By: Khaalid Naik
‘Drag’, does the word ring a bell? You must have seen videos of drag artists and might even have seen drag queens’ performances on social media platforms. But what is it really? Drag is one of the most underrated art forms and is not embraced in several nations even today including India. In simple terms, drag means wearing clothes characteristically of the opposite sex and performing. Like every other art form, it requires enthusiasm, passion, and utmost hard work. Alex Mathew exhibited all three skills and became India’s most popular drag performer at the age of 28 years.
Alex Mathew hails from South India and initially wanted to become a Broadway performer. He practiced theater and sang karaoke at bars but he was still never satisfied with it. He felt a creative outlet was missing in his performances and that’s when the mother of illusion, ‘Mayamma’, his drag character was born. Alex was heavily inspired by Robin Williams, but his journey wasn’t as smooth as he anticipated it to be. Mayamma was mocked as a crossdresser (hijra) and his sexuality was often questioned. But none of it could put Mayamma down. Alex proudly admits that drag helped him clutch onto his true identity.
Alex now runs a web show ‘Chaiya with Maya’ where he talks about his Broadway dream and many other crucial matters like gender equality, exploring one’s all aspects of personality, and individualism all in a witty style. Alex is the epitome of following one’s passion regardless of what others have to say about it. He has broken several stereotypes and established that drag is an art form and there is nothing erroneous in either enjoying it or performing it.