Performer name(s): Buck Orchid
Where do you live (and perform)? San Antonio Texas, USA
Muggle day job: Currently an independently working artist which means cobbling together office management, arts education, dance instruction, showcase facilitation, performing etc etc etc. I did use to work in non-profit theater as an arts administrator for close to 20 years before being made redundant. Alas.
Length of time performing: As a king? Lately it’s been every two months or so. Since I joined a troupe I’ve had the opportunity to perform more regularly in our self-produced shows and we have been slowly picking up appearances and bookings. As a performer though I’ve been in the game since the mid-90s.
What you refer to yourself performance wise? drag king
Why do you perform? Because I am a performer at heart. Specifically as a king, I get to tap into my masculine energy and live a persona that I think is pretty convincing…I enjoy the reactions of my audience. Especially the women 😉
How would you describe your performance style? Flirty, sexy, high-energy
What /who inspires you? Spykey van Dykey is a huge inspiration as a king because of his style, showman-ship and artistry and let’s face it, he’s fucking hot. Jack the Lad is another inspiration because until I came across him on YouTube I hadn’t heard of another South Asian drag king before! As far as my styling goes, I think of Buck as a very “metro” Bollywood dude, so actors like Arjun Rampal, Ranveer Singh, John Abaraham, Hrthik ROshan are who I look at for styling and choreography inspiration. Finally, one of my first big numbers was a Prince tribute so as a fellow tiny brown man I am also very inspired by him especially since I have been a fan since I was little.
Some information about your costumes:
Well I am kind of petite so it’s been a process to figure out my best options. I have been trolling wish.com for tiny asian man clothes. My husband is a few inches taller than me and has been nice enough to hand off his clothes from his slimmer days etc. As a burlesque performer while I don’t sew anything I am pretty good at blinging out and adapting found items. I am constantly learning through social media from other kings, performers and costumiers about the best ways to dress Buck since I do have some specific aesthetic goals ( Bollywood male model lol).
Your favourite act and why:
Currently my favorite act is still in progress but it is my Prince Charming pole dance because I went all out on the costume, which presented some challenges as a dancer. I think that when its nailed down it will be pretty awesome. My other favorite number of mine is one where I lip-sync to a mashup of shape of you and Urvashi ( a popular Hindi movie song) while hula hooping and stripping. Buck does like to get naked-ish!
As far as someone else’s act, currently I am blown away by Alexander the Great’s Ted Bundy act because it was really unexpected and he committed fully to it. I really enjoy being connected through the internet to so many kings though! I am constantly challenged and inspired and humbled by everyone’s creativity. Buck is the newest of my personas and definitely has work to do.
Biggest challenge as a performer:
Making sure I stay “in the pocket” with my physicality. I have a specific idea of what I want him to embody so I am still working on making sure I don’t slip into my “Black Orchid” more femme gestures. Secondarily I would say that San Antonio is still a market for drag queens ( and definitely all props to the hardworking queens who have made it so) and it is dispiriting to see that even within the queer community, we have yet to be taken seriously for bookings and acknowledgement.
Some of your achievements:
Recently I and the troupe ( Los MENtirosos) was booked to headline a local Fiesta “royalty” event. I’m still not sure how some people there felt about us but to me that’s an example of the kind of gig that normally wouldn’t go to a drag king. Other than that I never lip-synced until I started committing to the character and now I can say I know how to lip-sync in Spanish, Hindi and Arabic for certain numbers lol as well as in English!
Social media handles, any links you want to share:
Buck doesn’t have his own page yet but you can see his pics etc at https://www.facebook.com/blackorchidburlesque/
and IG: @shimarella
Something you would like to tell readers:
Well here’s my general bio: Buck Orchid is a true Desi man who loves a strong drink, a good beat and the lovely ladies. He is a pocket Prince Charming who has been scandalizing and seducing his way through San Antonio and the South in the past few years. He’s better known…for now… for his family connection to Black Orchid, “The Transoceanic Tropical Tease”, who you can see in full femme action in San Antonio and beyond. Like all Bollywood heroes, he lives to pay sexy tribute to his favorite pop idols. He is also a member of Los MENtirosos, San Antonio’s only drag king troupe!TAG LINE: “Singapore’s Sultan of Swing, with a Thousand Ways to Make You Swing”.