On Point With: Boxa Crayonz

A truly colorful drag performer for the new age, Boxa Crayonz serves the real Rainbow Connection.

Thotyssey: Hello Boxa! I see that you recently won a competition in your native Connecticut, hosted by Mia E Z’Lay!

Boxa Crayonz: Yeah, it was surreal! I started drag in Connecticut and competed several times in “Chez Legends” last year. When I went into the competition this week, the goal was to show how much I’ve grown in NYC and make my Connecticut drag family proud. To win in the bar, Chez Est, where I started my drag career in front of my Connecticut drag family was truly a full circle moment.

Do you still go back there a lot for drag, or was this a rare exception?

I go back when I can. I’ll definitely be going back more frequently in the summertime. It’s nice sometimes to get a break from the hustle and bustle of NYC. Plus the drag scenes in Hartford and New Haven are very fierce.

How did you begin as an artist and performer?

I come from a musical theatre background, and about 18 years of dance experience. I always knew I wanted to perform and express myself, but could never find the right outlet. Plus, my hometown was not very welcome to queer stories and voices. I was first exposed to RuPaul’s Drag Race in high school, and have been hooked ever since. So much so, that friends would cheer me on to do death drops at every party! I did drag one time for fun at my college’s “Drag Night,” and was in love with everything about it.

However, before I knew more about my gender identity and the local drag scene, I did not think there was a place for AFAB, cis women, or femme-presenting people in the drag industry. I knew of one or two such as Creme Fatale, but I considered them anomalies in the scene; little did I know that was not really the case. When I came to terms with my trans identity last year, I focused on asserting my masculinity as much as possible. It was empowering; however I neglected my femininity in fear that it would delegitimize my trans-ness.

Around that time, I reconnected with a friend from college who was also beginning an exciting adventure with their gender identity, but was also doing drag at the same time. That person was Kanga Roo. I came to see her, Misty Meaner and Mocha Lite perform at a brunch for Pride. I was so in awe of their energy, outfits, and storytelling that I was motivated to find a stage in Connecticut that would welcome new drag. I found an open stage night in Hartford, and started drag one month later in July 2021.

[Photo: Nic Gonzalez]

Is there a personal significance regarding your drag name?

Yes! I am an art teacher by day. Also besides performing, illustrating and painting are other forms of art I really appreciate.

A drag teacher is a double hero! How might you describe the types of numbers and looks you serve today? I see you do both queen and king looks, for one thing.

A lot of my numbers these days are either love letters to media or art that shaped the artist I am today (I have mixes based on characters from video games, movies, Broadway shows, etc.), or dance numbers where I let the music take over my body. I determine my looks based on the type of my number I do, and how I would like to present. I don’t limit myself to drag queendom or kingdom; gender expression is a crucial part of my drag, but I don’t want to be defined by it.

[Photo: Piper]

Do you have a favorite number?

It changes from time to time! Right now, I love doing the song “I Know You, I Live You” by Chaka Khan. I have been a huge Chaka Khan fan since I was a kid, so I love dancing to a song where I know every drum fill is, or I’ve memorized the breakdown from horn section. It’s also just a really good song!

What’s been your favorite aspect of being a drag performer for you thus far? And what’s something about drag that all folks need to know?

Hmmm…I think the ability to tell an entire story with your body and face is so powerful. The ability to make somebody smile, laugh, or cry without words is incredible to me. I’m neurodivergent, so communicating verbally is constantly a challenge for me. I love that drag has an unspoken language. I think that’s crucial for performers and audience members to know. While making a mix is its own art form, truly interpreting and embodying a song is much harder. Connecting with music is always more impressive to me than stunts or reveals.

You’re about to partake in a very important competition this Wednesday at Hush, for the annual “Vaccine-O-Licious” event hosted by Stella D’oro and sponsored by Colombia Research Unit / Project Achieve.Tell us a bit about why you wanted to do this, and what we can expect!

I’m so excited! I adore Stella D’oro. I met her at “Star Search” this past fall, and have seen her many times since. The wonderful light that is Stella D’oro should be convincing enough to do this pageant. However, I was also motivated by the prospects of representing the trans community as an advocate for HIV vaccine research. They are beginning trials for trans women, which is a huge step towards inclusivity! Expect to see peak Boxa Crayonz, which will be lots of energy, dancing, and an outfit celebrating body positivity!

And Sunday, you’ll be with your gal Mocha at Metropolitan!

Yesss! Another full circle moment! Still processing that I’m doing a show with not only a NYC drag legend, but the person who inspired me to start drag! It’s going to be an absolute blast.

Than you have a big competition finale coming up!

I am a finalist for “Polish the Queen,” and the finale is May 25th at Playhouse Bar. It’s definitely going to be the biggest drag performance I’ve put together, and I can’t wait to show everyone.

That’s gonna be a showdown! So this would normally be a lame last question, but in your case I’m super curious… what’s your favorite color?

Blue, specifically cerulean! It’s also my favorite crayon to draw with.

Thanks, Boxa!

[Photo: Stella D’oro]

Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Boxa Crayonz’s upcoming appearances, and follow them on Instagram.

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