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He said, she said: A behind-the-scenes look at drag

Drag Queen Brett Young lets Hot Ink behind the scenes of his Oklahoma City club.
BY VICTORIA POWELL Duncan High School Published: May 1, 2011

“My dad just about made everybody cry because he got up and hugged me at the end of the show,” Young said.

Young's resume of performance experience is extensive. He has done it all, from backup singer and dancer to artistic director for the Cabaret Old Town theater in Wichita, Kan. He's worked with the Osmonds, as well as performing in regional theater. He was in the first European tour of “Oklahoma!”

His start with female impersonations began with an acting part in “Pageant” as Miss Texas. After his performance, he was asked if he had ever considered doing shows in clubs, which lead to him entering and winning the Miss Gay Kansas America pageant. From there he went to Washington, D.C. for the national pageant and placed 13 out of 72 contestants.

The chance to entertain, be his own director and not have to work for others was what drew Young to drag. He was hooked.

After moving back to Oklahoma and being named first runner-up for the national level in yet another pageant, Young decided he wanted to own his own club.

Performing and owning a drag bar is the last thing Young expected to end up doing.

“I used to say, ‘I would never want to do Cats because of the make up. I don't want to sit in a make up chair for an hour before every show.' And look at me now. This is what I do.”

Though the course his life has taken was unexpected, Young enjoys what he does. The people he meets and the experiences he has had make the difficult times worthwhile, he said.

One thing people don't realize is that drag queens have day jobs, Young said. The other queens that work at The Boom all have jobs in areas they excel in that extend beyond the nighttime drag shows.

“Most of the people I know, and not just the ones who work here, they're busy, they're productive and smart,” he said.

To Young there are many misconceptions about drag queens and what they do. When he started drag 10 years ago, he loved the glitz and glamour. But he said he does not always enjoy the process; it can be uncomfortable.

“For people who do this, it's the love of being on stage,” Young said. “Everyone's reaction to drag is different.”


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