“I’m really happy to inform the judges, the Dutch audience and people who don’t know about non-binary people or gender non-conforming people, that we are out there and that we have been out there forever,” says Ma’Ma Queen. Over the past eight weeks, the self-described “conceptual queen” has won the hearts of Drag Race fans across the world due to her captivating drag persona, gender-bending runways and openness about her non-binary identity.
“I don’t really have a lot of friends who identify the same and to get so many responses from people who do identify that way, almost makes me like a hero for representing the non-binary people,” she continues. “That makes me feel really good. There’s a community, a different family within this family I already have, that really like me.”
In the finale of Drag Race Holland, Ma’Ma sashayed away in joint 3rd/4th place after performing a gag-worthy medley of RuPaul’s most iconic anthems and stomping the runway in her best drag, leaving Envy Peru and Janey Jacké to battle for the crown. Shortly after, we caught up with the star to discuss her time on the well-received Dutch spin-off, her passionate online following and how she wants *that* emotional makeover to impact relatives of LGBTQ+ people everywhere.
How does it feel to have made it to the top three of Drag Race Holland?
You say ‘top three’ but I would say top four! I kind of made the agreement with Abby that we would make it a split, so that’s how I see it. But it was amazing, of course. My goal was to show all my outfits and all my creativity, and I accomplished my goal. I’m super happy!
I'm really happy to inform the judges, the Dutch audience and people who don't know about non-binary people or gender non-conforming people, that we are out there and that we have been out there forever.
You killed this season with your runways – have you always been a gender-bending queen?
For me, I think every queen should be themselves. Also as a mother, that’s what I want to achieve with all my girls. So, I don’t want to show people how to do something. I just want to help people get to be themselves. I wasn’t thinking about other girls that were competing, I just interpret the challenges in my own way. I have an art school background, so I’m really a conceptual queen because of my education. I think the message behind the look or concept is really important.
You opened up about being non-binary this season – was this important for you to do?
I said to myself, ‘Okay, you have to keep talking about this.’ It’s something that is very personal for me because it’s the way I identify, and of course, I talked about it in the first episode. It only came about as a subject in in the fifth episode, I think. I’m really happy to inform the judges, the Dutch audience and people who don’t know about non-binary people or gender non-conforming people, that we are out there and that we have been out there forever. It doesn’t really matter who you are or where you come from, everybody can do drag. That’s the main message, that I think all the queens from the season want to get across. It’s also for the AFAB queens, the bearded queens, the non-binary queens, however you identify. I think everybody should be able to do drag in whatever shape or form they want to do it.
Have you noticed an impact of your honesty about gender identity on fans?
In my personal life, I haven’t met a lot of people who identify as non-binary, so it’s not like I have a really strong non-binary community around me. I have a lot of people who support me, I’m not lonely! But, I don’t really have a lot of friends who identify the same and to get so many responses from people who do identify that way, almost makes me like a hero for representing the non-binary people. That makes me feel really good. There’s a community, a different family within this family I already have, that really like me. I could also see in the messages they wrote to me, even when it’s just a word, it’s the same word that I feel when I express myself. My looks, I explained everything really well, but they just see me and recognise something of themselves inside of me. It’s a blessing. I’ve connected with so many non-binary people, especially on Instagram. It’s amazing, super inspiring.
You shared a really beautiful moment in this series with your dad – the first dad to receive a makeover on Drag Race!
Yes! Isn’t it magical?
It really was. How did it feel to put your dad in drag?
My dad is like a normal dad, going to church, having a nine to five job and having a routine. He’s not a show person, he’s not extravagant and he doesn’t like to be in a spotlight. When I knew that my dad was able to go and was willing to go, I was super happy and proud. He’s not the kind of dad that goes to all my performances. I think he saw me in drag three times before. Of course, he likes all my pictures and sees everything I do, but he’s not in the front row. To do this, and to show to the world that dads can be supportive like that, and they can put a wig on, it’s important for the whole community to see.
What message do you want this to send to relatives of LGBTQ+ people out there?
That you don’t necessarily have to feel the same to understand something, as long as you can listen. I asked my dad, ‘Imagine if I was a famous football player, and all the players asked all their dads to play a game. Would you do it?’ He was like, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Well, this is the same thing, only we’re putting on a dress, heels and makeup.’ It’s about showing the support, no matter what kind of choices your kid makes. Just support them. If you want to play football, if you want to do drag, if you want to play the violin, support your kids. Support your sisters, your relatives. Support is super important. It gives confidence. People need it, especially if you’re abandoning the norm in whatever way. Of course, I’m already abandoning the normal standard for being gay, and then after being gay, I’m gay non-binary, so my whole sexuality is called into question. So, I think it’s for those people who are abandoning the norm. They just need support from people who are within the norm. My parents are really normal people and I have their full unconditional support. It makes me strong and gives me inspiration as a drag mom.
Have your parents watched the show?
Yes! Every episode. Too bad we couldn’t watch family resemblance episode together because my dad has corona, so I couldn’t go there. He’s fine, he’s not really sick. We had a cough, both of us, so we both got tested. I didn’t have corona, but my dad did, so he’s in quarantine with my mom in the same house, which is ridiculous, but they’re fine. They watch the show and my sister is promoting me on social media! She always has been, but even more now.
I’m glad your dad’s doing okay. It’s also so lovely to hear that they watch the show together!
My mom said next time I perform in a bar, ‘I come! I’ll take the car and I’ll come.’ She’s never said something like that before. I can’t wait to be on stage again!
I asked my dad, 'Imagine if I was a famous football player, and all the players asked all their dads to play a game. Would you do it?' He was like, 'Yes.' I said, 'Well, this is the same thing, only we're putting on a dress, heels and makeup.'
Was your Drag Race experience everything you expected it to be?
It was way more. I can’t really say I want to prepare my kid for the next season, because how? How am I gonna prepare them to enter the competition? Watching the show and being on the show is two different things. Then, watching yourself as the show airs is also another experience. It’s preparation, being on the show and then when the show is airing. Three different faces, basically. The first one, of course, you prepare at home, and it’s kind of something you are in control about, then when the show happens, you have to just give it your all and lose control. Afterward, it’s really overwhelming. But at the same time, it’s a marathon with all the things that come after Drag Race. I think it’s a wonderful experience and we really connected as sisters. I mean, we have a small community and a small country, but we usually see each other at gigs, and then we leave each other. We had a full month together, so it’s really nice for the sisterhood. It’s elevation, because it’s basically a bootcamp.
Did you learn anything about yourself while competing on the show?
The most important thing that I learned was to not question myself. The third episode, I was really insecure, trying to change my ways, and I was not really sure about the outfit, the money outfit. I then won that episode. So, never doubt yourself, prepare well, and stick to the plan. That’s what I’ve learned. Don’t second guess yourself!
What’s next for Ma’Ma Queen?
I’m working on myself and my social media empire. I’m thinking to create a YouTube account and have ‘Come to Ma’Ma’ videos where I can answer people’s life questions, because I get a lot of questions and guidance or help. Of course, my drag name is Ma’Ma and a lot of people need a motherly energy. So, I think I want to make a ‘Come to Ma’Ma’ YouTube account to discuss identity, politics, social constructions and issues that are emerging because of that.
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