Pride Month Q&A with Divinity Masters
Divinity Masters has been doing drag for more than a decade. With a quick wit and non-stop sass, she's sure to bring a smile to your face.
She got her start in a weekly show at the former Fantasy Complex with the late, great Fritz Capone. Since then, she has performed in numerous shows around the country and has entertained audiences from a few in small crowded bars to huge theaters with hundreds in the audience.
Divinity is the owner and Queen Mother at Club Boomerang in Wichita where she has hosted several shows including The Future Stars Showcase.
Divinity believes that drag is an important part of the LGBTQ rights movement and has used her business, microphone, and charm to gather our community together and continue to fight for equality.
By day, she goes by the name Brad Thomison and works as the LGBTQ Coordinator for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Wichita State University. Brad is a proud step-dad, dog-dad, and partner to an amazing man that keeps life running smoothly.
Divinity reminds you to never stop loving yourself. You. Are. Fabulous!
I have had the opportunity to work with Divinity in the past and couldn't think of a more perfect person to interview for Pride.
How long have you been a drag performer?
I've been doing drag about 10 years. When I first started, I performed regularly at Our Fantasy Complex on Friday nights with Fritz Capone, a legendary entertainer who passed away a few years ago.
When I stopped working there, I performed more rarely, usually only showing up for fundraisers and special events for the community. I started performing regularly again when we opened Club Boomerang back in 2015.
Who are your inspirations, both personally and performance wise?
I try to find inspiration anywhere I can and in the people and places around me. There are a lot of fantastic entertainers in this town and I try to learn from what they do whenever I see them.
I do most of my drag work in hosting and comedy, so I tend to look to other funny people for inspiration. That includes drag queens like Jackie Beat and also mainstream comedians like Robin Williams and Lucille Ball.
What does drag and its history mean to Pride Month?
LGBT pride month is celebrated in June because it's the anniversary month of the Stonewall riots. This historical event happened in late June 1969.
A small gay bar called The Stonewall Inn was raided by police. This was a common Occurrence at the time.
On this particular night, however, the patrons of the bar decided to fight back. That fight was led by drag queens.
As other riots around the country started to break out in a ripple effect from the first night, communities often looked to drag queens as outspoken leaders. They were not afraid to raise their voice and demand the rights they deserved.
We have made tremendous progress in the LGBT Rights Movement since it's beginning, and drag entertainers have been an important part of that. The mentors I had in drag taught me that while what we do is fun and entertaining, it comes with the responsibility to be an activist and advocate in and for our community.
We are often given the opportunity to speak at events and appear in front of our peers regularly at shows. This means that we have a well-established platform to communicate and motivate our community.
What is Pride month to you?
For me, pride month is an opportunity to reflect on the great progress we've made in working toward equal rights for LGBT people. It is also a catalyst for recommitting to the work we have yet to do. I enjoy the opportunity to spend time with friends and members of my family of choice who I may not get to see much during the rest of the year when we gather for parades and festivals this month.
What is your favorite thing about the Wichita community? What do you feel we can improve?
One of my favorite things about the Wichita Community is that we are always asking the question, "what can we improve?" There is an entrepreneurial energy in Wichita that constantly pushes us to be better. The city is large enough to attract great businesses and offer any amenities one may need while still feeling small enough to have the appeal of smaller close-knit communities. There is room to be innovative here and support for creative thinkers.
What is the biggest misconception people have about drag?
I think a common misconception people may have about drag entertainers is that the person that you see on stage or on TV is like that all the time. Just like any another performance artist, we create personalities and characters to bring to the stage.
When I'm performing as Divinity I think, speak, and act differently than I do in my daily life. Underneath all the hair and makeup and fabulous costumes, drag queens and kings are just regular people.
What advice do you have for anyone interested in getting started?
I believe that performing in drag is a unique and personal creative expression. I always encourage those who are wanting to try it out to explore, be bold, and follow their own path.
There are lots of great things those of us with experience can share. We've learned lessons the hard way, so we can help you navigate the waters and reaffirm that it's okay to be different.
I try to encourage new entertainers to get connected to the community. There's a great amount of support for those who are willing to listen and learn as they get started. Humility is key to being successful in any type of performance art.
If you aren't pleasant to work with backstage, then nobody's going to put you on the stage.
Lastly, don't just try to copy what you may see on TV. Come be a part of the community. There's a rich history here, and a family waiting for you to join.