- Canon EOS R
- RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM
- 1/85 sec.
- ISO 400
Desmond and Wendy Napoles
This shoot shows what goes on behind the scenes at DragCon. Desmond thrives at these events. But as fierce as he is, he is still a kid. He snaps a shot of himself at the premiere pop-up of his new lash line, passes time by trying on retro roller skates, and indulges his creative fashion sense with pink, bejeweled glasses and a hat made from Brillo pads.
As his mother, it was clear from the time Desmond was a toddler that he had an interest in drag. I would be watching RuPaul’s Drag Race and he would stop playing with his toys and become immersed in the show. He made his professional drag debut in Jinkx Monsoon's video for the "Bacon Shake" when he was just 7 years old. It’s been a whirlwind ever since.
Desmond is a strong advocate for LGBTQ+ youth and is passionate about showing others how to be themselves, regardless of what the “haters” might say. We are constantly inspired by the feedback he receives from other “drag kids” and LGBTQ+ youth. Often they describe how Desmond has helped them discover the importance of self-expression. It is this personal engagement with fans, which Desmond has coined his "Amazies,” that motivates him to continue doing drag and advocacy work.
Desmond and I work as a team; he refers to me as his “Dragager.” He designs many of his own costumes, and we work together to bring them to life. Desmond inspires many people, including me. Through his passion, I have found my own. I love working beside him to spread his famous message, “be yourself, always.”
Desmond Napoles, also known as Desmond is Amazing, is an 11-year-old "drag kid" from New York City. He has slayed the runways at New York Fashion Week and appeared in Vogue magazine four times. Desmond is also the founder of the first-ever drag house for drag kids, the Haus of Amazing. He recently received the Marsha P. Johnson “Don’t Be Outraged Be Outrageous” award for his work in the LGBTQ+ community.
Initially uncertain if they were making the right decision by allowing Desmond to express himself in drag, his parents quickly realized that the source of their uneasiness came not from Desmond’s personal choices, but from their own misgivings about how the outside world would react. It was as simple as defeating those feelings, accepting Desmond as he is, and respecting Desmond’s own tastes and preferences.
These days, Desmond’s mom, Wendy Napoles, likens her support of his interests and activities to the support a mother would give if her child was interested in sports. It is an unconditional act of love for her child, and recognition of him as an individual.