Influencer With A Cause: Desmond is Amazing

Photography by Noah Chiet.

Photography by Noah Chiet.

1. Name?
Desmond Napoles and my stage name is Desmond is Amazing.

2. Where are you from?
I am from New York City.

3. When did you start your blog?
I haven't written a blog yet but that is something I would like to try doing. My Instagram is kind of like my personal blog for me.

Photography by Ariel Friedlander

Photography by Ariel Friedlander

4. How old were you when you discovered your passion for dressing up in drag style?
I first saw RuPaul's Drag Race when I was like 2 or 3 years old. I remember sitting in the living room with my mom and she was watching RuPaul's Drag Race and I stopped playing with my toys to watch it with her. I remember seeing the drag queens and thinking they were so amazing and beautiful like princesses so I said "I want to do that!" So then I would take my mom's bed sheets and towels and heels and cardboard and whatever, whatever and make pretend dresses and wigs out of them.

5. What do you love about it?
I love that you can just do whatever you want. Drag is art so you can be as creative as your imagination lets you and it's fun to kind of come up with different characters and looks. There's no right or wrong way to do drag.

6. I love that you design your own outfits? Where did you learn to do this?
I always loved drawing and coloring books. One day we were in Rickys NYC and I saw a sketchbook for drawing fashion and asked my mom for it and she got it for me. I love drawing all kinds of outfits on the templates. My mom makes all of the outfits that I design and I help her if I can. I'm good at rhinestoning.

7. Do you have a favorite fabric, color or style for dressing up?
I love the color magenta. My favorite style is avant garde. I like dressing unique and loud and I am inspired by the fashion and the makeup of the club kids.

Photography by Aaron Williams

Photography by Aaron Williams

8. What are some of your favorite fashion designers?
I love Alexander McQueen, Anna Sui, Comme Des Garcons, Thierry Mugler, Betsey Johnson, Richie Rich, Malan Breton, Marc Jacobs...ugh...I could go on all day. I love fashion!

9. I see you have been on the runway for designers as Dope Tavio and The Blonds.
What was this experience like?
It was amazing!!! Getting to walk the runways at NYFW is one of my favorite things to do. I wish it happened more than twice a year! My favorite was walking for The Blonds when they did the collaboration with Disney Villians. It was so fierce!

10. At a young age, you are working on so many great projects, what has helped you to follow
your passion?
What inspires me the most is all of the kids and teens like me that I meet. I just got home from an annual LGBTQ+ youth and family conference called True Colors. It really meant a lot to me to talk to others who are just expressing themselves however they want and living their best lives.

Photography by Mr. NYC Subway

Photography by Mr. NYC Subway

11. Please tell us about “Haus of Amazing” and being the first drag house for youth? Was it hard to organize?
I found out one day that on Instagram you can only create a group chat with a maximum of 15 people. I wanted to talk to more than 15 drag kids I knew at once, so I thought, why not find a way for them to all talk with each other at once. That's how it got started. I founded the drag house in October 2017. There is a network of drag kids in the Haus of Amazing. There's 5 members here in NYC. We were going to build an online home for it on Facebook but then there was a mass hate attack on my Facebook page in December 2017. So, since then, my mom and dad have been working on building a social network for it from scratch. Once it's done, drag kids everywhere will be able to join and talk to each other in a safe space without hate and stuff. There's going to be a section for drag kid parents too.

12. I see that you are in the works of building a LGBTQ magazine for youth, do you feel this is missing for kids growing up?
I definitely do. I think there needs to be a magazine for LGBTQ+ youth where everything in the magazine is written by LGBTQ+ youth.

Photography by Robins Photography

Photography by Robins Photography

13. Please tell us about A.M.AZ.E stands for “Anti-bullying Movement trailblAZing Equality” for LGBTQ Youth. What motivated you to start this organization?
I see a lot of bullying within the LGBTQ+ community going on, so I started working on a way to promote positivity and create a way for kids and teens to take a pledge not to bully others. Love more, shade less.

14. Have you experienced bullying? What do you recommend for people to do in that situation?
Yes, I have. I don't let it bother me. I let my teacher know what happened and they usually talk to the kid that bullied me. I think a lot of people that bully are maybe getting bullied themselves or have issues at home or something like that. My advice is to pay the haters no mind because they will never be as fierce as you and I.

Photography by Roxy Taylor

Photography by Roxy Taylor

15. What are some of the particular challenges of LGBTQ youth?
In my case, it's that I can't participate at any of the LGBTQ+ centers here in NYC until I am 13 or 14 years old. I don't know why that is, but it's very frustrating to me because I do a lot of work for the community but I can't even get services for myself. I think there needs to be more programs for LGBTQ+ youth younger than 13.

Photography by Wendy Napoles

Photography by Wendy Napoles

16. Among LGBTQ youth, what are some groups whose support needs have gone unrecognized?
I definitely think that trans youth, especially people of color, are overlooked.

Photography by Robins Photography

Photography by Robins Photography

17. What are some strategies organizations can follow to promote positive and healthy outcomes for youth who are LBGTQ?
People need to realize that people are all different and that LGBTQ+ people have been around since the caveman days. If people can just learn to accept each other, then I think the world would be a more positive place.

18. Motto in life?
Be Yourself, Always

Photography by Wendy Napoles

Photography by Wendy Napoles

19. Website and Instagram Info?
Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/desmondisamazing/?hl=en
Website: https://desmondisamazing.com/

Influencer With A Cause Feature, highlighting influencers that support a cause in a positive way.
Interview By Alison Hernon, Editor-In-Chief, PhotoBook Magazine