Hello there Eva Young! I’m super excited to be talking with one of the Windy City’s brightest young drag stars! How are you doing today my dear?
I’m doing great, so glad to finally do an interview with you!
I know! This has been a long time coming, which has totally been my fault. My brain hasn’t been braining so good in recent years I’m afraid. So I know Chicago is famous for some harsh winters. How has this year been so far?
No problem at all, just glad to make it happen! We actually got the coldest day in Chicago this winter and I’m soooo ready for some sun!
Now are you from Chicago originally or did you pack up and move there?
I was actually born in Fuzhou, in a little village off the east coast of China. I spent most of my time with my grandma at the local Buddhist temple until I was four. That’s when I moved to America. My first stop was New York City and from there my parents moved across the United States, looking for jobs and relocating every couple years until we finally settled in the Chicago suburbs. In the past year, I’ve been able to move to the city with my boyfriend which has made drag way easier.
Wow, that had to be a dramatic shift for you to make such a massive change at a young age. How did you adapt to life in the States?
Although it was a challenge having to assimilate to a new culture and learn a new language, I’m glad I did have that opportunity or I wouldn’t have met the amazing people that shaped me into who I am today. But I do remember vividly always being bullied for how I dressed since my parents didn’t have a lot of money growing up I wore a lot of clothes from China and for being the only asian kid in my school. Then in the 8th grade I decided to finally accept that I was gay and came out to my friends and school which only escalated the bullying but I never gave into the harsh words such as “chink” and “faggot” but instead I chose to stand out even more and wore crazy clothes aka my “scene” phase *Laughs*. All the bullies made me stronger in a sense, at least outwardly, but at the same time I became insecure about who I was and being Asian, which I believe is a huge issue for minorities and that’s something I want to highlight and challenge with my drag.
I’m sorry you had to experience that. Being exposed to new people and new cultures should be something that we should embrace and learn from. Hopefully this is something mankind will continue to grow and improve upon. There’s a perception that Asian families can be very traditional. How did your family react to you coming out?
I can definitely relate to traditional Asian parents and that’s actually why I’m not out to my parents. They are so traditional they don’t even know how to use social media thats why i’ve been able to get away with so much haha. All my parents ever ask about is my education and making sure I got good grades but aside from that there’s not really a connection. I’am however extremely grateful for them because I know they work countless hours to provide for me and my education. Coming out to them has been something I’ve wanted to do but currently not the right time and definitely in the future when I’am able to provide for them and prove to them that being gay doesn’t change who I am or hinder how successful a person can be.
That’s a wonderful mindset to have. Everyone’s journey is different and what is right for some people isn’t right for others. So what was your first exposure to the world of drag?
Halloween of 2010 was the first time I did drag and didn’t even know it was called drag at the time time. My friend Harlet Wench and I dressed up at “zombie-hookers” we went to party city and I found this stringy blonde wig with blue highlights but you couldn’t tell me it wasn’t a lace front at the time. I was living while hobbling around trick or treating at our local neighborhood in my sisters two size too small heels. Ever since then drag became a part of who I was, even going to prom in drag.
What was it about drag that appealed to you when you started?
Definitely the ability to create and transform. I loved to draw and filled many notebooks with characters and creatures. Drag for me was a way to bring to life these creations and make myself the canvas
Well you have certainly managed to bring many of those creations to life! You’ve become one of my favorite clicks on Instagram in recent years because of all the amazing looks you turn. One of my favorite recent ones is your Chinese New Year, Year of the Pig look that is just absolutely jaw-dropping! How long does it take for you to pull together a look like that from concept to being camera ready?
Thank you, I really appreciate all the love from you. The amount of time I spend on each look really depends from look to look when it come to my regular drag look it usually takes about an hour and half to get fully painted and ready. But with looks such as the Chinese New Year Pig it took about four hours, applying the prosthetics and making sure every inch of my face with gold glitter.
