Drag queen flourishes with stardom
Jonathan Ng is a student at San Francisco State University and employee of Old Navy. He juggles school, work, and a social life like any millennial these days. But Ng is also a diva extraordinaire named Shanghiiieee who wears an array of colorful wigs and skin tight costumes that show off her curves and dances and sings on stage in front of her adoring fans.
Ng performs at nightclubs around the San Francisco area as his alter ego Shanghiiieee who has a very contrasting personality.
“She’s nice, playful and caring, but she is also bitchy, rude, and very in your face. Very contradictory right?” Ng said. “On stage, she is very much the latter, but off stage she’s just like anyone else. Be nice, and she’ll be nice. Very simple.”
The idea of Shanghiiieee was born in Ng’s dorm at his university.
“It was basically fate,” Ng said. “My neighbor knew how to do makeup. Another did costumes and wigs in high school. One knew how to dance and do choreography and that’s how she was born.”
Drag queens are described as performers who exaggerate certain characteristics such as makeup and costume for a satirical effect to perform in front of an audience. But for Ng and Shanghiiieee, it is so much more than that.
“As a drag queen, many believe that I only perform and entertain. There’s so much more than that kitschy, campy stereotype that people don’t see,” Ng said. “As a drag queen, I am an advocate and a voice for the LGBT community. For example, when Facebook began their crusade against ‘fake names,’ drag queens from across San Francisco took to Facebook headquarters to protest. We are at the forefront of your revolution, and it’s because we as individuals are never soft spoken.”
Facebook has recently been under fire for suspending many drag queen accounts on their site for violating their “real-name” policy. Along with the protest, Shanghiiieee participated in many other charity events.
“I love to perform shows with other organizations and often donate all my tips to the charity I perform for,” Ng said. “I’ve done things not only for the LGBT community but the community as a whole. I’ve done breast cancer awareness shows and raised money for the SF Emergency Fund. They help women with low income afford breast cancer treatment.”
Shanghiiieee also sells her brand on a website called Drag Queen Merch which sells products from other Drag Queens including herself. Shanghiiieee has her own line of T-Shirts, iPhone cases, bags, and nail décor all with her face on them.
“When I went to the first Drag Queen Convention, I met BibleGirl who is a very big Internet personality,” Ng said. “We talked a bit and connected instantly which completely blew my mind. After that, she had started a little business of her own selling merchandise. [We] were the ones who started Drag Queen Merch, and it has flourished ever since, expanding to a bunch of other queens.”
Shanghiiieee has not only taught Ng how to shine in the spotlight but how to be yourself and love the skin you’re in.
“I’m no longer afraid to hide who I am and express myself fully,” Ng said. “She’s opened my eyes and shown me what I can do with some perseverance and practice. She’s also taught me that I am beautiful and she’s shown me that I don’t have to fit molds to be beautiful. I love her very much and I am a completely changed person from who I was before.”
As for the future? Ng is going to play it by ear and enjoy the moment as is.
“I’m always practicing and tweaking it and I am truly dedicated to it, but it’s more of a hobby for me,” Ng said. “If I could make a career out of it, I would love to, but for right now I’m focused on my studies. RuPaul’s Drag Race? Maybe.”