Drag and Bodybuilding Have been My Lifeline. The Pandemic Modified The whole lot.
Rock Evans is a health teacher, bodybuilder and drag queen named Miss Toto. In 2014, Evans moved to Miami and began bodybuilding. They wished to problem themselves after finishing challenges just like the Spartan Race and the Mud Run. Their first competitors was September 2016. As for drag, Evans turned Miss Toto in 2015, however they’ve recognized about drag since they had been a baby. They moved to Chicago in February 2019. With their earnings from the health club and drag coming from in-person-only occasions, COVID-19 threatened each of their livelihoods. Now that individuals are heading outdoors once more, Evans displays on how the pandemic modified their outlook for the higher.
AS SOON AS COVID occurred, I had a meltdown. It wasn’t a meltdown of like, ‘Why can’t I do this stuff?’ It was a meltdown of worry.
I used to be on a linear path of bodybuilding. I used to be getting greater, getting stronger. However then as soon as the pandemic occurred, I had solely my dwelling health club. It was actually solely a pair kettlebells and my boyfriend occurred to seek out the barbell in his grandma’s basement. It was type of a check to myself as a health professional and a health skilled to see what kind of exercises I may make for myself, after which what exercises I may create for different individuals which can be accessible and free.
For drag, every little thing went on-line. It went from touring all around the world, after which the world shut down, and all my gigs had been canceled. I had no earnings. My earnings got here from the health club and it got here from drag. I went from having every little thing to having nothing.
I ACTUALLY HAD my first introduction to tug by way of my mother. My first reminiscence of drag is having one in all her mates dressed as Ursula come to my home. I used to be obsessive about The Little Mermaid. And I clearly thought that was like, the actual Ursula. However wanting again on that, I am like, ‘That is fairly rad that my mother, like, not solely had queer mates, however mates sufficient that they’d get in drag on a random day for her child,’ you realize? I assumed that was actually cool. So I have been concerned in drag and recognized about it for some time, however by no means actually acquired began in doing drag myself till I used to be in faculty.
I used to be in a fraternity. And with our fraternity, we had the accountability of throwing a celebration for the brothers. And me and my two mates acquired wearing drag solely as soon as a semester for that occasion. So I began dabbling in drag as an grownup with them, however by no means actually leaned into it.
After which as soon as I moved to Miami, I type of acquired my complete world rocked after I met an enormous group of drag queens that weren’t your stereotypical drag queen. Like, they had been furry. They had been bearded. And as somebody who was extra on the muscular facet, that is after I was like, ‘Okay, these furry, bearded individuals can actually push the envelope and do drag. What’s actually stopping me from doing drag?’ And that is what actually pushed me.
Plus, I by no means actually had a big, queer neighborhood that I used to be surrounded by. I at all times had my two or three mates. However this was a big, queer scene. So that’s actually what pushed me to even simply begin going to those events. Then by way of the events, I used to be invited to start out performing. Then it went from performing as soon as a month to performing in that occasion as soon as a month, but in addition having a weekly Bingo Night time at one of many native bars. After which issues have simply type of snowballed into the place they’re proper now.
I AM KNOWN as like, ‘The Bodybuilder Barbie.’ There are loads of muscle queens, however nobody who truly competes like that. I have never seen anybody however myself truly step on stage and compete within the physique competitors, and who can be doing drag on the degree that I am doing it. And even like taking it a step additional, loads of the muscle queens aren’t essentially exhibiting their our bodies of their drag. That is one thing that I am at all times type of pushing for, like, I am gonna have my arms out. I am gonna have my abs out. You are gonna see this physique that I labored for, and it is going to be in my drag.
Additionally muscle tissues do not have to be equated to masculinity. Particularly within the health house, and particularly inside the physique bodybuilding house, there are such a lot of ladies which can be simply shredded and muscular and jacked, but it surely does not make them any much less feminine or any much less female. So it is like pushing the envelope in each instructions.
INSTEAD OF THINKING of digital drag as an issue, I used it as one thing inventive to push myself or one thing to push myself creatively. So as a substitute of like a few of these performances which can be actually restricted to the stage, I used to be capable of take a number of the concepts that I’ve had that could not be accomplished on the stage and make them right into a video for a digital drag present. With the flexibility of a inexperienced display screen and correct enhancing, you possibly can actually put your self in any fantasy state of affairs that you simply’d need. So I actually used this final yr to reevaluate who I’m and why I do drag anyway, as a result of you will get simply caught up within the bookings and surviving, particularly as a result of that was my earnings. And now I am in a unique place the place it is I type of discovered and rediscovered why I do drag within the first place, to the place I can put cash and power into growing, and maintain pushing that character, and continue to grow Miss Toto with out sacrificing my creativity and my artwork.
SO NOW THINGS are beginning to open once more. I am vaccinated and the world is getting vaccinated or at the very least in the USA. I will do extra touring gigs again like I used to, planning prides, which goes to be a really good summer season. And now I’ve plans to go to Germany as effectively within the fall. So it looks like issues are going again to the best way that it was so far as drag however I am re-entering it with a unique perspective. Against it being all about being profitable that I pays my hire, that is an expertise that not many different individuals can have, which I am fortunate sufficient to have the ability to have.
Who am I going to fulfill? And the way can I let my drag have an effect on individuals? As a result of I’ve observed, like, previously yr, particularly, black queers with the Black Lives Matter motion and every little thing that occurred final summer season, like I type of discovered my voice in that and was connecting with so many different queer people and black queers particularly, about identical to how loud and genuine I have been, through which I did not ever consider it that approach till they informed me. They had been like, ‘I actually admire how genuine you’re. I admire how loud and brash and unafraid to only say what’s in your thoughts.’ And I do not assume I’d have been ready to try this as Rock. However in some way and for some cause, individuals are inclined to take heed to me somewhat extra as Miss Toto because the determine, because the drag queen, versus Rock out of drag.
I WANT READERS to know that you are able to do no matter you need. You wish to be a bodybuilder? Be a bodybuilder. You wish to be a drag queen? Be a drag queen. You wish to be a bodybuilding drag queen? Do it. The one individual limiting you and what you wish to do is your self. In order that’s at all times what I attempt to like put ahead. You may actually do no matter you need, so long as you push your self to do it. The one individual stopping you is you.