A relative newcomer to nightlife, this young New York native is already gagging the children with gorgeous beats and glittery-glam looks. And guided by a drag mother who happens to be one of the city’s most prominent fashionistas and hostesses, the beautiful BeaJing is now killing it as a full-on performer as well.
Thotyssey: Hello BaeJing! Happy… what day is it again? Thursday!
BaeJing: Hi, Jim!
How has quarantine been treating you these past few weeks?
At first it was a little stressful, to be honest. I was worried with being furloughed from my boy gig about finances–plus general anxiety about health, isolation, and just the state of rest of world. But recently, I’ve been getting better at having a more positive outlook by working on creative ideas–even getting better at cooking! Also unemployment just hit this week, so I’m feeling pretty good right now.
Yes, I’m hearing from many that these payments are starting to appear. And I’ve seen that you’ve been live-streaming your loveliness as well!
Yeah, video chatting with friends and live streaming helps with the loneliness for sure. Going live was not something I did prior to quarantine. When I perform I normally like to go off of live audience energy and participation, so not physically being with people is a little different. But you gotta work with what you got, and make the best of it.
Historically, I feel as drag queens we like to lift up our community in rough times, and give it a little comic relief. So audiences at home feeling lonely can still enjoy a good time. I recently did a digital drag show with a great cast of NYC queens hosted by drag kid Desmond Is Amazing, and that was pretty fun. Also, I just won Polish The Queen’s first quarantine competition–so that was a really great new experience! I’m working currently to compete in Look Queen’s first online competition as well.
I saw the cute transformation video you put together that won you the Polish prelim! How long did it take you to put that together?
Including getting in drag, it took around five hours to make that 10 second clip… so that was new for me. I’ve since bought a ring light tripod to help me make content at home.
Where are you from originally, and what were your earliest creative interests?
I’m first generation Chinese and born in NYC, but raised in NJ. I moved back here when was 18. I was always enamored with makeup and the aspect of transformation when I was younger, so I wanted to be a makeup artist first.
Have you been doing that professionally?
I do makeup retail sales full time, and freelance makeup gigs occasionally.
And did you have any performing experience prior to drag?
No, I only started performing in drag a year ago.
How did you first discover drag, and ultimately become BaeJing?
I started watching Drag Race when Season 2 was airing, so I was maybe 15 at the time. Prior to that, I only ever saw RuPaul on an episode of Sabrina as a kid, and I believed he was a woman. As a teen I would hide in my room and practice drag makeup on myself, and when I moved out here I would go out to parties occasionally in drag makeup. But I didn’t start considering myself a drag queen until last year. I went through a rough breakup at the time and just got laid off ,so I thought, “fuck it, lemme just do the damn thing.” I created BaeJing and Digna took me in as her drag daughter. She is still my mother today!
Digna’s one of our city’s most gorgeous queens. So you knew her before you started doing drag yourself?
Yes, I actually met her at Manila Luzon’s music video shoot when I was 17; we were, like, background actors. Growing up in small-town Jersey, I never had queer Asian people to look up to. So when I met her, I thought she was the most beautiful thing… and we stayed in touch since.
There was a time when a large crew of gorgeous Asian queens ruled NYC, including Digna. A lot of those queens have since hung up their wigs or moved away, but now we are seeing a growing number of young Asian queens in the City once again.
Yes, that scene partly inspired me to move here! From being one of three Asians and being the only openly queer kid in my class, and then discovering a thriving community here of people like me, really opened my eyes. The scene currently is especially uplifting of each other.
How did your name come to you, by the way?
I was brainstorming drag names with my ex at the time, and I knew wanted it to connect with my Chinese heritage. And out of the pile of names, “BaeJing” just stuck… even though my family is originally from the Hong Kong area. It’s a play on the capital of China, Beijing… which, surprisingly, a lot of people I meet do not know that.
Bitches be dumb! Besides the weekly competitions, you were a regular guest performer for Digna’s nights at The Ritz prior to the quarantine. What’s a performance from BaeJing generally like, for the uninitiated?
I feel I’m still getting a footing as to who I am as a drag entertainer. But when I perform, I love exhibiting beauty and glamour with a bit of cheeky humor–so it’s something nice to look at while having a fun time. My first drag number was actually “Wake Up” by Hilary Duff, who’s always been a huge inspiration to me and still is. Recently, my favorite number is a coronavirus mix performed as Netflix’s Clean Queen Marie Kondo… and a live folding demo is included!
Speaking of Netflix and drag, I saw that you also served us a pretty great Carole Baskin of Tiger King fame on Insta!
Thank you! That was a fun one.
Did she kill her husband?
She most definitely killed him, and I believe she fed him to the tigers!
It’s a theory! Okay, so you mentioned that you will be partaking in the Look Queen quarantine edition, which will livestream on Facebook this Sunday at 7pm. Can you give us any spoilers regarding what you have prepared?
Their theme this time is Grimm’s Fairytales, and honestly finding and creating a look with the materials I have quarantined at home while everything is closed is proving difficult. I might be running out of drag! But my character might have me combine all my wigs together.
Intriguing, good luck! Anything else coming up for you?
I’m currently in talks for a couple of digital drag shows. I’m also planning to teach more makeup / drag classes as one-on-one or as a live masterclass. But I’ll definitely remain active on IG and Tik Tok to keep busy!
And of course, we all look forward to seeing you perform in person when we come out the other end of this madness.
Oh gosh, I hope this ends soon so we can get back to partying at the Ritz or wherever we may find ourselves. In the meantime, wash your hands and continue watching live drag while you stay home.
Which brings us to our closing question. Now that you’re done with Tiger King, what are you binge watching to pass the time?
Currently, I’m going through my neglected anime watchlist: Attack On Titan and Psycho Pass. And of course, my favorite: every season and spin-off of 90 Day Fiancé!
Thank you, BaeJing!