When you think of the word ‘drag’ what comes to mind? Smeared lipstick over a 5 o’clock shadow? Hairy chests unsuccessfully filling padded bras? Sequin ballgowns hitched over hairy thighs? Maybe, Prescilla Queen of The Desert?
Well forget what you think you know because Victoria Sin’s torn a gaping hole in the UK drag scene’s stockings. Raised in Toronto as a cis-gendered female, in a traditional half-Chinese family setting, Victoria wore pink and was styled with bows in her hair as a child. It was only as a teenager that she began to openly identify as queer forcing her to examine and question the stipulations her gender was placing on herself and the people around her.
Victoria is open about the fact that very often, the first time people see her dressed as a female drag queen they presume that beneath the bleached wig and inches of white war paint lies a man. The realisation is an exciting and arresting experience.
Victoria is a key member of London’s growing female drag scene (amongst artists like Eppie and Lolo Brow) and a voice in an increasing din, currently questioning the potential violence that traditional drag might be behind. Prime-time programming such as Rupaul’s Drag Race means male drag has become more accepted in traditional societies, not least for it’s subliminal holding of western ideal of feminine beauty. It’s not that Victoria doesn’t approve it’s just that she’s seeking out a mode of drag, that well, just kicks the old heteronormative, racist, sexist, patriarchal, capitalist system under which the polished loafer of which, we all currently call “home”, a little harder.
Just how is Victoria doing that? Through her performances at London’s brightest queer pubs like The Glory and The Royal Vauxhall Tavern; by creating spaces for other femmes to occupy, in the shape of book clubs and talks and through projects like “Dream Babes” where artists come together to discuss and visualise life on "Proxima b – our closest planet with habitable potential.”
Victoria’s training as an artist is visible on her website, and through the amazing used-wet wipe series shared on her Instagram. The print of her make-up, after a long night’s performance, on a face wipe is startlingly impactful; they’re cartoonish, smirking tokens of Victoria’s transformation from ‘cis-woman’ to ultra gender-bending alien-femme, and are reminder of our own parallel performances we unwittingly star in each day; dressing and undressing, brushing and tying, painting and cleaning.
When Victoria performs she reminds us that gender is no ones burden to carry, and if ever that weight feels heavy, they can take it off. In some ways, we’re all female drag queens, it just so happens that Victoria’s a dab hand with liquid eye liner. See you on Proxima b, babes.