My name is Hena. My drag name is Gena. I’m 20 years old. I live in Saint Petersburg. But my hometown is Magadan. I used to live in a small village. A little boy putting on his grammas tights couldn’t even imagine that he would be sitting in the kitchen and putting make up on. Actually, there is no difference between my life in drag and out of drag. I’m permanently in drag. My name is Ivan. I’m 28 years old. By education I’m an engineer but by vocation I’m a diva There is no difference between my day work and work of other mortal people. I come to work at 8 am and go home in the evening. But 4 years ago I discovered drag. And my life got more colorful. It all started with me and my friend laughing at participants of a drag contest in Yekaterinburg. He told me that they were really ugly.
And I agreed. They were terrible. He told me “Let’s try it. Just for fun.” So we bought shoes, wigs… So we prepared and took part in a drag contest.
I was very surprised because I got a nomination. Then I was invited to work in a club. 2 years later in my hometown I won a regional contest of DICKGIRLS.
This is my favorite word. Since childhood I have been dancing, performing on a stage. Then I started learning choreography. My life was all about performing on a stage. When I turned 18 I understood that all the time I had been
doing what my parents and society wanted me to do. I thought that there was no point of staying in Magadan and wasting time.
I didn’t get any satisfaction. So I bought tickets and moved to Moscow. Moscow fucked me up. And I moved to Saint Petersburg. And I’ve been living here for 2 years. I’ve met Ivan, Vanessa and he helped me to create my drag image. I moved to Saint Petersburg 1 year ago.
I worked in “Blue Oyster” club then I worked in “Central Station”. I have no work as drag at the moment. Drag has always been a hobby for me because unfortunately this business is not stable in Russia. Night life also carries certain risks. When I moved here I started working as hostess in “Central Station”. In my opinion this is the worst job for a drag queen.
You stay at the entrance to the club and spread flyers. You should always look cheerful. People are drunk. This is disgusting. This is the hardest job because you stay all night in one place in literal and figurative sense. I was working there for a few months and leaved. May be I should put the bracelets on. Just look at me. I’m like from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. I look like Audrey Hepburn. Exactly! Wait what? You have taken silicone breast. Yes, she set us up. Girls, I want a photo too. Could anyone take a photo, please. Faster, faster… Girls I wish you good luck! For me happiness is harmony, peace and self acceptance. Probably, I would be happy if I was doing my favorite thing, that provided me with money and joy and if a loved one was around. And if it all happened not in Russia! Why not in Russia? Cause! Let’s be serious. I don’t believe that in Russia there will ever be conditions in which I can feel happy. Why should they be in Europe? Because they are already there. We cannot say with absolute certainty that everything is so good there. May be in Europe, in Denmark for example. Maybe only in the capital it is good,
but in some small town as in the far north of Russia everything is bad. Freedom. There is absolutely no freedom.
You can feel comfortable in same-sex relationships in Russia too. Yes, but they are not regulated by law. Why do you need it? Imagine you have lived together for 20 years, you have common property. But if something happens you get nothing by law. Vanessa Viper and Gena Marvin! Men have been dressing as women since ancient times, since ancient Greece, Chine, Egypt, probably. Man can put woman’s clothes on if he likes to feel like a woman if he gets sexual satisfaction. But dressing on a stage is quite different.
Female image is more colorful, more free, more beautiful. Everything we do is absolutely peaceful. We all understand which country we live in. Someone could laugh and someone could smash a bottle on your head. There is no drag queens among my friends who wears female clothes to protest. We all understand that people perceive us not as women but as male in female clothes more beautiful or less beautiful, more interesting or less interesting. I started doing drag because of my close friends And we even had a drag family. I had a drag mom,
drag dad, drag grandma. I also had a drag sister but she left. Feature of gay culture (I’ve stolen this phrase from Ru Paul) is that we choose our family. People we talk to, work with, have relationship with are our family. By passport my name is Alexander. My drag name is Margo Mandarinova. What else? Tell a little bit about yourself. I’m an artist crazy and mad. No, I’m truly crazy! My name is Miss Coco. Roman Dmitrievich by passport.
I work as a travesty or a drag queen. Drag queen, travesty… It’s the same. The same shit. The club we work in was founded 8 years ago. Almost 9 years. May 3 will be 9 years old as the club was founded. Now there will be some advertising. Invite everyone! There will be the birthday of the club on May 3. You are welcome! Today we have a triple birthday. The first was… On March 28 or 29, but this is not an important date. March 28 I suppose. Mona Pepperoni had a birthday. Then I had a birthday on April 2. And yesterday. And yesterday on April 4 Coco had a birthday.
And today we decided to celebrate all three birthdays in one day. Applause to Nicol! Margo Mandarinova , Mona Pepperoni and Miss Coco! I started doing drag not as Margo.
