Drag queens, also known as “female impersonators”, are men who perform or entertain on various stages in nightclubs or bars. Dressed in stereotypical female clothing with lavishly make-up and wigs, the term drag queen has become a common enough term in pop culture. Most of the drag queens nowadays adopt an eccentric persona or even a character while on stage, which acts as a form of self-expression of their own or fictional personalities. There is a number of drag queens, in Dublin alone, who has made a name for themselves and built strong followership of fans in the past few years. One that instantly pops up in one’s mind is activist and public speaker Panti Bliss. However, there is one drag queen you should keep your eyes open for in the future: Namely Nikkie Stones.  

The 20-years- old Dublin/Cork based drag queen is just after starting off, but you will realize quickly enough that Nikkie Stones is going to be a biggie. Scrolling through her Instagram feed there are two things that will pop up in your head from the very first picture. Energetic and Neon!

Have a listen to who is behind the mask of Nikki Stones, how she was born and what makes her so special:

credits (Audio): Lena Sperger
credits (Picture): Matt Higgs

Many years the drag scene tended to be based around the capital. Nowadays you will find drags all around the country. In the past few years, Nikkie Stones has made a name for herself here in Ireland. In 2018 she won the Trudy’s Drag Race and is now performing all around Cork as well as Dublin.

I do like working in Dublin if I get the chance, it’s just it’s so hard to get into the Dublin scene because Dublin has the mentality that it’s the best. And granted Dublin is the best scene in Ireland, it’s the pioneering one.”

Although Nikkie grew up in Greystones,  she performs mostly down in Cork, or elsewhere in the country.

credits (Audio): Lena Sperger
credits (Picture): Juliana Images

So what does it really allow Nikkie Stones to do, while performing, that she normally would not?

credits (Audio): Lena Sperger
Picture Copyright: Nikkie Stones

Dressing up as the opposite gender is not always rooted in one’s gender identity, however, it is a very common misconception. Not only do drag queens put an enormous amount of money and time into establishing make-up and their appearance but they must also develop a high range of skills to transform themselves into another character. Starting from scratch the character of Nikkie Stones developed a lot in the last few years.

credits (Audio): Lena Sperger
Picture Copyright: Nikkie Stones

Drag queens haven’t evolved just a few years ago, they have been around for a very long time within society. Especially in times when sexual minorities and gender expressions were highly policed. Back in the times of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy As You Like it, you can draw some parallels in gender-swapping to the 1959 comedy Some Like it Hot. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis disguising themselves as ‘Daphne’ and ‘Josephine’ on stage hardly make them drag queens. However, the effect is similar: radically unraveling gender norms. In the late 1960s and the ’70s during the sexual revolution, drag began to become more prominent, particularly in gay male communities. Thanks to RuPaul, arguably the most successful drag queen, it finally became an important part of popular culture. Yet it hasn’t been fully accepted by society and especially the personal surroundings of some of the drag queens. Fortunately not in the case of Nikkie Stones.

credits (Audio): Lena Sperger
Picture Copyright: Nikkie Stones

After all, drag is a form of art and drag queens are artists. For many performers as well as their followers this is the golden age of drag and Nikkie Stones is definitely a part of this.

credits (Audio): Lena Sperger
Picture Copyright: Nikkie Stones

If you want to see what it is like to meet the energetic Neon Goddess itself you are lucky enough she has a few gigs coming up. One of it in Limerick on the 22nd of March and one at the Iconique in Glasgow on the 29th of March in AXM!