Nine drag queens show up with courage & conviction


“I think judgment comes from not understanding,” says Manila von Teez. A drag queen, Von Teez is a participant in an art form that has its roots in theatre from the middle ages. The word “drag” comes from “Dressed as a Girl”, a stage direction used when male actors played female roles.

Today drag has grown into an artistic tradition, the conduit through which an emerging group of performers is expressing themselves and exploring their identities. Drag has found mainstream success and recognition thanks in large part to RuPaul’s Drag Race, a reality competition TV series documenting the search for America’s next drag superstar.

And South Africa has its own thriving drag scene bursting into the limelight. Nine of its stars are represented here. Manila von Teez. Queezy. Lady Aria Grey. Ivana Vodka. Layla Zokufa Khan. Enigma von Hamburg. Inkwell Moon. Maxine Wild. Odidiva. These queens are pushing boundaries and making themselves relevant.