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Rising Stars: Meet Notta Genda

Today we’d like to introduce you to Notta Genda.

Hi Notta, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I’m a local performing non-binary drag king who currently works in the AR department at Snapchat!

My story starts in Willard, Utah which is a tiny rural town where the population is 99% Mormon. I struggled a lot with my internal conflicts of being a queer trans kid and trying so hard to follow a religion that didn’t support those parts of me. I hated wearing dresses for church and vehemently avoided other feminine things like makeup and the color pink. For what is still the majority of my life, I didn’t know any different. It wasn’t until I moved to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Utah for my video game development degree that I started even considering a life outside of the LDS church. I made new friends who taught me different perspectives. They really showed me how to accept myself as who I am.

During my Sophomore year of college, I came out as queer to very few people. I was still worried about the repercussions me and my family would face from my small hometown and extended family if the truth got out. I used this time to start participating in LGBTQIA+ panels anonymously and getting involved in activism. During my senior year, I finally came out publicly. It was both liberating and difficult. I think most queer people have this experience where it becomes immediately obvious who treats you completely different, even by life-long family and friends. Still, I made even stronger relationships and would never take it back.

The pandemic is really what forced me to take a hard look at my identity. Everything turned upside down. Being isolated helped me realize that I was holding on to my femininity for other people. I thought I had to. So I started dressing differently. Trading cardigans for suspenders, loose tops for crop tops, and I began using they/them pronouns. I started owning my image and expression.

Then came drag! There was a local virtual drag show that started during the pandemic, of which I became obsessed with. I knew a few of the performers, and watching them share such unapologetic, lovingly queer art started me on wanting to be a part of it. I knew I didn’t want to be queen, but a non-binary drag king. Thus, “Notta Genda” was born! I started taking burlesque classes, learned how to do masculine drag/theater makeup, and worked on the crew (called kittening) for drag shows when things started opening up. August of 2021 was when I had my first gig! It has been one of the best adventures of my life.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It’s been a really rough trip. Growing up, I struggled with depression, suicidal ideation, and self-harm. I developed PTSD from some hard life events and trauma that I experienced as a child and teenager. My road to recovery has been a hard-fought one. One that I couldn’t do without my friends, families, partners, and community. Drag has also been one of the most healing parts of my life. A lot of my motivation and inspiration for my performances come from wanting to heal my inner child. I’m doing things I wasn’t allowed to do as a kid; like being visibly queer, presenting masculine, and even silly things like showing my belly. It really feels like I have found a missing piece of myself and I’m whole again.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I really like to subvert gender norms with my drag. I live up to my name! For example, I may start with a shirt on, and during the climax of the song I’ll tear it off to reveal a corset underneath with (fake) chest hair coming out the top. My Mario number is probably my most popular performance where I tear off my overalls to reveal thigh-high boots and garters and jump into a burlesque routine. Other times I’ll go a bit more of a comedic route. Like my Bob Ross number where I try to paint a landscape on my stomach. Really any mix of comedy and happy/sexy genderqueerness is my style. In the future, I plan to fuse tech with my drag!

What were you like growing up?
I was a big gamer growing up and a bit obsessive about learning different skills. I used to get up at 4 am every morning before school to practice the piano. I also played the clarinet and tenor saxophone, which I went on to play in the University of Utah marching band. I used to be obsessed with animals and I started volunteering at the Hogle Zoo at 14. At 16, I received a black belt in Taekwondo and got my welding certification. Overall I was a pretty nice, laid-back kid and I just threw myself into everything I did. Probably to a fault, as this was definitely a way of distracting myself from some of the bigger issues I was not dealing with.

Contact Info:

  • Instagram: @notta_genda

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