She spends hours in front of a makeup table to transform into a man

UnXpected is an original AsiaOne series where we speak to people with unconventional interests to find out what keeps them going despite the sometimes negative perceptions of others


For hours she sits in front of the mirror, mapping out the planes of her face with sticks of foundation of different colours, concealing her natural brows in favour of thick drawn-on ones, and glueing short strands of hair onto her jawline.

She then takes a roll of sports tape and adheres pieces of it to her breast, pulling her flesh back and flat. Her look is completed with a large coat and a styled updo.

This is not your average makeup routine. It is a part of the process that Stephanie Chan undergoes to morph into a man, or rather, a drag king.

When transformed, Stephanie becomes Aloysious D, a "pompous Chinese guy" that's "kind of a douchebag", her words, not ours.

PHOTO: AsiaOne

Drag kings can be loosely defined as performance artists who performs an exaggerated version of masculinity and personify male stereotypes. Though anyone can be a drag king, regardless of their assigned gender at birth, drag kings are usually female artists.

The 33-year-old's first foray into the drag scene was when she took part in a poetry performance during her university days, where she impersonated a "pretentious hipster" male poet.

And she was hooked to the experience of embodying another persona, finding it absolutely freeing. This later prompted her to join a burlesque troop as a drag king.

For Stephanie, who grew up being taught that men and women had to look and behave a certain way, drag is an outlet for her to show others how there was more than one way to see the world. It also made her a much more confident person, knowing that she doesn't have to conform to a certain standard.

PHOTO: AsiaOne

But while drag culture, in particular drag queens, might have gone mainstream in recent years thanks to popular shows like Ru Paul's Drag Race, drag kings have remained under the radar.

Aloysius is currently one of the only few drag kings in Singapore.

Stephanie dreams that one day she'd be able to create a larger drag king scene in Singapore, and by doing so, open up a space for more to explore this alternative art.

As for those who'd protest against what she's doing, Stephanie says they'd "just need to open their minds a bit more, accept different points of view and accept that a large number of people do get a lot of joy from this art form."

PHOTO: AsiaOne

Watch the video to find out more about what Stephanie has to share about drag culture as she shows us how she transforms into Aloysius. 

rainercheung@asiaone.com