Magenta low-key hates the color magenta. So how did this rising New York drag star end up with her name? Well, turns out an old lady in a coffee shop was the inspiration. In high school Magenta was sitting with a friend with “long ass pink braids” when an “old, old, old bitch” walked up to them and said “I love your hair. I had magenta hair once too.” And so “Magenta” was born. “All my friends hated the name,” she explains, “but I was like ‘It’s cunt! It’s gonna stick,’ and now it’s stuck.”
Magenta, who turned 21 this year, grew up “way deep in the Bronx.” She has been performing in New York for six years. It all started on Halloween at age 15. She woke up at 6 a.m. that morning so his mom could paint his and a friend’s faces before school. Afterwards they took the train from the Bronx to 56th and 3rd in full drag. Magenta acknowledges that it was reckless, but if they acted confident then nobody would fuck with them: “And that’s kind of what happened.”
Magenta is most inspired by Rihanna “because you can’t compete with the energy of a bitch who says ‘I can do whatever I want, say whatever I want, and wear whatever I want, and you’re just gonna eat it up.’” She’s also inspired by Adore Delano: “I love that bitch. She also looks like you can’t fuck with her.”
Magenta wears bathing suit by Just Cavalli, pants by Veronique Leroy, jacket by Vintage Saga Furs, necklace and belt by Chanel, vintage earrings. …
Brooklyn-based Diego Montoya creates extravagant masks and headpieces using beads, gems, pearls, broken jewelry, dismantled clocks, animal bones...Everything. His decadent facades have been donned by queens such as Jinkx Monsoon, Bob the Drag Queen and his No.1 muse, Sasha Velour.
The director of the Werq the World docuseries shares his stories and photographs of the queens from behind the scenes
How did the Werq the World series come about? After moving to LA from New York in 2016, I got connected to World of Wonder via filmmaker Billy Luther. I was 27 and had just gotten gay-divorced (can’t start early enough right?) and was frankly feeling a little down and under and not happy in LA. I’m from The Netherlands and this car driving flatland wasn’t giving me the same excitement as New York – which felt like home on Day 1. I felt a connection with WOW because its founders Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey built that company in New York City and have been trailblazing for decades since.
They asked me if I wanted to shoot a new “Day In The Life” series with some of their queens, spending an entire day with them from waking up until a performance at night. This became the “Follow Me” series on their then brand-new streaming service WOW Presents Plus. The first queens I worked with were Gia Gunn, Aja, and Vanjie (right after her first elimination). I loved making those first episodes. I opted not to use any sit-down interviews and simply let the action unfold in front of the camera. I wanted to get to a space with them where they’re not “entertaining” for the camera, but just being themselves. The best moments happen when they either forget they’re being filmed, or the camera becomes more of a friend in the room.
I think WOW appreciated this sort of raw and real take on these drag stars, so they asked me if I wanted to go on tour with the cast of Werq the World. …
Dancer-choreographer Erik Cavanaugh moved and grooved from a pizza parlor in Pittsburgh to some of the biggest stages in the world. The former dance major ended up on America’s Got Talent and in the pages of Oprah Magazine after a video of him pirouetting and backbending went viral in 2016, eventually racking up tens of millions of views. His mission has always been to change how we imagine the “dancer’s body,” urging us to celebrate each others’ bodies because they are one thing we all inhabit. Today he continues to spread this message posting performance videos to his loyal fanbase on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, showing that dance is a language we all share, speaking to the heart and soul of who we are. We caught up with Cavanaugh to hear him translate, to words, his body talk, and get to know the mind behind the movement.
How would you reflect on the media coverage you’ve received? At Dance magazine, they voiced frustration that mainstream media centered on the spectacle, rather than your art. When I read that, I teared up because I believed it: Rather than focusing on me as a dancer, they focused on what my body looked like… mislabeling me as a ballerina. A ballerina is a female professional ballet dancer, which I’m not.
I liked when they asked if the media was missing the point. While I appreciated all that was given to me, I didn’t like being labeled as “burly,” or “linebacker,” or all these images that they used to create this persona of who I am and what my body looked like. …
Michael Love Michael is an independent musician and writer based in Manhattan, whose latest single, “6 Jaguars,” holds up a magic mirror to wealth inequality. Enchanted, we had to catch up with them to ask about their reflections on crafting music as a lens through which to see what money makes of us.
How do you navigate the relationship between storytelling and selling stories? We don’t have another system right now. This is where we are, and I’m a person who has a certain amount of ambition. I’m putting music out there, which is an ambitious endeavor on its own, you know? I’ve worked within corporate hierarchies, so I can make a living. I understand this is necessary until we invent a new way of living and being, and supporting ourselves. But my desire to tell stories comes from a place disconnected from the idea of making money. I lead with my heart. I try to not live my life based on what’s gonna make me the next quick buck.
Like the film Parasite, “6 Jaguars” is a portrait of someone in their high tower while we suffer below, but there’s a certain luxe appeal. You end up wanting it, but also knowing that it’s awful. I’m really drawn to that juxtaposition, always. I’ve been binge-watching a ton of TV, like everyone, and I’ve been watching a lot of Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy shows. I’m obsessed with how they have these central characters who on the surface are corrupt, but you find goodness within them. They’re complex. And that’s how real life is. Nothing is one way or another.
At the end of “6 Jaguars,” as you repeat that phrase, “Bitch if they don’t like me / Cunt if they despise me,” it transforms in meaning. …
The artist creates a fantasy world where creatures of all kinds are free to explore their most primal instincts.