In a world where the news is very often doom and gloom (*cough* Brexit *cough*), I’d like to bring to your attention Paul (or ‘Drag Dad’) and his child and up-and-coming drag star, Tianah. They were kind enough to partake in an interview to share their story of how they became initiated into the drag scene, their inspirations, their amazing team work and their advice to others. I have discussed with the pair their preferred pronouns, with Paul being comfortable with ‘he/him/his’. Tianah’s pronouns outside of drag are ‘he/him/his’, but whilst in drag, she is referred to as ‘she/her/hers’.
In April 2019, Paul and Tianah booked tickets to see Trixie Mattel, an American queen famed for her win of season 3 RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. This was after Tianah discussed with her dad that she wanted to try drag. For many teenagers, having this discussion with anyone, let alone their parents, would be anxiety inducing, yet in an open family conversation, Paul told her that he would do whatever she needed for him to support her. Many in the drag community aren’t officially ‘out’ to their parents as performers, with figures such as Vinegar Strokes and Sum-Ting Wong revealing on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK that their parents didn’t know about their careers. This is a recurrent theme within both the drag and the LGBTQIA+ communities so to find a family that are not only supportive, but actively participate in helping their child is so rare and pure that it has to be celebrated!
Drag quickly became a way of life for the duo, with Tianah keen to begin cultivating her drag identity. ‘Drag’ as a term originates from the 18th century when men would refer to putting on long, draping petticoats as ‘putting on their drags’. You can read more about the history of drag in Trixie Mattel’s article here). However, the 21st century calls for something a little different! Tianah began by watching make up artist tutorials on Youtube and gaining all important knowledge about palettes, contouring, highlighter and, of course, wigs! She quickly made her way through her mum’s and friends’ makeup, but the Drag Dad stepped in, heading out on his lunch break to Glasgow city centre in hunt of further make up product advice. He booked a session for Tianah with the ‘fantastically talented’ (direct quote!) Kuro in MAC Glasgow and has since returned many times for further advice on wig care, make-up, shoes and the all important outfits. Tianah’s make-up skills are enviable, as you can see from her photos and Paul has also picked up a new skill or two, such as lace cleaning and care! He’s also chief bag carrier, executive photographer, feedback extraordinaire and a constant source of support and encouragement. ‘Drag parent duties are never ending!’, he jokes.
A mere four months later, Tianah Tucker was revealed to the world in her first public performance, a fundraiser for her drama group – it felt ‘amazing’! Her dad describes her as a ‘creative, born performer’ with drag being such an empowering way for her to embrace her truest self, boosting her confidence after bullies had attempted to chip her down. This baby queen did not let the world get her down though, already performing at venues all over Glasgow and Dundee and even on the Main Stage at DragCon UK (you can find more out about DragCon UK in my post about it here!). As she is under 18 currently, there are limits about where she can perform (no night-clubs yet, sorry Tianah!) but she’s using this time to learn all the valuable skills that a queen requires, from perfecting routines, to infallible hair and makeup, to sewing her very own haute couture. The goal however is to be on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK as soon as she’s 18, which she, Drag Dad and Mama Tucker all enjoy! Drag Dad has absolutely no doubts that she’ll achieve her dreams and more. We’re all behind you, Tianah!
If you were to ask the pair who their favourite queens are, you might be starting a bit of a debate. Well, that’s what I did! Drag Dad Paul loves the kooky queens like Bianca Del Rio, Sharon Needles, Vinegar Strokes and Morgan McMichaels, as well as their homegrown Scottish queens. However, Tianah prefers the high femme, polished styles of Naomi Smalls (legs for DAYS!), Aquaria, Blu Hydrangea and Violet Chachki, all of whom have played a part in the aesthetic inspiration for her own look book. Paul also points out how many people they have been inspired by at shows and events, from those who share their expression through performance to those who are able to lay themselves bare about their own journey through struggle. The queer community often do not have easy histories and to be able to share them is not only courageous and therapeutic, but can also contribute to a sense of gratitude and perspective for those they can speak to. The duo state that being able to speak to members of the community from all walks of life allows them to stay ‘honest and grounded’ which contributes to their overwhelming sense of authenticity.
Any drag queen or baby queen knows that performing live can often mean a lip synch performance, along with a dance routine, especially if you’re on RuPaul’s Drag Race! Tianah’s top synching songs are a high pop power trio blend of Lady Gaga’s ‘Gypsy‘, Todrick Hall’s ‘Wig‘ or the iconic Lady Marmalade. However, her dad wants to see her do the Marilyn Manson version of ‘Tainted Love’. Personally, I’d vote for anything by Bea Miller or Caro Emerald!
My final question to Tianah and Paul was what advice they would give to other Drag Parents and Baby Queens. For Baby Queens (and this is advice that anyone can follow too!), Tianah’s advice is as follows:
- Experiment with styles, makeup and looks until your find your individual aesthetic
- Be prepared for your look to evolve!
- Don’t be afraid to be yourself
- Above all else, have fun!
Paul’s advice to both Drag Parents and Baby Queens is to never be afraid to reach out for help. “There is always support available,” he says, noting the inclusive and encouraging community that they’ve found around them. For parents who are new to the drag scene, whether their child is or not, Paul encourages them to ’embrace the wonderful creative diversity of our young people’ and to support them in the pursuit of new ideas. He continues, ‘Let them experience everything they can, and be right there beside them throughout. They don’t stay children for long and you won’t want to miss any of it. Never be afraid to tell them their make-up isn’t right, or their heels don’t go with their dress. There may be tantrums and tears, but it’s worth it! Above all, show them love.’
Paul and Tianah both hate the thought of anyone feeling alone, so they have given permission to share their Instagram and Twitter accounts with us. You can find Tianah at @TianahTucker and Paul as @DragDad2020 on both platforms. Even if you don’t want to message them, give them a follow and show some support for a brilliant team!
I’d like to thank them both so much for taking the time to share their stories and wish them the BEST of luck for the coming years. Remember us when you’re famous, Tianah!
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