I always wanted to try drag. The fun thing is, only two weeks after arriving here, on my first Unikum meeting, there was an option to try it in the workshop as an Unikum Tries. I thought to myself, why not? I got the chance, so I’m going to use it. Also, this workshop let me meet two beautiful drag queens, Dinah Myte (@dinahmytedraq) and Yessica (@_the_yessica_).
First, before I’ll describe the workshop, I want to explain the reason I decided to try drag. It’s going to get personal. The first encounter with drag I had in third year of primary school. Someone had a birthday party and on this event the birthday person decided that we are throwing a talent show with different characters. Suddenly all the “male” clothes were taken out and what was left was a dress and a wig. I introduced myself then as a Gertrude. It was fun.
The second reason is that I consider myself someone who likes art. I like reading books, watching movies, but also comedy or dramatic plays. Additionally, I was in the theater circle, in school but also in some outside organizations. Art was with me everywhere and I stopped looking at it as just particular items within a category and instead I started looking at it as a form of expressing emotions, feeling, dreams or desires.
The third reason (excuse the rant you accidentally encountered) is that I feel some type of connection to drag. Maybe because I’m a nonbinary gay person, or just because of my connection to art. Drag, I feel, is a part of queer legacy, that needs to be celebrated and worshiped. Drag queens and kings are always in the front of queer liberation. For example, the stonewall drag queen activist, Marsha P. Johnson. Also, I always wanted to express my femininity. In my home country, I don’t think I would be able to do that. It’s not safe there, and I would never feel comfortable there. Additionally, I watched a lot of Rupaul Draq Race franchise, which got me fascinated by drag and the different approaches to doing it.
And now, with the essay on the ‘why’ finished, let’s talk about the workshop itself.
First, when I came there, I was so stressed. I was so scared that I would not like it, or I would feel uncomfortable wearing makeup. It was a surprise to me, that it was quite opposite. After one minute the ice was broken, and I started feeling comfortable.
The drag queens were nice and supportive. While covering eyebrows, we started talking about how each of us got introduced to drag and how they started their career in it. Even I saw some clips from Dinah Myte. They were so good and energetic. Doing eyebrows felt like it took an eternity for me. They was so long but after doing them, I couldn’t tell, where my eyebrows were. Each step was first shown by drag queen, and then I copied it. It was so fun because I think I know the basics now. On each step, I felt like I could ask them anything and if I ever started feeling uncomfortable, I could draw back.
Bilder: Leif Tore Soelberg
I started liking it. After finishing the eyebrows, which took one hour, I got introduced to the base of the face; lips, eyeliner, and everything else. I went from being a stressed person who was nervous of what was coming next, to feeling excitement over what the next step was. The fun part is, I couldn’t tell, if they were doing something wrong because I don’t have that much experience. The only thing I knew, was that the lines on the eyes were kinda bad but the solution to it was to create a unique look with it. I loved it to be honest. That part was my favorite one of all the drag makeup because it was special.
At the end, I tried putting on a pink wig and heels with a glitter jacket. That was the time I became Gertrude, but not some scared kid from third year of primary school but the adult one. Well, I didn’t have any experience in walking in heels, but at least I didn’t fall. I might need some practice, though.
The entire drag look helped me embrace the characteristics that I didn’t know existed. It embraced my feminine side but also brought confidence and blunt character. If I would describe the feelings I felt at that moment, I felt freedom and self-love. Freedom that I was somehow truly myself and that I could wear anything I wanted. That I didn’t care if I felt judged. That I felt safe being in it. The second one was self-love. It’s hard to explain, but when I saw Gertrude in the mirror, it was love at first sight. Seeing myself from a different perspective made me think how unique I am and how beautiful I am.
To end this chapter, if you ask me is it worth it to try drag, I would say yes, 100 percent. Drag pulls forth what is hidden, but also helps you look from a different perspective. Who knows, maybe you could learn something from your drag character. If not, you could have a lot of fun. I did. I will definitely do it again.
This is not the last time you heard from me,