Facial hair is an art, especially if you fancy yourself a male illusionist. If you look at biological men, or even trans men, you’ll see that most take great pride in their facial hair. They take time to trim, sculpt and make perfect that which frames their face. We should be no different.
I touched on facial hair briefly in my post about makeup, but here I’m going to go into more detail.
There are so many different styles of facial hair, and all are achievable in drag. Not all styles work with all types of songs or numbers, so you should look at your facial hair as a part of your costume. Using a combination of hair, makeup and shading you can completely transform your face.
Life is all about balance. Drag is all about balance. The trick is finding and maintaining that balance between life and drag. Those of us who perform regularly, especially those of us who are monogamously coupled, understand the need for balance. But sometimes things get out of control and you suddenly realize that the balance is out of whack. All of a sudden you’ve got a weekend full of drag; shows and rehearsals and driving to and from shows and rehearsals. Then you find yourself burnt out on Monday morning; burnt out on drag, burnt out on driving, burnt out on the makeup, the binding. Just. Burnt. Out.
And my thighs hurt from too much Gangnam Style.
And it’s 2013. Another year left in the dust, another apocalypse survived. Though the number of “The Mayans were wrong!” posts seen on December 22nd made me want to kick puppies. The Mayans were not “wrong.” They just ran out of room on their wheel. We were the ones who turned it into the hype that it was. But I digress…
2012 was … interesting. In the drag world we saw drama, cheaters, drama, liars, drama, pageants won, drama, pageants lost, drama, threats made, drama, brotherhood, drama, bullying and did I mention drama? Actually, if you were to replace 2012 with any other year it would really be about the same. Some of the above shocked me. Some of it didn’t. Some of it didn’t shock me, but the extent of some of it did. A lot of what happened last year left the Arizona drag king community fractured, and it will be a long time healing.
There were some highlights in 2012, however:
I know, it’s been a minute since my last blog, and for that I’m truly sorry. Things got hectic, I got sick, and it’s been one thing after another. So this is my catch-up entry.
First of all, happy holidays to everyone! Tis the season of pageants and fundraisers and both are in full swing. Keep taking your vitamin C, or whatever else it is you take to stay healthy for tis the season of the crud, flu and ickiness that comes along with being busy.
There’s been so much happening in my little patch of the drag world, it’s hard to know where to start… Pageants. There’s always something to say about pageants, no? Like how they’re always rigged. (Read: or not.) Here in Phoenix, Pride prelims are in full swing. We’ve had 3 of the 4 Mister Prelims and there are only a few of the Miss left as well, and it’s been a doozy of a few weeks, let me tell you.
In this age of Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, Google+ and yes, even good old Myspace, social media has become THE method for self-promotion and networking. Facebook has done wonders for the drag world. Entertainers have been able to network across the country and talk to show directors and promoters in different states. Pageants and shows can get state-wide attention. When you stop to think about how different things are from a decade ago, it really does boggle one’s mind.
When I started doing drag Myspace was THE social media brand. Everyone had a Myspace. I knew right off the bat that if I was going to have any sort of a legitimate drag career I’d need to have a separate page for both my drag and mundane personalities. From the get go I knew I didn’t necessarily want all my drag peeps up in my personal business. Now, in the world of Facebook, my feelings haven’t changed. I have two Facebook pages: my personal, non-drag page, and Freddy’s page. I have very few drag people on my personal page, and I like it that way.
I get asked a lot how I got started doing drag. I always give the short version: saw a king at Pride, thought “I could do that!” and then did it. But obviously there was more to it than that. Seeing some of my brothers in drag posting pictures from when they first got started, I was prompted to write this blog.
In my 7-odd years of doing drag I’ve had the privilege of participating in several pageants, competitions and contests. I’ve competed, I’ve judged, I’ve been on both sides of the fence. I’ve gotten positive feedback and I’ve gotten constructive criticism and in this business you need to learn that you really only grow from the constructive criticism.
You can tell someone how awesome they are every day, but if you never tell them the things they need to work on, they will never grow; not as an entertainer, not as a person. Stroking one’s ego doesn’t do an individual any good. To act like they have no faults, nothing they need to fix, is delusional and unrealistic. No one is perfect. I don’t care if you’ve been performing for over a decade, there is always something you can improve on.
com·mit·ment [kuh-mit-muhnt] noun
1. the act of committing.
2. the state of being committed.
3. the act of committing, pledging, or engaging oneself.
4. a pledge or promise; obligation: We have made a commitment to pay our bills on time.
5. engagement; involvement: They have a sincere commitment to religion.
Those of you who have worked with me know that one of my biggest pet peeves is lack of commitment. That doesn’t just mean bailing on shows, it means lack of commitment to all aspects; ie. half-assing facial hair or binding, not bothering with costumes, basically making zero effort.
But a commitment, or lack thereof, to shows is probably my biggest issue. I generally book my shows several weeks ahead of time, and my entertainers know what is expected of them. However, I have had performers show up late, not even close to being ready, or bail completely without even a text to say “Hey, I can’t make it.” I am very well aware that shit happens. Life is messy, humans are messy. But we need to keep in mind that when you flake on a commitment it screws everyone over. There have been less than a handful of times in my almost 7 years of performing when I’ve had to cancel my appearance at a show. Generally it was due to illness, which means I was basically dying. I’ve performed with tooth pain so bad it knocked me on my ass; I’ve performed with walking pneumonia. So when I say I’m sick and I can’t be there, I mean it. There are times when I feel like poop, but I still show up and do at least one number (that was communicated to the show director) because I made a commitment (there’s that word again) to be there.
One of the most common things heard in the drag world is “Bitch stole my song!” I hear it all the time. This implies that a song can be owned by one performer or another. I hate to break to you kids, but the only person who owns a song is the artist who owns the rights. That’s it.
Every entertainer, be it king, queen, whatever, has their signature numbers. These are the numbers that made an impression on the audience, that people have said, “Wow! I loved that! That’s your best number yet!” Usually, it’s a whole package: a specific costume, concept, look. But even so, you do not own that song. Chances are, if you liked the song, someone else will too. In my years of doing drag there are a couple of songs that have come to be associated with me; Michael Buble’s “Feeling Good,” and “Mr. Brightside” come to mind right off the bat. Anyone who has known me, or who has followed my drag career over the years know the numbers I’m talking about.
Between confidence and cockiness, and it’s one of the hardest lessons to teach those who are coming up behind us. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference and there are times when we don’t mean to sound cocky but it comes off that way because of the context. With pageant season coming up I see lots of both flooding my Facebook page.