Let's hear it for the queens!
Queen magazine, published by Miles Davis Moody and Josh Stuart, has shared its first cover girl featured on its debut issue (which ships Oct. 22), and it's none other than Alaska Thuderfuck 5000.
The mag got its start from a successful Kickstarter campaign (they raised five times what they had originally asked for), and now it is ready to share the global influence of drag artists with excellent photographers such as Magnus Hastings, Ben Cope, Albert Sanchez & Pedro Zalba.
Stuart comes from a publishing background and combines his talents with Moody’s knowledge of the drag community through his role as a member of the "Pit Crew" on RuPaul’s Drag Race, so it has made for the perfect partnership, so far. In addition to being boyfriends, when it came to getting their project off the ground, they reached out to some of the RPDR talent they already knew — including Bianca Del Rio, Alyssa Edwards, and Laganga Estranja — as well as others via Instagram. The first issue is epic: it includes a beautiful photo feature of drag queens from Pretoria, South Africa, fashion editorials with season winners Violet Chachki and Raja Gemini, and Guppy Drink who manages to create drag art in homophobic Kiev, Ukraine. We wanted to know how and why one produces such a galmorous magazine, so we posed a few questions for its creators to share with our readers.
How did you pick the "cover girl"?
We spent a lot of time choosing the right cover girl. We considered one and ultimately that wasn’t the right fit. Then we tried with another and we took a step back and wanted to really refocus on finding the right queen with the right aesthetic that reaches a broad range of drag enthusiasts. Ultimately, that girl is Alaska Thuderfuck 5000. We chose her because of several reasons. A couple of them being her evolution over time. Her versatility is what is really amazing. It’s a combination of trash drag meets high-fashion meets comedy meets vocal talent: ANUS, her latest album, is amazing!
Raja Gemini’s interpretation of Miss Havisham | Photography by Ben Cope
Tell us why we need Queen magazine?
We need Queen magazine because we believe that there is room for another influential, alternative, tangible medium to television with worldwide reach that has the ability to showcase drag queens who are masters of their artistry that otherwise might not gain the recognition they deserve. Another reason we need Queen is because it allows budding drag queens in other less LGBTQ friendly countries to share their stories and express themselves on an international stage to readers in countries spanning the globe, providing perspective to those who have an interest in the art of drag and bringing awareness to their fight for the freedom of self-expression.
Brooke Banks, Genevieve Le Coq, Victoria Styles & Jett Joans of Pretoria, South Africa at the Voortrekker Monument | Photography by Irene Koukouzellis
How is it different from other magazines?
We're different in many ways. Aesthetically, the size and quality are over the top — just as many drag queens are! Measuring 16-inches-by-10-inches and printed on glossy, heavy covers and index pages, the magazine weighs in just under 2 pounds. so it's a good rival to mainstream fashion books. Content-wise, it’s the stories. For example, we have a great piece on four drag queens who live in Pretoria, South Africa, and share their story of the confidence they’ve gained from the influence Western drag has had in their part of the world. Lastly, the combination of look, quality content and gorgeous, produced from scratch photography is something we hope will inspire those who haven’t fully embraced whatever their own meaning of self expression is by saying: “WOW! Look at that! If they are showcasing that drag queen Guppy Drink from homophobic Kiev, Ukraine, with 200 followers, I can do this!”
Misty Violet as the Pink Ranger and Sasha Colby as Lara Croft | Photography by Magnus Hastings
Drag queens can get old quick, how will you keep it fresh and relevant?
We plan on keeping the magazine fresh and relevant by consistently featuring a nice mix of all types of drag artists from all age ranges to the mainstream celebs and the virtual unknowns in the most obscure places in the world. Ultimately we want to be able to travel the world, exploring for ourselves and discovering drag queens who are masters of their own craft everywhere from the U.K. to India (where drag is glorified in some parts) to Southeast Asia and beyond. Getting there will happen as we mature. In the interim, we have great social media platforms such as Instagram and word of mouth referrals!
It seems the mag has a very fun, pop aesthetic: Is there a clear art direction and mission when it comes to its design?
We do. Our cover concepts have all been lended to us by Magnus Hastings, our director of photography, who has been photographing drag queens all over the world for the last few years. That has helped us build our brand and explain our overall aesthetic of the magazine, but the content from cover to cover is very diverse in photographic style. For example, we have the duo Albert Sanchez and Pedro Zalba who regularly shoot Dita Von Teese, Beth Ditto, and others in their own unique style that would easily be featured as fashion editorial in Vogue magazine. Then there’s a clean, fun and outside-the-box design that is kind of in alignment with the world of drag in that there are no rules or box to fit in, which makes designing this magazine ourselves a lot of fun, all the while keeping a high-end, high quality look and feel.
Queen ships free worldwide on all orders received before Oct. 22. Plus, all one-year subscribers receive a free Queen T-shirt & free shipping for the year.
RPDR Season 7 winner Violet Chachki’s take on provocative '60s French artist Pierre Molinier | Photography by Albert Sanchez & Pedro Zalba