played an important part in those fundraising efforts, Myers said.
Kelly said Hill became part of the D.C. area drag community more than 30 years ago.
“We became friends quite some time ago,” said Kelly. “You know, the drag family sometimes is the only family some people have. We latch onto each other because this world is sometimes very difficult,” she said.
“He was a very good person. He did hair and wigs for a lot of the people in our community,” Kelly said. “He helped everyone.”
Myers said he was moved by Hill’s positive attitude when he visited him in the hospital about a week before his passing.
“He was asking me how I was doing,” said Myers. “He told me that he was not afraid to die. He was fearless until the end.”
But Myers said Hill told him something a while ago while the two were watching a drag show that he’ll never forget. Myers noted Hill pointed out that the drag performers, who were considerably younger than him, were not moving within the spotlight that was directed onto the stage.
“He said they’re dancing but they’re not dancing in their light,” Myers recounted. “He said if you can follow where the light is you can really, really touch this entire room. He said they’re really all over the place but if they can get into that light they’ll be OK.”
Added Myers, “And I think that’s what he’s done now. He’s found a new light and he’s sticking with it. I’m seeing all of the outpouring of love on his Facebook page. I can only see how he’s affected and left a legacy of love that really spans the United States and the world.”
Friends said they expect information about a celebration of life or memorial service to be announced shortly.