Once upon a time 15 years ago I worked as parodist in my hometown Tver. I created Margo in 7 years. I worked 7 years as parodist. And one day I was invited to “Chicago” club in Yaroslavl and I was told that I had to perform with a drag name. So I created Margo Mandarinova. And since 2010 for 9 years I work as drag queen. You have a very touching story about your drag name. Are you kidding me? It’s very touching for me. Margo because my mom’s name is Margarita. Mandarinova because I love New Year and tangerines. Very touching story! It is because of your mom. Probably. After my first tour to Yaroslavl. I decided to create the same shows in my hometown. And since 2010 by 2015 I organized the shows. But in the province you have no ability to grow as an artist. You don’t now how to improve your make up, your costumes. We didn’t have a possibility to by any drag staff. Then I met drag queens from Moscow and I started asking how to look better. 4 years ago I was invited to work in Saint Petersburg in “Malevich” club. I started doing my make up better because I worked every day. Then I started using as Coco fake ass, chest.
I still remember when Coco and me were doing foam rubber fake us. I’m very grateful to Coco. She brought me here. I started doing drag almost 5 years ago. I had absolutely no experience. I had only panties, a corset and a police hat.
It was the first time I did drag. I was invited to perform in Central Station. I worked there for a while. And then I took a break. I started improving my make up skills. Because my first make up was terrible. Imagine you take a brush with black shadows and draw a panda
on your face and add sparkles on the top. It’s ok when it’s dark bat when light shines on you this is fucking terrible.
But I liked it. Now I don’t have a particular drag image like drag queens from the West. One is more in rock style, the other more glamorous, the third is burlesque. I just took particular drag images which do not contradict me. Sometimes I feel like mother of a prostitute, sometimes as a prostitute, sometimes as a decent woman. Anything can happen. I separate my drag personality form my own personality. It’s right for me But when I’m drunk I put on a Miss Coco mask and the shit happens. My favorite hobby is drawing. I draw even American drag queens. So you take a particular drag image the Red Queen from “Alice in Wonderland” for example So I have to finish this. This costumes are for special performances. I have to finish this. I have to restore this. I also want to make this. I’ll tell you one funny story. Exclusive now. I took a body, went to a ladder near the club and made a loop of it.
I climbed to the top in my golden boots. And I understood that the loop wouldn’t hold me. I started using some rags to strengthen it. So I put on a loop on my neck, said good bye to my life. Everything is great. And suddenly I remembered that I had to write an SMS.
I took my phone and it is discharged. I thought I would charge my phone and come back to hang myself.
I came here into a dressing room and felt asleep. Sorry. We are starting the second brunch in “Malevich” club.
Guys who smokes, I’m waiting for you. It’s hard to build relationships. So I try to avoid talking about my job. I’ll continue in a while. My name is Yazovskih Vyacheslav Nikolaevich. By education I’m a choreographer, ballet master, model tutor and psychologist. I’ve chosen this specialty because it’s connected with people. I’m interested in exploring people. I like to provide them with new abilities and opportunities. It all gives me strength to go further and do something new.
My students also make me a better person. All this moves was created naturally. People constantly trained and tried to understand how these movements should look. First of all, I am an art-therapist. My master classes are connected with exploring human’s body and abilities. I strive for somatic techniques. The body can’t live on its own. With the help of choreography and art therapy, we are trying to give it a right boost. And the person directs himself to where he needs to self acceptance, to acceptance of uniqueness, his/her mistakes and victories. A person surprises himself. I’m from New Urengoy. It’s North. Gas is produced in this city. Nothing interesting, no development attempts. It’s a very sad city. I’ve always believed that I would leave it. So I moved to Saint Petersburg. I call myself and biology call me a neuter gender, medium state, medium harmony. I have no attraction for either female or male. I have acceptance for them, but I have no desire for satisfaction, because I already have a person inside who gives me all I need. I had a good upbringing, it was Soviet. It’s an advantage. It’s an advantage! Because upbringing now is about do everything you want and a child gets tired in a second. My parents gave me time to explore myself. We had conflicts but we solved them at once. It all started with ballet with classic world heritage. Then I tried to study show ballet and modern choreography. And I started doing show ballet, burlesque, nightlife show in my hometown. Then I understood that I was ready to go deep into choreography. I entered a university in Saint Petersburg and started to discovering different places of the city, classic clubs and LGBT clubs. I discovered “Central Station”, “Blue Oyster”, Dumskaya street. And I was very interested. I passed the casting to the “Central Station” club. I developed as a go-go dancer, as freak, as drag queen sometimes.
Actually it was a good school for me. Then I moved to China, and developed as show maker.
