At MoPOP’s Drag-tastic Summer Camp, teens learn the ‘Art of Drag’
It’s summer camp season, and this week at Seattle’s MoPop, the Museum of Pop Culture, 20 teenagers are enrolled in Drag Camp.
“My drag name is Victor Hectomy, like hysterectomy.”
“I’m Watermelon Sugar.”
“My drag name is Victoria Mystic.”
The campers featured in this story will only be referred to by their drag names.
“Drag camp is a whole week dedicated to helping kids cultivate and curate their drag persona,” said Chelsea, manager of museum education at MoPOP. “From wigs to nails to costumes. MoPOP is a really unique and special place because it allows folks to dive into their weirdest and nerdiest, to find like-mindedness with someone who has that totally obscure, random pop culture love. We always say, ‘Nerd is a compliment here.’ What’s really great about Drag Camp is they can be in a safe space and just be themselves.”
Throughout this week, the teenagers have learned the art of drag.
“Walking and being fabulous on heels,” said Victor Hectomy. “Day two was makeup, which was really fun. Day three was wigs and dressing, kind of figuring out more of what I want my character to be. What I want to embody.”
Victor chose her drag name with her parents before camp started.
“A lot of drag names have puns in them,” said Victor. “I just thought [Victor Hectomy] was really humorous. It’s like gender play because it’s a female procedure and a male name. So it’s just really cool.”
The camp is run by the headmistress of drag, Joshua Scott Hancock.
“I grew up in a little town in east Texas,” said Hancock. “I knew I was queer, I knew that I was very different, and I knew I was a performer. It’s nice to see the kids doing something that I wish I had years ago. I may have figured some things out faster. ”
Camper Victoria Mystic says her mom has taken her to see drag performances at Pride.
“I’ve always loved drag as, like, a storytelling narrative,” Mystic said. “How you can portray something with makeup and hair and create a character without needing to have a back story.”
Victor Hectomy says her character is basically a more theatrical version of herself.
“I have a very fabulous personality and I like that a lot about myself,” said Victor. “So I think it’s very close, it’s a bit more exaggerated.”
The camp is made up of kids of all genders and sexual orientations.
“Drag is for everyone,” said Hancock. “We all put on some kind of drag every day. We’re born naked and the rest is drag, as RuPaul says. We just had a conversation today, in this room in fact, about, ‘There are so many straight people coming into drag.’ And we’re like, ‘Yes, they can come into drag.’ As long as you come into our space and you’re wanting to learn the art form and you’re willing to treat everyone like a human being, then you’re obviously welcome.”
Today is the last day of camp and these young, burgeoning drag queens and kings will perform their acts, in character, for friends and family.
Click here to explore all of MoPOP’s summer camp programs.
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