Our #DragEvolution

I guess both Humza and I (Ryan) started doing drag for different reasons. Originally, I had no idea what drag was until the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2009. It seems quite of strange and ironic that I didn’t know what it was because I definitely had seen it before – I just didn’t quite understand the complexities of it, or rather, that it even had a name. My mom has a home video of me dancing in our living room in the late 90’s when I was 5 or 6 to RuPaul’s “Supermodel (Of The World)”. While it’s kind of hilarious that my 6 year old self was shouting at the television screen to “turn to the left” and “turn to the right” while I shantayed and sashayed, it’s kind of a haunting memory as my other parent comes charging in, screaming at me to turn that off and to stop acting like a girl.

When I first saw drag race, I was still in the closet and although I was so captivated by the queens before me, I stopped watching after a couple episodes. It seems so ridiculous now but at the time, I thought that if I stopped watching and “doing” gay things, it would somehow reverse my gayness. Obviously, that didn’t work as I became next level queer. LOL. When I came out of the closet, I was 19 and in third year university (we’ll talk about our coming out stories in a later blog post), and that’s when I started to seriously watch drag race.

ninablog

Nina Flowers

Immediately, I was captivated by Ongina, Jade Sotomayor, Victoria ‘Porkchop’ Parker, and my all-time favorite queen, Nina Flowers. ❤ Nina holds a special place in my heart because she embodies the strength and power of a QPoC combating stigmas surrounding gender while also giving the middle finger to the dominance of “fishiness” in drag circles. The first time I saw her on YouTube, she was wearing a brightly colored body-suit, a high blonde wig that revealed some of her bald head, and a severe paint job that literally made me gasp. I’ll have to write another post about Nina another time but I guess, with Nina and RuPaul, my fascination and interest in drag began.

Jeez… that was a long read. My (Humza’s) drag story started a loooong time ago. My first experience with “drag” was when I was just a toddler. My Aunt and my sister used to dress me up in women’s clothing and take pictures of me. I literally have half of my baby pictures of me in girls’ clothing. So I blame them for my gayness. 😛 Throughout my childhood I had always dressed up and played a feminine role in any game that my sisters and I, or my friends and I would play. My acting roles (hahah…) ranged from being Xena: Warrior Princess, to your average Desi Auntie. This all came to a halt when my father caught me in my mother’s night gown; he told me I needed to stop acting like a girl or he would send me to Pakistan. And he was dead serious.  Now, anyone who is gay and Pakistani knows that that it the LAST place you want to be sent. So I stopped.

… Until I met Ryan! My co-worker first introduced me to RuPaul and Drag Race, and Ryan took it to the next level when we went to the Battle of the Seasons tour just after we had started dating. I was mesmerized by the over-the-top theatrics, the bedazzled costumes, the works of art on the faces of these men. This is when we started doing drag look on the regular and really experimenting with makeup and our faces (sorry clogged pores *sadness*). I’ve made it my goal to try to put a little bit of my Desi heritage into every drag look that I do. It’s really important that my art represents myself and inspires the young desi kids out there; the kid that I used to be. Ryan has helped me a lot during this journey; I can be 100% myself around him and he encourages the attributes in me that I was told not to display while growing up. #PDAAlert #Gross

 


 

When Humza and I began dating, we both had, had shitty past relationships and kind of met under strange and not-so-strange circumstances. *cough* grindr *cough* REGARDLESS, we became close very quickly and started doing drag together. Not only was it something we both were so fascinated with but it was so awesome because we both didn’t have to veil our “feminineness” to appear more “masc” to the other. We could be 100% ourselves around each other which made it even more exciting and amazing. I thought it would be cool to put together some of our looks, busted and all, from the beginning of our journey to now. Please don’t come for us too hard, LOL. We were really living for ourselves at the beginning and thought we had it all figured out. We didn’t.

 

Pre-Halloween 2015. We legit bought a ton of a makeup, most of it was just eye shadow, concealer and foundation and tried to contour. Humza succeeded a little bit, I don’t know what I was even doing. Did I even put on makeup? We were planning to go out in full drag by Halloween and so, we wanted to practice a lot in order to be ready. I wanted to do a Marie Antoinette-esque look. Humza just wanted to be fierce. LOL Originally, I came up with the name Cyattijah Coqshot for Humza, playing on his Islamic upbringing and “cyatti” being a pun on a word from Trinidadian creole but he ended up scrapping that name later one so, he wouldn’t offend any super religious people. Cyattijah is still a sick name tbh.

