Drag performer and trans activist Privilege is also an accomplished photographer…GLAM nominated this year, in fact!
Hello, Privilege. Congrats on your GLAM nomination for Best Photographer! Did that nomination surprise you?
Oh, my goodness, I was very much surprised! I was not expecting it all. The nomination has made me feel visible in the
New York City scene.
Where are you from originally and how did you emerge and develop as a young artist?
I am from Las Vegas, Nevada, a first-generation child of two immigrants who gave up everything–this includes both professional careers and familial relationships. And they did all of this because they believed that a future in the States would give genesis to more opportunities for a better quality of life. But unlike my mother and father and my siblings later on, I always gravitated towards the arts and performance. I have vivid memories of announcing to my kindergarten class that I would grow up to be an artist, as opposed to archetypal dreams of being a doctor, firefighter, or lawyer. It is this kind of clear-sightedness that has kept me focused on art-making through the years.
Tell us why you are called “Privilege.”
My drag name emerged the minute I realized I wanted to be twined to politics and the social construction of reality forever. Drag gifts people the unique platform to speak on things that matter, and interrupting the cyclical patterns of oppression matters to me. So, every time I can speak up, I do. As a brown queer trans femme and non-binary individual, it is important to declare visibility…because doing so inadvertently gifts people permission to emerge as themselves, authentically and unapologetically. My name is Privilege because the most beautiful thing about me is what I have to say against it.
And what are your stage numbers and looks generally like?
I choose to believe that my best numbers are those in which I can truly emote. Moreover, my identity as Privilege is not about always conforming to binary constructs of gender. Instead, I want to exist beautifully, vulnerably, and at the same time, powerfully.
As far as your photography goes, are there specific subjects that you are really drawn to?
It truly depends on what lens I am looking at my work in. For instance, from a fine art perspective, I am very attracted to photographing myself and archiving my own journey of self-discovery. But in a commercial lens, I am immediately drawn to curating editorial portraits that relay narratives. I do not think that I will always photograph drag. I do, however, think I might spend a lifetime photographing authentic forms of queer expression.
Good luck at the GLAMs! Lastly: What do you want for Christmas this year?
I just want to be gifted the opportunity to keep doing what I love full time. Being an independent artist is everything I could have imagined!
Read full interview on Thotyssey.com | Follow @privilegequeen & @bryan.clavel