Portfolio > Interviews with Escapists (2011)

Painting of escapism by Karley Feaver
Ling Ling, Bling Bling - Drag Artist
Acrylic on board
600mm round


Ling Ling - Bling Bling, a name in itself that brings instant mental images. The first time I met Ling Ling was when she was dressed in full Drag. Short turquoise Dress, Dynasty hair, heavy make-up, diamonds around her neck, wrists, ears, hair and even eyes. She is a self-described magpie and looked amazing.

Ling Ling is a full-time Drag Artist. You would think someone in that type of job would be very out-going and flamboyant, she is actually very shy. It took a lot of encouraging getting her to do this interview. She is getting more confident though, being a Drag
Artist forces her to talk to people and get out of her comfort zone.

The second time I met Ling Ling she was not dressed in Drag – she actually looked like a man, funny that because Ling Ling is a man. You could compare her to the lady boys in Thailand – very feminine. Although she doesn’t think she can pull it off as well as they can – some of them have had gender re-assignment – Ling Ling is a man, a performer and does this for entertainment. When asked if being a Drag Artist is a form of
escapism, she disagrees and says “it is an extension of my personality and my life. I enjoy doing this, although I still get nervous when performing.”

Ling Ling is one of two Asian drag artists in NZ and considers herself to be very special. She wishes she was big and burly like the other drag artists she works with, “I feel like I blend in too much with the customers, I am really little so they don’t notice me as much.” I re-assure her that her look is a good thing as she is unique – well not that I have met many drag artists – I like her look.

Ling Ling believes that escapism is a normal thing to do. She doesn’t think that people should use it as a mechanism to run away from your life problems, you should face your issues and enjoy life. She is very free-minded and free-spirited.

I think it is quite fitting when asked to describe her personality in one or two words, “Jekyll and Hyde,” says Ling Ling.