Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Diana Dzhaketov: Deadly Alluring

Diana Dzhaketov is definitely more than just a pretty face. She's pretty, she works hard, and loves to be silly. Sometimes queens do all of these things but forget to be approachable. People sometimes get caught up in the catty attitude of the drag community, but Diana is proving to be the opposite, which is very refreshing to see. 

1. Who is Diana Dzhaketov?

Diana Dzhaketov is the Bond Girl of Drag! Think Dynasty’s Dominique Devereaux meets Veronica Lake. Shirley Bassey meets Karen Walker. Vanessa Williams meets Jackée Henry. She’s bold, brave,
and a little unnerving. I've been told when you first meet her that you’re not sure if you want to kill, fuck, or marry her because she’s so deadly alluring.

2. Where did you get your drag name?

I’m really obsessed with this speakeasy in Los Angeles called “Varnish”. Every Sunday they have a burlesque singer named Naughty Niki who sings risqué songs from the 20s, 30s, 40s. Well, one her original songs is entitled “Take Your Jacket Off” –a play on words for “Jack It Off”. I fell in love with the phrase and knew I wanted to incorporate it in my drag name somehow, but I didn’t want it to be “Jack It Off” outright. So a friend of mine was like how about the Russian spelling “Dzhaketov” and boom!  I chose Diana because it’s a play on  “Dyin’ to” and because I liked the dichotomy of “Dirty Diana” and “Princess Di”

3. Do you have a drag family?

I do! My drag mother is Swedish queen Elecktra Moulin of Cabaret Moulin. She and her husband were on their honeymoon here in Los Angeles where we met at Mickys. I had just gotten back from my European honeymoon and so we instantly bonded. And the Queen of Stupid, Misty Violet is my drag auntie.

4. When and why did you start doing drag?

I started drag 10 months ago. A college friend had mentioned that he had always wanted to do drag with me and I was like “hmmm, maybe I’ll give it ago”…next thing I know, I’m a full-fledged drag

5. What has been your biggest accomplishment/ obstacle?

I think the biggest accomplishment any drag queen has is getting over your booger phase and I think that’s also the biggest obstacle. First you have to hone your makeup skills and then you have to find your face.

6. What is something that not many people know about you?

I have an insatiable love for cheese. I sometimes sit and contemplate if a devastating cataclysmic event occurs and I can no longer have cheese, would I want to live? I think the answer is no.

7. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I think at that point my husband and I will have little spawns running around getting in my makeup and wigs.

8. Who is your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspiration has always been myself. I was raised by my maternal grandma, who has been a big influence on me, and she taught me that I should always aim to be the best person I can be outside of others’ opinion; consequently, I’ve always just relied on my belief in myself. You’d be amazed how inspiring your own life story can be.

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

Favorite part about doing drag has to be meeting people who I would have never had the opportunity to meet had I not started doing drag and the conversations about the world/life I get to have with these people. Least favorite part is washing my makeup off at the end of the night and cleaning my brushes. Ba humbug, there really needs to be some instant technology developed for
these two activities.

10. If you could rid the world of one thing, what would it be and why?

Facebook Event Invites. I don’t think this needs an explanation. Talk about vexing.

11. What does drag mean to you?

To me drag is an art form, no, the ultimate art form. It’s a way to tap into yourself and broadcast the colors of your soul. Personally, drag is a vacation from the mundane activities of day to day life.

12. What is your opinion on Drag Kings and Faux/Bio queens?

I love all drag artists! I think drag should be open to any and all souls who are brave enough to step outside showcasing all the hard work they’ve put into their art. In my mind there are no rules and limitations to who can do drag and there should never be, because I said earlier: Drag is an art form and there’s no limit on who can be an artist.

13. What's the best advice you could give to other drag performers?

Be yourself.  There’s no “For Dummies: How To Be A Drag Queen” so write your own path. There’s nothing worse than seeing a queen try to be what she thinks everyone wants her to be. Be you and
be unapologetic about it.

14. Favorite thing to do in your free time?

I love tennis. I love playing tennis. I love watching tennis. I love reading about tennis results. If I had the free time to play tennis every day, I would in a heartbeat.

15. Favorite Drag Queen of all time and why?

My favorite drag queen in the world has to be Mayhem Miller. She’s like Della Reese in Touched by an Angel; Sweet, kind, bold, one hell of a performer, and just a great role model for all aspiring
queens. I hope I can someday be as great of a human being as she is.

Photography by Kelly Balch

Follow Diana:
Twitter: @dianadzhaketov
Instagram: @dianadzhaketov

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