Interviews with Venus Envy, Kilda Mann, Artemis Queen & Rosary

This has taken me way longer to post than I wanted due to certain circumstances, but even if the controversy surrounding RuPaul and ‘female drag’ may have quietened down, that doesn’t mean it isn’t still just as important. I wanted to speak to various queens who aren’t cis men to learn their perspectives on their situation and, mostly, how they believe drag should be defined.

VENUS ENVY: INSTAGRAMdrag1

1) What do you identify as? What are your pronouns?

I identify as a woman and my pronouns are she/her.

2) Why do you do drag? What do you gain from it?

I have always been in love with the art of drag. Even before I knew women could do it, even before I had heard of RuPaul’s Drag Race, it was something I admired. I started doing drag when I was old enough to experience it first-hand and through drag, I’ve gained confidence, friendships, and the support of an amazing community. I view drag as a form of artistic expression and it makes me so happy.

3) How did you get your start within drag?

I was a fixture in the Orlando club scene before I started doing drag. I worked at the clubs, I helped out with charity events, and occasionally I would perform as a Lady Gaga impersonator. I got my start in drag at Pulse nightclub, in the Twisted Tuesday talent show. It has always been open to everyone and it’s the way that most Orlando queens get their start.

4) How, in your own personal terms, do you define drag?

Drag is the artistic expression of gender. It’s visual and performance art together in one.

5) Why do you think cis gay men are oftentimes threatened by queens who aren’t cis male queens? Why do you think they want to stop people like you and myself from doing and performing drag?

I think it’s a variety of reasons. Some cis gay men feel that drag belongs to them, and that anyone else who participates is appropriating their culture. This, of course, is incorrect. I think some cis gay men just have a narrow view drag, in which drag is a man dressed as a woman. Everyone is entitled to their own definition of drag, but I don’t think that gives anyone the right to invalidate drag that doesn’t fit their personal definition.

6) Finally, let’s get some love towards non cis male queens- who are some of your favourites? What are their Instagrams?

Pierretta Viktori

Creme Fatale

Rosie Faux

Amber Cadaverous

Gott Mik

KILDA MANN: INSTAGRAMdrag2

1) What do you identify as? What are your pronouns?

When I’m out of drag I identify as non binary and use they/them pronouns. However when people see me in drag or are referring to my drag I’m okay with either she/her or they/them.

2) Why do you do drag? What do you gain from it?

Drag means so much to me and I gain so much from doing drag. I’ve always wanted to express myself and show my art in a safe space and drag gives me the opportunity to do so. I have also gained a drag family in Iowa that I am so thankful for. Those people are my family and I don’t know where I would be if they weren’t in my life. I have gotten so many opportunities because of drag and I’m extremely thankful for everything. Another reason why drag is so important to me is because young queer people look up to drag queens. I am very active on social media and I love talking to drag fans and queer youth. I love interacting with people who love drag online and have gotten a lot of support from people online and in person. I’m very grateful for everyone who has been supportive of me and what I do.

3) How did you get your start within drag?

I started by joining a Facebook group and the admin of the group asked me if I did drag. I said no but I could do a couple looks. I tried a few looks here and there and I ended up really liking the makeup. Then I saw that there was an all ages Pride event close to where I live so I signed up to perform just for fun. I loved performing so I signed up to do a couple open stage shows in Iowa. (I’m in the process of moving there right now but I didn’t live there at the time) I decided to take a mini vacation and go perform and the first night I performed there I was adopted into a drag family and since then I’ve performed regularly at both open stage shows and shows I have been booked in.

4) How, in your own personal terms, do you define drag?

This is a really hard question for me to answer because I feel like every drag entertainer sees drag differently. To me drag is an art form in which someone exaggerates gender. I see drag as a way to celebrate gender in a safe space. It’s basically a way of rebellion against society’s problematic ideas of what gender should be.

5) Why do you think cis gay men are oftentimes threatened by queens who aren’t cis male queens? Why do you think they want to stop people like you and myself from doing and performing drag?

I think it is really sad when cis men are threatened by non cis male queens doing drag. I honestly don’t understand why they think the way they do. People who have those views are sexist and/or transphobic and there’s no other explanation I can think of for wanting to exclude people from the community. Most of the time people who think like that have never done drag a day in their lives so that right there definitely says something. The most common argument I’ve seen against AFAB people in drag is that they have it easier than AMAB queens or that there’s no transformation. That point is incorrect because I have to work just as hard as AMAB queens do to transform from Toria to Kilda. It takes a lot of time (usually 3-4 hours) and effort to get into drag. I actually find it funny that people think AFAB people can walk around in drag in public and not get any reactions because every time I’ve been out in public in drag I’ve had plenty of people look at me.

6) Finally, let’s get some love towards non cis male queens- who are some of your favourites? What are their instagrams?

I have way too many favorites but here are a few people who deserve lots of love.

