INTERVIEW: KIMCHI - MANY FACE GODDESS

MANY FACED GODDESS

WHAT WAS THE FIRST FEMALE ITEM YOU EVER WORE, AND HOW OLD WERE YOU?

It was a vintage sequined sweater that I found at the thrift store in October 2012! I was 25 at the time!

WHO OR WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION WHEN CREATING YOUR DRAG PERSONA?

I’ve always been a huge nerd. I love reading mangas, watching anime, fashion runways and studying fashion history. I wanted to find a way to merge my love of all those things, hence the persona of Kim Chi who is a live action anime character who works as a high fashion model! WHAT IS A DRAG QUEEN’S BIGGEST ASSET? Her eyes. You can evoke so many different emotions and feelings just through different eye make up.

WHAT ARE YOU LIKE WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN DRAG?

I feel like I’m the same exact person in or out of drag! Normally I’m quiet and reserved but in the right setting, I am the life of the party! Wahaha.

HOW DOES YOUR MALE PERSONA FEEL ABOUT YOUR DRAG PERSONA GRABBING ALL THE ATTENTION?

My male persona does not mind at all. I like the transition of being in the spotlight then having the ability to blend in with the rest of the universe when I’m not on stage.

DRAG QUEENS ARE THE BEST AT BEING OFFENSIVE, BUT NEVER HURTFUL. WHAT’S YOUR TRICK?

That’s a really interesting question because drag queens are known for being anything but politically correct, but as it is gaining more mainstream attention, certain queens are expected to be role models in the community for various issues. I’ve never been known for having an offensive humor. I just stay true to myself when cracking a joke. It’s really not that hard to not offend anyone for me.

IF THERE WAS ONE DRAG QUEEN STEREOTYPE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO ELIMINATE, WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

That drag queens are all bitchy. Some of us are nice and sweet too.

DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A DRAGTIVIST?

I consider myself an artist who happens to be a cheerleader for the nightlife and the LGBT community, not necessarily a dragtivist.

IN YOUR OPINION, IS DRAG STILL CONSIDERED A ‘GAY THING’? WHY/NOT?

If you research the history of drag, drag didn’t necessarily start as a gay thing but more as a male exuding the feminine roles for the stage in some cultures due to the oppression of women’s rights. I would like to say that drag is for everyone, but I don’t know a single straight man that does it, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see about that.

GENDER ROLES ARE SLOWLY BUT SURELY BECOMING OBSOLETE. HOW DOES THIS AFFECT DRAG CULTURE?

It’s changing what doing ‘drag’ means. It used to be men changing their body shapes and doing make up to look ‘traditionally feminine’ with large hips and breasts but now gender fluid/gender-bender drags are becoming just as popular. You could have a beard with a flat chest but still be considered a fierce queen. It’s broadening the spectrum of the art form.

I guess we can’t say that drag has truly gone mainstream until the sports industry takes notice.
— KIMCHI

WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON “FAUX-QUEENS” OR “BIO-QUEENS”?

Have fun! Express your art! Tell me your story! I’m all for anyone expressing their creativity!

RUPAUL ONCE STATED THAT DRAG WILL NEVER BE MAINSTREAM. RUPAUL NOW HOLD AN EMMY FOR OUTSTANDING HOST FOR A REALITY PROGRAM. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON IT?

The world is changing slowly. The music industry, fashion industry and film industry are slowly noticing the impact drag has on people. I guess we can’t say that drag has truly gone mainstream until the sports industry takes notice. ;)

OUT OF ALL THE DRAG QUEENS SEEN IN RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE, WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE AS YOUR RIDE-OR-DIE?

Naomi Smalls and Bob the Drag Queen.

IF YOU WERE TO CAST THE NEXT SEASON OF RUPAUL’S ALL STARS, WHO WOULD YOU CAST?

RuPaul. I hear she’s very busy though.

IS THERE ANY SEASON, BESIDES YOURS, THAT YOU WOULD HAVE LOVED TO BE A PART OF? IF SO, WHICH ONE AND WHY?

Season 3! All the design challenges looked so fun!

IF YOU WERE TO COME UP WITH A CHALLENGE FOR RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

A mini challenge where everyone has to eat a very saucy and greasy burger without ruining her make up or costume.

INTERVIEWED BY RALPH ARIDA

ArtEli Rezkallah