Thursday, November 13, 2014

Katana Rei: Determination and Grace

Finding queens who are well known and also humble can be a tough task sometimes. Katana Rei is a queen from Stockton, California who isn't just a performer in her area but has also been dedicated to YouTube as well. She's learned a lot and takes a lot of pride in her craft and isn't someone to disappoint a crowd.

1. Who is Katana Rei?

Katana Rei is just another pretty face.. just kidding. (even though most people would tell you that haha)  I never really know how to answer this question when people ask me. Since she's not a "character",  I guess Katana is just a projection of my inspirations jumbled up into one person. Yeah, that doesn't make much sense. sorry.

2. What does drag mean to you?

Drag for me is an escape from the realities of life. Its a glamour, a smokescreen that helps people forget their problems and have fun, for both the performers and the audience.  

3. What inspired you to start YouTube?

Youtube is what got me into makeup in the first place. I watched beauty videos for 2 years before even picking up my own makeup brushes. My initial idea for my channel was just to document my progress as a makeup artist. 

4. Where did you learn to do makeup?

The videos on youtube were where I learned makeup application techniques from the real girls. When I got into Drag I learned how to paint from YouTubers like Misty Maven (Petrilude) and Misty Eyez. Then I started doing the Rupaul's Drag Race inspired looks for my videos. So I just took what techniques i learned from that and applied them to my own styles.

5. Who would you say is your biggest inspiration?

I think for anyone who knows me, its no secret that my biggest Drag inspiration is Raven. For many reasons, not only her polished aesthetic, but also her versatility in her looks and performances. When you meet her in person she's very chill and humble. 

6. When and why did you start doing drag?

I first started performing in April of 2012. I wanted to do drag after watching Rupaul's Drag Race for 4 years. I was a dancer for 3 years so I already had some experience with performing on stage. 

7. How do you handle negativity?

I've learned that when dealing with negative people, its easiest just to not acknowledge it. I only have time for positive people. 

8. What is your most embarrassing moment?

Lucky for me I haven't had many embarrassing moments, at least with Drag. I've only had a wig malfunction once. and I've never fallen or tripped in my heels. I just hate when a costume change doesn't go as planned. Like just recently had a performance when my first outfit didn't come off right and I was standing there for like a minute trying to get it off. Luckily the crowd was small so I didn't care much.

9. If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

If I could meet anyone, it would probably be my grandmother who passed away when I was 7. Even though I did MEET her before. I just didn't have a chance to get to know my grandparents on my Japanese side. So I didn't really grow up with much influence from them.

10. Do you have a drag family?

I don't have a drag family like with a mother daughter sense. I just have close friends that I often perform together with. I guess we're sisters. But none of us took a name or anything. I didn't ever want a drag mother because I didn't want anyone to have the ability to take credit for what I do. Not that all drag mothers do that but I just like being able to do things myself. So i try to learn things on my own as much as possible. 

11. What is your favorite song to perform to?

I don't really have a favorite song to perform. I guess you could say that my favorite thing is to do characters from movies and TV shows. Like when I did Velma Kelly from Chicago or Cordelia from American Horror Story Coven. I love making special themed mixes and they usually end up being crowd pleasers.

12. What is your favorite item that you've purchased for drag?

I have phases in drag whenever i buy something new i end up wearing it a lot until I get bored. I had this one piece leotard thing that looked like something Beyoncé wore at the superbowl, a lot of queens have something similar. But i wore that thing out for a year whenever I could and it was only like $20 from Love Culture.

13. What is your favorite/least favorite thing about drag?

My favorite thing about drag is inspiring others to do what makes them happy. The cheering crowd is quite nice too. My least favorite is the drama that inevitably happens. It comes with the territory. It's almost unavoidable. But I try to avoid it when possible.

14. What is the best compliment/criticism that you've ever received?

I'm not sure if this is the best compliment but one of the funniest ones I got was a comment on youtube that said "looks like Raven, sounds like Raja". I just thought that was hilarious. I'm not sure about criticisms though since i get them on a daily basis.

15. Ugly and live forever or attractive and die in a year?

I'd be attractive and live for a year I think, because I'd hate to live forever. and at least i could make the most out of a year. 

16. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

To be honest  I dont even plan that far ahead. I just hope to be happy. Success would be nice and I'd like to not be single if anything. 

Stalk Katana Rei:

instagram: @robyoshino
Twitter: @boywithbrushes 

The Drag Enthusiast:
Twitter: @DragEnthusiast
Instagram: @ragingdragaholic

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