The way Desmond Napoles, otherwise known as Desmond is Amazing, strutted down Grand Street with his mother Wendy in tow, rendered him undoubtedly recognizable as the 11-year-old drag kid my fellow Creator and I were supposed to be meeting with.
His walk should be soundtracked by a loop of “Cover Girl” by RuPaul, the sidewalk near enough becomes a catwalk. He turns and poses for invisible cameras, as we hadn’t yet taken the lens cap off of ours.
Desmond’s cultural lexicon is more sophisticated than that of some RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants (a few of the contenders hadn’t even seen seminal ballroom documentary Paris is Burning) and this became apparent when Desmond whipped out his Crystal LaBeija impression, rolling off lines as deftly as Aja in the All Stars 3 Snatch Game. It’s no wonder he was named the face of New York City Pride 2018.
Desmond first became something of a cultural phenomenon in 2015, when a video of him vogueing down the streets of New York during that year’s Pride parade achieved viral success.
Since that first video of Desmond, clad in a rainbow tutu, throwing shapes in the middle of the streets, emerged, Desmond’s profile has skyrocketed. He’s been a guest at RuPaul’s DragCon, created his own drag house (the Haus of Amazing), been featured in Vogue and countless other publications, been named the face of New York Pride, opened the TeenVogue summit with a speech, among many other, for lack of a better word, amazing achievements.
And now he’s sat down with spoiled NYC. You can watch the interview here.
When asked about contouring, Desmond declares “I don’t contour” before impersonating Drag Race royalty Alaska Thunderfuck, quoting her “Your Makeup is Terrible” song. When asked about how he came to be the face of New York pride, Desmond references his mother, dubbing her his “Drag-ager” - watch out, Kris Jenner.
Unprovoked, Desmond specifies his preferred pronouns (him, he, his - in or out of drag, in case you were wondering) and elaborates on why he doesn’t go by she, her etc, as is common for the majority of drag queens - at least when they’re in drag. Desmond believes that drag queen is an “adult term” going on to say “I refer to myself as a drag kid.”
Desmond first attended a pride parade while still in a stroller, but didn’t walk the parade until he was 8-years-old. As to his viral vogueing, Desmond refers to it as his “fifteen minutes of fame.
I query this, telling him I think he’s extended it beyond that, Desmond mimes a steep incline with his hand (complete with “bloop bloop bloop” noises) before sending the same hand plummeting towards his lap.
Yet, whatever post-2015 Pride Parade decline Desmond may have experienced, it seems the ensuing climb back upwards has reached a higher point than the virality he achieved three years ago.
Desmond has rubbed shoulders with the likes of RuPaul, and is represented by the same agency as Alaska, Adore Delano, Katya Zamolodchikova, and countless other Drag Race alumni. Desmond is also working on a children’s book titled “We Are All Amazing” in addition to releasing a single like many of his older, drag queen peers.
“Anyone who says this beautiful…” Desmond trails off, searching for the term he just coined mere minutes ago, “...Drag-ager is forcing me to do this, they are 100% wrong! I love what I’m doing. And it’s amazing.”
Desmond frequently interrupts the interview to get up, and sashay his way around the park amongst the statues in front of Stonewall Inn, much to the delight of the two girls sitting on the bench beside us. He manages to inject the motion of putting a plastic bottle in a bin with runway-ready grace.
As we’re leaving the park, Desmond vogues while talking to the camera, directly to his “Amazies” - the name he has dubbed his fans, crying out “I love you all, Amazies! You better work and keep being yourself - always.”
He caps off the sentence with an Alyssa Edwards-ian tongue pop.