Drag Queen Hayden Kryze On Self Growth, Misconceptions and Dating
A conversation with Queen Of Drags contestant, Hayden Kryze.
In honor of pride month, we had the opportunity to talk to the 21-years old Drag Queen, Hayden Kryze from Bern, Switzerland. She talks about gender identity, the misconceptions of drag and the positive message she wants to spread on stage. Hayden also opens up about the biggest challenges she faces in her everyday life, as well as her future visions, which include singing and music production. If you are very much into drag or just curious about talented queers, we suggest you continue reading the very engaging and informative Q&A!
How, when and why did you start with Drag?
Uh, that’s a long story! Well, my first night out in Drag was at the age of 19 years. I remember, it was during the Easter Weekend in 2019 and there was one of the biggest Gay parties in Switzerland called the „Boyahkasha“.
But my interest already started a year earlier, when I stumbled across Drag Queen Bianca del Rio; at that time I didn't know anything about Drag, although throughout my young life I always felt „different“ from literally everybody. I always knew that I wanted to be on stage, I took some singing classes, went to different dance schools, but even there I felt like I couldn't just do what I wanted in an artistic way. And when I saw this sharp-minded „Clown“ (as Bianca refers to herself) I was mesmerized and wanted to know more, and since she has won Rupaul‘s Drag Race in 2014, I started to watch the show. I felt like I finally unlocked the door to the artistic world I was always looking for. So I watched everything I could find on the Internet.
And then, as said, the upcoming year, one of the show contestants (one of my favorites) was booked for a show at the Boyahkasha-Party, so I finally gave myself the push and threw a wig on.
And as a side note: My mum came actually with me for some support; it was one of THE best nights I‘ve ever had.
What does Drag mean to you?
Although, the term “Drag” basically means Dressed As a Girl (a term that originated in „Shakespeare's England“, at that time women weren’t allowed to participate in theater, so mostly younger male actors had to „dress up as a girl“ to play women's roles), for me Drag can mean anything. When RuPaul said himself: We are all born naked and the rest is drag; meaning that we all have our „costumes“ (metaphorically) when we go out into the world, for example when we go to a job interview, we put on a different role. So to speak, I really felt that. But for me, Drag is my own world, where I created this „Artist Figure“. Just recently I had kind of an artistic blockade, where I was very unhappy with what I have become, but now I'm ready to reinvent myself, and that's the great thing. So for me basically every artist who is somewhere somewhat performing, especially in the music business, is somehow doing Drag. It's a stage persona. I like to refer to it as „the superhero’s cape“.
What are some of the misconceptions about Drag Queens?
The biggest misconception is probably, that we want to be women... Even though some transgender people find out about there gender identity, 95% of the drag-queens out there, are „normal“ (gosh I hate to use this word) men, who simply love to play with the concept of gender.
Yes, there are two main genders in this world: male and female. But you have to see, that is just a body...flesh, and has nothing to do with the piece of fabric we call clothing/ fashion. For me, this is one of the biggest misconceptions IN OUR SOCIETY. Why the heck should we let a piece of fabric define us?
What gender do you identify with?
Even though, I see myself as cis-gender (the opposite of transgender), I like to refer to myself as „cis-gender cerebral non-binary“. This basically means that I am SUPER HAPPY and confident in my body as a man (even though I want more muscles hahaha, but we‘re working on that), but in my brain, I accept and celebrate both masculine and feminine as equal. Again another misconception: Why should we let the way we feel in our body define HOW WE THINK?!
What’s the Drag scene like in Switzerland?
Haha, well, still very quiet, but I see it growing in small steps. And to be honest, I started to really like it. You know I used to say „ugh we need more artists, Switzerland is sooo boring“... and yes, compared to countries like England, the Netherlands or the USA, it is very small, but again it's a question of perspective, do you wanna focus on the empty half of the glass or the filled one?! I mean as an example, here in Switzerland it’s pretty easy“ to make yourself known, compared to the other countries I named.
