Meet the stars of Snapchat‘s latest docu-series!
Yesterday, everyone’s favorite app added a new, eight-part docu-series, “Growing Up Is A Drag,” – which follows teenage drag queens and how they use social media to find community and friendships in the teen queen scene – to its line-up of Snap Originals. And you can check out the first episode of the series on your Snap Discover page, right now!
But that’s not even the best part! We got a chance to catch up with two of the series’ stars – Nathan Swann and Matthew Tronconi – and they gave us an inside look into the teen queen scene. Keep scrolling too see what they had to say: from their favorite part of being a teen queen to the message they want the audience to take from this series and everything in between!
“I will say going out in makeup has taught me a lot about society and how genuinely accepting and supportive people have become of LGBT people now.”
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How did you create Clawdeena and Brandi? And how do you see her as a form of expression?
Matthew: The birth of Clawdeena is a little funny, but the name Clawdeena is inspired by a werewolf. Originally my “drag” name was Marissa, my sister suggested my drag name have the first letter of my legal name in it but Marissa never fit me, it wasn’t authentic, Clawdeena, on the other hand, is totally me, and totally Clawesome! I don’t necessarily see Clawdeena as a “her” or separate entity like most queens, Clawdeena is Matthew, and Matthew is Clawdeena.
Nathan: Brandi is my stir fry mess of makeup and confidence. I am her, she is me. When I am Brandi, I can spread love, change minds, and empower feminine energies.
What’s the biggest challenge and biggest reward when it comes to being a teen queen?
Matthew: The biggest challenge for me when it comes having been a teen queen was the age bias. No teen likes to hear “you’re 15 you don’t know what you’re talking about” and being 19 now, I look back and say “yeah that was kinda silly to do or say,” but I definitely want to work on taking the “teen”out of teen queen and having younger queens just be represented as respected queens! The biggest reward is that having been a “teen queen” allows me to inspire others on the social media platforms I utilize. My art has always been up for interpretation, but the mentality behind my creations is that it will help someone feel like they have a home. No one deserves to feel alone and I think drag really makes that possible for us.
Nathan: The biggest challenge in being a teen drag queen is the stigma. For many people in the drag community, I won’t be taken seriously until I’m older, with the ability to perform in bars and clubs. I want to show people that teenage drag is fierce and valid. The biggest reward of being a teen queen? Five o’ clock shadows are no issue.
If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
Matthew: If I could tell my younger self one thing, it’s don’t hold back. You are a warrior, and you are never alone.
Nathan: If I could tell my younger self one thing, I would go back and say, “Nathan, listen. All these people out here want to tell you how to act and who to be… only you know who you are, you fierce beautiful shining queen. Don’t wait to be yourself.”
What do you hope the audience takes away from the series?
Matthew: I hope that if the audience takes away anything from the show it’s that you just live authentic to yourself, drag cannot be defined, if you want to know what it REALLY is, go out and try it.
Nathan: There are a lot of important messages being shared in the show. I hope my story inspires people to be themselves, dive right in and make their dreams come true.
This isn’t the only Snapchat series we’re oh-so-obsessed with. Be sure to check out “Endless Summer” starring Summer Mckeen and Dylan Jordan, too!