Middle school can be a rough time of adjustment for anyone, especially a queer person. Many cower in corners, dress all in black, and generally try to blend in and not be noticed. Not Ophelia Peaches. Not only does she own her 14-year-old queerness, she’s an amazing, up-and-coming drag queen. We chatted with Ophelia about her killer lqqks and her inspiration.
Where did you get the inspiration for your persona? What was it that made you want to drag at all?
I don’t really have a set persona yet. I’m 14; I’m busy with puberty and school! But right now I’m trying colored wigs, normal wigs, normal and weird makeup. But I still haven’t figured out the Ophelia Peaches.
Where does your name come from?
Ophelia is because I love theatre; it’s from Hamlet. Peaches was my corgi. Ophelia Peaches can be regal, but it can also be, ‘I’ll feel your peaches.’ We tried a lot of names, but Ophelia Peaches just stuck.
How has the event Dragutante helped you grow and change, and what do you want for your drag in the future?
For my 13th birthday, I did drag, and the next quarter, I got honor role. I was comfortable in my own skin, knowing I could be myself. I was like a superhero; one day I’m Bruce Wayne; the next day I put on a wig and nails, and I’m Batman. My grades have been great ever since; I’ve been more confident; it’s been easier for me to explore what I like to do because of drag. Dragutante taught me that there are more people who do what I do, and I’m not just this person who puts on a wig. I’m not a weirdo.
What does being Ophelia allow you to do that you can’t do as your daily self? How is she different, and how has she impacted your daily life?
I can curse without being reprimanded; I can make funny jokes without being like, ‘Should I have said that?’ I can say something that could be seen as off-color and everyone cheers. I’ve got this power that I can do what I want to do, and people will accept it. Also, I can have some fierce brows, and I can wear heels wherever I want to go. Heels are great!
How do you express yourself visually and artistically? Are you a pageant queen, a singer, a dancer, etc?
Because I haven’t really found my persona, I do know I like to tell a story with everything I do. I’m getting better at public speaking; I can put the mic in my hands and say anything and do anything, and I don’t have to worry. It’s because of the makeup and wig; I have a mask on; I’m not worried if people will judge me. I could be a pink alien one day and a pretty, suburban soccer mom the next.
How has your drag been accepted by friends and classmates?
It hasn’t been bad. I was a little worried about how people at my school would feel, and they were surprisingly supportive. All the popular girls want to talk to me now; I have a shield of popular girls.
I knew that I could do it if I put my mind to it, and I realize that I’m me; I will always be me; it doesn’t matter what other people think. Before drag, I was worried people would judge me, and then I got that excuse to dress up and do what I love and have a support system and not have to worry. It was amazing.
If someone says something negative, they’re not going to affect my life, and they’re not an important person in my life.
What’s your favorite part of doing drag?
Just being able to dress up! We went to Joann Fabrics to look for stuff, and they have sequin-y fabric! I love being sparkly and the fact that I can dress up. I’ve always loved to dress up, whether it was my sister’s dresses playing tea party or a pirate going to the store. Being able to dress up and be a different character is great. I get to be someone else.
Can you give us a sneak peak of what you’re going to bring to this year’s Dragutante performance?
I’ve been brainstorming; it’s gonna be better than last year! I’m also MCing. I’m gonna junior MC for Dragutante, and that’s amazing. I think that’s one of my favorite parts, too, being able to hold the mic and introduce the queens. We created a sisterhood, and they will always be my friends and really close to me because if it wasn’t for them, I also wouldn’t be here.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
It’s just amazing to do drag, to realize I can go out there, and if something isn’t exactly perfect, yes, I will be critiqued; I’ll get read, but I’ll learn from it, and that’s the best part. Also, that I can put glitter on, and everyone loves it.
Photo by Robin Johnson