Image by Felicia McGowan
If you do not know the name Desmond Napoles…you really should. The pint-size firecracker who goes by the nom de plume Desmond is Amazing really has the chattering classes…chattering. And at a time when the world seems so fraught with hatred and division, he radiates positivity in every sense of the word.
Desmond is Amazing is a performer, “Drag Kid,” advocate of LGBTQ and gay youth, editorial model, public speaker, and fashion designer. Born in June of 2007 (coincidentally during NYC Pride Week), he insists, “I came out of the closest when I was born.” With a loving and supportive family behind him, he is that rarest of beings who had been living his truth since the moment he entered the world. (Who would have thought that we would be looking to a brave eleven-year-old to remind us so poignantly to march forward with our heads held high?)
Image by Parker Day
Growing up with a passion for fashion, music, and of course RuPaul, Desmond discovered a love of dressing up in drag, and eventually turned it into a full blown career. He began to gain real notoriety when he danced and paraded his way into the hearts of many at 2015’s Pride March – becoming an overnight celebrity in the LGBTQ community, and then quickly beyond. Since then, he has built a social network called Haus of Amazing, and in the works are The Amaziest Magazine, a namesake YouTube channel, the A.M.A.Z.E anti-bullying program, an Amazement Fashions clothing line, and the Be Amazed cosmetics line. And yes, he’s just eleven years old.
Sufficiently awed, BlackBook jumped at the chance to chat with this totally fierce kid about his inspirations, how he handles the “haters,” and what more could possibly be next for him.
You have a new drag club for kids called Haus of Amazing? Could you tell us exactly what it is?
The Haus of Amazing was founded in October 2017, it is the first drag house for drag kids aged 20 and under. There are already several members of HOA in the United States and in Europe.
How will the HOA community be able to interact? Will there be meet ups as well?
My parents are working on a social network, similar to Facebook, where the members of the Haus of Amazing will be able to log in and connect with each other. It will be a safe space without the hate you get on regular social media, but that anyone can be a part of. There will be a log in for drag kid parents as well, so they can also connect with each other. It will be ready within the next few months. I hope in the future to host Haus of Amazing events.
How did you come to understand your identity?
I was always just being myself.
Image by Ariel Friedlander
While you have received so much praise for your courage, do you worry about the backlash from those who would be opposed to what you are doing?
I just pay the haters no mind, because they will never be as fierce and you and I. My parents clear all the hate off my social media. I have a lot of young fans and they want to see positive things, not hate. I don’t worry about the hate very much, but I know it causes a lot of trouble for my parents. People call ACS and send threats.
You seem to be an old soul, with a knowledge of and reverence for history. Who are some of the people that have most greatly inspired you?
Definitely RuPaul. I am also inspired by the club kids of the ’90s, Blitz Kids of the ’80s, fashion designers like Alexander McQueen, and artists like Basquiat and Keith Haring.
You have a background in ballet – does that inform what you’re doing now?
I don’t think so – I just love to perform. Now, I like voguing. Ballet just got boring for me.
Music has often acted as a lifeline for those who feel like societal outcasts – and it’s always been an essential element of drag. Are there songs that have a specific importance for you?
I love “Just a Girl” and “Sunday Morning” by No Doubt; “Power of Love” by Deee-Lite; and anything by Donna Summer and Madonna.
What’s ahead for you in 2019?
I am writing a children’s book to teach kids to feel amazing about themselves! And I will be releasing my first music single.
Image by Felicia McGowan