When I just started out at 16, drag was still a relatively new concept in Singapore
Growing up as a kid, I have always had this knack for all things creative and artsy. It’s just so much fun, you know? The sheer entertainment value of artistic expression has always fascinated me. That’s why at the age of 16, I decided to give drag a shot and embarked on this journey to becoming a Drag Queen. When I just started out as a kid, drag was still a relatively new concept in Singapore. It’s something “weird” and “unaccepted”, with limited mainstream visibility. There weren’t a lot of popular figures to look up to, but that didn’t stop me. I know that I needed an outlet to express myself. There’s a strong desire in me to channel my creativity through this performative art form.
I have a strong inclination towards exploring non-heteronormative and non-conforming content. By seamlessly merging various niches and novelties, I strive to cultivate a limitless sense of uniqueness within the drag scene. This pursuit of originality not only invigorates me but also piques the curiosity of my audience. For instance, instead of simply engaging in live singing, I find tremendous delight in showcasing my vocal talents while fully embracing the art of drag.
Living the double life as “Queen Daki”
Meet “Queen Daki” – out-of-the-world animated queen who brings all the glam, fem and funk to the stage, effortlessly slaying a live singing performance. Imagine me adding a third eye or an extra nose to my face or even gluing paper mache heads on my mouth. That’s the essence of my drag! I want to be different and strive to stand out from the crowd of many fabulous Queens. Stir things up and add a dash of excitement, you know?
‘Daki’ is like the twin I never had. I am her and she is me.
Being a gay man and a drag artist, I make it to a point to stay authentic to myself all the time. During the day, you will find me navigating the corporate world, dealing with facts and logic. But once the sun sets, I let my creative juices run wild and create fresh concepts for the future art and entertainment. Every drag look for each performance will not be recycled. Once I’ve served up a look once or twice, I’m onto the next, never looking or going back!
However, I would always separate the two. My day job comes as a priority, and then my drag as a hobby. I leave work-related issues behind, get all doll-up and when the spotlight hits, I let it all out on the stage.
I never had to come into the office thinking that I will be looked at differently because my colleagues are supportive.
I feel that we have progressed to the point where people in the heterosexual world are much more receptive when we come out to them. And that’s a progress for our community! My work partner is very encouraging of my drag and he actually likes it. He even told his whole family about me and they are also just as supportive. Some of my other colleagues even came down to my drag shows! It’s this kind of support that I am getting from the heterosexual world that is just so heartwarming. This helped with my self esteem as a person and a Drag Queen, so I never had to come into the office thinking that I will be looked at differently.
For my bosses and the higher ups, I do get a bit wary of what I’m portraying. You may be thinking why is that so? It is because being in a non-private sector I have to be cautious. I know there have been multinational companies that have a pride support group for the LGBT and that is progress. However, for my situation, I wasn’t lucky enough to have those in my environment. I really have to tiptoe and pick my battles to protect myself.
Going out with full makeup is a real fear for a lot of the Drag Queens who are not publicly open with their sexuality and craft.
There are Drag Queens who do drag without the knowledge and consent of their families. This includes those who don’t have their own house and still have to stay with their parents. I am one of them. We have to discreetly get ready for our gigs. Sometimes, we just have to do our makeup somewhere else and not in the comfort of our own homes. You don’t want to leave your house and your parents or neighbours will be looking at your faces and be like WTF! That is a real fear for a lot of the Queens who are not publicly open with their sexuality and craft.
We have to do it at home when no one’s around. I will not wear a wig until I leave my house. And I will rush into a grab because I am afraid to be looked at when I’m taking public transport. Imagine what people may do to us. The underlying fear is we just don’t want to be seen in public in an area where we will get outnumbered by the straights. It can be scary.
Within the drag community itself, there are Drag Queens that are more favored because they have a long standing career in the scene
And there are drag queens that just started out. Of course a lot are supportive of one another and attend each other’s shows. Gone were the days where drag artists fight tooth and nail for gigs, to the extent of tarnishing one’s reputation in the scene. Now, we support one another, no questions asked. How are we to preach about love and acceptance if we do not lead by example, right?
Man, let me tell you about the grind it takes to pull off group choreography. Countless hours are spent rehearsing, mastering the lyrics, perfecting the lip sync, and sourcing for the perfect costumes. With that said, financial gain is never the driving force behind all this hard work. It’s the genuine passion for our art and that satisfaction we get out of entertaining others that makes the entire process immensely rewarding. Witnessing the smiles on people’s faces is worth every ounce of blood, sweat and tears we put in. It’s a priceless reward that surpasses any monetary compensation.
As for my drag, I tend to explore a lot by looking weird, moving away from the norms
Aesthetic wise many would always go with the high femme look- this is the commonly used term to describe a Drag Queen looking like a cis-gendered woman. They want to look as female as possible with the tucking, wigs, bodysuit and all. There are instances that some Queens would say that I am not a drag because I don’t fit into the standard category of female-presenting. But, all I know is that this is my brand. The blueprint that I have created. I dress however I want. It doesn’t always have to be off the rack dresses and copy paste make-up.
Don’t let your day job hold you back from pursuing other forms of passions that you have
Whether it’s drag or music, or anything that you really like – if you realise that you have a passion for it, pursue it! Do not let your circumstances hold you back. Don’t let your day job hold you back from pursuing other forms of passions that you have. Go and do it. You never know, maybe you could make it big with this new journey.
And to all the new Queens out there, know that it’s always about being the forefront of the LGBTQIA+. You are the infantry representing the entire community. No one can call themselves part of an LGBTQIA community without the presence of Drag Queens. And to the Queens that have paved the way before us, you’re the legend. Let’s celebrate the differences that make us unique and Happy Pink Dot Month everyone!
Are your colleagues accepting of your hobbies? Do you struggle to communicate openly with them?