& PERFORMERS CREATIVITY THRU TRANSGENDERISM
Drag Queens by Frederike De Jonge
Interview with Raven Snook, Female Drag Queen
me drag is not gender-bound it is a state of mind. I have
met several women (born gender female that is!) who are,
in my terms, a drag queen, (including myself). Some male
"drag queens" say women do no thave enough drama
or glamour to be drag queens. I say - what abt the women
so many drag queens impersonate? A few names come to mind:
Diana Ross, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Marilyn Monroe,
Bette Midler, Cher, Joanna Lumley, Madonna to name but
During my last visit to
New York I met up with Raven Snook ("Designated Diva"
drag performer) and Andy Freeze (make-up artist &
self-proclaimed drag terrorist) for a photoshoot and some
chit chat on the essence of drag.
Frederike: What makes Ravens "Designated
Diva" a Drag Queen?
has always been a girl with a little bit of flair....
Raven: A little bit!? Excuse me ..... Cher
is a girl with a little bit of flair!! I have always identified
with drag queens, in terms of glamour and in terms of
what I think looks feminine. I interpret femininity as
what drag queens do - as opposed to what "women"
do. Gender lines are getting blurred and I'm sure that
ten years from now men and women will be wearing some
stupid minimalist, gender neutral look. However I'm still
gonna be hockin my glitter lipstick!
What would be your response to a male "drag queen"
who says women can not be drag queens?
is not gender-bound, it is a state of mind"
What is a drag queen? ..... For some it may mean some
nasty bearded guy who just throws on a dress, does that
really make him a drag queen? For me it totally does not!
Drag is about working a look, an attitude and a style.
Its not about the gender of the person.
me, drag is a cartoon ideal. Just look at all those Hollywood
stars who really carve and sculpt a look. I mean really
recreate themselves into something that they are not.
That's what it is! Exactly!! It is taking an aesthetic
that doesn't have to be cross-gender. I think that a cartoon
is a really good way of putting it. I was attracted to
the glamour of the old MGM musicals. That was the aesthetic
(the cartoon) that I was predisposed to be.
also discovered punk......
Yeah, I discovered punk too.... My mom made a good point
about that! She said: "You know, even when you were
a punk you were never ugly. You always tried to look glamourous.
You took the look and cleaned it up". For me punk
was about dressing up.
My friend *Bob*
has been working the drag-circuit professionally for eight
years, performing at various venues in Paris, Amsterdam
and New York including a show at Wigstock 99. She is often
mistaken for a drag queen. People are fascinated with
her. Women who come into contact with her sometimes thinks
she is male and say "I wish I could be a drag queen".
To people who say that female drag queens do not exist
her response is - My career exists - that's proof of what
I am and that's all possible because I do not believe
in limits. Negative remarks about my career as a drag-performer
are completely irrelevant and don't deserve any attention
whatsoever. As for day to day drama in drag, if it's not
on stage and you are not getting paid for it, it's worthless!!'
I asked her how she felt working alongside other drag
queens she said: It is very inspiring and I absolutely
have the best drag-mother in the world Jackie Beat!! I
seldom impersonate other people. I only impersonate different
aspects of myself. The only person I do impersonate, other
than myself, is Angelyne THE Billboard Queen of Hollywood....
Drag to Symony is in the
detail. It could be a pair of shoes or an accessory. It
doesn't have to be an entire outfit. In her opinion some
women are constantly in drag. Its not just about what
you wear it's the attitude that comes with it and how
you carry yourself. You can look like shit but if you
walk out there smiling, loving yourself, you're gonna
look good regardless!!
I don't get all that many opportunites to be in drag,
as I have to remain focused while photographing others
in drag. I know that if I were in drag on these occasions
it would hold me back. However I too very much feel that
drag is a state of mind. For me personally it is hard
to describe in words alone. It is a feeling I have inside
- a feeling that I need to express myself best through
my photographs and not only those I take - but also only
those I pose for. After preparing for these pictures I
really like to go out and party. The attention you receive
when dragged up is fabulous and can be addictive.
Amazing amounts of people
want to link "drag" to gender category. If anything
- drag should be seen as a form of expression, an art
form, free of gender stereotyping.
Frederike De Jonge