Sigourney Beaver

Pinkbarry

Hazy Buchanan

Coco Bardot

Heavenly Powers

Fiona Fierce

Iona Fortune

Pamela Whorehees

Tommi Topps

Fern Delance

Bijoux Sirene

Penny Spectacular

Maya Ruins

Anne T Christ

and Ava Gina

ARTEMIS QUEEN: INSTAGRAM

drag3

1) What do you identify as? What are your pronouns?

I identify as a queer, non-binary trans guy. I use he/him pronouns.

2) Why do you do drag? What do you gain from it?

I do drag because it’s really punk. As someone who struggles with gender a lot, it feels like relief from the stereotypes of beauty,  gender, and expectations put on me in society. I love how much of a bond people in the drag community have, because we can base our relationships on shared struggles.

3) How did you get your start within drag?

After doing makeup for years, I finally saw drag race. I saw queens everywhere, joined a different side of twitter, instagram, etc, and just consuming drag in any form I could. I was so inspired by all of this art, these personalities, and the message behind it. I just… started doing drag makeup one day. It felt so good to see everyone appreciating and loving what I was doing, because I was so used to feel invalidated for wearing makeup and doing feminine things, that being able to do those things and getting such support was… fucking amazing. So I’ve been doing it ever since, with a lot of help from my friends.

4) How, in your own personal terms, do you define drag?

I define drag as some sort of performative gender anarchy.

5) Why do you think cis gay men are oftentimes threatened by queens who aren’t cis male queens? Why do you think they want to stop people like you and myself from doing and performing drag?

I think that cis gay men are threatened by non- cis gay male queens, mainly, because of the HUGE amount of misogyny within the cis gay male community. It’s fucking disgusting and lets these type of queens feel entitled to drag, when they were  not even CLOSE to being one of the first groups to do drag. This misogyny also spreads to thinking “female bodied” or AFAB people, already have an advantage in drag. Basically I think they’ve started to only defining trans women and AFAB people as an hourglass figure. It’s unconscious (i hope) objectification and misogyny that’s incredibly toxic.

6) Finally, let’s get some love towards non cis male queens- who are some of your favourites? What are their instagrams?

Tayla Mac

Luna Moon

Imp Kid

Lee Amore

Ellie J. Clark

GLITCH

Renee Martel

BABY FAGG

Nearvous

Satin

Akav

Draggedy Anne

Fae

Rosary: INSTAGRAM

drag4

1) What do you identify as? What are your pronouns?

I identify as non binary as I don’t feel feminine or masculine most of the time I just feel like me. I prefer they/them pronouns but my close friends call me she.

2) Why do you do drag? What do you gain from it?

I do drag because I feel so powerful in drag and it took me so long to find my drag persona and face. So now I’m still a baby queen but I feel like I’ve found who I am through drag. Even though drag tires me out so much.

3) How did you get your start within drag?

I just picked up some brushes and started to draw lines on my face really. I started out on twitter and I started to see a lot of femme queens doing drag and it really inspired me to start doing drag. It was hard at first because I’m a massive perfectionist and I couldn’t get my brows to be unclockable and perfect with my Poundland glue sticks and low coverage foundations.

4) How, in your own personal terms, do you define drag?

Drag is the art form of the queer imagination and it gives power to queer individuals no matter what gender or ethnicity. In drag we are untouchable and on top of the world and no one can invalidate us.

5) Why do you think cis gay men are oftentimes threatened by queens who aren’t cis male queens? Why do you think they want to stop people like you and myself from doing and performing drag? 

Well I think they’re extremely privileged and have never been pushed out of the queer community for being a white man. They take everything from POC and say it’s their authentic creation when in reality it’s not theirs. Most white cis gays hate women and they usually disrespect dark skinned gays because of the severe racism/colourism throughout the gay community. They need to get off of their high horse and actually research queer history because most of them just think Shakespeare invented our drag and white gays paved the way, when that’s just not the truth at all. Educate yourselves, respect the trans women of colour who gave you your rights.

6) Finally, let’s get some love towards non cis male queens- who are some of your favourites? What are their instagrams? 

I love Fae a lot! I love her because her looks are so conceptual and put together, she always looks polished and beautiful. I also love Creme Fatale a lot!!! She’s so adorable and the way she paints in crazy colours and still looks so amazing is so cool to me. She’s like a poofy multi coloured cupcake.

I love @theonlynevada a lot because we’re quite close and she’s the sweetest person ever and her drag is stunning and the way she designs those nail gloves gags me every time.

I love lotte too!! @charlottesadyke. Her drag is so outside of the box and it’s truly art. She plays with face shapes and different eye shapes and skin colours (not black face or anything like that, she’s not like that certain queen we know…) and it’s truly stunning and inspiring. Freya is so amazing too! Her drag is mind blowing and her makeup skills are absolutely perfect.

My favourite femme queen ever is Amber Cadaverous!!!! She’s a local queen for me and her drag inspired my drag a lot, big hair, no brows, high platform boots. The way she paints is so beautiful and her looks are so amazing to me. She wows me every time she uploads. She said that she’d be down to paint me one day and I think I’d gag if she did!!!! I see her as sort of a drag mother because she is the reason my drag is what it is, her drag inspires me a lot and she deserves so much more attention.

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