Drag is seemingly everywhere these days in pop culture, and people of all ages, including kids and teenagers, are interested in the art form and getting up in the gig themselves.
The queens of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” season six know a thing or two about drag. They have become some of the most successful names in the industry, so much so that the grand dame RuPaul invited them all to be on the newest season of the hit reality show.
So in honor of the new season of "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars" premiering on the streaming platform Paramount+ last week, TODAY sat down with the contestants to find out what their advice is to parents of children who may be interested in drag themselves. During our conversations, we found out some sweet personal anecdotes about their own family lives as well.
What advice do the queens of "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars" have for parents of kids who may want to do drag?
"I've actually been able to see my baby sister in the last two years have two kids. So it’s new, they're my first niece and nephew and I've never really been close to kids like that. It's been really inspiring to see how she's raising these baby humans.
I definitely don’t want to give parenting advice. I can't even begin to understand what most parents go through. So I wouldn't really feel comfortable telling people how to parent, but I would say I think a hands off approach to someone else's gender no matter what their age is, is pretty necessary. You know, even as a parent, I get you want to step in and be hands on and give information. But I heard something the other day, a child asked their parent, 'Am I a boy or a girl?' And the parent responded, 'What do you think?' Which is like a very simple answer and maybe for a small kid that is mind-blowing and maybe too much, but it’s a really good answer to start with."
"I remember I used to paint my nails with crayons at school and on the ride home on the bus, I would scratch the wax off my nails so I wouldn't get in trouble when I got home because that's when they started having an issue with it. When I was doing things like that outside of home or at school.
But let children be children, and encourage them to be as much of themselves as they possibly can because I think when you don’t do that’s when they rebel. I think that's probably where the craziness starts is when you start suppressing them or not allowing kids to express themselves. So I think allowing your kids to express themselves is a good thing. Gender is a really confusing thing already. You know, people are confused regarding body parts and your expression and all that. And at the end of the day, we're just humans, you know? That's all we really are."
"I don't get mad but I get jealous when I see these 7-year-olds being drag queens and their moms and dads buy them everything and they go DragCon in drag. I mean, when I was little, I was in my room listening to Madonna or whoever, crying! So I feel jealous. I don't know what to say to them! I would say do not open the door if you hear Madonna in your kid's room, because he's probably performing or something."
"Advice to any parent raising a child who wants to do drag is to actually just allow your child to be. I want parents to remember how it was how they felt when they were little. Before they knew, before the world started telling them who they were, what they should do, and how they should be. I want them to remember the innocence that they had, or what may have been lost or taken from them from an adult, crushing the dreams before they were able to fully dream. So give your child the best opportunity in life and let them dream. Let them live out loud, regardless to how you feel about it. The most encouraging and supportive thing that you can do is tell them and give them the opportunity to learn by trial and error of what it is that they like and don’t like.
I just say let them dream, let them live, let them breathe and don't try to suppress them. Because you know, some things are fads, some things are temporary, some things are experimental, but we all go through that self-discovery."
Trinity K. Bonet
"I started doing drag at 13. I grew up in Miami, so a lot of my influences were queens from the South who I learned from. My mom is bisexual and at the time she was dating a woman. Because I wasn't old enough to get in clubs, my mom would have a lot of events and things at the house where I was allowed to express my art there and perform. Even at that age those girls were saying you are going to be really, really good.
But doing it that young, I do have my regrets. I didn’t finish school and I didn’t get to do a lot the teenage opportunities that most people have gotten. I feel like my education was taken away from me by me, because I was so adamant about being an entertainer and I just wanted to be onstage. It was almost like being a child star."
A'keria C. Davenport
"As somebody who has an adopted son, at first, I was very hesitant on him seeing me as A'keria because at that time, he was at an age where he mimicked everything that I did. So if I was shaving, he wanted a razor to pretend like he was shaving. I just wanted, if anything happens, I wanted to be in his mind, like, it’s what he wants to do. I want it to be his life, and how he wants to live not because he sees something and thinks all of a sudden it’s right for him.
But by now, he has seen me perform. I feel like you know, although he's not old enough to fully understand it, I love for him to see it because that way he knows and he can grow some sense of confidence knowing that my uncle is living his truth and I can live my truth and it’s OK to be successful and be a drag queen. So I just want him to know that whatever route that he takes, he's going to be loved regardless because I love him regardless."
"My husband and I actually, we have joint custody of my two youngest nephews. I hid it from the youngest one for so long. We kept Ginger in the garage and one day, I was getting ready to leave for a trip and he was 6 at the time and he goes, 'All right, well have fun ... Ginger.'
What did you just call me? What are you talking about? And he said, 'Well, I saw a picture. And I saw the name on the bottom, and you bought me an iPad for Christmas so I punched it in. I've been watching you on YouTube.'
He just absolutely loved it and they're very supportive, but they're also very different than I am, you know? They're very much into sports and I'm like, I don't know s--- about any of this but I'll encourage it, whatever you want to do. I'll be there for you. That's what we I think, as a parent, it is important just to encourage whatever they're feeling, and let them explore it in a safe way."
"As a non-binary individual, I've been through a lot of gender identity halves in my life. I lived as a trans female for several years. I had to re-transition to non-binary after being gay like because it didn't feel right trying to live as a gay man. So I found this gray area of non-binary.
The only thing I can give advice on is my niece and nephew and they saw every part of those re-transitions. My niece, I had to explain to her when I de-transitioned from being a female back to being a gay male, that I was actually a guy because she just thought I was Aunt V, you know? She was raised by me being a woman.
Honestly, those kids, because they were around it, they are so accepting of others. The influence of just them being exposed to acceptance within my family and my gender identity struggles and things. I always say that the best way to fight discrimination is exposure and understanding.
So I think the parents need to sit down and explain things to children, even if they feel that way. Like it's your job as a parent to be the teacher. And if they don’t know, you gotta get online. You gotta Google it, girl. We all carry computers in our hands! Literally type in what is non-binary and go down the rabbit hole of self discovery."
"Have them practice everything early. Like if they want to learn makeup at a young age, go ahead. They want to learn how to style hair, go ahead. Because as they get to the point when they start doing drag professionally, they can save a lot of money and actually do everything themselves. I think that's probably how you can make the most of it is when you can make everything from scratch and do everything yourself because then you're not wasting money on getting someone else to do it for you."
"Listen to them, and to hear them out on all of their ideas and encourage them to go down that path. I know that it's probably scary to be like, they’re interested in going into this field that has so many uncertainties and has no guarantee of success or money back or anything. But you have to let the kid fly. You have to let your child explore all these things because even if that's not where they ended up going in life, they're going to learn so much about themselves. So that journey in itself is very rewarding."
Silky Nutmeg Ganache
"Well, I guess my perspective is quite different because I wouldn't know what to tell, like an adult how to raise a child. I was raised in the South, so your parenting is your parenting. But I guess my advice would be more to the kid and it was just like how I was raised.
Go to college, go far away and live your best gay life. There's nothing better than that. You gotta go to school, you got to do well, because you want to stay there, but live your best gay life. Become established in your community. That's the reason that we have gay families. We have houses, we have all of that. Go join and be a part of that. I'm a part of a huge gay family. We just had a family reunion in Las Vegas for my gay family.
So do that and then go home and torture your biological family and let them know that you are the individual that they raised and trust me, they will come along and it does get better. It may take some time but child, my mom was not always on board but now she's my biggest cheerleader. She want to go to every gig. She want to come to DragCon and meet my fans.
So if you can get love with your own family, there's people that will give you love, but still let your family know and they come around at some point."