TRIXIE MATTEL/BRIAN FIRKUS
Trixie Mattel, winner of RuPaul Drag Race Allstars season three, comedy queen and singer-song writer, stars in her own new Netflix Documentary, Moving Parts, and it is a must-see. Trixie lets the world see the ups and downs of maintaining a career as an iconic drag queen from channeling her abusive past into an armor against criticism to being the reason some people, literally, are alive. It is both hilarious and honest, a combination I am always in the mood for.
Since being introduced to drag culture, I’ve been obsessed. I love it for all the obvious reasons like promoting self-expression, not taking anything too seriously, as Trixie describes, the seemingly “delusional confidence” queens have and a strong community. But as Moving Parts is my first glimpse into all aspects of being a modern drag icon, I found out my deeper connection with drag and it took getting to know Brian Firkus, the man behind the queen that is Trixie Mattel, to figure it out.
In Moving Parts we find out Firkus was abused by his alcoholic stepdad in his youth, often, for being too feminine, or in his stepdad’s words, too “Trixie”. Creating his drag persona, Trixie Mattel, a stunning blond doll resembling a mix between Dolly Parton and Malibu Barbie who has no worries in the world, was a way of telling his stepdad and the world “I am, I can and I will be too trixie.” She is a protest to her suppressors and an opportunity for Firkus to live the life he wanted, and as Trixie says, “The more you get to fabricate the life you want to live, the happier you are.”
As a woman I was always told I was being too much of something. Too loud, too masculine, too difficult, too skinny, too fat, too weak, too strong. Meanwhile, I saw my male peers being praised for the same qualities. They were never “too loud” they were “class clowns”, nor “too masculine” they were “tough”, or “too difficult” they were “motivated”… you get it. It took me a lot longer to admit what I wanted. I wanted to be too much of everything because it was more fun. That’s how I fell in love with performing improv comedy. On stage I could be whoever I wanted and I could definitely be “too much”. The audience loves to watch someone on stage be “too much” of something because it’s relatable. We’re all “too much” at times.
Firkus used self-expression, not taking anything too seriously, delusional confidence and finding a strong community to fabricate the life he wanted to live. That’s when I realized why I love drag. It’s not just because of those qualities but rather that those qualities are a recipe for creating your own reality and therefore your own happiness.
Check out Moving Parts now to find out about the parts of drag you may not be familiar with yet like poppers, as Trixie jokes, “Straight girls, poppers is a piece of gay culture you might not know about because Drag Race hasn’t done a mini challenge on the subject yet.” Shade.
|by Lizz Kemery
Lizz Kemery is a comedian, actor, writer and true crime aficionado. She studied improv comedy at The Groundlings, The Upright Citizens Brigade and The Free Association. Originally from Philadelphia, she has also performed in Los Angeles, London and finally here in Amsterdam.
She was a reoccurring guest player with London super group – Shoot From The Hip and member of their sister troupe Sweet Nelson – teaching workshops all over the world including places like London and Istanbul.