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The magic of being a first-time Drag King

drag drag king gender kings of joy lgbtqia+ performance queer the king coach Mar 30, 2023

Being a first-time Drag King can be a transformative and empowering experience. My first time performing as a Drag King in 2011 in Melbourne certainly was. And later in Sydney when a mutual friend and Drag King, That Guy Steve, introduced me and Chris, it was while performing in a Drag King group filled with bromance and fun. Being a Drag King can allow you to explore new aspects of your gender identity, express yourself in creative ways, and connect with a supportive community of performers. But don’t just take my word for it, let’s hear from some of the Kings of Joy themselves...

Jim Junkie @king_jimjunkie

"I wasn't sure if I would ever get to find a creative community like this however this experience surpassed my wildest expectations. For the week after the performance, I felt ecstatic. I never thought I would do anything like this but we did it!  I've made friends, found a creative outlet for my gender expression and found a community to support my gender journey."

As one of our Kings of Joy, JSTARR says, “Kings that tape together, stay together.” Going through a shared experience together creates a bond that you never get over and having the safety net of the group means you’re being supported every step of the way…

Zaddy B Cool @zaddy_b_cool

"Before working with Danica and my beloved Kings of Joy IV, I loved being in drag, being around Drag Kings, and watching Drag King shows but I couldn't even start to envision how I could be on stage myself. Working with Danica helped me develop, express, and fully embody a part of myself. She created such a safe space where we all have our individuality embraced and celebrated while creating a strong sense of belonging to the group and each being a critical part of the group.  That is such a rare and precious quality. Thank you Mother of Drag Kings. I can safely say deciding to participate in Kings of Joy was one of those defining life moments and I am so grateful I took the leap!"  

The process of self-discovery

The process of creating a Drag King persona involves choosing a name, developing a backstory, putting together a look using clothes and accessories, and practicing your performance. This can be a fun and exciting journey of self-discovery as you experiment with different identities and styles. Some discoveries may even surprise you…

Phallixander the Great 

"There's been a lot of growth in my journey of self-love because of this experience and the realization that my inner King is far from shy."

Many Kings go on a gender journey they didn’t even know was there to explore. In delving into our own cultural heritage, looking at masculine archetypes and even stereotypes, there is a lot to uncover about how you’d like to express your Drag King persona. It’s not often we get to explore our own masculinity in non-toxic expressions and fall in love with parts of ourselves that arise. When carving out the statue of David, Michelangelo famously said, “I chipped away at everything that wasn’t David, and David appeared.” It’s a liberating experience…

Boy Michael @boymichaellovesyou

"I overcame a lot of fears around my gender expression. Getting to know Boy Michael (my drag king persona) was like a new love affair, I was shy and I really wanted to be the best person I could be for them. Through the weeks of training and the acceptance of the group, it felt like coming home. Now he is very much a part of me and I’m not only more at peace with my masculinity but also my femininity. I’m excited about where this can take me and how I can share this not only through performance but in my everyday life and with those who love me."

Many Kings find a new level of acceptance - both within themselves and within the community of Kings of Joy, no matter how edgy or weird you think you might be. Even if you’re an outlier, there’s room for everyone.

Martin van Tasmal @martin.vantasmal

"I'm so happy I've met these kings, and been so accepted for showing my weird, nerdy, genderfluid self. I really thought I might have to restrain myself to fit into the group, but Danica and the others were so accepting of my elf ears, glitter, and wizardly ass. Kings of Joy was the first step in finding an incredibly wholesome community of sexy and accepting people."


Once you step onto the stage as a Drag King, you enter a world where anything is possible. You can strut, dance, lip-sync, or perform comedy routines to captivate the audience and express yourself in ways that may not be possible in everyday life. 

George Saint @president_cara

"If you’d told me 6 months ago that I’d be dancing for an audience as a Drag King (complete with chiseled features, binding and phallic packing) I would’ve laughed. Being a seasoned stage performer, the rehearsal, creation and performance of Kings of Joy has been for me a revelation in what I’ll allow myself to get away with when performing in a mask... quite a lot, it turns out. Danica creates a space where it is safe to explore masculinity in its many different forms. And performing this cheeky, masculine side of me has been hella empowering."

Ways of expressing yourself that have rarely been let out find a new place to be celebrated and loved. Your first time on stage as Drag King can be euphoric, exhilarating and with your bros by your side, you leave knowing yourself as unstoppable, at home in your own skin…

Lord Quill the III @lordquilldrag 

"I've always had insecurity with battling my masculine and feminine side, as a nonbinary person it’s incredibly tough. Having a chance to fully explore, not only, my masculine side, but my sexy side too was an amazing opportunity and I can never forget my first time on stage.

