Drag clubs are nothing new in New York City — but it took a 10-year-old to dream up the first drag club for children.
Desmond Napoles from Brooklyn in New York City is better known by his drag name, Desmond is Amazing. Though still quite young, he first expressed an interest in dressing up in drag as a toddler and has become somewhat of a celebrity on the drag circuit.
And he is convinced that there are more kids out there just like him. So now, the precocious youngster is launching Haus of Amazing, the ‘first and only drag club for kids,’ where no adults are allowed.
When Desmond was younger, he would fashion bed sheets and towels into dresses and wigs, and would ‘clomp up and down the hallway in his mother’s high heels.’
‘Ever since day one… ever since I was able to walk, I used to take my mom’s towels and take her heels and clomp around the house. [I’d] put the towel on my head, wrap a towel around my body and walk the runway down my house,’ he revealed to Out.
At age five, he liked to play with toy trains, maps, video games, and Barbies but when he was six, an Elsa from Frozen costume changed everything — and Desmond started asking his parents for princess costumes or dresses when they were out shopping.
Admitting that they were concerned about how other people might perceive their son, Desmond’s parents consulted a therapist for advice on what to do.
The therapist advised them that the best course of action was to do nothing, and let Desmond develop naturally and explore his own tastes in clothing, toys, and activities.
Desmond’s love of dressing up didn’t falter, and his first big break in drag came in 2014 when he was featured in the music video for Jinkx Monsoon’s The Bacon Shake, alongside his hero RuPaul and B-52 lead singer Fred Schneider.
In June 2015, he took part in Gay Pride in NYC, wearing a rainbow tutu and gold beret and his appearance went viral.
As a result, his mother’s friends setup a Facebook fan page dedicated to Desmond’s journey.
Named Desmond is Amazing, the Facebook page gave Desmond the idea to use the same moniker as his stage name.
And although he is only 10, Desmond’s ‘avant drag’ style has evolved to incorporate his biggest inspirations — RuPaul, Andy Warhol, and Keith Haring.
The pre-teen also cites 1970s disco, and designers like Comme de Garcons, Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, Thierry Mulger, and Betsey Johnson as inspirations.
And while he is part of drag culture, he refers to himself as a ‘drag kid’ rather than a ‘drag queen,’ explaining that this term should only refer to adults.
On his website he writes, ‘People should be able to dance, sing, or dress in any way. You can express yourself however you want. It doesn’t matter if you like jazz or rap, ballet or ballroom, dresses or suits. You can just do you.’