Meet The ‘Drag Kids’ Who Want To Slay The World And Then Some

2019-10-24 08:36:27

Director Megan Wennberg aims to showcase the “passion, bravery and self-awareness” of an up-and-coming generation of drag artists in her stirring new documentary. 

HuffPost got a sneak peek at “Drag Kids,” which is making its U.S. premiere at New York’s LGBTQ film festival NewFest this week, via the clip above. In it, 10-year-old performer Queen Lactatia demonstrates some fierce moves while sharing a few words of profound wisdom.

“Some of my friends think that a drag queen is a man who wants to be a woman, and that’s not true,” Lactatia, whose real name is Nemis Quinn Mélançon Golden, says. “A drag queen is a man who puts on a feminine persona.”  

Many will remember Lactatia as the young queen who joined “RuPaul’s Drag Race” veteran Bianca del Rio onstage in 2017, footage of which has been viewed more than 266,000 times on social media. The Montréal, Canada, native is one of four drag performers under the age of 12 to be profiled in “Drag Kids,” a film that has generated critical accolades, but scrutiny as well. 

Wennberg, whose credits include the 2018 feature film “Hopeless Romantic,” told HuffPost she was “excited to learn more about a world that I didn’t know existed” when she was tapped by producer Erin Oakes to direct the documentary. 

Queen Lactatia performing on stage at Fierté Montréal Pride 2018.

Queen Lactatia performing on stage at Fierté Montréal Pride 2018.

“The drag kids are fierce and fabulous,” Wennberg said. “I think they challenge us all to think about what this could look like in our own lives, if we can be brave enough to follow our own wildest dreams.”

In recent years, the popularity of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has been crucial in widening the audience for drag around the world. For her part, Wennberg believes the ubiquitousness of that competition series, paired with the use of social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram, have allowed drag, as a performance art, to reach a devoted contingent of younger viewers. 

For others, the notion of drag as something other than nightlife subculture ― and, hence, appropriate for the tween set ― has been a bit harder to swallow. Earlier this year, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” veteran Violet Chachki was slammed after appearing to be nearly nude in a photo with Lactatia. Some critics argued that the image was distasteful and sexualized children.

Wennberg, however, believes such criticism is misguided. 

“I think people who are upset by children dressing up – and particularly boys in dresses – need to look at why this is so upsetting to them,” she said. “Ultimately this is a film about the importance of pursuing your passion, and finding connection and community. These kids just happen to love drag.” 

She added: “I hope this film inspires people to think about the ways in which they can express their true selves.”  

“Drag Kids” will screen at NewFest on Oct. 24. Catch the full trailer below. 

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