Across social media it is evident that drag is firmly a part of the mainstream. Performers have been utilizing the various platforms for decades to reach audiences beyond the bar and club scenes. However, Youtube in particular, stands out as a unique platform that serves as both an archive and forum for drag culture worldwide. Last year alone, videos related to drag queens and kings received over 2 billion views.

“The unique thing that YouTubers and their viewers experience is complete access to one another,” says Drag Queen, singer-songwriter and YouTube personality Trixie Mattel. “You can learn about new things or experience unique storytelling from anywhere–for free. You don’t have to be at a gay bar on Wednesday at 1am anymore!”

Mattel and fellow Drag Queen Juno Birch partnered with YouTube to star in a video titled “A Drag Queen Adventure Story” which premiered last week and delves into the history of drag on the platform. We connected with the multi-talented diva over email to discuss the relationship between drag and the internet which she warns isn’t always balanced.

“This bizarre exposure to an alternative art form is not without a caveat,” she says. “Never forget, drag queens are not role models or cabbage patch kids. They aren’t politicians or religious figures and they certainly aren’t your mother. The internet is a world of hypersensitivity and drag certainly is not for the sensitive. You wouldn’t watch pornography and complain about the nudity, would you? Through YouTube, drag has creeped out of the shadows a few more steps.”

How have you watched drag evolve over the years thanks to the internet?

“I remember in the early 2010s there was only a little bit of drag sprinkled around. Makeup videos on YouTube were still in their early development even! What I like about drag on YouTube now is that it’s not enough to just put a wig on. To succeed, you have to tap into your own talents and your own voice to create content that is truly one-of-a-kind. The costume only gets you so far.”

How do you see drag changing over the next few years? How would you like it to change?

“I love drag being such a big industry now but I think we will start to see smaller drag artists favored again. I predict drag shows where phones/filming isn’t allowed to keep the ‘you had to be there’ element going. I don’t want drag to go back to the dark ages but I think the pendulum has swung a little far the other way with the exposure of it. I think a happy medium is upon us where drag queens can get paid and the art form can be accessed by anyone but there will still be magical secret areas of drag we protect the way we protect natural habitats and historic buildings.”

You’ve said in the past that you have a very healthy relationship with internet comment sections, how has that helped you as a performer on an online platform?

“For me it’s a weekly survey! It’s a great place to find out what little jokes we can make running nods. Or maybe we discover there’s a particular type of video people want more of. My viewers are very interactive with me. Or sometimes that’s how you find out you have a rogue bobby pin sticking out or you’ve been mispronouncing a word your whole life.”

Which of your many ventures (Trixie Cosmetics/Trixie Motel/podcasts/drag performances) fills your cup the most?

“I love YouTube. I love talking to myself and I love acting foolish. TV and music and live performance is full of so much pre-production and red tape. YouTube is absolutely freedom. You can wake up and get an idea for a video and be filming it in fifteen minutes! UNHhh, I Like To Watch, Bald And The Beautiful, and my channel are all YouTube shows and I would consider them my most favored projects. I would give it all up and still probably always keep my channel going. Much much love to everyone who has ever watched me! And I’m not sure if YouTube will read this or see this but please stop censoring my nipples in drag! Like Mary give up the ghost it’s so weird!”