Breaking The Barrier Between Culture and Sexuality With Humza (Manghoe Lassi)
Humza aka Manghoe Lassi, is a Registered Veterinary Technician by day and a Desi Drag Queen by night! You can find a lot of his work on his Instagram
Tell us a little about your creative journey -- how you got to the work you’re doing
I started my drag journey on Halloween 3 years ago. My boyfriend and I thought it would be a fun idea to dress up in drag and head out to our local scene and grace them with our presence (hahaha...). Little did we know that this was going to turn into something much bigger for us. It became a way for me to bridge my femininity, my queerness, my art, and culture all into one being.
Is there a relationship between your identity (queer/gender/ethnicity/otherwise) and the work you make?
For sure! Drag has been a queer art form for a long time and I identify as queer (gay).
What was your first “makeup moment”?
It was so bad! I spent hours doing a drag face and didn't even cover my brows! I ended up looking so pale and barely had any definition in my face. It's something that I can look back on now and laugh about.
How has coming from a more traditional South Asian background impacted your life as a makeup artists/drag queen?
It has shaped the way that I have chosen to represent myself. I always try to add some Desi flare to my drag and pay homage to the culture that I was raised in. All the glamour and sultry energy from old Desi films is something I try to portray in my performances and drag.
What goal are you hoping to achieve by doing drag?
I want to bring Queer Desi folks to the forefront of South Asian media. We are so often shoved to the back or brought up only to be mocked and ridiculed. We are real people with very real stories that need to be heard and shared. I'm also hoping to help people understand that the western standard of queerness is not the only way to live; we do not need to be forced to "come out", we do not need to abide by western beauty standards, we do not need to fit in to be seen as valuable.
Where do you predominately take inspiration from when it comes to doing makeup?
Songs! I love listening to a good song that'll take my brain on a journey. That's how I come up with most of my acts and looks.
How to do face the backlash that might come with being gay, Muslim, South Asian, and a drag queen?
I just ignore most of it now. I went through a phase where I would get really upset and call every single person out and get into these endless arguments over social media. They made no one feel better. Now I've learned that ignoring most of these comments is the best thing to do. Once in a while, I will post a hater's comment in my story to show people the kind of ridiculous hate comments I get.
Do you believe that there is a connection between masculinity and makeup?
I think makeup can be used on everyone regardless of gender identity. It's colonialism that really screwed things up for South Asians and told them that being feminine isn't OK, because our history shows us that once upon a time it was.
Do you have any advice for another identifying male who wants to wear makeup and/or do drag?
Do it! Do anything you want as long as you know you'll be safe. Safety should be your number one priority. Also finding a community of queer people in your city can help so much.
What is next for you? Do you have any hopes, dreams, plans you are excited about?
I just take things as they come! :) This all started off as a Halloween costume and it's lead me here. Who knows where it'll go next!