Watch a life-affirming short film about drag kid Desmond Is Amazing

In the glow of his parents’ love and acceptance, this young star is inspiring so many people to become their truest selves

At the 2017 DragConRuPaul called Desmond is Amazing “the future of America”. Desmond was born in June 2007, appropriately during NYC Pride Week, at St Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan. He claims on his website bio that “he came out of the closet when he was born” and has, since then, with the help of his mum Wendy Napoles (aka his 'dragager') started to build an empire. Desmond is a performer, drag kid, awarded LGBTQ advocate, model, fashion designer, Dazed 100 alum, and the founder of his own drag house. Director Breno Moreira was so inspired by this trail-blazing 11-year-old that he’s made a new short film about him, simply titled Desmond is Amazing. 

Shot on 16mm film, the film’s personal and dream-like scenes depict a day in the life of Desmond, and the close bond he has with his supportive mother. Wendy traces Desmond’s obsession back to her own love of RuPaul, and her son’s subsequent fascination with Drag Race. When Desmond was six years old, he began to lose interest completely in boys’ clothing. As he says adamantly in the film, “I didn’t want no Sonic t-shirts”; he wanted to wear dresses, skirts and pink shirts.

One of the most heartwarming aspects of the film is Wendy’s touching honesty. She explains that when Desmond started to insist on wearing girls’ clothing outside of their home she became hesitant, and later realised that the unease stemmed from her own opinions about how the world would react, and in turn, perceive her parenting, rather than Desmond’s personal choices. Despite their initial reaction, Desmond’s family allowed him to progress and explore his tastes on his own, without any influence from them. He now identifies as non-conforming and gender fluid.

Desmond has described his style on his website as “androgynous” and “avant drag”. He commits to looking 100 per cent fabulous whenever he is in public, which he demonstrates by strutting around on the roof of his apartment building like it’s a catwalk. The powerful closing shots document Desmond regally looking out over his home of New York as if he owns it. But, in the film he admits in his down time he prefers to “play with trains or watch videos on Youtube or play video games”, just like any other kid. 

The film’s inspiring focus on self-expression, acceptance and honesty serves as a valuable lesson for us all, and one that Moreira strongly believes makes Desmond’s “a story worth telling”. Particularly in an age where we are widening our conversations and seeing important changes in how we view identitysexuality and gender, this film makes a powerful statement about allowing individuals of any age to explore and define their own identities, rather than forcing them to fit a mould. As Desmond’s mum simply yet poignantly says, “everyone's different, so it doesn’t really make any sense to do that”.