Drag Artist based in Chicago. Best known for her appearance on Season 13 of RuPaul's Drag Race, Kahmora gave a glimpse of her world of glamour and intrigue. She took some time to share with us her work and what Support means to her.
Who has supported you and why was it meaningful?
My oldest sister Kammi was the first person I ever came out to. Her undeniable love and support gave me the courage to eventually come out to the rest of my family.
Also, my drag mother Lady Tajma Hall. Not only did she take me under her wing and teach me the art of drag, but she truly was a ‘gay mother’ to me. I could talk to her about things that I never could with my own mom. Her (Tajma) passing in 2014 was tough to deal with, but I remembered how much of an impact she made on my life and on everyone around her, and how important it is to continue her legacy.
Any words of advice or encouragement to BIPOC creatives just starting out?
Ask yourself why you want to do this. I can only speak personally on drag, but for me, I’m an artist and I love to create. Drag (and like any other creative medium) is not easy, and it’s not cheap. You have to really dig deep into your pockets and be prepared to invest a lot in your craft for little to no return, especially when starting. However, if the art form is something you truly want to do, be dedicated to it. I’m a firm believer that if you follow your dreams and passions, everything will fall into place. Know that they do matter and are valid. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s a lesson that I had to learn a lot later in life, but once you do, you’ll be a much happier person.
What is your cultural heritage and how has it influenced your work?
Growing up in a Vietnamese household means watching lots of Paris by Night with your parents. Paris by Night is this Vietnamese variety show with over-the-top costumes and acts. At that moment, I knew I was gay and why I love Bob Mackie so much! It definitely inspired my drag persona to be this glamorous and luxurious woman.
Through my drag artistry, I try to incorporate my Asian background as much as I can, and use my platform to talk about issues close to me, especially the rise in hate crimes against the AAPI community.
Why are telling BIPOC stories important to you?
Simply put: representation. I wish I had queer AAPI figures to look up to growing up, and I think about how things may have been different if I did. That’s why I’m so grateful for my time on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Though short, I got to share some of my story and drag artistry, and hope that young queer AAPI folks could find a sense of belonging by seeing someone like them on a national platform.