Back to Blog

The Spotlight Revolution: First-time Drag Kings

kings of joy Feb 08, 2024

Have you ever seen a caterpillar weaving its cocoon? It goes within to transform into liquid (true story) and later emerges as a butterfly. 

Four brand-new Drag Kings are soon to emerge from their journey through the 6-weeks of the Kings of Joy Gold Stars program with the King Coach, Danica Lan. Tonight, 8 Feb at Queers of Joy, they will stride onto the stage, stepping into their power and leaning into larger-than-life masc versions of themselves. Although you’ve never seen these personas before, you may feel like you’ve known them forever.


Mr. Thomas, Maimonides Nutz, Fine China and Pasha Dicocky!

Queers of Joy is a must-go on your community calendar, showcasing trans and gender-diverse artists and celebrating trans vitality. When you walk into the Red Rattler, you’ll discover not only some dazzling artists, but you’ll get to hear their stories as well, directly from their hearts.

Every show, since December 2020, has had a group of first-time Drag Kings performing. This quad of Kings will take our numbers up to 106 first-time Drag Kings who have flourished in the Kings of Joy programs.

The Birth of Kings: Discover Their Journey

Picture this—four individuals who had never imagined themselves under stage lights or with chiseled features are now poised to claim their crowns. But what does it take to step out into uncharted territory? Courage, yes—but also six weeks of intense preparation filled with laughter, self-discovery and perhaps even moments when giving up seemed easier.

Hot tip: Embrace new opportunities; sometimes growth lies in unexpected places. According to recent studies on performance arts’ impact on mental health, significant positive outcomes include increased self-esteem and reduced anxiety levels among participants. 

 As RuPaul says, “Artistic expression is not just an outlet—it's a discovery.”

 Let’s hear from a King of Joy about this exploration:

“For such a long time dabbling in drag was a pipe dream, a “maybe one-day” goal. On a whim, I signed up to Kings of Joy and have been consistently blown away by the high energy and high enthusiasm of Danica’s support. She made the goal attainable and enjoyable! Danica really is the Mother of Drag Kings! 

In 6 short (too short, I want more!) weeks, she encouraged and supported our growth as baby kings, teaching us (total beginners) skills like dance, lip-syncing, and persona development. She made it so easy and fun! I never expected to make as many wonderful and positive connections along the way as I did, nor did I expect to explore and discover more of my own gender expression. To say the Kings of Joy experience was incredibly amazing is truly an understatement!”

- Bobs Bulges 

A Spectrum Of Stories: Diversity Enriches

Each King brings their own story—from different backgrounds, professions and lifestyles—creating a kaleidoscope that reflects not only diversity but unity in difference. 

Hot tip: Share your story; it might inspire someone else’s next chapter. Diverse groups tend to be more creative and innovative. Elliot Page reminds us that, “Diversity isn't about differences alone; it’s about embracing those differences." We learn from each other and our collective wisdom.

Here’s a King of Joy on diversity:

“Before having the opportunity to be a part of Kings of Joy, I had done a lot of contemplation about gender identity; what my gender means to me; and how my gender presentation affects how people see me. After this experience, I've gained a much deeper appreciation of how diverse everyone's relationship with gender is, and I've gained so much confidence to just be myself and express different aspects of who I am, both in the context of performing and day-to-day..”

- Tal Keshet

Rehearsal Revelations: Behind-The-Scenes

Becoming a first-time Drag King isn’t all smooth sailing. Sometimes we don’t immediately find a persona we resonate with or a name that everyone gets. Learning new moves while lip-syncing can be like rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time. And yet, what matters is showing up week after week until reaching the revered destination - the stage.

Hot tip: Don’t fear mistakes—they’re important steps and part of the learning process toward mastery. One of my favourite pieces of coaching I give to my Kings before they go on stage was given to me by a gay boy dancer friend, Will, “In group performance, there’s no such thing as a mistake. Only a solo.”  

Are You Gonna Be My Girl?: A Sneak Peek Into The Kings of Joy’s Debut Act

This act promises to bring energy, self-expression and liberation from the stage straight to your seat in the audience. Expect good vibes and you’ll be guaranteed to leave wanting more! 

Hot tip: Participate by cheering for the new Kings and clap along from your seat. According to studies by University Oxford psychologist, Robin Dunbar, moving together in sync with others, increases group bonding and endorphins which reinforce pleasure and relieve pain. Some researchers have suggested that singing and dancing have replaced the grooming habits of nonhuman primates and call them the “neurochemical glue” of human relationships.

Why This Night Matters: More Than Just Entertainment 

When trans, gender-diverse and queer people gather, it’s more than just a night of entertainment. Something sacred happens that - if you allow it - can move you at a deep level. Seeing yourself reflected, hearing yourself in someone else’s story or being inspired by someone being fully unleashed on stage. We all want that liberation. To be that free and at home within our own skin.

Hot tip: Support community queer events—they are vital. There’s a direct correlation between thriving societies and engaging in artistic community.

“Living in Sydney for the last couple of years I’ve struggled to find my footing in the queer community so I’m so grateful for this experience. I feel more at home than I have since I got here and I now feel like I have a support network and amazing people to rock out with.”

- Maggot Banks

Come join us at Queers of Joy and reveal in the experience of belonging, and not just having to fit in.

Tonight! Click here for tickets.

Thurs 8 Feb, 7 pm

Queers of Joy

The Red Rattler, 

6 Faversham St,

Marrickville, Sydney



Danica Lani

The King Coach

P.S. Wanna be a Drag King? Click here to join the waiting list for Kings of Joy

Hello my friend, 🌈 I'm Danica Lani, here to empower you in your exploration of gender, sexuality, and performance. Known as The King Coach, I have proudly mentored, choreographed, and produced 102 first-time Drag Kings since December 2020 and built the uplifting Kings of Joy community. With decades of coaching and facilitation, I've led transformative workshops for hundreds of queer-identifying women, non-binary, and trans individuals, specialising in tantra within a queer context. My mission is that we can be 100% at home in our own skin.

Get me in your inbox!

Inspiration and love letters delivered right to your inbox. 

No spam. I will never sell your information, for any reason.