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My personal journey into drag started on Halloween 2004 as a costume that received immensely positive feedback and continued invitations to events. My style is still considered standard masculine — that is, I express masculinity as society has traditionally established. While I serve an entertainer-in-suit vibe, drag kings have beautifully evolved to include more colorful make-up like our drag queen counterparts, plus present themselves in various ways along the gender spectrum.
The drag kings who are actually trained make-up artists are stunning. Who doesn’t love the make-up expert at the counter? And, who doesn’t love ye olde ‘drag make-up tutorial’ video! Social media has allowed literally anyone in the world to watch and learn (and discover drag kings!). This gives anyone at any income or accessibility level a chance to ‘paint for the Gawds’ as we say. While social media blew doors wide open, I must give a nod to the concept of in-person connection and the Chosen Family community (a close relationship not based on being a blood relative). One absolutely does not have to be queer to do drag, yet I must acknowledge how many of the queer community are rejected by their own genetic family. It is a treasure to be able to have a ‘drag parent’ — one who provides nurturing advice in the art of drag and in life.
Believe it or not, I was pretty high femme for most of my life before drag. (I am now more androgynous/non-binary/genderfluid and presently do not desire to surgically transition to male.) As one who grew up in small-town America, representation is certainly important to me. For example, did you know that there are less than 40 drag kings of Asian heritage in the entire world and that it took me over a decade of performing before I discovered them? I used to love colorful makeup in my 20’s, but as masculine energy emerged within me in my 30’s, I feel it would be amazing to see the beauty industry showcase masculine make-up tricks like chiseled cheeks and sideburns.
As a drag industry insider and world traveler, I have the honor of seeing so much beauty in various forms. We are multi-talented Beings and creative beyond measure. Drag kings can certainly be just as glamorous and fabulous.