“Behind the Drag” aims to showcase the off-stage lives of some of America’s most talented drag queens. The intimate series gives us the opportunity to meet the people behind our favorite over-the-top drag queens.
Meatball is everything a drag queen isn’t “supposed” to be. She’s hairy. She’s sloppy. She’s less glamour and more rough-around-the-edges. And she’s also named after an arguably unsexy Italian food.
“I’m most known for being hairy, having a bad attitude, but always being on time,” Meatball tells In The Know. “That’s about it.”
The Los Angeles-based queen and comedian is a big personality with an even bigger story. And it all starts with her unusual moniker — Meatball. The name came from the queen and her friends trying to figure out a name for an unconventional drag queen. One who embodies some parts of traditional femininity, but vehemently rejects others.
“I’m such like a weird, hairy, messy, sloppy drag queen that I couldn’t be like a Rebecca or a Rachel,” the queen says. “So I went for Meatball.”
The way Meatball first discovered drag is a classic American story — she was watching RuPaul’s Drag Race after a bad break up. Soon after discovering the hit TV show, she went to a real life drag show with friends. There, Meatball realized she had all the skills for drag as a comedy-driven theater kid with performance skills. So she decided to try her hand at the art form — and never turned back.
“I’m not one of those drag queens that’s concerned about always looking like the prettiest,” she says. “I want when people leave the room to be like, ‘That was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time.’”
Being a messy, sloppy queen may seem effortless — but Meatball is intensely hard working. She makes all of her own costumes, glues down her own eyebrows, writes her own material and calls her own shots.
“There is a conscious shift of confidence that comes from putting on the armor of drag,” Meatball says. “No matter what happens, when I am in drag, I am powerful and I am in full control of any situation.”
But it hasn’t always been that way. Meatballs says she only recently found true peace in her own skin.
“I hate to be one of those drag queens that’s like, ‘Drag saved my life and it changed me and it made me a better person,’” she says. “But, like, drag changed my life and made me a better person.”
Gaining that greater sense of self through drag has helped Meatball gain confidence in her unconventional path — and her identity both in and out of drag.
“When I look in the mirror now, I see somebody who has overcome a lot, and someone who is very — finally, finally — happy,” she says. “I see someone who is strong. I see someone who isn’t afraid to stand up for themselves anymore, who isn’t afraid to speak their mind, who isn’t afraid to have a little swish in my hips. I don’t care anymore — and drag taught me that.”
If you enjoyed this story, read about a Black, proud and resilient Miami-based queen.
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