Generation drag: a Q&A with Melbourne queen D Flowers

Generation drag: a Q&A with Melbourne queen D Flowers
Image: D Flowers. Image: Supplied.

How are younger queens helping to redefine drag in Australia? Matthew Wade caught up with Melbourne performer D Flowers to find out.

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How did you first get into drag?

I watched the annual amateur drag show held at my university a few times and thought that I had something different to offer.

I finally plucked up the courage to compete in my third year, won the title of Ms. UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), and started watching RuPaul’s Drag Race after my first performance.

I was intrigued because some of my friends compared me to queens on the show: mainly BeBe Zahara Benet and Tyra Sanchez.

What was your first time in drag like?

My first time dressing up was at a Christmas party. I was very uncomfortable and was in my head way too much.

I wore the dress I’d bought from a thrift store and looked like a complete mess. My close friends were very supportive though.

However, My first time performing was a very cathartic experience. The costume I wore is probably still of the most expensive items I own in either of my closets.

The feedback I got was overwhelmingly supportive and heartwarming. My performance debut is definitely a moment I will cherish for life.

Do you have a favourite song to lip-sync to?

I love too many songs so it’s really hard for me choose. I would say that two of my favourites would be my Destiny’s Child medley and a Firework remix that I’m very fond of.

I resonate a lot with the lyrics and find them to be autobiographical for my life’s journey.

How are younger drag queens helping to redefine or change people’s definitions or ideas of drag?

A majority of younger queens nowadays seem to represent mainstream forms of hyper femininity.

We’re so saturated with drag and beauty trends via social media and the beauty industry, so it’s hard to create a signature look without being automatically compared to someone else.

I don’t think that I represent anything new, so I feel like I’m redefining anyone’s perception of drag.

Can drag also be used as a political tool? How?

Anyone who breaks the gender binary is not only making a political statement; they are also making social, historical, and economical statements as well.

We all know that heterosexual society is rather binary, and drag does tend to break down a lot of the boundaries and create visceral reactions.

I feel it can expose individuals to the idea that gender is a fluid, social construct.

What’s the Melbourne drag scene like?

The Melbourne social scene is very cliquey, so the drag scene can be very territorial.

It can be hard on new and upcoming queens to break into the market. Drag is becoming more “mainstream” due to the popularity of RuPaul’s Drag Race, which has its pros and cons.

It’s resulted in so many more individuals who want to try out drag nowadays. I feel that it’s a beautiful thing and everyone should try out drag at least once in their lifetime.

What’s the main message you’re hoping to send through your work?

I just want to create more visibility and safe spaces for my fellow people of colour within the LGBTQIA diaspora. Visibility and representation matter.

D Flowers performs regularly at Mollie’s Bar & Diner and other venues in Melbourne. You can follow her on Instagram @divyaflorez.

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