Two years ago, 22-year-old ShowPonii performed in his first drag show on March 14 at a tiny house party in New Paltz. Usually plagued with the feeling of needing to throw up before any public event, this party consisted of 20-30 people that he knew, giving him a shrill of excitement rather than anxiety. The atmosphere was happy, friendly and inviting – but ShowPonii felt awkward as the new kid.
ShowPonii’s act was based around the idea of self-indulgence and an erection. “I was basically this guy that was frustrated about not being able to get an erection, to the point of castration,” he said.
ShowPonii had a fake, limp penis that he hoped to use in day-to-day life to “pack” in his pants, but he never was comfortable enough to do so. Instead, he “hollowed it out and ran a tube through it so [he] could shoot fake blood from it.”
ShowPonii went to his first drag show at the Bangkok Cafe in New Paltz, after helping organize shows through the Newburgh LGBTQ Center. When he began going to performances, he fell in love with drag, but it took him “a bit of confidence to get to [his] first show.” ShowPonii joined the Haus of Peculiar less than a year ago– a drag performance collective that is gaining momentum in the Hudson Valley.
Andramada Galaxy discovered the drag scene four years ago in New Paltz, but only started performing a year and a half ago before joining the Haus of Peculiar along with ShowPonii.
“I definitely went looking for [the drag scene experience],” said Andramada, “It took a lot of practice and courage.”
For someone who describes herself as ‘pretty dramatic’ in her daily life, Andramada explained drag just “takes the drama and helps me makes it sexy. I’m an artist in and out of drag so I’m always creating.”
For Andramada Galaxy and ShowPonii, the two performers lived different lives before drag, but shared one important goal: they were looking for an escape from their harmful past.
ShowPonii was a closeted trans man who would sneak out to see his friends in their drag shows. Andramada on the other hand had recently got out of a toxic relationship and was looking for a sense of community.
ShowPonii was scared of acceptance, in both his art art and as a person. Before, if someone didn’t like him, it would bother him; now, it is easy to ignore. He focuses on improving himself, because that is the first thing in his life that he’s ever felt good at doing.
“The confidence started to immediately affect me in and out of drag,” ShowPonii said. “Because I was accepted so quickly and liked as a performer, I gained the confidence to keep going right after that first performance.”
The roots of their chosen drag names originated with the goal of presenting the basic foundation of their identity to their audiences. In choosing her name, Andramada focused on her admiration for Greek mythology and space to find a name that fit her personality. Luckily enough, the spelling of her stage name fit right in line with her dramatic performances— thus, Andramada came alive.
The name ShowPonii, on the other hand, is a play on the term ‘show pony’— which informally is used to refer to someone who is outgoing and confident, and who enjoys showing their skills in hopes of admiration. ShowPonii finds his drag name to match his persona perfectly, as he stands out in the crowd with his “make-up and white, white pasty face.”
Although drag kings typically choose to have more masuline-presenting names, ShowPonii stayed away from expectations of drag king roles. He wants to remain very fluid and free in his representation of himself and didn’t want to be constrained to performing “masculinity as a very macho and tough guy.”
In fact, drag has been a unique kind of gift that he says “I can translate into my everyday life.” And while ShowPonii says he used to hate himself for being trans, “I’ve now transitioned into loving my body and identity as a trans man.”
ShowPonii tries to make his confidence in being a transgender man known when performing. He would make sure that prior to receiving top surgery his binder was where everyone could see it– in attempt to normalize binding as well as traditionally masculine trans bodies that lacked representation in the local scene.
“Trans identities are always the first thing on my mind when doing a performance and I am fiercely protective of my community,” ShowPonii said. “Even if it’s a fun dance number, my first intention is to show that trans people are a big contributing part of this scene and should not be pushed aside.”
Andramada and ShowPonii’s friendship represents a bond within their lives that allows for the search of community and acceptance, as well as them finding their own identity. ShowPonii is grateful that he met Andramada, as she keeps him level headed and shares similar aspirations.
On March 22 the pair was set to perform, but because of COVID-19, their performance was no longer feasible. Despite the current state of the world cancelling their show, the two performers from the Haus of Peculiar have roots deep in drag, and recognized this virus is just another obstacle they’ll have to overcome in their lives.
New York, where both performers reside, issued an executive order due to the COVID-19 pandemic called “New York State on PAUSE.” This “pause” bans social gatherings and events indefinitely until the end of the pandemic is in sight and the spread of the coronavirus is contained.
ShowPonii, however, feels that he is excited to continue exploring drag virtually through social media. “I get to see drag shows and performers on [Instagram] Live now instead of having to buy a plane ticket to fly across the country to see them,” he said.
Overall, the drag experience for both Andramada and ShowPonii has led to positive outlooks and a more comfortable relationship with who they are. This type of expression allows their confidence to shine through, while now becoming a part of their everyday lives. The two hope that their shows will be back on track soon, once COVID-19 clears the states.
“I feel like I was always meant to do drag and a lot of things I started in my life were skills I learned to eventually start performing,” ShowPonii said. “I honestly just needed the right people in my life to give me the push I needed. Before where I used drag to express my true self, it has now become such an integral part of my personality and identity. It’s just another part of myself I’ve grown to love.”
Below you can find a performance preview from both ShowPonii and Andramada’s live shows.