I started performing drag last year on 9th June 2019, and it’s been a wonderful year since then. I received a lot of warmth and love when I started performing in cities and helped me to explore multiple venues. Drag gave me an opportunity to participate across cities and interact with a lot of drag queens around the world. My city, Hyderabad, has also welcomed me with a lot of love and warmth to cherish my persona.
This year has been tough for a lot of drag performers around the world, having to stay inside their homes. While the world is fighting against a deadly pandemic, there is hardly any space for drag queens to share their craft. The Indian entertainment industry, which is predominantly dominated by movies, followed by music, dance and theatre, has little space to showcase content on drag. While the West has over 1,000 platforms, there are hardly any in India to bring insights on the art of drag to the frontline. And even if there are, South Asian drag artists are always being underrepresented.
Keeping all the socio-economic changes in mind, I wanted to create a space exclusively for drag. A space where we can get news, interviews, articles, memes, quotes and information on the Indian approach to drag. This idea gave birth to my baby ‘Drag Vanti’ — an online space for desi drag queens, kings and performers. It also serves as a channel to give information about the cultural and ethnic drag art form practices within India and how the version of Indian drag is different from what the world perceives as drag.
I created this open space with the idea to bring drag culture to mainstream in India and help provide equal attention to drag as all the other art forms. Drag Vanti is a website wherein young and aspiring drag performers can find all the information they need to harness their art. Drag Vanti has been created with a vision to have more conversations on the art of drag and create a community while sharing stories and newsletters.
With Drag Vanti, I want to give back all the warmth and love I have been receiving, and believe that it will create a unique community within drag performers. The website also hosts a wide range of interactive spaces where fellow drag queens can join and have discussion and debates on forums and groups.
They would also be able to create a profile that’d serve as a portfolio for their work. Drag Vanti contains a dictionary of all the drag slang and terminologies used, along with an additional vocabulary of Indian drag terms. The online platform also has a directory of all drag performers, artists, makeup artists, drag clubs and spaces to enable opportunities for collaboration, curation, partnership and representation within the community.
I am happy that Drag Vanti serves as India’s First Exclusive Drag website with an online quarterly e-magazine by the same name, launched by and for drag performers.