Can you introduce yourself to us?
I’m Queen of Virginity, a Lebanese artist, drag performer and co-founder of Queer Arab Barty, HERA Collective and a member of Critical Queer Solidarity.
© Josh Regitz
You are part of a few collectives! Would you like to tell us a little bit about them, and explain the differences between being a part of a collective versus being solo as a drag artist?
They are all different and have different target groups but somehow my existence in these collectives make their goals intersect a lot more. Queer Arab Barty is mainly a party collective. HERA was an experimental drag collective but went on a hiatus, unfortunately. Critical Queer Solidarity is an intersectional queer activist group and is currently the most active collective I am. We have an Erasmus+ funded youth exchange happening in November. A drag and performance week long workshop with 34 participants from different European countries.
© Charlie Mintson
As for being a solo artist, it’s definitely easier to manage my own time and commitment in certain projects. I also get the decide on the artistic direction I want to take in every performance.
Why did you choose the name Queen of Virginity?
Queen Of Virginity has been my Instagram handle even before I started doing drag. It was just a sarcastic take on all the slut-shaming I faced when I started exploring my sexuality. Plus, I become a virgin again every six months. ;)
© Daniel Willis
You won Miss Kotti in 2019, with some fabulous looks and an awesome performance. What has the impact of that been on your drag career?
I was definitely able to prove something to myself and to others. It was a changing point in my career as I had just started doing drag, so I was able to show Berlin my talent. Miss Kotti gave me a lot of exposure and helped me believe in myself enough to continue creating more work. It also helped me voice my thoughts to people and bring a lot of attention to the problems that I, as a POC queer Arab in Berlin, face.
© Morgan Wood
Alongside other drag performers, what has had the biggest influence on your drag style?
My style as a drag artist has been ever-changing and a journey itself. I think my interest in conceptual art, theatre and visual art has been leading the majority of my style choices. In the beginning, I was more interested in being this gender-fluid, mythical creature, so my drag used to be a lot more alternative. However, this has changed over time as I grew more interested in avant garde fashion. I am still experimenting with my looks and constantly finding more inspirations.
© Daniela Swoboda
What has the importance of your studies in Drama been in developing your drag character?
My theatre training had definitely given me a lot of stage experience to play with and benefit from as I started performing in drag. However, what a lot of people don’t know is that drag has a very different approach in my opinion. It’s a lot more spontaneous, thus requiring the performer to have more flexibility on stage to improvise at any time needed. I think my background in theatre and the tools I’ve gained helped me narrate my performances in more coherent ways. Right now, I am studying the intersection between both art forms and hope to involve more theatre in my drag performances.
© Andràs Vizi
How do you think the Covid pandemic has negatively affected your creative process? And have you found a way to wrestle with this and come out on top?
Honestly, it’s been such a rollercoaster. I am still unpacking a lot of issues that I was left to deal with during the pandemic. Good and bad things happened but the bad things left me in a very dark place for the first half of this year. I lost my source of inspiration and found myself completely drained and unable to work. I also struggle(d) with my self-esteem a lot as a result. Also, the pandemic took its toll on a lot of my relationships.
Activism is definitely a big part of you and your online presence. Do you easily feel overwhelmed and how do you manage staying vocal with all the obstacles of social media nowadays? What are some of the challenges and opposition you’ve faced in Germany to your activism?
Politics has always been a huge part of who I am, not only in my ‘online presence’ but also in my performances. It took me a long time to embrace being vocal and be proud of it. I was always very brave to speak up but the moment I was confronted with hate, it really scared me and pushed me back.
© Cynthia-ël Hasbani
I also fear being tokenized a lot, so many times I have to be careful where to voice my thoughts and how much of myself I want to give on stage.
If you were a natural disaster, which one would you be?
When answering this question, my ex-partner at the time said: “a heat wave. Nice and enjoyable in the beginning and annoying after a couple of days”. So there you go.
Thanks for interviewing meeeeee!
Massive thank you to Queen of Virginity for sharing! It is so inspiring to get a little insight into your work, feelings and process. We want to know so much more and are excited to see what you do next.
See more of Queen of Virginity's work on instagram: @queenofvirginity!