Meet Maxxx Pleasure, the NYC performer who wants to make drag kings mainstream

·3 min read

Maxxx Pleasure is a New York City-based drag king whose over-the-top rock and roll drag performances explore the concept of gender and push the limits of what drag can be. 

While shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race have made drag queens popular with a wide audience, male impersonators—or drag kings—are still trying to break into the mainstream. 

Drag king Maxxx Pleasure (IG: @mr.mpleasure, Twitter: @mrmaxxxpleasure) wants to change that. Maxxx, who goes by he/him pronouns but does not identify with a specific gender, wants to show audiences that drag kings are just as talented, entertaining, and fun to watch as drag queens

“I hope that drag kings become as mainstream as drag queens are,” Maxxx told In The Know. “Drag kings are just as talented, [and] we work just as hard. It’s just that our illusion maybe is a little different.”

For Maxxx, drag is a way to playfully deconstruct the concept of gender. He told In The Know, “I love being able to tap into my masculinity and my femininity and everything in between, just dancing along the gender spectrum.”

Drag also allows Maxxx to express his creativity. Maxxx Pleasure shows are all about singing, dancing, and above all, attitude. “I love using props to tell the story of the performance and really build the drama. I love a reveal,” Maxxx explained. “If you come to a Maxxx Pleasure show, you can definitely expect a lot of snarling and a very good time.”

Drag has also helped Maxxx embrace his queer identity. Growing up, Maxxx had trouble accepting his bisexuality, but meeting members of the drag community helped him realize his sexuality was something to embrace, not fear. 

“Being bisexual is something that I didn’t understand when I was a teenager,” he told In The Know. “I felt a lot of fear, also a lot of self-loathing.”

But seeing the talent and joy in the drag community helped Maxxx learn to celebrate his queerness. “Actually loving my queer identity and celebrating my queer identity, that wasn’t something that I even understood until I started doing drag and I started spending my time with other performers, and going to drag shows where being queer is something that’s celebrated,” he explained. “[Something] I’m so grateful for in the drag community is that encouragement of self-love.”

Finding drag transformed Maxxx’s life, helping him find friends, a community, and a rewarding means of self-expression. “I spend so much time as Maxxx Pleasure, [and] I spend so much time with a painted-on mustache dressing up like a man,” he told In The Know. “I’m at that point in my life where all of my friends are people that I’ve met through drag, so people only know me as Maxxx.”

Maxxx loves performing as a drag king, and believes mainstream success for drag kings is on the horizon.

“Not everyone always knows what a drag king is, but they will,” he told In The Know. “They’ll learn.”

 his skating roots, to create a unique figure skating drag experience. “My goal with skating and drag is to bring “Milk on Ice” across the world,” said Dan. “Drag and figure skating truly go together and I’m excited to continue the journey in joining them.”

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If you enjoyed this story, check out In The Know’s other stories from Behind the Drag here.

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