I understood how everything should go. I got that there should be a special stage, special audience, a height quality audience. So “Central Station” limited me. I left. But I still have wonderful relationship with this club. In “Cabaret” I have more chances to reveal myself as a choreographer and artist in general, because there is the biggest stage among LGBT places in Russia. In Russia! There is an opportunity to create something new.
So I had to go a long way to get where I’m now. I believe that humankind has long accepted the fact that there are different people, different forms, and it is absolutely not necessary to try to eradicate something when it is a million times more natural than trying to eradicate. I believe that humanity is ready, everything is ready, even the Universe is ready. The only thing is a couple of people, well, not a couple of people
– a lot of people, they are simply afraid. And this fear gives such resonances, only fear. The acceptance has already happened. The word “happiness” came up with man. And this is very stupid. No happiness, there is what is happening around. A lot happens around, and you can choose what is good and what is bad.
A good and bad does not exist. This is an ephemeral state and the word “now” or “happiness” was invented by people. People come up with all this words. It is better not to call anything, but just to feel and live by feelings. I live – I feel, I breathe – I feel, I see – I feel, I understand – I feel. The main thing is to feel. If you feel then you live. So you get happiness.
If you do not feel then you are unhappy. So we have defined what happiness is. If you feel it means you – it’s you. That’s all. Feel with the senses, live with the senses. That’s all. In life, my name is Sasha. I am 24 years old. On stage, my name is Miss Delmara. I work in the club “Cabaret” for more than a year. By education I am a teacher. This is the most beautiful club in Russia,
because here is the biggest travesty stage. This is where real magic happens.
I started my career in “Oyster”, then worked in “Labyrinth”, and now I stopped here. Improvisation is not enough. In “Cabaret” everything is very serious, we all rehearse ourselves, almost all the costumes I sew myself , create an image, and perform on the stage. Well, before each performance a certain preparation – make up, dress, go on stage. Improvisation happens sometimes, but it is not enough, although there are performances where we improvise, or if something goes wrong, then improvisation begins. Here every day is the funniest story. Here you need to put the camera and shoot, although it is better not to put the camera. Every day something happens. I can not highlight something. Today we have a program in honor of my birthday. Which has already passed, but we decided to do a benefit. How did I become a drag queen? I used to be a cosplayer. And at one of the festivals, my friend and I decided to make Lolitas then for the first time I put on a dress. Then I just for fun went to parties in the female image. I moved to Saint Petersburg. And I came to clubs dressed as female several times. And I was offered a job. I probably got into this profession by accident like the most of the drag queens.
I tried and I liked it. I love to create a very beautiful image, I love working with wigs. Beautiful image is the most important for me. I want a beautiful image. My drag name appeared by chance.
It was my debut in the “Oyster”, and one travesty came up with a name for me. And then it somehow became attached, stuck, at first I did not like it,
and then I liked it, my name, mine. Minimally, it takes me 40 minutes to put the make up on when I am in a hurry, but this happens very rarely, and I like to sit for 2-3 hours. I just enjoy the process of putting makeup on, I like to think, look at myself, smoke. I am not be able to answer the question “What is the attitude to drag culture in Russia?”
I can’t tell about other people, but from my own experience I can say that when we walk with friends down the street in drag, if we walk, joke and laugh, people react with smiles to us and there has never been any negative. In the gay community it used to be hard, because the travesty was overgrown with different stereotypes, and it was even difficult to find a partner. And now because of the world famous show Rupaul’s drag race, it has become better and the travesty began to be respected and prejudiced towards them passed. The difference between Russian and American drag is huge. In Russia, travesty is mostly parodies, but there is no particular parody abroad anymore. There travesty is its own concept, its challenge to society and communication through the language of the show and performance. It’s more interesting to watch the drag show there. Tight hierarchy – older fuck younger. It all depends on the club and team. We have relations with colleagues like in the theater, more precisely as in any group: everyone knows each other, everyone works in different clubs often intersect, communicate, someone communicates well with someone, someone doesn’t work well, someone owes money to someone, someone has stolen someone from a peasant. Well, ok … Kristin, I kept this cake. For you. I want you to blow out that candle. That’s right, daughter, right. Happy birthday! happy birthday! Take off, take off your hair. Wipe your face with a tissue. Her chocolate dripped suddenly, took everything on her chest. Look what a drunken cherry on her lips she has I told you that older fuck younger. In fact, the show behind the scenes is completely different than watching it from the audience, behind the scenes this is a real show. And the fact that the audience sees on stage, everyone thinks that we sing. In fact, we communicate with each other, joking
and we have our own little world and our own place there. All types of art are somehow connected with each other, and travesty, in my opinion, is a subsection of art, it’s a part of art.