With a look like that, how much of a relief is it to finally get out of drag once you finish your shoot? How long did it take to get all that glitter and prosthetics off?
As soon as I knew I got the shot, I ripped off the prosthetic nose as fast as I could because I had to breathe through my mouth the whole time it was on. I went to work the next day with glitter still in my hair and found glitter one place or another on me for over a week!
Chicago has an incredibly diverse drag scene, maybe the most diverse in the whole country. How long did it take you to find your niche there?
This is definitely true! Chicago has such a variety but not only that, it’s such a welcoming and warm group of queens. Since I started drag when drag was still young, I found my place in the Chicago drag scene fairly quickly. Even though I couldn’t get into clubs or shows until I was 21, I still attended all the Parades such as Halloween, Pride, among other underage gigs.
Who are some of the queens and artists that have inspired your drag?
Kim Chi for sure, she gave me so much advice along the way as well as having similar interests in video games and anime. As well as Manila Luzon, since she was one of the few Asians I watched on television. It was inspiring not only because she was relatable to me, but also because of her style of always having a concept and making it fun.
I actually talked about this with Jolina Jasmine in a recent interview where she talked about how important the movie Aladdin was to her her growing up. How important is it for you see Asian representation in media and popular culture?
Representation is huge! When I saw Manila Luzon as well as other Asian queens, I really felt a connection in not only seeing someone that looks similar to me but also in having a message that I can relate to. It made me realize that yes, I can be beautiful and Asian and do drag.
Do you feel a responsibility towards young gay Asian kids that are being inspired by your art? Is there something you wish you could let them know that you wish you knew when you were younger?
Yes, definitely! Growing up, it was hard for me to connect to people and to find people who shared similar experiences so I know exactly how it feels being a young Asian/ minority trying to fit in and constantly being rejected. It’s 100% my message to be able to inspire and help promote greater equality and visibility for not only Asians, but to push for greater equality for all minorities. I’ve experienced first hand that even the LGBTQ+ community can be exclusionary and it’s time for that to change. Instead of stereotyping groups of people and feeding into the negativities of racism and body shaming, we should be coming together and promoting the beauty that every individual possesses.
Bravo to you for using your voice and influence in such a positive way! So looking ahead, could you give us any teases on some looks you’re working on for the future?
I’m always being inspired by so much of Asian culture and it really feel like it’s underrepresented so I’m in the works of creating a mini- series of photos, highlighting some of my favorite anime shows that I would watch growing up! I’m combining my two loves, anime and makeup. I think it’s safe to say there’s gonna be a nod to the anime that made me gay, Sailor Moon, somewhere in the series.
So we have reached….THE LIGHTNING ROUND! Are you game?
Let’s do it!
Must have makeup item?
4 AM post show craving?
The best part of drag?
Taking it off! JK! I would say eyeliner.
The worst part of drag?
5 layers of tights!
Most surprising thing about you that people might not know?
I hid my drag in my car trunk throughout high school.
Queen you would pay the most to see?
Cheesecake ice cream.
Last movie to make you cry?
Death Row last meal?
My boyfriends cooking.
Netflix binge recommendation?
Disney character you relate to the most?
Obvious answer Mulan! *Laughs*
Final question, most embarrassing song on your phone?
I don’t know if this is embarrassing but I love Twerk by Lady
Well Eva, it looks like you aced THE LIGHTNING ROUND! Congratulations.
Thank you so much!
So where can people find you in the real world and on the internet if they want to see more Eva Young?
You can find me at the pharmacy! *Laughs* But also my show schedule is sporadic, but I’ll be at Drag Con LA in May and my Instagram for my latest looks!
Well my dear, we have just about reached the end of the road here but thank you for sharing your story with us. I look forward to seeing more amazing looks from you in the future! Before we call it a night, do you have any final words of wisdom for the WERRRK .com Universe?
Thank you so much for having me! I loved that we finally got the chance to do this and just hope that you’re all ready for some new looks!