Pre-Halloween 2015, makeup attempt no. 2. We tried again. At least we have a bit of a contour this time. Humza’s sister also joined us and served some Lady Gaga Judas couture.

Pre-Halloween 2o15, make-up attempt no. 3. We got these wigs at a store near Yonge and Dundas square and were really feeling the fantasy. Apparently, so much that I thought rubbing my brows with concealer would make my thick caterpillar brows go away.

Pre-Halloween 2015. There were some concerning paints in between, but I saved you from observing those ones. This was no. 6. I finally bought some lipstick.

A week before Halloween. FINALLY LEARNED HOW TO SEMI-CONTOUR. How did I go into Halloween not knowing how to block my brows? I wanted to serve old Portuguese uncle realness with them caterpillars apparently. India Ferrah, I am sorry for attaching you to this. LOL.

HALLOWEEN! At the time, we thought we were serving everything. My friend Hana drew my brows for me, Humza shaved his beard off… Lawd. I gave up on serving a 1792 Marie Antoinette and tried to do something inspired by her but I ended up just looking like Moaning Myrtle. LOL @ Humza’s man bulge. PSA: We didn’t tuck. We didn’t pad. We weren’t cinched. Just a hot ass mess.

November 2015. I don’t even have words for this. I wanted to give you Trixie Mattel, but I look more like burnt marshmallow. What kinda brow? No. Humza looks good though.

 

November 2015: I MASTERED THE WINGED LINER. BOW DOWN.

 

December 2015: Humza tried to do camp makeup for the first time – ended up looking like a Bianca-Trixie-Curry hybrid. You could cut your finger on Ryan’s sharp nose contour. LOL

 

January 2016: We tried to do each other’s makeup. Let’s pretend this didn’t happen…

 

February 2016: We let out our brownness full force this night – no regrets. Shading every auntie we know.

 

February 2016: Lip syncing to Whitney while casually doled up as a deer and a clown. NBD.

March 2016: We went to Divas of Drag show in Detroit and we got a ton of compliments! YAY! Someone told Humza that they were so happy he came in this Desi Drag and he was living for a month basically. So many stopped to take pics witht us, so #BIGUPS for improvement.

March 2016: if you haven’t noticed I love white face. Humza’s brows tho.

March 2016: Humza was giving you his unibrow fantasy. I was just trying to perfect over-drawing my lips.

April 2016: 3 weeks before #DragCon!

May 2016: First night of #DragCon weekend!

May 2016: Last look at #DragCon!


 

So you pretty much get the idea by now. We are insane. Hahah… To see the continuation of our Drag Evolution, follow our personal Instagram accounts: Humza and Ryan.

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About Two Brown Boys

The title says it all! We're a brown-queer couple from Toronto who are obsessed with Drag and travel frequently. Here's our story!
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2 Responses to Our #DragEvolution

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi. Lovely post! Why do you refer to your ‘other parent’ as your ‘other parent’?

    I’m curious to know how you cope with your identities in communities and cultures that do not/will not embrace them?

    Like

    • Thanks for the question! This is Ryan btw. I guess I didn’t give it much thought until you brought it up. I don’t have the best relationship with that parent, and so, memories like the one I described are kind of upsetting – even 20+ years later. I guess I worded that kind of strangely and made it sound like my parents are divorced or something, haha. They’re not.

      Coping with my racial and sexual identity is sometimes quite difficult. I’m not “out” in the way most people understand it. I’ve never had the discussion with my parents. While one parent is quite progressive and I would feel totally comfortable talking to them about it, the other is not. Because I am bi-racial, there are a lot of cultural boundaries I have to navigate. I have chosen not to tell my homophobic parent because it would cause a lot of drama, and I still live at home. My homophobic parent has made it quite clear in past years that my sexuality is something they will never accept and so, I’d rather live my life comfortably, doing the LGBTQ work and research that I do somewhat in secret to that parent, than feel ostracized and alienated in my own home.

      The Caribbean is an extremely homophobic region however, the Caribbean friends and family members I have here in Canada have been extremely supportive which has made all the difference. These complex questions you’re asking me really can’t be summarized in a comment but, they’re super important. It’s interesting that you asked that because queerness in Caribbean communities is the topic of my main research now in grad school, haha. I guess Humza and I will have to write another blog post about that soon so I can have fully answer you question. 🙂

      Like

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