Transformation Tuesday just got a whole lot QTer…New queers featured every week! Tag us, take a pic of us and follow us on Instagram at QWERRRKOUT, and you too could be the next, featured QT! YOU BETTA QWERRRK! #YearOfThePig (Mx Qwerrrk vid by celebrity photog Santiago Felipe).
Location: Växjö, Sweden
“Vlada is a character described as a Brazilian/Russian spy, currently working as the Minister of International Affairs of the fictitious URSAL (Union of the Socialist Republic of Latin America). My major inspiration is a Russian-born cis female drag called Elke Maravilha, who moved to Brazil as a child in the 1940’s and lived her whole life there. As I am a cis woman myself, I decided to pay homage to one of ours who was simply erased from queer herstory for being a cis woman.I decided to start doing drag two years ago as a way to express my unconformities with the stereotypes and the expected behavior of women. I heard my whole life that I should wear this, sit like that, talk like that, etc; or I would either look like a man or a hoe (and also as a way to cope with my depression). So I decided to come up with a character through which I could express how I feel like a woman, and how I would like to be seen beyond all the things society expects from me…I am badass, rock-faced, and strong-minded – but very campy and kitsch at the same time.Before I started doing drag, I had never played with makeup and never knew the difference between a foundation and compact powder (besides one being liquid and the other not, haha). So, it took me a couple of months before I came up with my face and a character that didn’t look too sloppy and messy (trust me, my first months in drag belong to the deep web archives!). I am really into retro looks and big wigs, which I style by myself.I perform in Växjö (one of the cities I live) at Kafe de Luxe and contribute with the Växjö Pride since 2017- the biggest Pride in Sweden after Stockholm!I hope I get to inspire more women to try the art of drag, since the more diversity we have in queer scenes, the better!”
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For those who follow me and haven’t noticed yet: I am a cisgender woman. Because of the mainstream reality show we all know about, many cis women who did drag for years were suddenly erased by the discourse of dominance of cisgender men. But the truth is: we have always been around, it’s just you who don’t care enough to go find out about your REAL herstory – that is not shown on reality TV. One of those women is Elke Maravilha, my major inspiration as woman and artist (my eye makeup is inspired by hers). She was born in Russia (the reason why my character is full loaded with Russian/Soviet references) in 1945, and moved with her family to Brazil (my home country) 10 years later. Although she never proclaimed herself a drag queen, she was always fighting against gender stereotypes and the idea that women had to be „less“ than men. She expressed it through very ironic quotes, such as: „I provoke because I am different. Why do gay people provoke? Because they are different. Many people think I am a man who dresses up (…) I understand why they think that. When a woman has to get ready to go out, she goes to the hair saloon and says: ‚less, please‘. (…) But the men, when trying to ‚look like a woman‘, they want more: they add and multiply. (…) So, when people see someone who is too much, they think it must be a man…“ Besides the LGBT community, she also worked as spokeswoman of the Association of Prostitutes from Rio de Janeiro, fighting for the right of sex workers to be respected as any other worker is. She also had an intense supportive relationship with incarcerated people, and very often spoke for their rights in prison. She also worked, for more than 40 years, on preventive campaigns agains STDs in Brazil. Because of her strong human rights campaigns and her fights against authoritarian regimes (such as the military dictatorship he had in Brazil in the 60s, 70s and 80s), she was expatriated from Russia, and had her Brazilian citizenship revoked. She died in 2016 (one month before I started to do drag), with 71 years, in Brazil, and has always been a woman ahead of her time. I will put some pics of her here, so just swipe and gag!