New York drag artist reflects on pride

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A staple of the New York drag scene is back on stage this Pride Month after being sidelined due to the pandemic.


What would you like to know

  • Joey Pauline learned he was too small to be a prominent man, so he became “Paulina” and is now a prominent woman as a drag performer, “Paulina the Princess of Power”
  • After 14 Months Off Stage Due to Pandemic, “Paulina” Returns to Lucky Cheng in Time for Pride Month
  • “Paulina” and many in the audience say drag frees people
  • “Paulina” says a lot of people might not realize it now, but Lucky Cheng has always had a variety of performers and audience members.

As a young aspiring artist in the city, Joey Pauline was told he was too small to be a star.

“If 5 ‘, 6” wasn’t good for the lead man, then I would audition for the lead woman, “said Pauline.

So nearly 30 years ago, Joey Pauline became “Paulina”, hairdresser by day, drag-performer by night.

The day we visit Pauline, he transforms into “Paulina” in his Greenwich Village apartment before one of his first shows at Lucky Cheng’s in over a year.

“Paulina”, known as “Paulina the Princess of Power”, has been the master of ceremonies there for 18 years.

“I mean, you know, if you’re meant to be that kind of artist, your start of development obviously isn’t easy,” said Pauline. “How bold a choice for everyone. ”

Pauline says living in the village in the 1990s as a gay and drag artist meant facing the threat of verbal and physical assault.

His mother had been worried about him as well, but acceptance has grown exponentially since then, especially from his mother, who now regularly brings her friends to see the show.

TV shows like “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” and the ongoing activism of the LGBTQ community have made drag more mainstream.

The night we watch the “Paulina” show, the hall is full of applause and laughter.

But what Paulina appreciates most is how often people say a show has changed their lives. Student Zoe Fustgaard told us she just had the best night of her life.

“The drag is so stimulating,” said Fustgaard, who came with his mother. “And I love to see people own their confidence and their beauty. And I really admire that, and it’s so entertaining and exciting.”

Pauline says drag makes people free. And despite the foul language and sexual innuendos, parents sometimes bring their kids along these days.

Pauline sees this as a good sign.

“It’s definitely going to show you that the future is definitely a lot brighter because people are already on a page where there is inclusion,” Pauline said after the show.


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