Drag Queens have danced their way to the forefront of pop culture, but Drag Kings are still fighting for their time in the spotlight.
Kelowna’s drag scene is growing and diversifying, but the drag kings have always been around according to Laura McKenzie, also known as ‘Craven Moorehead’ who she describes as,”both a rock and roll legend and a total perv.”
McKenzie first met her masculine alter ego five years ago during her second amateur drag competition and then Craven Moorehead was asked to do more shows by infamous Kelowna Drag Queen Ella Lamoureux.
“When I started doing more shows the question came up, what kind of man do I want to be? At first he was a dirty rock and roller, evolving with the themes of the show I was doing. Then he was a disco drag king, turns out he was very dirty, funny and liked to hump things. This is poking fun at gender, and what I think a man does,” McKenzie said. “I just kept getting more creative.”
Drag found her when she moved to Kelowna 11 years ago with her now fiancé, drifting towards the LGBTQ+ community in the valley instead of the hetero-normative one.
The androgynous special effects makeup artist began wondering what she would look like as a man and playing with gender. Working at Calowna Costume for eight years, McKenzie had racks of clothing to choose from to begin sculpting Craven Moorehead.
“I started playing around with, facial hair and it all took off from there,” now McKenzie prefers grease paint and a stipple brush to create the illusion of facial hair for performances. “Even if my face is convincing, I am still a petite girl, and I am still 5-foot-5.”
The sexual remarks and gestures Craven Moorehead makes on stage are taken lightly because the crowd still sees her as a woman performing her craft. She gets grabbed more when performing by the audience than in her day to day life; where the crowd comes to celebrating and poke fun at traditional gender roles and the social economic climate where men sexually harass women.
“They feel because I am a girl doing it and I am not getting any sexual gratification out of it, it’s more fun. They find it hilarious and we get to poke fun at this culture. The queens put their tips in their bra, I put mine in my pants. It’s funnier because those boobs aren’t real and I have a sock in my pants.”
Drag Kings are not allowed to compete in the cult classic RuPaul’s Drag Race and neither are transwomen. However the kings have been climbing their way to the spotlight. A Drag King was the second runner-up in last year’s Kelowna’s Next Drag Superstar event. Kings originated in the 19th Century but were never able to make it to the main stream due to expressions of exaggerated femininity being more accepted and celebrated than expressions of exaggerated masculinity.
This year McKenzie will not perform during Kelowna’s Pride weekend, she will be emulating Craven Moorehead at the Radiant Wrap-Up Dance Party at Level Nightclub on Aug. 19 at 10 p.m.
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