Although a club kid at heart, the legendary drag king Wang Newton was conceived thanks to a Halloween party back in 2004, featuring a mustache, cheap wig, and an old tux from a past catering job at the Hilton. "Before the popularity of drag queens on television, true performance magic lived locally– in person, in nightclubs, on the dance floor," Newton says. "My biggest influences were Miss Phoenixx and Pink Panther Robbie, both fabulous beyond belief and both expressed themselves beautifully with their looks."
But representation looks a lot differently for drag kings, and they admit that the physical transformation was not their biggest concern. "The beginning was sloppy — I didn't know about makeup," Newton says. "It was fully developing the persona, and yes, playing up on Asian stereotypes and turning it on its head. I also, obviously, was younger back then, so I was having fun," referring to their current self as a "crone junior."
As a drag artist who was assigned female at birth, Newton's drag has transformed a lot over the years, but so have they. To them, true transformation, even in drag, has to come from within. "It is the inquiry of what this persona feels like, how he moves– how do I want my body to look?" Newton says. "It's not an escape, it is a completely joyous expression. It is absolutely a part of me."