Does Hayden only exist on stage?
Well yes & no, yes Hayden does exist on stage, but so does David (my birth name). For me it’s ME, I am Hayden, I am David, I am a son, a Friend, a Human... When I'm on stage, it's another facade of me, so yes at this moment I’m in my metaphorical „Performance Suit“, but I mean, when I plan and set up my performances I am Hayden as well... it's complicated to put it in words. I see it as a kind of a „state of mind“.
What message do you want to spread on stage?
I wanna question people; I mean, the way I'm dressed let’s people question about genders, and that is one of the foundation stones that is embedded in our society. I don't wanna just grab people‘s stability in life, but I wanna challenge people and let them rethink because it is fundamentally important that we, as a society do so in order to grow. Only then we can start to understand and accept other people. We NEED to question ourselves in order to grow.
So I think I do it in the name of Love.
What does your average work day look like?
Well, at the moment I had to question myself too, because of the Global situation. I took some time for myself and started to reschedule a lot, find and get used to a new routine and find answers. It's an outstanding year. My current day to day looks like: getting up in the morning, then I need my so-called „30 min of waking up“, going to the gym, get back home, do some home office (show planning etc.) and if needed, do my groceries. After that, I either work in my day job as a Makeup Artist and Sales Assistant, have meetings (casual as well as business) or I go see my friends.
What are the biggest challenges you face with Drag?
Growing out of myself and pushing myself further, but staying true to myself at the same time. AND (of course) also dating, because I feel like we are living in a world where everyone speaks of love and acceptance, but no one is practicing it.
Just recently it happened to me, that someone (although we shared mutual attraction) said to me that I’m not „Macho“ enough. That pissed me off sooo hard. Like wtf? First of all you, don’t know me well enough after a few dates to be „the judge of that“. Then, I thank God that I’m no macho because that’s the male equivalent to a dumb ass bitch... These are proletarian and bigot people who have to make up with their behavior for a lack of intelligence, integrity, human decency and talent!
Why do we have to judge people at all, just because we are scared of something new? Instead of simply enjoying this new won beauty to our life?! This leads me to a fundamental question: Why do we always have to focus on what's NOT THERE instead of what IS THERE.
Well, maybe It's „always hard“ to date as an artist, I don’t know, hahaha. What so ever, I wanna focus on the good things in life, dating is most of the time not as easy as we wish it would be, I have to learn as we all do, and I wanna focus on the full half of the glass, not on the empty one.
How did your life change after you participated in Queen of Drags?
Haha well, at least by now, 90% of the scenery should know me, but I saw it kind of as the „kickoff“ of my career as an artist and stage performer. Now, I have changed again, like a snake skinning itself, I want to get into singing and music production more as well as giving my masculinity some more room on stage. Already at the very beginning, I heard about this term „Bodybuilder Barbie'', so I‘m not saying that I‘m starting a career as a bodybuilder hahaha, but I just wanna fulfil the visions I had.
So you should definitely keep an eye out on me ;)
Any advice for others who are interested in entering the scene?
Listen to the words other people tell you, never let these words define you, but find positive things in what they say, don‘t let hate stop you from growing, use it to your own advantage. There are ALWAYS two sides to a coin, the question is: on which one do you wanna lay your focus on ?!
AND PLEASE stop the bigotry! I see so many young people, no matter their sexuality, skin color, gender, rich or poor, who have the loudest mouths about shit they know nothing about, but only have to give in to their human need for attention. I mean there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting attention, but let your actions speak louder than your words... Of course, I love to talk about a lot too, and I have to tell the same thing to myself as well, therefore I have to question myself. But as a wise person once said: Only empty minds speak the loudest! Notice the difference when it's time to speak and when it's time to work, just be quiet and get your hands dirty. Sometimes we just need to calm down in this crowded world, for our own sake.
And never ever ever stop vibrating in the energy of love. Smooches and Fistbombs, Hayden :)