Danica is the greatest teacher I could have asked for, starting something like this. She was so affirming and welcoming to me as a transmasc person and acknowledged my experiences with dysphoria and discomfort with how I express myself. She helped me give life to the person I always knew I could be."

Challenging gender

Being a Drag King is, in itself, a form of activism by raising awareness of the diversity of gender and challenging traditional and often constraining gender roles. These roles constrain everyone who is governed by them and raised from childhood within these limited and unfulfilling ideals of what the binary genders should be. By performing in drag, you are asserting your right to be whoever you want to be, regardless of where you are from…

Nawab Lord Lestrange @orangedot7

"As someone who is new to the country and is still establishing themselves, I was happy to find such a strong sense of community within our little group. I come from a background and circumstances that make me deeply appreciative of the sense of belongingness I felt."

Regardless of who you are… 

Maggot Banks @maggot_banks

"Watching myself rock out and perform was so surreal and I honestly felt so sexy, empowered, and proud! I am so grateful for how much more confident I feel in my body and in my abilities. Danica has such a magical way of coaching you along this beautiful gender journey. It wasn’t exactly what I thought I needed as I was comfortable prescribing to she/her pronouns. The exploration into masculinity and what it looks like to us and what it could look like was profound and meaningful and often times we got to have a good laugh about it too!"

And regardless of societal expectations…

Klit Angel @klit_angel

"Before Kings of Joy, I always felt some shame in my masculinity. As a transfemme, there is a societal expectation on how you are meant to express your gender. Freeing myself from that expectation, and reclaiming my masculine side on my terms has been life-changing, I know cliché, but it really has."

Going beyond where you’d normally stop

Some Kings have not been on the stage for many years; some have zero stage experience. And it takes something to go beyond where you’ve gone before. Something within yourself, that’s an inside job. Whether being a Drag King has been a secret desire, a socials-only experience or just something you’ve always wanted to do, it takes a leap of faith but the rewards are tenfold…

BJ Shuvit @mirandaaa831

"I've always liked drag, but I could never picture myself even attempting to be a Drag King, no matter how many tutorials I saved or performance ideas I'd imagine. I signed up after attending Drag Kingdom in a fit of anxious adrenaline, half-hoping I wouldn't hear back.

That panicked sign-up was one of the best things I've done. Kings of Joy, true to name, brings so much joy and warmth to the world. Danica has a way of gently but firmly encouraging you to bypass your nerves and unlock your true, royal self. I never considered myself a performer or a dancer, but I guess I am now! Being a King has made me feel closer to my queer community, to my body, and to my own divine sense of masculinity. 

Sometimes you're scared for a reason; sometimes you're scared because you're scared of trying and failing, scared of hoping for a thing and getting pushed back. If you're in the latter camp, like I was, I want to reassure you: you're in good hands. You deserve your crown!"

Beautifully said. And given you made the whole thing up, you literally invented your Drag King persona, you can now keep it forever, tweak it or throw it out and start again. It’s completely up to you. Overall, being a first-time Drag King can be an exhilarating and transformative experience that opens up brand-new opportunities for self-expression, creativity, and connection.

Trans Mission @trans_mission_drag

"After completing the Kings of Joy program with Danica, you will be so ready and raring to perform again and again. You will also join an amazing community of Kings that Danica and Queers of Joy have created, all there to support you and gas you up on your journey into further gender fuckery and performance art. I have found confidence in Drag makeup, inspiration and motivation for future performances and a renewed love for performing."


Participating in a group of Drag Kings certainly changed the course of my life and it has for others too…

Cyber Prince @cyperprince21

"Kings of Joy All-Stars was one of the best experiences I have had in my life. Still a baby queer, I first saw a drag king perform early in 2021 and just knew “I want to do that”... Kings of Joy All-Stars has helped me feel more comfortable in my own skin, my queer identity and meet an amazing community of people."

No matter where you are at in your life as an LGBTQIA+ person, getting access to a community of people who lift each other up, can make the world of difference. Life becomes about already belonging, already being connected and already being part of a community. From that foundation, anything really is possible. 

 Bo Radley @boradzindrag

"It's been an incredible experience. It's been amazing to be in my body in a way that you don't often get to be. Especially, as I’m going home to tell my parents in Canada that I identify as queer. I'm not out to them yet. So it's been a really amazing experience to be with other people [Cheers...] sharing that.

And it's been such a safe place - to belong rather than fit in. If you resonate with that, I'd say do it. Sign up and try Kings of Joy, and see if you can find a place to belong rather than fit in."

If you’d like to explore being a Drag King, and you like the sound of doing it in a group, click here to sign up for the waiting list for Kings of Joy.



The King Coach

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