Overall Midwest Father AJ Ninja discusses Ninja comeback and “Painted Elegance Ball”

When you think of the House of Ninja, images of its iconic founder Willi instantly come to mind. His vogue style was the right mixture of contortionism meets precision; it put him in a class by himself. As he traveled the world, he brought along members of all ethnicities under his house. Today, nearly forty years since the “Godfather of Vogue” founded the international house, a new generation of members are poised to continue his legacy.

Chicago native AJ Ninja has been walking balls since 2002. AJ has made a name for himself, competing in Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville, Orlando, New York and Philadelphia. He joined Ninja in 2005. AJ Ninja shares his story as he takes on the role of the Overall Midwest Father of the Iconic House of Ninja. 

AJ poses with LA Mother Delores Ninja

PrideIndex (PI): Hi AJ Ninja. Let’s start by having you clarify, are you legendary? An icon? What exactly is your status in the ball scene? 

AJ Ninja (AJ): My status in the ballroom scene is long and legendary, but I consider myself a statement. 

PI: You consider yourself a statement but are you a statement? When the MC calls you out at the beginning of a ball for legends, statements, and stars, which title would they call you? 

AJ: It would be nice to be introduced as the legendary AJ Ninja. I’m not into titles. When I walk balls, I always make a statement. 

PI: Briefly describe your ballroom history, house affiliation, and what categories you’ve walked and won? 

AJ: In the beginning, I was in a Kiki house called Japan; after leaving there, I went to Ultra Omni – Chicago. I then went to Ninja, and then after Willi Ninja transitioned, I was in a dark place. I ended up going to Escada before coming back to a reactivated House of Ninja. Category wise I have always walked Old WayUrban StreetwearJunior Sex Siren, and Face

PI: Name three ballroom personalities that you admire.

AJ: I admire, God rest his soul, the recently passed away Dootie Aphrodite. I also like Jamal Milan  and last but not least, my favorite of all time personality is my mother, the Icon Willi Ninja. 

PI: I understand that you left the scene altogether, and came back. Why did you leave? 

AJ: I left because I wanted to start a family. I am happily married to James, but we don’t have children yet. I was asked to come back to the House of Ninja. 

PI: Now that you’re back, do you plan on walking Junior Sex SirenOld way? Or another category? 

AJ: I plan to walk those same categories but now that I am married, I need to respect my husband and not walk close to or completely nude. Once I see a category that sparks my interest, I will walk it. I will walk the Old Way again. That means that Opie had better watch out for me. 

PI: So you’re calling out Opie? 

AJ: We’ve always loved to Kiki and battle. It’s no shade; whoever pins will get their tens. The loser gets to try again. (Laughs.)

PI: I was not ready to go there. But since you went there, who are your ballroom rivals?  

AJ: It was nice to battle Opie or watch Kenny vogue. I have not been in the scene, and there are many people out there right now that are hot. I saw a bunch of West Coast kids that I would love to challenge one day. I won’t say names; I’m still studying them.

PI: Have you considered stepping out of your comfort zone and walking a new category? 

AJ: It’s all about planning. My other mother, Monica of Detroit, once told me to venture out and walk Bizarre Bazaar, or Best Dressed, and I did try it at a Detroit ball recently. I got shut down, but you know it’s okay.

PI: Now that you’re the Overall Midwest Father of the House of Ninja, what are your goals? 

AJ Ninja with Overall Father Mirage Ninja

AJ: I’m starting with throwing a ball on November 20 in Chicago. We have partnered with MadMan Productions and several community-based organizations. We have over $5000 in cash prizes, and the legendary Kentrell Gorgeous Gucci will be the commentator, so the kids had better put their best foot forward or else.  {Full disclosure Phil Esteem of PrideIndex.com will sponsor a cash category.}

PI: What about some of the former members in Ninja? You had Mother Monica of Detroit, Danny aka White Cunt, Tracy and Chino, the lovely face kid. Do you plan on bringing some of them back to Ninja? 

AJ: I miss having long talks on the phone with Danny. I’m not sure which house he is part of now. I’m not sure where Chino is, and I miss Monica and Tracy. I do wish them all well where ever they are.  

I won’t reveal details about house membership. I’ll just let folks enjoy the Kiki whenever they happen. You never know who’s going to hit the floor under the Ninja banner. You will have to wait and see. 

PI: What’s next for you on the horizon? 

AJ: My husband and I are planning on having children. It could be by a surrogate mother, or we will adopt. Don’t be surprised when you see me walking with my child. (Laughs) 

The Painted Elegance Ball will take place Saturday, November 20, at Logan Square in Chicago. Contact AJ Ninja via email mail to: ArnoldJordan2011@gmail.com for category information or to purchase a table.