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Houston’s Lizard King

Damien proves it is easy being green.

Damien (photo by Alex Rosa for OutSmart magazine)

First, it was Kermit the Frog. Then it was Elphaba. Now Damien is the performer to rock the color of envy. With his bright-green hair and scribble-styled mustache, he is definitely impossible to miss. And his gender-twisting alternative style sets him apart from most other performers. Get to know more about this zany highlighter-fluid-colored performer.

Pronouns?
He/him/his, both in and out of drag.

Inner avatar? 
A lizard. In eastern countries, they’re seen as symbols of luck—similar to dragons. They’re also a symbol of rebirth and regeneration. 

Drag birthday? 
November 2015

Hometown?
Born and raised right here in Houston.

What attracted you to drag? 
I got heavily interested in drag because of the idea of getting to play “dress up.” I’ve always loved makeup, hair, and intricate outfits. I also fell in love with drag when I made the connection that it is an art form. I have a deep love for all things artistic, and I love getting to see people (myself included) express themselves through so many different creative aspects at once, resulting in each of our individual drag personas. 

What makes your drag different from other drag performers? 
While my drag does have a heavy emphasis on alternative styles, I don’t like to put myself into a box. I strive to challenge gender norms, especially as a transmasculine drag king. I’m a drag king that loves to wear gowns, heels, and huge wigs. I specifically love to perform extremely emotional numbers. Art should inspire emotion, and I love when my performances have a chance to make that a reality. 

What’s on your bucket list?
I’d love to be able to perform out of state some day! Traveling with my art and making new friends through it is one of my dreams. 

What have you learned from your drag life that you carry into your daily life? 
The concept of being true to myself is something that I learned through drag specifically. I learned how to love myself through this artform and through my art, and that’s something I’ll be able to carry with me for the rest of my life. 

Any difference between your drag persona and your everyday persona?
In drag, I’m the party guy. I love to walk around and talk to everyone. Out of drag, I’m the biggest introvert you could imagine. 

Any incredible moments from performing?
This past winter, I had the opportunity to perform in a theater setting and had access to a few things that drag performers don’t typically have in a bar setting—a lot of different lighting options, and not having to walk around to collect tips. I performed “Cellophane” by FKA Twigs and got to deliver an extremely emotional and personal performance. The performance opened up a lot of discussion between me and the audience members. It was a beautiful experience as a performer. 

What would people be surprised to know about you? 
Most people are extremely surprised to find out that I come from an incredibly athletic background. I’ve played just about every sport, and I also used to be a competitive figure skater! 

Anything else to add? 
I am a trans Asian-American performer, so it truly means a lot to be able to be featured during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, especially as one of the few Asian American drag performers in the city.

Where can fans see you perform?
Catch me on Wednesdays at Pearl Bar for the H-Town Kings show. 

Follow Damien on Twitter and Instagram @moisttlizard and on Facebook at facebook.com/aiden.stevens.1466.

This article appears in the May 2022 edition of OutSmart magazine.

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Sam Byrd

Sam Byrd is a freelance contributor to Outsmart who loves to take in all of Houston’s sights, sounds, food and fun. He also loves helping others to discover Houston’s rich culture. Speaking of Houston, he's never heard a Whitney Houston song he didn't like.
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