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When I decided to do drag, one of the very first things I had to do was develop my drag character. This included coming up with a name and a style or aesthetic.
This is an extremely daunting task. Where do you start? As a writer, the best way to describe it is: I got “drag character development block”! I could be anyone I wanted to create, but who did I want to be?
Perfectionist that I am, I wanted to get it right the first time. I didn’t want to be that queen who starts performing under one name and then later switches to another; I was afraid that would be confusing and diminish my power.
But I was comforted by the advice of seasoned Las Vegas-based drag queen Coco Montrese : “Remember this, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to drag. Drag is the most open profession, hobby, whatever it can be. It’s the most open thing. There’s nothing you can do wrong.”
Lots of drag queens have names that are puns or use a clever form of wordplay. Anna Mosity, Rhea Listic, Clara Tin, Anita Cocktail, and Lauren Order are just a few.
These are fun, but I wanted to choose a name that had more meaning to me. To start the naming process, I first began thinking of attributes I wanted my drag character to have.
I wrote down: classy, fearless, confident, sleek, precise, complex, sexy-all things I wanted to be but wasn’t pulling off in my real life. Then I thought about what movie characters I have been drawn to in the past.
My favorite movie of all time is The Matrix (but not the two sequels; they suck). I love The Matrix for its lead female character, Trinity, played by Carrie Ann Moss.
Trinity is a computer hacker who has escaped from the Matrix where she was imprisoned by sentient machines. She is a kind of superwoman. Master of kung fu fighting and a skilled shooter, she can take out a roomful of gun-wielding enemies without displacing a single hair.
She is an equal partner with her male counterparts in the mission to defeat Agent Smith and the machines. I love that Trinity is a steely badass who can hold her own with the male characters but also exudes sexiness. In the movie, she possesses a quiet intensity, confidence, and power.
She isn’t bombastic or loud. Her costumes in the movie are always skin-tight, black, and usually vinyl or latex. She reminds me of a nerdy dominatrix in her shiny black catsuit and black boots.
So I chose Trinity as the name for my character. But something was missing. The name needed a second word. I thought about which other women or female characters I had connected with and one name kept coming up: Lady Gaga.
I had been studying her for over five years for my first solo book. She is fierce, fabulous, and confident-everything I wanted to be. I decided to combine “Lady” from Lady Gaga with Trinity to get Lady Trinity. I loved it!
But my friends didn’t. I shared the name with them and they thought it was just okay. I started to second-guess my choice. My friend Cameron, a fellow drag queen aficionado, started brainstorming names that he thought were more like the character attributes I had come up with earlier.
He suggested names like Veronique Stark, Bella Donna, and Veronica LaCroix. They were dark, sexy names, and perhaps could be those of beautiful burlesque dancers.
But I just wasn’t feeling it. The name Lady Trinity just had too much meaning for me. Not wavering from my choice was my first real act of power-a nod to the Trinity I was to become. I was-no, am-Lady Trinity.
It wasn’t until the first time I put on the thigh-high boots, Dynasty-shouldered jackets, glamorous long, wavy wigs, and bold makeup, though, that Lady Trinity came alive for me. She felt powerful. As Jackie, I was someone who often worried about what people thought of me.
Lady Trinity is different from the Jackie I was at the time. I often doubted myself, as many women do. For example, I remember deeply doubting myself when writing my previous book on Lady Gaga. Who in hell would want to read an entire business book with a crazy pop star as the main case study?
It took me months to really commit to writing it. I decided I was going to have to self-publish it because I thought no publisher would be interested.
Ultimately it was acquired by Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Books and the top business book publisher in the industry right before I was about to self- publish it. And it has been a huge success. But I wasted months ruminating on whether to even write it in the first place.
Lady Trinity, however, believes in herself. She has the balls to perform in drag in nightclubs along with experienced queens. She knows that she is fierce and fabulous and doesn’t hesitate to wear something skimpy or provocative that most middle-aged women wouldn’t be caught dead in.
She is supremely confident. She doesn’t listen to the haters. She will do what she wants and is not concerned if others don’t like it. She’s not rude, but she won’t take any crap from anyone. Lady Trinity has the qualities that I’ve always wanted to have.
And now that I have her as a part of me, I can call her up, in and out of drag, and channel her confidence and fierceness.
~ Jackie Huba
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