The ‘drag kings’ are gaining spaces where they can turn male expression into cabaret

Lara Malvesi |

Barcelona (EFE).- Drag shows, in which traditionally only ‘drag queens’ had spaces, are opening the door to ‘drag kings’, women who adopt masculine aesthetic expression and bring to the stage the codes of ‘macho’. ‘ to turn them into satire and cabaret.

Two of the most recognized ‘kings’ in LGTBI drag shows in Spain are Marcus Massalami, behind whom Melisa Meseger hides, and Faraonix, the ‘drag’ alterego of Marta Arán, who have explained to EFE how their identities on the stage have also allowed them to feel more comfortable with their own “self” without makeup.

Marcus Massalami says that he had been cross-dressing for the theater all his life, especially in the classic works of authors such as William Shakespeare, although it was when he learned about the existence of the ‘drag king’ scene in other countries that “his mind exploded” and he felt that there was found his way.

Faraonix, the drag alter ego of Marta Arán, one of two of the most recognized ‘kings’ of LGTBI drag shows in Spain. EFE/Marta Pérez

The former actress and nurse says she is comfortable with the “gender queer” label that allows her to “flow” and avoid too many labels.

Although that does not mean that his ‘drag’ character is “very macho”, with his goatee, his bushy eyebrows and his blue pompadour.

Girls “performing” like men

Her beginnings were “hard” despite having won a drag contest in none other than the Madrid LGTBI neighborhood of Chueca, because the public was not used to seeing girls “performing” as men.

Now she says that she feels “welcomed” by the drag scene in LGTBI establishments and by the drag queens themselves, although she points out that there are heterosexual men who, upon seeing their performance, “don’t feel too comfortable because no one has ever seen them before.” I had put a mirror in front of me like that.”

Furthermore, in his beginnings he did not have many “references” to build his character and “perform” a masculinity in which he plays with being “rude” and dares to play a bullfighter and even imitate David Bisbal.

“It is complex to be a ‘drag king’ because it has more to do with postures, attitudes and interpretation. The more a ‘drag queen’ uses makeup and artifice, the closer she can get to female stereotypes. But ours is different,” she reflects.

“Exploring the full range of hypermasculinity”

He points out that for this reason what interests him most in the end is “exploring the entire range of hypermasculinity. Put it on stage. Take the stereotypes and play with them.”

“With this experience I have realized how much social and performative reading we have in one genre and another,” he adds.
The “gender issue” is also something that has haunted Marta Arán, playwright and actress, “all her life,” who became Pharaoh after a COVID pandemic in which, locked at home, she began experimenting with makeup and hair. menswear.

The ‘drag kings’ are gaining spaces where they can turn male expression into cabaret. EFE/ Marta Perez

“One day I dressed as a man, I drank a whiskey and looking in the mirror I realized how beautiful I was as a man,” Faraónix explains with a laugh.

She points out that she realized how “comfortable” she felt that way, although that was precisely what made her “scared” at first.
In a drag king workshop he studied how to make his body movements masculine, which he summarizes as “locking the hips and shoulders” in the first place.

“I realized that masculine movements had actually always come naturally to me since childhood, but that somehow I learned to perform as a girl to be socially accepted. Until now,” she says.

Her character drinks from Lola Flores, La Faraona, and likes to play the castanets, although to the rhythm of techno or, as she clarifies, “technocastanets.”

Now she is living a “liberating experience” and claims with “pride” what she calls “the tomboy pen.”

He agrees with Massalami that “interpreting the masculine” is not easy, because it is “kilometer zero of our society”, something “very internalized” that even children and adolescents do to fit in.

“Many people on the street, in that sense, are drag and don’t know it,” he points out.

 
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